Alliander, GasUnie, GasTerra, Hanze University of Applied Sciences
With the ever increasing penetration of distributed generation onto the electrical grid, utility companies are facing new challenges such as high production and demand loads coupled with the intermittent and stochastic nature of renewable energy. To be able to accommodate these new energy sources, more investment to ensure the robustness of the electrical grid is needed. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the natural gas network is underutilized. As a net gas exporter, the country has high gas availability and an extensive network connecting almost every residence. With its high energy capacity and storage potential, natural gas can be a valuable tool to help balance the electrical grid.
A proof of concept project with a physical microgrid integrating solar energy, battery storage, and fuel cell gas to power has been implemented to test the technical feasibility of a district level autonomous microgrid. The microgrid is isolated from the public electrical grid while connected to the gas grid. In this project, the commissioning procedures and hardware specifications are presented. The capabilities of the programmable power converters (PPC) operating as either a voltage or current source are discussed. The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) prototype stack’s performance and constraints are analysed. With the performance and constraints obtained, a linear optimization program has been made to model the fuel cell set points and battery state of charge for daily balancing with normalized photovoltaic (PV) and demand patterns.