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A concept for dual gaseous and electric energy transmission

P. Favre-Perrod, Student Member, IEEE, and A. Bitschi
thus can not be dispatched with the same degree of freedom as traditional plants. Grid connected distributed energy sources potentially lead to power flow reversal and further issues linked to system protection. More stringent power quality requirements of the consumers (with a simultaneous multiplication of disturbance sources) are hard to meet in densely interconnected grids. Rapidly growing consumption in developing areas makes system expansion using current technologies more difficult Beyond this, the utilities and associated industries witness a paradigm shift in the publics perception of their activities: In the past, security of supply has been the major concern while today, new expectations have appeared: Energy delivery must be sustainable: emissions, radiations and optical impact shall be minimized in production, transmission and distribution. Consumers will need more diversity in their supply than today. On top of electrical grids, district heating and gas delivery to households are steadily gaining in importance, as they allow customers to diversify their consumption. B. Planning future networks In summary, the boundary conditions applicable to the planning of energy transmission and distribution (T&D) have changed since the time our current grids were planed. The hierarchical grid structure, centralized generation sites, the impossibility to efficiently integrate distributed energy storage and current system protection schemes represent a form of heritage from the past decades. Any future power system resulting from the evolution of actual systems will inherit those characteristics as well, at the risk of missing optimal topologies and technologies different from those prevailing today. In an attempt to overcome the limits imposed by actual practice and preconceptions, the authors institution launched the vision of future energy networks project in an industrial and institutional partnership [1]. The project aims at predicting the shape of energy systems in a very long-term view, not restricting the analysis to electrical power distribution.

Abstract The trend towards decentralization of electricity production, the rising share of stochastic generators and more stringent consumer needs govern the planning of future networks. A widely discussed concept is that of integrated planning of chemical and electrical power systems. The vision of future energy networks project goes one step further and proposes a common infrastructure for both gas and electricity. A combined transmission device (a so-called interconnector), consisting of a hollow electrical conductor with internal gas flow, will offer several benefits such as simpler overall planning, synergetic effects and new opportunities like inline storage of chemical energy. The gas flow can be used for the cooling of the electrical conductor. The extracted heat can be reused at the terminals. In a first step, a generic model for a device with nonisothermal compressible gas flow and electricity transmission has been developed to investigate the operation characteristics and limitations of the interconnector. A particular issue is the coupling between the transmitted electrical and chemical power, as the gas flow also serves to cool down the electrical conductor. Physical and construction aspects limit the possible operation range of chemical versus electrical power. This work will present the methodology used to determine these limitations and their implications on the operation of the interconnector. The principle of combined energy transmission can be extended to liquid chemical energy, district heating and further energy carriers. Index terms Power transmission, Power transmission planning

I. INTRODUCTION A. Towards future networks OR more than a hundred years, construction and maintenance of electrical power supply networks has required a ceaseless effort to master technical difficulties and meet societal needs. In recent years, planners have been faced with new challenges amongst which are: The integration of growing quantities of renewable energy from a variety of sources. Most of these rely on stochastic processes (wind, solar radiation) and

This work was supported by ABB, Areva, VA Tech and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. P. Favre-Perrod is with the High Voltage Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zentrum ETL H29, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland (e-mail: A. Bitschi is with the High Voltage Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zentrum ETL H29, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland (e-mail:

1-4244-0493-2/06/$20.00 2006 IEEE.

C. Key components of future networks From both the consumer and the utility viewpoints, networks managing several energy carriers (electricity, natural gas, hydrogen, district heating or cooling, etc.) may be of interest. The main features of the envisioned future network shall be: Energy management: appropriate storage and conversion of energy in several forms will help to mitigate the challenges posed by non-dispatchable producers and/or enable the customers to diversify their supply. Renewable energy generators will also need special interfaces to the network in order to cope with the issues mentioned above. Energy transmission: electricity will also be transmitted in the future. If chemical energy is to be used for storage and diversification of supply (e.g. for individual transport), it will need to be transported as well. In future networks several different forms of energy will need to be transmitted by environmentally friendly means. In the visionary network two classes of components provide these functionalities, as illustrated in figure 1: Energy hubs, which are the interface between the network and the connected consumers and producers. They provide each participant with the necessary type and quality of supply using several means of energy storage and/or conversion. Energy interconnectors, which enable the energy exchange primarily between the hubs. As several energy forms need to be exchanged among the network participants, it would be advantageous to use a single device for all these energy flows. The dual delivery concept described hereafter is an attempt to figure out the characteristics of an energy interconnector in terms of efficiency and operational flexibility.

II. DUAL ENERGY TRANSMISSION A. The advantages of dual transmission Several reasons lead to consideration of a combined device for the simultaneous transfer of electricity and gaseous chemical energy (mainly hydrogen or natural gas): In comparison to dedicated infrastructures for each carrier, rights of way are simpler to manage for a single combined transmission facility. Overall systems including terminal equipment are potentially simpler if using combined transmission, because ancillary equipment (cooling, compressors, communication, etc.) is only required once. Additional functionalities like inline chemical storage may be available to a combined system. A combined transmission device has the potential for more economical underground energy transmission, which is a prerequisite for sustainable T&D. As no such devices currently exist (a somewhat different concept, based on high-temperature superconducting cables was proposed in [2]), two basic classes of questions arise: issues related with constructive aspects of the interconnector (materials, insulation clearances, pressure resistance, etc.) and issues related to the principle of dual energy delivery (transmission efficiency, operational limits, etc.) and its benefits/requirements on the overall energy system. The present work will focus on the second group of questions, as it is important to verify that this advanced energy transmission concept is worthwhile. B. A generic approach: the energy interconnector In the following sections we shall use the abstract but general representation of the energy interconnector as shown in figure 2, to discuss the generic characteristics of a dual energy transmission device. Electrical power Pel is transmitted through a hollow electrical conductor while a gaseous medium carrying the chemical power Pch flows in the bore. The electrical losses PV in the electrical conductor are partly transmitted to the surroundings (PU) and partly absorbed by the flowing chemical carrier (PCM). Additionally, the chemical carrier also absorbs the friction heat of the gas flow (the total absorbed heat is designated PQ). As the gas absorbs heat, its temperature rises gradually and it expands. It will reach the outlet of the interconnector at a temperature T2 exceeding the ambient temperature; thus it can be used as the hot source of a waste heat recovery process. At the inlet, a compressor may be needed to bring the gas to its required inlet pressure p1. During the compression, the gas also warms up, giving another opportunity for waste heat reuse. The complete interconnector system with its ancillary equipment is shown in figure 3: At the inlet and the outlet a reversible compressor/turbine and a heat exchanger condition the gas and make use of any temperature difference with respect to the ambient temperature or pressure difference to local storage devices or distribution systems.


Electricity Hydrogen Heat

Hub Hub

Fig. 1. Network structure of an envisioned multi-energy carrier system.

T p c 3 T c1 T 1 c 3 2 + + =0 p p x p x
c 2 c3


Fig. 2. Generic representation of an energy interconnector for dual electrical and chemical energy delivery.

III. A MODEL OF THE INTERCONNECTOR A. The gas flow The main challenge in modeling the energy interconnector is the description of the compressible non-isothermal gas flow. As described in the previous section, the flowing gas absorbs the heat PQ which corresponds to the sum of the ohmic and viscous friction losses reduced by the amount of thermal energy which flows into the surrounding soil1. PQ ' = PV '+ PR ' PU ' (1) For a control mass m = Ri2 x which occupies a length x of the pipe, the absorbed thermal power is equal to the work of this element on its boundary surfaces plus the rate of increase of its internal energy: & m 2 & T + v 2 (2) PQ ' x = Ri ( pv ) + cV m 2 & is the mass flow rate of the gas, Ri the inner radius of m the conductor, v the gas velocity, cV its specific heat at constant volume, its mass density and p its pressure. For the same control mass, the rate of variation of the kinetic momentum is equal to the sum of the applied forces. These are the forces at the elements boundaries and the viscous friction force, given by the friction pressure drop pR: & v Ri 2 ( p p R ) = m (3) The viscous friction pressure drop can be approximated using the Darcy-Weidbach approximation:
v 2 x (4) 4 Ri The gas velocity can be expressed in function of its temperature and pressure, thus putting together the energy balance (2) and the momentum equation (3) for an infinitesimal control mass yields a set of coupled partial differential equations for the pressure p and temperature T profile in the flowing gas:

T 2 p n F T T + c2 + 1 + c 2 c3 2 + PQ ' = 0 (6) 3 x 2 p p x The parameters c1 through c3 are functions of the mass flow & , the gas properties and the inner radius of the rate m conductor. Equations (5) and (6) cannot be solved analytically. An approximation of the non-isothermal flow by isothermal flow is not suited to this situation (in analogy to [3]). Thus an approximation shall be used. It can be shown to be satisfactorily accurate under realistic conditions. The temperature profile T(x) can be approximated by: T T1 T ( x) = T1 + 2 x (7) Ltot Thus using (5) and (7), the relation between inlet and outlet pressure becomes2: p2 = p1 c1 Ltot (T1 + T2 )


And for the mass flow in function of the pressure and temperature at the interconnector terminals we obtain:
& = 2 m M m p1 p 2 Ri f R g Ltot (T1 + T2 )


The chemical energy Pch through the interconnector is proportional to the mass flow (wm is the specific chemical energy of the gaseous medium). & Pch = wm m (10) B. Heat absorption by the flowing gas As outlined above, the flowing gas will absorb heat from two sources: the electrical conductor and its internal viscous friction on the other side. The thermal power arising from the viscous friction is the work (per time unit) of the friction force Ri2 pR which is obtained from (4). The friction thermal power per unit length can be evaluated to: T2 PR ' = c1 c 2 2 (11) p The total heat absorption of the gas is given in (1), consequently the heat flow absorbed from the conductor PCM can be determined in function of the gas properties, mass flow, the inlet pressure p1 and the boundary temperatures T1 and T2. In other words, the absorbed thermal power not only varies with the mass flow rate of the gas, but also with the inlet pressure p1. The reason is that viscous friction (4) depends on the gas velocity, and thus on its inlet pressure. The algebraic expressions for the extracted heat are, however, rather involved and complex. C. The overall system In this simple model, only ohmic losses in the electrical conductor will be considered. They can be expressed in function of the current density J and the material parameters of the conductor (el its specific heat capacity, its

p R = f

1 The apostrophe in P suggests that specific power per unit length are meant.

In this approximation c3 can be neglected

temperature coefficient), TLK the temperature difference between conductor and medium and the total effective cross section of all the conductors Ac,tot. Assuming d.c. transmission, the electrical losses are: T1 + T2 2 PV = Ac ,tot Ltot el J (12) 1 + TLK + 2 293 To bring the gas to the required inlet pressure, a compressor is, in general, required at the entry of the interconnector. For ideal gases, the hydraulic power of the pump is: & 2 m U (13) PP1 = + Ai ( p1 v1h p 0 v 0 ) + v1h t 2 The required electrical power is determined by the compressor efficiency (for positive PF1) 1 (14) PF 1 = PP1

D. Efficiency model Once the power requirements of the ancillary equipment have been determined, the total efficiency of the interconnector system according to figure 3 is defined as follows: P P + Pch PF 2 + Pw 2 tot = el1 V (18) Pel1 + Pch + PF 1 Pw1 The total efficiency is the ratio of the output power including waste heat recovery to the total input power. IV. OPERATIONAL PROPERTIES A. Physical power flow couplings The interconnector simultaneously transmits electrical and chemical power. As the chemical energy carrier absorbs a part of the electrical losses, the two power flows are coupled. As the heat absorbed by the gas can be varied by changing the inlet pressure p1, the coupling however is not that close. For the gas to reach a useful outlet temperature, the electrical losses must at least exceed the power PU transmitted to the soil. The minimal loss power is: Ltot T +T PV ,min = (19) TLK + 1 2 TU RthI '+ RthE ' 2 In this case, the transmissible chemical power is zero. For higher electrical losses, cooling is necessary in order to hold the required temperature levels. The chemical throughput Pch (and thus the mass flow rate) as well as the inlet pressure p1 can be varied such that the absorbed heat corresponds to the difference between the actual losses and the power transmitted to the surroundings. Depending on the operational necessities, it is possible to continuously adjust between a low mass flow at moderate pressure or a higher mass flow at increased pressure with the same heat absorption PCM from the conductor. However, the friction losses in the chemical medium increase disproportionably with the chemical power, thus an upper limit for the possible chemical throughput at given electrical losses exists. The relationship can be reversed: for a given chemical power, an upper limit PV,max for the electrical losses applies: T1 + T2 TU + TLK Pch R g n F 2 PV ,max = Ltot + + 1(T2 T1 ) RthI '+ RthE ' wm M m 2 (20) This means the transmitted electrical and chemical power are not fully independent of each other. The limits PV,min and PV,max define the physically possible area of operation of the interconnector. As an illustration example, the limiting Pch- Pel curves are plotted in figure 4 for an imaginary interconnector described in table I3. The area between the Pel,min and Pel,max curves covers the physically possible combinations of transmitted chemical and electrical power.


In the heat exchanger after the compressor, the heat flow & Qw1 is extracted from the gas and can be converted back into electricity in a recovery process with the recovery efficiency Rec1 (cp is the specific heat capacity of the gas at constant pressure): & =c m & (T1h T1 ) Q (15) w1 p & P = Q (16)
w1 Re c1 w1

Thus the net electrical power required for the ancillary equipment at the inlet station of the interconnector system is: PF 1,tot = PF 1 Pw1 (17) For the outlet turbine and waste heat recovery system, similar relationships apply whereas the gas is likely to be expanded to a pressure p4 lower than p2. The turbine will thus recuperate power and the outlet ancillary equipment will generally deliver the net power PF2,tot (see figure 3 for the definition of positive power flows).
Pch Pel1 PF 1 Pw1

Pch Pel1 PV PF 2 Pw2


Pw2 PF 2 PF 1 Pw1 Fig. 3. Overall interconnector system with terminal and heat recovery equipment. TABLE I CHARACTERISTICS OF THE INTERCONNECTOR USED IN THE ILLUSTRATION

Length Inner radius Conductor material Maximum electrical power d.c. Voltage

Ltot Ri

20 km 5 cm Copper

Pmax U1

32.6 MW 30 kV

Gaseous medium Friction factor Inlet temperature Outlet temperature Pressure limit

Hydrogen f T1 T2 pmax 0.05 293 K 273 K 30 bar

This example is only intended to illustrate the qualitative properties of an interconnector and does not denote either a representative or targeted application.

to the chemical power Pch. In the Pel-Pch plane, limited compressor/turbine power introduces another restriction on the possible operation range. In figure 4, four curves show the limitations on the operation range imposed by a maximum, respectively minimum electrical power for both the inlet and outlet compressors. In this example, the ratings of the compressors were chosen in order not to restrict further the technical area of operation. C. Efficiency dependencies The required inlet pressure of the gas not only depends on the chemical power Pch but also on the electrical losses (to be absorbed by the gas), the power requirement of the ancillary equipment is a function of both the electrical and chemical power. The same applies therefore to the total transmission efficiency of the interconnector system (18). Figure 5 shows a contour plot of the system efficiency in function of the same sample system. The lowest efficiency is reached when the electrical losses correspond to the minimum possible losses, i.e. when the electrical losses are entirely transmitted to the surrounding soil. For a constant chemical throughput, increasing the electrical power (and thus the losses) raises the usable thermal power at the outlet, thus boosting the efficiency. The detailed behavior, however, is more involved because of the multiple nonlinearities in this system. The discontinuities in the contour lines represent a reversal of the power flow direction in the inlet or outlet compressor/turbine (the efficiency is modeled with a discontinuity at P=0). V. EXAMPLE A. Normal operation A system designed according to table I. is to be considered here in order to illustrate some possible issues in the operation and layout of an interconnector system. The (imagined) load to be supplied should correspond to a larger aggregation of consumers and is represented in figure 6. The representation of the load characteristic in the limitations diagram of the interconnector (figure 7) points out that for all load points except A, B1, ..., B6 the interconnector is able to provide the requested power to the load. The layout of the interconnector enables for the standard operation as described in the previous sections. B. The role of energy conversion at the terminals Load point A in figure 7 lies outside the area of operation. The interconnector could not serve the load on its own. As outlined in the introduction, future power systems are likely to integrate decentralized energy conversion facilities. To overcome the impossibility to serve load A, a conversion of chemical into electrical energy can be used. The loading of the interconnector thus is shifted to point A* as shown in figure 7. The converter at the end of the interconnector will cover a fraction of the electrical load by converting chemical into electrical energy (at non-unity efficiency), thus increasing the

Fig. 4. Physical and technical operation range of an interconnector system.

B. Technical limitations of the operation range The limits PV,min and PV,max introduced in the previous section rely on physical laws. Strictly spoken, the electrical losses can only equal the upper limit PV,max for an infinite inlet pressure. It is thus necessary to consider constructive and design limitations as well: The construction of the interconnector will limit its maximum permissible pressure rating pmax. The same may apply to the temperature in the interconnector, but we shall assume the temperatures T1 and T2 are fixed and determined by the ambient temperature, and the maximum withstand temperature of the electrical insulation material of the interconnector respectively. Ancillary equipment such as compressors/turbines (and the associated motors/generators) have a limited operation range. We shall focus on limitations on their minimum/maximum power. The maximum operating pressure will influence the heat absorption capability of the chemical medium as well as its achievable mass flow rate: as the friction heat decreases with increasing pressure, a limit in pressure implies a limit in the permissible electrical losses (lower than the physical limit introduced in the previous section). As the highest pressure will always occur at the entry, the maximum value of the electrical losses can easily be derived. The corresponding limit on the transmitted electrical power is plotted in figure 4, and the technical operation range corresponds to the shaded area. The dimensioning of the ancillary equipment may as well affect the operation area. A given chemical throughput power can be reached with several combinations of the inlet and outlet pressure depending on the heat the gas has to absorb. This means that the compressor power is not directly related

chemical loading of the interconnector and reducing its electrical loading. The new operating point of the interconnector A* lies in the possible operation area of the interconnector.

VI. CONCLUDING REMARKS A system for combined transmission of electrical and chemical energy is a promising building block of future power systems with enhanced energy management. In a suitable layout, it may help in improving total transmission efficiency. The concept, however, implies a coupling between the transmitted electrical and chemical power. Distributed conversion equipment should be widely available in the future and can be utilized in case of loading mismatch in the interconnector. The ratings of the ancillary equipment take also on a new significance. The combination of gaseous chemical energy and electricity is only one of several possible applications. Liquid chemical carriers, district heating, and other energy carriers shall be considered in similar approaches. VII. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The ideas presented in this work originated in the framework of the project vision of future energy networks. The authors would like to thank the project leader, Prof. Dr. Klaus Frhlich, and the other team members for the fruitful discussions and their collaboration.

Fig. 5. Contour plot of the total transmission efficiency of an interconnector (example).

Fig. 6. Load profile used in the illustration example. The data are normalized by the maximum electrical power of the interconnector.

C. The role of the ancillary equipment The same difficulty applies to load points B1 to B6: they lie outside operating range. Basically a converter could convert electrical into chemical power at the interconnector outlet in order to accommodate the loading within the possible operation range. However, in this case, another solution may be applied. Lowering the required outlet temperature T2 (in the example to 353 K) will shift the operation region towards lower values of the electrical power. This is shown in figure 7, where the dotted lines represent the possible operation range for a lowered outlet temperature. If this is done, the load points B1 to B6 can also be covered by the interconnector.

Fig. 7. Limitations in the example. The data are normalized by the maximum electrical power of the interconnector.

[1] [2] [3] P. Favre-Perrod, M. Geidl, B. Klckl and G. Koeppel, A vision of future energy networks, in Proc. IEEE PESDURBAN 2005 Inaugural Conference and Exposition in Africa, pp. 13-17. Grant, P.M., The SuperCable: dual delivery of chemical and electric power, IEEE Trans. Applied Superconductivity, vol.15, pp: 1810- 1813, June 2005. A.J. Osiadacz and M. Chaczykowski, Comparison of isothermal and non-isothermal pipeline gas flow models, Chemical Engineering Journal, vol. 81, pp. 41-51, 2001

Patrick Favre-Perrod was born in Vevey in 1979. He graduated from the swiss federal institute of technology, Zurich, Switzerland. He is currently working on a thesis about future power systems at the high voltage laboratory of the swiss federal institute of technology.

Andreas Bitschi was born in Bludenz in 1973. He graduated from the Vienna university of technology, Vienna, Austria. He is currently working on a thesis about static conversion of heat into electricity at the high voltage laboratory of the swiss federal institute of technology.