in Belgium has a clear direction: electricity will become the dominant vector and renewable productions, mainly solar and wind, must be extensively installed. Yet, there are still many open questions, especially on the contribution of fuels, not anymore from fossil origin but as energy carriers synthetized from renewable energies. These fuels can be liquid (CH3OH, CnHm) or gaseous (H2, CH4, NH3). They can be produced from biomass (“synthetic fuels”, via H2 and CO) but, more importantly, from excess electricity (“electrofuels”, via H2). They appear as a sound solution to store renewable electricity on the long term and retrieve it in various forms of energy for the security of supply and strategic reserves. To help the phasing out of natural gas, they could feed combined cycle gas turbine units, industrial processes, combined heat and power units, etc. They could also contribute to mobility in cases where electrification is difficult to implement.
Our mission statement
“Work out, for Belgium, the most economical electro- and synthetic energy carrier routes needed to face the climate change issues and ensure the stability of the grid and the security of supply in 2040 and beyond.”
Facing the problem
To tackle this mission, we need to face the problem globally, from cradle to grave, without major assumptions that would flaw the conclusions. The practical objective is to provide to the government guidelines for the selection of liquid and gaseous energy carriers (called for simplicity “fuels” in this project), as one of the solutions in the energy toolbox for the transition to come. Therefore, we will provide a comprehensive view of the problem and divide our work to answer the following questions:
How much liquid and gaseous energy carriers do we need to feed the Belgian energy system during and after the transition?
How compatible are these carriers with our current energy system, including the grid? What is their impact?
What are the most economic scenarios and storage needs (daily, monthly, seasonal) to implement these renewable fuels?
What are the main uncertainties concerning the energy system, now and in the future, to be considered while optimising the system?
How to convert these fuels back into final energy in the most efficient ways?