Integrating the gas and electrical grids for a net-zero future

Electrification connects renewable, low-carbon energy sources to the energy services that power modern society. Delivering this energy in the form of electricity is a formidable challenge, as the current electrical transmission network is not structured to deliver the amount of electrical energy needed to propel our vehicles, heat and cool our homes, and power industry and commerce. To reduce the demand on the electrical grid, renewable energy can also be converted into hydrogen and distributed through the gas grid. This can be combined with biomass-derived methane to offer a second near zero carbon energy distribution route. The project team is studying the potential to use gaseous fuelled generators installed at the grid edge to provide low-carbon electricity at peak demand and to provide direct heating and cooling through a combined heat and power system. The generators will also be used to regulate energy delivery through the electrical grid, reducing losses and increasing peak capacity. In combination, this project offers a transformational potential in near-term greenhouse gas emissions savings without waiting for enormously expensive investments in long-lead-time transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Trevor Barnes;Kimia Haghighi
Faculty Supervisor: 
Gordon McTaggart-Cowan;Taco Niet;Colin Copeland
British Columbia
Partner University: