“ASSESSING THE EFFECT OF THE GREEN ENERGY TRANSITION OF ISLANDS ON THE DECARBONIZATION OF THE BUILDING SECTOR: EXPERIENCES FROM PILOT STUDIES OF THE REACT PROJECT”
The green energy transition of the islands in European Union has begun and the focus is on increasing the penetration of renewable energy systems (RES) in the energy production mix. High RES penetration can advance the concept of green electrification and can enhance the role of heat pumps and energy storage solutions, and primarily technologies like lithium-ion batteries.
The European Project REACT (Renewable Energy for Self-Sustainable Island Communities) is implemented in three (3) “islands” (pilot islands), Graziosa (Spain), San Pietro (Sardinia), and Inis Mor, Aran islands (Ireland) where the green transition includes installations of photovoltaics, batteries, heat pumps, heat storage, wind turbines, and the production of green hydrogen. The REACT solution supports the installation of RES and promotes the development of a software platform that connects smart home appliances to the internet. This practice allows online monitoring and focuses on the reduction of the peak demand in order to avoid blackouts, by shifting loads from the peak hours to other time periods where demand is expected to be lower. The software HOMER Pro is being utilized for modeling the REACT solution and with the scope to assess the decarbonization of building electrification.
This study reports the experiences from the installations on the pilot islands and presents the RES scenarios that support the green energy transition. Moreover, the study considers the social acceptance (by means of questionnaires) and the technological alternatives for upscaling the REACT solution on bigger islands. The outcomes of this study will be utilized for designing the green energy transition of five (5) islands of Europe: Lesvos, Majorca (Spain), the Isle of Wight (United Kingdom), Gotland (Sweden), Reunion (France), that act as “follower islands” in the project.
Dr. Stergios Vakalis is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Environment / University of the Aegean in the field of “Energy Management and Low Carbon Technologies”. He works in the Energy Management Laboratory and his research focuses on the production and analysis of biofuels, energy modeling and the energy efficiency of renewable energy systems. He teaches courses on Renewable Energy Technologies, Energy Modeling & Analysis (LCA / MCA / Aspen Plus / Cantera-MATLAB), Waste Management and Thermodynamics (Heat and Mass Transfer). He supervises one postdoctoral fellow, two doctoral students and seven postgraduate students. From 2018 to 2109 Dr. Vakalis worked as an Assistant Professor of Research at the Libera Università di Bolzano in the field of thermodynamic analysis and in the production of electricity from renewable sources. In 2016, in the framework of his Postdoctoral dissertation, he was awarded the “National Scholarship of Academic Excellence” by the State Scholarship Foundation. A notable point of his research was the development of the 3T energy efficiency method for the holistic evaluation of waste-to-energy plants. Also, in collaboration with Robert Heimann he has developed the innovative method of frictional pyrolysis which produces biocarbon and bio-oil from agricultural waste and biomass only with the use of friction and without the addition of external heat. Dr. Vakalis is a reviewer for more than 25 scientific journals and has received awards for “Outstanding Contribution to Review” from several of them. He is a permanent member of the Organizing Committee of the annual “International Conference on Sustainable Solid Waste Management” and is a reviewer and evaluator of proposals for the General Secretariat for Research and Technology. Since 2018, Dr. Vakalis is a member of the WtERT (Waste Energy Research and Technology Council) World Council in collaboration with the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University in New York City.