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Lack of gas and electricity demands the whole society to reduce energy consumption. DTU's experts answer questions about the energy crisis and future energy supply.

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You can find more information in DTU's topic on energy, where the researchers have, among other things, answered the questions:

Do we have room for sustainability in the energy crisis?
"Denmark is an experimentarium for energy solutions. With that comes a responsibility to deliver solutions that can be scaled. It does not count for anything in the large CO2 account if it is only solutions that can be implemented in Denmark. They must be usable and function in countries such as India and in China, which by virtue of their population numbers are among the very big players if we are to reach a sustainable world," says professor at DTU Michael Hauschild.

Should we completely phase out natural gas?
"Biogas is a necessary resource in the energy supply of the future – also for heating in private homes. In a few years, the natural gas network in Denmark will be used as infrastructure to supply Denmark with both methane produced from biogas and hydrogen produced in Power-to-X plants, where power from wind turbines meets water and is converted into liquid hydrogen by electrolysis. In the future, it will be a mixture of methane and hydrogen that we burn both in natural gas boilers in private homes and in industry," says Philip Fosbøl.

When will Power-to-X become a thing?
The development of Power-to-X, where electricity from renewable energy sources is converted into hydrogen or other green fuels, has already come a long way. Smaller plants have been set up in several places in Denmark, but it will take a few years before such large plants are established that one can talk about production on a larger scale," says Professor Henrik Lund Frandsen.

Questions and answers

Energy systems

What is the largest integration we should imagine? Why does it make sense to get energy from Norwegian hydro and not from the Mediterranean sun?

Answer from Professor Marie Münster, who conducts research into optimization of energy systems and transmit of energy between countries:
We are currently looking into the potentials of hydrogen grids in EU in the SuperP2G project, and it seems like it may be interesting to transport hydrogen from South Europe to Central Europe, where the industry has a high hydrogen demand. So energy trade is not just valuable in a local context.

Read more about the project.

Energy trade

Should neighbouring countries 'share' their load balancing with us? I believe we are pretty much f****ed if we can no longer piggy back on Swedish and German load balancing so I believe the answer to the above question (and Marie Münsters suggestion) is a no-brainer :)

Answer from Professor Marie Münster, who conducts research into optimization of energy systems and transmit of energy between countries:
I agree. Only when we think about energy in regional terms, rather than nationally, are we able to exploit our green sources of energy in the most optimized way. For example, when we have enough wind energy for ourselves, we export surplus to Norway, and when the wind dies down the Norwegian water turbines get going and provide us with energy in Denmark.

This allows us to achieve security of supply as cheaply as possible. If we discontinue that collaboration, then there is a need for major investment nationally to ensure we have adequate storage capacity in place so that we always have green electricity available.

But unfortunately e.g. Norway suggested stopping export of power, and Sweden has just been told to open more up to electricity trade.

Heat to electricity

“We have a straw boiler that takes two round bales per firing. We’re wondering if it’s possible to design a generator that can convert heat to electricity. I’ve been thinking of something containing a Stirling engine or something similar. What do you think?”

Answer from Professor Brian Elmegaard, who works with thermal energy:
That is absolutely possible – the question is whether it’s (financially) interesting.

It has been studied in several contexts, and the development related to Stirling DK a few years ago is an interesting example. (For example, read about Stirling DK in Ingeniøren.

But it will be difficult to find a Stirling engine on the market that will be financially viable, as the efficiency will end up being low, and there may be material challenges with straw combustion products. It’s a rather low output and a rather varying need that will have to be utilized, while at the same time the operation has to be linked up to the heat demand, which presumably still has to be covered by the boiler.