2019-07-25

Clean Energy Hubs aim to achieve a decarbonised European Union ensuring economic and industrial growth while both maintaining and creating jobs, with the implementation of flexible configurations linking together decarbonised energy generation, energy conversion and energy storage.

When it comes to energy innovation, the European Union is a global leader that has the power and duty to exercise meaningful influence with beneficial effects for the whole planet and its inhabitants.

Energy technology suppliers know the importance of their role and they are strongly committed to implement new concepts with the goal to decarbonise the energy sector as well as other sectors and, at the same time, to ensure economic growth and to increase job growth. That’s where the foundations of Clean Energy Hubs lie.

Facilitating the energy transition, Clean Energy Hubs have been designed to gather and link together renewable energy carriers, generation, conversion and storage. Their configuration is very flexible and adaptable to many different conditions. Clean Energy Hubs can either be big and centralised or small and decentralised, depending on the local conditions and needs.

But what could Clean Energy Hubs practically look like?

For example, a biomass based Clean Energy Hub can convert a conventional biomass power plant that already provides renewable electricity and heating into an even more integrated plant that can absorb electricity, store energy in different ways and produce renewable fuels, resulting in a significant increase of its peak capacity and achieving close to 90% efficiency. Through this method the biomass Clean Energy Hub can contribute to integrating even more renewables into the system while simultaneously decarbonising other sectors such as industry, heating and cooling and transport.

Another potential configuration involves the integration and decarbonisation of a steel mill. Clean Energy Hubs can be the solution that turns a conventional steel mill into an integrated steel mill with substantial emissions reductions. This integrated steel mill will have carbon capture technology, hydrogen recovery, water electrolysis, thermal storage and methanol production. This way, waste streams can be used to make the steel mill produce renewable and low carbon fuels while contributing to the stabilisation of the electricity grid to allow for the integration of more variable renewables in the system.

As such, Clean Energy Hubs generate energy from clean sources and deliver this energy in a controllable way. Oversupplies of energy are stored or converted into other energy carriers such as renewable fuels, heat & cold or electricity which can be used for the decarbonisation of other sectors.

Abundant and scarce electricity 

At times of abundant electricity and when energy prices are low, Clean Energy Hubs absorb excess electricity from the grid, converting renewable electricity into heat, cold and advanced synthetic fuels. In this manner they are able to stabilise the grid and address the challenge of over supplies produced by variable renewables.

At times of scarce electricity and high energy prices, Clean Energy Hubs perform their back up role by generating electricity, heat and cold from a multitude of decarbonised energy sources, such as solar thermal, bioenergy and advanced synthetic fuels or conventional fuels in combination with Carbon Capture technologies.

By being demonstrated on an industrial scale in the coming years, Clean Energy Hubs will contribute to a decarbonised European energy system promoting technological excellence, exportable technologies and job creation together with environmental protection and green growth.