The BIT team has achieved research results in the clean transformation of the heating system
Recently, the latest research result of the team of Professor Wang Zhaohua from Beijing Institute of Technology "Unequal residential heating burden caused by combined heat and power phaseout under climate goals" was published in the form of a research article (Research article) in the magazine Nature Energy, the sub-journal of "Nature". Professor Wang Zhaohua from the School of Management and Economics of Beijing Institute of Technology is the first author, and Dr. Li Hao, Professor Zhang Bin and Professor Wang Bo are the co-corresponding authors of the paper. The collaborators include many scholars from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the United States, the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, etc., and Beijing Institute of Technology is the first signing institute of the paper.
Accelerating the promotion of low-carbon energy transformation and actively responding to climate change has become a global consensus, and the clean substitution of coal power has become a key starting point. Countries such as China, Germany, and India that mainly rely on "cogeneration" for heating will face a huge heating gap and urgent pressure to transform their heating systems into clean ones. Although China has abundant clean heating resources, the impact of coal power decommissioning and clean heating transformation on the heating burden of residents in different regions has not been fully explored. How to design a reasonable decommissioning path for coal-fired power plants, construct a variety of clean heating paths, and minimize the heating burden of residents are key scientific issues that need to be solved urgently. To this end, the team of Professor Wang Zhaohua used the Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM) to conduct a systematic study on the clean transformation of China's heating system driven by climate goals, and analyzed the future heating capacity of "cogeneration" and urban heating in northern China's cities. The temporal and spatial evolution of demand and residential heating costs, identified the optimal coal-fired power plant decommissioning path, quantified the negative impact of early coal-fired power plant decommissioning on the urban heating system and the heating burden of residents, and further revealed the energy inequalities hidden behind climate goals.
Figure 1 The total amount of heat loss caused by early decommissioning of coal-fired power plants (a. Based on installed capacity strategy; b. Based on emission intensity strategy; c. Based on power plant life strategy) and heat loss intensity (d. Based on installed capacity strategy; e .based on emissions intensity strategy; f.based on plant lifetime strategy)
The study found that in order to successfully achieve the goal of carbon neutrality, China needs to cleanly replace more than 50% of the installed capacity of existing coal-fired power generation before 2040. The research effort devised a number of different plant decommissioning paths to help the energy system adapt to rapid capacity reductions. By comparing the heat supply loss caused by early decommissioning of coal-fired power plants, the optimal decommissioning path was identified, and further based on the optimal decommissioning path, the energy burden changes of residents in different northern cities after the clean transformation of the heating system were calculated. Studies have shown that the heating loss caused by early decommissioning of coal-fired power plants is equivalent to 17.8% of the total rooftop photovoltaic heating in EU countries. Clean alternatives to fill the heating gap of “Cogeneration” will disproportionately increase the heating cost of residents. The heating burden of residents in economically underdeveloped areas such as the Northeast and Northwest is significantly higher than that of residents in economically developed areas. And in the future, the biggest gap in heating burden will be as high as three times.
Fig. 2 Spatio-temporal evolution of the total annual cost of heating per capita and heating burden (a. Optimal heating method and its average cost; b. Spatio-temporal distribution of heating cost; c. Spatio-temporal distribution of heating burden; d. Spatio-temporal distribution of Zero-carbon heating burden
This study reveals the potential heating risks and hidden inequities caused by the accelerated decommissioning of coal-fired power plants, and provides theoretical and empirical support for China and other countries with similar situations to achieve a clean and equitable transition to urban heating systems.
This research work is a phased work achievement of the National Natural Science Foundation of China's key special projects and the Ministry of Education's major research projects in philosophy and social sciences.
Original information and links:
Zhaohua Wang, Hao Li*, Bin Zhang*, Bo Wang *, Hao Li, Xin Tian, Jiang Lin, Wei Feng. Unequal residential heating burden caused by combined heat and power phase-out under climate goals. Nature Energy (2023).
Link to the paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-023-01308-6#citeas