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Research ESRIG - Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen Events

ESRIG-EES colloquium: Tim Middelburg, Niek Brinkhof and Tjerk Douma, MSc EES students

When:Tu 16-04-2019 15:30 - 17:00
Where:5159.0110, Energy Academy, Nijenborgh 6

Title: Energetically self-sufficient Dutch dairy farms. A comparison between two milking methods.

By: Tim Middelburg, MSc EES student.

Livestock is responsible for 16% of global CO2-eq emissions. Since, the dairy sector is the biggest sector in the Dutch agricultural sector, with the associated large amounts of energy use and CO2-eq emissions, there is potential to reduce emissions within this sector. In this thesis there is sought to reduce the energy consumption and the CO2-eq emissions by the dairy sector. This is done by the use of renewable energy sources and changing the conventionally used equipment that run on electricity.

Title: Autarkic energy communities in the Netherlands.

By: Niek Brinkhof, MSc EES student.

An energy transition is taking place. This transition is needed to achieve the climate goals that are set to prevent, as much as possible, the negative consequences of climate change. Part of this transition is already reflected in changes in the supply side of the energy market. However, the introduction of renewable energy technologies can affect the energy security, for example in the built environment, a sector responsible for 40 % of the national emissions in the Netherlands. On the other hand renewable energy technologies also create opportunities. When local energy resources can be used in an efficient way, energy communities can arise. In this research project the focus will be on the possibilities in the Netherlands to create autarkic energy communities in which households can provide their energy demand completely by local energy resources. Electricity, heat and locally produced biogas are all taken into account to determine what configuration of supply technologies and storage facilities is needed to realize autarky.

Title: Thorium nuclear energy: Advantages of including Thorium in the Dutch electricity mix in 2050.

By: Tjerk Douma, MSc EES student.

Climate change necessitates the exploitation of new CO2-free energy sources. Existing sustainable sources such as solar- and wind energy however have limitations such as their intermittency and limited potential of fully replacing fossil fuels. On top of the limited potential of renewables, their intermittent power production requires a back-up system to ensure a balanced load at all times.

Nuclear energy, based on Uranium, has historically been controversial because it produces long lived radioactive waste and there is a risk of accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima. Thorium in combination with a molten salt reactor offers an alternative to conventional nuclear energy. Thorium is safer, more abundant and produces less and shorter-lived waste. In addition, a molten salt reactor is more flexible than conventional nuclear power plants, providing potential to integrate nuclear alongside intermittent sources such as solar and wind into the energy system. Although Thorium reactors are currently not available, there has been a test reactor that has demonstrated to work successfully. Experts believe that with enough political will and financial support it is possible that Thorium based nuclear becomes available around 2035.

This research will first describe the advantages of Thorium based nuclear energy compared to that based on Uranium. Secondly, an energy system with varying contributions of Thorium will be modelled and compared to a system relying completely on renewables combined with a hydrogen backup system. The results show that Thorium offers clear advantages over an energy system based on renewables. Much Less installed capacity is needed and the utilization rate of Thorium plants is far more optimal compared to back-up power plants combined with renewables.