A specialist in intermittent energies (water, wind, sun), CNR is experimenting with new solutions to manage the volatile nature of these energy sources. Energy storage or transformation: the aim is to find the best possible fit between intermittent production and consumption requirements.
How can periods of electricity consumption be synchronised with those of intermittent production from renewable energy sources such as run-of-the-river hydropower, wind power and solar power? CNR is experimenting with a smart management solution for charging the electric vehicles of its fleet and those of the technical services of Grand Lyon Metropole, a partner. The parking time of vehicles (95% of time) is used to charge their batteries during periods of surplus production. This experiment is also part of the European SEAS (Smart Energy Aware Systems) project to which it contributes.
CNR is testing its coupling to a battery at its solar power plant of Bollène (Vaucluse). The aim is to stagger the injection of this photovoltaic energy into the electricity grid by several hours. In simple terms, the aim is to supply the electricity generated when the sun is at its zenith (12 p.m. to 2 p.m.) at peak consumption hours (6 p.m. 8 p.m.). This solution also permits, over shorter periods, reducing the magnitude and speed of transitions between sunny and cloudy periods. CNR is leading this project, called BlueStorage, in partnership with the Bolloré Group and its BlueSolutions company, specialised in electrochemical batteries.
The Power to Gas (“from electricity to gas”) solution transforms surplus electricity generated by intermittent sources into a combustible gas. This transformation is done by water electrolysis. It is a particularly interesting solution for exploiting the intermittence of wind power and solar power production, and it can be applied to other decarbonised energy sources. The hydrogen produced this way, possibly transformed into synthetic methane, can be injected into natural gas networks, stored and used for other industrial applications, and even be reconverted into electricity via fuel cells. CNR is a partner of the first French pilot Power to Gas project, called Jupiter 1000. This project is led by GRTgaz and gathers 7 industrial partners. It comprises a hydrogen production installation with a capacity of about 1 MW, located at Fos-sur-Mer and linked to the gas transport grid of GRTgaz. The development of this new industrial activity meets several major challenges: energy storage and the exploitation of surplus electricity of intermittent origin, and the reduction of France’s energy dependence on gas.
The price of water is increasing and reduces the profitability of farms. The solution: sustainable irrigation, available as a function of meteorological conditions and the needs of plants. In order to develop more water and energy thrifty irrigation methods, CNR and Suez Environnement are working on the project “Agriculture and energy” with SMHAR (Semi-public hydraulic-agriculture syndicate of the Rhone), which supplies water to the farmers of the Rhone (69) via a network of pumping stations and reservoirs managed by Suez Environnement.
This project comprises several innovations:
The SMAHR network will serve as a demonstrator for the sustainable and dynamic management of water and electricity. The feasibility study started in the second half of 2015, and is due for full scale deployment in 2018.