(331a) Toward Supply Chain Optimization of Renewable Energy Carriers

Tso, W. W. - Presenter, Texas A&M University
Demirhan, C. D., Texas A&M University
Powell, J. B., Shell International Exploration & Production
Pistikopoulos, E. N., Texas A&M Energy Institute, Texas A&M University
Song, H., Texas A&M Energy Institute
Lee, S., Texas A&M University
A main challenge of renewable energies such as solar and wind is their intermittency. Wind and solar availabilities fluctuate daily, seasonally, and geographically. Moreover, they are often temporally and spatially asynchronous with our energy demands. One proposed solution to the intermittency problem is to store energy during periods and in areas of excess supply and to utilize the stored energy during periods and in areas of excess demand. An option for energy storage is using chemicals such as hydrogen1, ammonia2, or methanol3. Unlike batteries, chemicals are more energy dense, easily transportable to the end-user, and offer flexibility in terms of end-usage. They act as energy carriers, moving solar and wind energy from one location to another.

While the industrial production of these chemicals is well-established, the integration of renewable energies into the manufacturing process and supply chain is an unresolved task. Toward this latter aim, in this work, we describe the development of a supply chain model framework to systematically analyze the potential of solar and wind to displace energy demand through the deployment of energy carriers. The framework investigates the various tradeoffs and competing options for building an energy carrier infrastructure, and through optimization, the best energy carrier network is elucidated. We will highlight the results on a Texas case study and showcase the feasibility of energy carriers.

[1] Mazloomi, K.; Gomes, C., Hydrogen as an energy carrier: prospects and challenges. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2012, 16 (5), 3024-3033.

[2] Klerke, A.; Christensen, C. H.; Nørskov, J. K.; Vegge, T., Ammonia for hydrogen storage: challenges and opportunities. Journal of Materials Chemistry 2008, 18 (20), 2304-2310.

[3] Olah, G. A., Beyond oil and gas: the methanol economy. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2005, 44 (18), 2636-2639.