Advancing Clean Energy Production through Power-to-Gas Integration in Hydrogen-based Energy Systems


Traditional energy systems rely mainly on fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, have played a crucial role in meeting global energy demand in the past. However, they also resulted in negative impact on the environment and human health. Some of the key challenges posed by traditional energy systems, which result in global warming and climate change due to their polluting nature, include greenhouse gas emissions, various air pollutants, including sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds. These pollutants can degrade air quality, leading to respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and premature deaths. Moreover, extracting and processing fossil fuels can result in water pollution through spills and leaks. Additionally, the disposal of wastewater from extraction processes can contaminate water sources, affecting aquatic life and human communities that rely on clean water.

The global pursuit of sustainable and environmentally friendly energy sources has intensified in recent years, driven by the growing awareness of the detrimental impacts of climate change caused by traditional energy systems reliant on fossil fuels. As a response to this urgent challenge, renewable energy sources (RES) such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power have gained significant attention for their potential to reduce carbon emissions. Among these, hydrogen has emerged as a promising clean energy carrier, offering a wide range of applications and the potential for long-term energy storage.

A new study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cleaner Production conducted by Associate Professor Zhi Yuan, Professor Weiqing Wang, and PhD candidate Ji Li from Xinjiang University. The study explored the development of an innovative hydrogen-based energy system (HES) that incorporates power-to-gas (P2G) technology to enhance energy efficiency and address the carbon emission problem on both the demand and supply sides.

In their effort to develop an integration of hydrogen-based systems with power-to-gas technology to create an innovative and comprehensive HES-P2G model, the authors focused on stochastic programming to optimize the system and achieve both economic and environmental goals. By recycling carbon emissions through P2G and converting them into methane, the model reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases energy efficiency. The proposed HES-P2G model also employs the epsilon-constraint method and fuzzy satisfying technique to attain a trade-off solution between carbon emissions and operating costs.

The model formulation is a critical component of the study, as it details the key components of the proposed HES-P2G model and outlines the relationships between these components. The optimization problem is formulated to address the day-ahead operation of the energy system, considering uncertainties through stochastic programming. The model comprises several key elements, including hydrogen-related components (FC, EL, compressor, and HTS), renewable energy sources (WT and PV), water storages (HWS and CWS), and an absorption chiller (AC) for cooling provision. The model is solved using mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) with the aid of the piecewise linearization method to address non-linear efficiencies.

The authors emphasized the advantages of the proposed HES-P2G model over other hydrogen-based systems. Notably, the model allows for the comprehensive recycling of emitted carbon through P2G, reducing the system’s dependency on the upstream grid and significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions. By employing the epsilon-constraint method, the model finds a trade-off solution that balances economic and environmental goals, making it an essential component of achieving a net-zero energy system. The results of the study demonstrate that the implementation of P2G in the HES leads to a substantial reduction in carbon emissions (14.2%) and operating expenses (11.7%) compared to a case without P2G. The study concludes with a profound understanding of the potential and significance of the proposed HES-P2G model in advancing clean energy production and reducing carbon emissions. By integrating hydrogen-based systems with P2G technology, the model offers a comprehensive solution to the challenges posed by traditional energy systems. The efficient recycling of carbon emissions and the simultaneous achievement of economic and environmental goals underscore the model’s sustainability and effectiveness.

The successful integration of renewable energy sources with hydrogen-based systems, coupled with innovative power-to-gas technology, holds the key to unlocking a cleaner and more efficient energy landscape. As society shifts towards a net-zero carbon future, initiatives such as the HES-P2G model pave the way for a sustainable energy transition that prioritizes economic growth and environmental responsibility.

In conclusion, the study by Zhi Yuan and colleagues marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of clean energy solutions. The proposed HES-P2G model demonstrates the potential of integrating hydrogen-based systems with P2G technology to address the carbon emission problem and enhance energy efficiency. As the world continues to grapple with the consequences of climate change, the findings of this study offer a promising pathway towards a sustainable and greener future.

Transitioning to a low-carbon energy system is vital for mitigating climate change, preserving ecosystems, and ensuring a healthier and more resilient future for the planet and its inhabitants. Governments, industries, and every person all play critical roles in this transformative process. The researchers’ innovative HES-P2G model represents a crucial step towards achieving sustainable energy production and reducing carbon emissions, offering hope for a greener and more resilient planet. As the global community unites to combat climate change and transition to a low-carbon future, the integration of renewable energy sources with hydrogen-based systems remains at the forefront of cutting-edge engineering and technological advancements. With continued research and collective effort, the vision of a clean and sustainable energy future can become a reality.

About the author

Associate Professor Zhi Yuan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Power System and Automation from North China Electric Power University (Baoding) in 2007. He obtained his master’s degree in Power System and Automation from Xinjiang University in 2012, and received his Ph.D. in Power System and Automation from Xinjiang University in 2016. He has led two open research projects at the Key Laboratory of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, multiple projects at State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power Company, and one industry-academia cooperation project funded by the Ministry of Education. He has participated in three projects funded by the National Natural Science Foundation, one sub-project of the National Key Research and Development Program, two sub-projects of major science and technology projects in the autonomous region, and two provincial-level research projects. He has published 27 papers as the first author in domestic and international journals, including 20 papers in SCI-indexed journals (two of which were ranked in the top 1% of the world’s highly cited papers according to ESI). He was selected in the “World’s Top 2% Scientists 2022” jointly released by Elsevier BV and Stanford University, with an international ranking of 235,053. His research interests include optimization of renewable energy power generation and the control of new electrical devices.

About the author

Professor Weiqing Wang graduated from Zhejiang University in 1990, majoring in Power Systems and Automation in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Currently, he serves as the Head of the Postdoctoral Mobile Station for Power Systems and Automation in the College of Electrical Engineering at Xinjiang University. He is also responsible for the doctoral program in Electrical Engineering and serves as a supervisor for doctoral and master’s students. He is the leader of the Autonomous Region’s key discipline in Power Systems and Automation, the Director of Engineering Research Center of Ministry of Education for Renewable Energy Power Generation and Grid-connected Control, the leader of Innovation Team of Ministry of Education in Intelligent Control and Grid-connected Technology for Wind Power Systems, and the Director of the Key Laboratory of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region for Renewable Energy Generation and Grid-connected Technology. His research interests include development of key components for large-scale wind turbines, intelligent control and detection of complete wind turbine systems, power conversion, and relay protection.

About the author

Ji Li is an engineer at the Carbon Peaking, Carbon Neutrality, and Energy Storage Technology Laboratory of the Electric Power Research Institute of State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power Co., Ltd. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Xinjiang University. He is a key member of the Research Center for Flexible Transformation and Grid Control of Thermal Power and the Key Laboratory of Multi-Energy Complementation. He has led two key scientific and technological projects funded by the State Grid and has been involved in nearly ten other scientific and technological projects. He has published five papers as the first author in SCI-indexed journals, and holds three authorized patents. He has also led the commissioning work of the first solid waste incineration power plant in Urumqi. His research interests include the carbon assessment of new power system, carbon verification, and multi-element collaborative energy storage.


Zhi Yuan, Weiqing Wang, Ji Li. Carbon dioxide recycling in hydrogen-based energy systems using power-to-gas facility and stochastic multi-objective optimization. Journal of Cleaner Production 387 (2023) 135892

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