Funding Organisation: European Commission, DG Research
Project duration: January 2004 to December 2006 (abgeschlossen)
Contact: Dr. Wolfram Krewitt
CASCADE MINTS is a project involving the development and use of energy and energy/economy models with special emphasis on analysing technological developments. It is essentially split into two distinct parts:
Part 1: Modelling possible configurations of a hydrogen economy and using models to study its prospects
The principal objective of Part 1 of CASCADE MINTS is to model possible configurations of a hydrogen economy and using models thus developed or enhanced in order to study its prospects under different conditions and viewed from different angels.
Most of the R&D effort directed towards the utilisation of hydrogen has concentrated on the development of efficient, reliable and cost effective fuel cells for the different demand applications. On the other hand just as important for the eventual realisation of the hydrogen economy is the question of the supply and distribution of hydrogen. Supply of hydrogen is potentially very diversified ranging from reforming standard hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas, oil or methanol to gasifying coal or biomass before feeding to reformers and to an eventual source of cheap electricity for electrolysis. Equally diverse are the options for hydrogen distribution ranging from utilisation directly from the reformer to national or even international hydrogen grids and including many other options for non-pipeline transportation and storage.
The evolution of the technical and economic characteristics of hydrogen specific technologies are an important but not the only factor that will determine the extent and speed of penetration of hydrogen in the overall energy system. Other technologies and technological clusters may also register significant innovation and may compete on the demand and transformation side while the supply conditions for some of the options involved in hydrogen production are uncertain and could result in primary fuel prices that hinder the penetration of hydrogen. Likewise eventually a very tight environmental constraint, especially with regard to the Climate Change issue, may exclude some of the easier options for producing hydrogen and hence affect the economics of its wider penetration.
A number of detailed models of the energy system have been developed in the last ten years with the financial assistance of the European Commission. Such models cover both demand and supply of energy in considerable detail and emphasise the role of technology in shaping different energy system configurations. Most of them have also been extended to cover the area of technology dynamics by incorporating learning mechanisms. A number of fuel cell types figure among the technological options described in these models and a number of model based scenario exercises have been carried out in order to examine the possibilities for penetration of these technologies.
However, the existing model coverage of hydrogen technologies is far from enabling integrated analysis of a possible hydrogen economy. The main reasons for this inadequacy is that the horizon of these models in most cases is not long enough to enable a realistic simulation of such a radical transformation of the energy system.
The objective of this part of the project is therefore to remedy this situation and radically extend existing models so as to enable them to perform integrated analysis concerning the prospects for the hydrogen economy. Once the models have been equipped with adequate mechanisms for representing the hydrogen economy they will be used to explore:
Part 2: Joint Case Studies on Policy Issues with Operational Energy Models
Part 2 of the project does not involve significant model development. Its main aim instead is to use a wide range of existing operational energy and energy/economy models in order to build analytical consensus concerning the impacts of policies aimed at sustainable energy systems. This part of the project involves common exercises carried out using a wide variety of models including modelling teams from outside the EU and Associated Countries. The emphasis of this case study exercise will be on policies influencing technological developments.