The recent development of efficient thermal prime movers for distributed generation is changing the focus of the production of electricity from large centralized power plants to local generation units scattered over the territory. The scientific community is addressing the analysis and planning of distributed energy resources with widespread approaches, taking into account technical, environmental, economic and social issues. The coupling of cogeneration systems to absorption/electric chillers or heat pumps, as well as the interactions with renewable sources, allow for setting up multi-generation systems for combined local production of different energy vectors such as electricity, heat (at different enthalpy levels), cooling power, hydrogen, various chemical substances, and so forth. Adoption of composite multi-generation systems may lead to significant benefits in terms of higher energy efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions, and enhanced economy. In this light, a key direction for improving the characteristics of the local energy production concerns the integration of the concepts of distributed energy resources and combined production of different energy vectors into a comprehensive distributed multi-generation (DMG) framework that entails various approaches to energy planning currently available in the literature. This paper outlines the main aspects of the DMG framework, illustrating its characteristics and summarizing the relevant DMG structures. The presentation is backed by an extended review of the most recent journal publications and reports. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Distributed energy resources
- Distributed multi-generation