Regional Energy Systems with Retrofitted Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plants

Abstract: Fossil fuel depletion, economic development, urban expansion and climate change present tough challenges to municipal- and regional-scale energy systems. Regional energy system planning, including waste treatment, renewable energy supply, energy efficiency, and climate change, are considered essential to meet these challenges and move toward a sustainable society. This thesis includes studies on energy system from municipal waste, potential for a fossil fuel-independent regional energy system with increased renewable energy products using waste as one of energy sources, and the performance of biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants. A top-down method is adopted to organize the studies, from national waste-to-energy (WtE) scenarios to individual energy plants.The first study considers the overall potential contribution of WtE to energy supply and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mitigation in Sweden until 2050 under several different scenarios. Depending on WtE scenario considered, the study shows that WtE can supply energy between 38 and 186 TWh and mitigate between CO2 of 1 and 12 Mt per year by 2050 based on the baseline of year 2010.At a regional level, static and dynamic optimization models with a focus on WtE are developed for two regions in Sweden and Finland. The former is used to investigate the possibilities of optimal positioning of new energy plants, retrofitting existing energy plants and planting energy crops. The latter case study is on regional heat and power production using biogas generated from agricultural and livestock wastes. Centralized biogas production units perform better than distributed production regarding energy and carbon balance though the net energy output is negligible. However, a significant GHG emission can be reduced compared to the present status.Retrofitting existing conventional CHP plants is another option for improving regional energy system. The study shows that integrating heat-demanded processes such as drying, bioethanol and pellet production with existing CHP plants can improve overall energy efficiency and power output, increase annual operation time and reduce production cost as well as mitigate GHG emissions. It is recommended that building new WtE/energy plants at optimum sites, upgrading the existing energy plants, expanding the agricultural/forestry waste/residues output (biomass) and planting more energy crops shall be taken into considerations for the future regional energy systems.