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Title: Techno-economics of optimised residential heating under power sector decarbonisation
Author: Vijay, Avinash
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 6689
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2018
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The Climate Change Act constitutes legally binding legislation that requires the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 relative to 1990. Decarbonising the electricity and heat sectors is fundamental to achieving this target. Since the challenge could potentially involve several million heating installations and several thousand megawatts of generation, there is a pressing need for tools that can provide insights into the impacts stemming from this transition. Previous studies make use of coarse simplifications of links between the heat and electricity sectors. A primary contribution of this work is the linking of detailed models of electricity supply and residential heating. Analysis of future electricity price formation leads to questions regarding the financing of dispatch-able generation. Furthermore, these issues are seen to influence performance of residential heating systems. In a low carbon future, fuel cell based micro cogeneration shows the most economic potential but is the worst performer in terms of emissions, and economic value can be eroded by low ramping limits and high minimum set points. Stirling engine based micro cogeneration is not economic in any of the scenarios considered due to low utilisation. Although heat pumps produce the lowest emissions, investment does not yield economic gains unless they are incentivised to consume inexpensive excess low carbon generation. Resistive heaters are likely to be chosen over heat pumps in this setting since they are cheaper to install and produce significant economic benefits for consumers, though this could lead to significantly higher primary energy consumption with related environmental impacts. Overall, this work has demonstrated that an important dynamic exists between electricity sector decarbonisation, market arrangements that drive electricity prices and technology choices in residential heating systems. Policy makers should be mindful of this dynamic when designing markets and policy instruments of the future.
Supervisor: Hawkes, Adam Sponsor: Airbus Group Innovations
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral