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The Interaction between Short- and Long-Term Energy Storage in an nZEB Office Building


The establishment of near-autonomous micro-grids in commercial or public building complexes is gaining increasing popularity. Short-term storage capacity is provided by means of large battery installations, or, more often, by the employees’ increasing use of electric vehicle batteries, which are allowed to operate in bi-directional charging mode. In addition to the above short-term storage means, a long-term storage medium is considered essential to the optimal operation of the building’s micro-grid. The most promising long-term energy storage carrier is hydrogen, which is produced by standard electrolyzer units by exploiting the surplus electricity produced by photovoltaic installation, due to the seasonal or weekly variation in a building’s electricity consumption. To this end, a novel concept is studied in this paper. The details of the proposed concept are described in the context of a nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) and the associated micro-grid. The hydrogen produced is stored in a high-pressure tank to be used occasionally as fuel in an advanced technology hydrogen spark ignition engine, which moves a synchronous generator. A size optimization study is carried out to determine the genset’s rating, the electrolyzer units’ capacity and the tilt angle of the rooftop’s photovoltaic panels, which minimize the building’s interaction with the external grid. The hydrogen-fueled genset engine is optimally sized to 40 kW (0.18 kW/kWp PV). The optimal tilt angle of the rooftop PV panels is 39◦ . The maximum capacity of the electrolyzer units is optimized to 72 kW (0.33 kWmax/kWp PV). The resulting system is tacitly assumed to integrate to an external hydrogen network to make up for the expected mismatches between hydrogen production and consumption. The significance of technology in addressing the current challenges in the field of energy storage and micro-grid optimization is discussed, with an emphasis on its potential benefits. Moreover, areas for further research are highlighted, aiming to further advance sustainable energy solutions.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Greece

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