The importance of Power-to-X concepts in future energy systems

Experiences from the Smart Energy Systems Conference in Copenhagen

Els van der Roest attended a conference on Smart Energy Systems in Copenhagen, were she presented some of the work done on in the TKI Urban Energy Project System Design Power-to-X. She learned that there is a general feeling among both scientist and industry that conversion and storage of energy to other forms (sector-coupling) will be vital for a successful energy transition.

Travelling by train

On 10 and 11 September 2019, I attended the Smart Energy Systems Conference in Copenhagen. To make my trip as climate neutral as possible, I decided to go by train. This was a big adventure, including unexpected railway works, missed trains, a train that boarded a ferry and bus replacements due to more railway works. Still, I would recommend to travel by train if by any means possible, like more and more KWR colleagues are doing now.

Train travel.

Presenting the Power-to-X project

The main subjects covered by the conference were 4th generation district heating, electrification, electrofuels and energy efficiency. This lead to very diverse sessions with something of interest to all 350 participants. In my presentation I presented some of the main results of the work that we have been doing in the last 2,5 years on the Power-to-X project. I explained the model I have been working on and showed a few cases to illustrate its use. I stressed the importance of long term (high temperature) heat storage which in my view doesn’t get enough attention in energy systems modelling. Moreover, I showed what we’ve been doing in Nieuwegein and what our plans are for the coming years.

Visit to the wind park just outside Copenhagen.

Sector-coupling as a buzz word

I have seen some very interesting talks, for example one on how to align the 3 P’s: Position, People, Policy to realize a project. I learned about a tool that can be used to get a first idea of the waste heat potential in a city (the MEMPHIS project), how to optimize the use of heat in buildings, I learned about all the barriers for implementation of hydrogen projects in Italy, about the costs of electricity grid extension versus Power-to-X technologies and how the small island of Samsø was able to become energy positive in 8 years and build 11 wind turbines very close to the island without local resistance. The main message I distilled from the conference was that both industry and academics see the necessity of energy conversion and storage in the future energy system. This was reflected by the use of the buzz word ‘sector-coupling’ that was mentioned in almost every presentation. Now we have to start and do it, and I think that at KWR/Allied Waters (together with partners) we are setting a good example.

Schematic overview of the model presented at the conference.