European researchers have developed an open-source online tool that can identify areas where renewables and synthetic fuels can be produced cost-effectively, where hydrogen hubs could be built and where grid expansion is needed. It can be used in different sectors in 35 countries.
Researchers from the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands and the Swiss university ETH Zürich have created an open-source online tool that can generate hundreds of scenarios in which Europe could become completely energy independent by relying exclusively on renewable energy by 2050.
The platform uses data and scenarios described in a dedicated study to present 400 different energy system designs for the Old Continent.
“The study does not include the option of recharging the system with energy from stable, non-fluctuating fossil fuel sources, but finds that there is sufficient flexibility in a range of other technologies that convert , store and distribute energy,” the scientists said. .
The mapping tool can be used for different sectors and regions in 35 countries. It considers the fluctuating flows of electricity, heat, hydrogen, synthetic hydrocarbons and biofuels on an hourly basis over a period of one year.
“To help manage fluctuations in wind and solar power generation, platform users can vary their preferred system’s reliance on a range of flexible technologies and balancing mechanisms such as the ability to storage, biofuels, intra-European energy distribution and the electrification of transport and heat,” said Stefan Pfenninger, researcher at TU Delft. “By varying these factors at will, users can visualize the complex relationships and associated trade-offs within the energy system”
The tool also identifies areas where renewable energy and synthetic fuels can be produced at lower cost, where hydrogen centers can be built and where grid expansion is needed.
“The model and online platform allow researchers and policy makers to analyze more clearly the conditions determining the creation of a green and self-sufficient energy system for Europe, as well as the different options and trade-offs involved”, said the researchers.
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