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Last Update: 2018-07-18 Source: Research Headlines
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International cooperation key to Europe's energy security
EU-funded researchers are boosting energy cooperation between the EU and nearby countries to the south and east, advancing knowledge on integrating renewables into energy systems, as well as researching improvements in energy efficiency.
© MG #164641546, source: fotolia.com, 2018
EU-funded project DISKNET linked scientists across borders to develop ways to optimise energy distribution networks between the EU and its neighbouring countries. Project researchers came from the European Research Area in particular, Hungary, Greece and Croatia and from outside the EU Ukraine, Jordan and Morocco.
The project has had a strong influence on the international energy research community, attracting many participants to its successful training courses, seminars and workshops.
A sufficient and secure energy supply at an acceptable cost, creating a minimal impact on the environment, is crucial to the future of our society. DISKNET has advanced research in this direction, says project spokesperson Petar Varbanov from the Centre for Process Systems Engineering and Sustainability, Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest, Hungary.
Energy efficiency and renewables
The project fostered long-term research collaboration on energy systems engineering and energy supply chains, with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Within the framework of the project researchers explored ways to cooperate with energy authorities, energy investors and other researchers.
Their research included ways to incorporate geothermal energy into energy systems, developing desalination plants powered by renewable energy, advancing wind and solar power, as well as investigating how to reuse waste heat from industry in an efficient way.
The DISKNET team also evaluated the environmental impact of the energy system and how to get the most from renewable energy. They explored links between energy and water supply systems, carbon capture and storage, energy demand-side management and regional energy system planning.
Hybrid electricity generation
In one research area scientists developed theoretical models of hybrid electricity-generation systems that integrate photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and energy storage units. Data used by the system includes hourly wind speeds, solar radiation levels and energy demand. The algorithm developed by researchers was demonstrated in Oujda City in Morocco to show how solar, wind and energy storage could be integrated into the energy system at minimal cost.
Moreover, scientists also developed a new approach to modelling energy flows in complex energy systems integrated with water-supply systems. These include renewable energy sources, desalination plants, conventional power plants and sea-water storage which stores energy. The model demonstrated how to keep excess energy supply to a minimum while ensuring the highest possible share of renewables in the overall energy mix.
The model was tested in a hypothetical case in Jordan based on the countrys wind and solar-power capacities and sea-water storage facilities. Results demonstrated that the energy management techniques proposed by the model could reduce the production of wasted energy by 80 % and increase the share of renewables in the supply mix by more than 5 %.
Our project was based on theoretical and computational research. As a result, we have published many scientific articles, says Varbanov.
During the project's lifetime, more than 46 researchers, both experienced and at the start of their career, were funded under the EUs Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions programme which allowed them to exchange and transfer knowledge within this specific trans-regional partnership. DISKNET partners continue to collaborate and are committed to prove sustainability of this EU-funded project with high societal impact.