Energy System Integration (ESI) platform
Within PSI’s ESI platform activities, the Technology Assessment group is performing economic and environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of flexibility options in the Swiss energy system and thus provides – besides technology-specific performance evaluation – the basis for the system analysis of the Energy Economics group. The scope of the analysis includes all potential flexibility options: electricity and heat storage, conversion of electricity into other energy carriers such as hydrogen and synthetic hydrocarbons, demand side management, and cross-border exchange of energy. Technological focus areas of the technology assessment have been so-called “power-to-X” technologies and batteries so far. “Power-to-X” refers to the use of (intermittent surplus) electricity for the production of other energy carriers, in a first step of hydrogen via electrolysis. In 2021, research will focus on Solid Oxide Electrolyzers (SOEC), which promise the highest efficiencies and potentially also lowest hydrogen production costs in the future. Currently, they suffer from short lifetimes, low flexibility, and high costs. Key for an economic employment of SOEC is an optimal heat integration, since they require operating temperatures of around 800°C and steam instead of liquid water as input. This heat integration at potential appropriate locations within the Switzerland and the resulting positive effect on both the economic as well as the environmental performance of SOEC will be analysed, together with its future development potential. The activities will be closely aligned with those being part of the SynFuel initiative.