Environmental analysis of a nano-grid: A Life Cycle Assessment
- Posted by R2ES Laboratory
- On 14 Novembre 2019
- 0 Comments
Renewable energy sources are fundamental to face the problem of climate changes. Unfortunately, some resources, such as wind and solar radiation, have fluctuations affecting the electrical grids stability. Energy storage systems can be used for a smart energy management to accumulate power from renewable sources. For such reason, these devices play a key role to achieve a sustainable electric system.
On the other hand, they are affected by some environmental drawbacks mainly connected with the depletion of rare and expensive materials. Based on these considerations, in this study a nano-grid composed by a photovoltaic plant, a backup generator and an energy storage system is analysed by an environmental Life Cycle Assessment approach. A Solar Home System is designed, and its environmental profile is evaluated considering several Lithium-ion batteries. Among them, nickel-cobalt aluminium oxide cells resulted to be the most suitable solution for a Solar Home System (46.66 Pts/MWh).
Moreover, a sensitivity analysis of the Solar Home System is performed and a hybrid energy storage plant integrating hydrogen and batteries is proposed to face the problem of seasonal solar radiation variability. Four scenarios having different gas pressure levels and lifespan of the devices are considered. Results show that currently the most sustainable configuration is represented by the Solar Home System, but in the future a hybrid nano-grid equipped with 700 bar hydrogen storage might be the best off-grid configuration for minimizing the impact on the environment (37.77 Pts/MWh). Extending the perspective of our analysis to future on-grid potential configurations, an efficient connection of the Solar Home System with a smart-grid is assessed as it looks more sustainable than other off-grid solutions (22.81 Pts/MWh).