Enhancing flexibility for climate change using seasonal energy storage (aquifer thermal energy storage) in distributed energy systems

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Journal Article

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Long-term energy storage is expected to play a vital role in the deep decarbonization of building energy sectors, while enhancing the flexibility of buildings to withstand future climate variations. However, it is challenging to design distributed multi-energy systems (DMES) while taking into account the uncertainties introduced by climate change, since stochastic optimization of such systems is difficult. The present study introduces a stochastic optimization model to address this bottleneck, taking into account DMES including aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) as the long-term thermal storage. For the first time, a novel optimization algorithm links ATES with the DMES optimization model with the support of a simplified geotechnical model. Subsequently, a case study was conducted, focusing on a residential district in Chicago where the impact of future climate condition, energy demand, and solar and wind energy potentials were evaluated using Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) data (up to 2080) and the EnergyPlus model. The study revealed that ATES is an attractive way to improve the renewable energy penetration level and minimize the dependence on fossil fuels with reasonable support from the grid to assist the fluctuations in both demand and generation. Furthermore, ATES notably reduces fuel consumption and dependence while greatly enhancing the flexibility of the energy system to withstand fluctuations in demand and renewable energy generation brought by future climate variations. These qualities will make ATES an important part of distributed energy systems, even though it is not currently the lowest cost alternative due to lack of technology maturity. The design platform introduced in the present study can be used to design DMES enhancing flexibility to accommodate future climate variations.


Applied Energy



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