Multi Energy System

The “Smart Grid” represents a revolutionary concept in the context of delivering a sustainable and secure electricity system at an affordable cost. However, a low carbon energy future calls for rethinking the entire energy system and not only the electrical one, and in particular with the aim of decarbonising the heating/cooling as well as the transport sectors, while also taking into account the interactions with various fuel chains (and in particular natural gas) and other infrastructures (such as for water).

In these co-called “multi-energy systems” (MES), different sectors and networks such as electricity, heat, cooling, fuels, transport, water, and so on, optimally interact with each other. In fact, MES thinking allows unlocking technical, economic and environmental value somehow hidden when considering “classical” energy systems whose sectors are treated “separately” or “independently”. At the same time, MES can be seen as “the Smart Grid beyond electricity”, potentially enabling access to new forms of flexibility from various sectors that may be essential in future networks to guaranteeing a secure and affordable delivery of clean energy. Besides at the system level, MES are particularly relevant in urban areas where manifold networks interact closely within districts and cities, with the potential to develop “Smart Communities” and “Smart Cities”.

Significant system-of-systems research is being carried out for several years at the University of Manchester in the innovative area of MES, covering all the relevant aspects including scenario development, system modelling, operational optimization, optimal planning and investment, development of new business cases, environmental analysis, and reliability, risk and resilience assessment of the multi-energy integrated network infrastructure of the future.

Project highlight: DIMMER

Models built on data from individual energy consumption and local generation reveal likely scenarios for smarter energy usage.

Read the DIMMER project highlight

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