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Osaka Gas believes that technologies serve as the foundation of corporate competitiveness, and considers R&D to be one of the most important elements in the strategy to make a difference.
For this reason, Osaka Gas works actively on R&D and commercialization of new technologies, as presented below.
The “Smart Energy Network” is designed to combine renewable energy (e.g., photovoltaic power generation) with large power plants, gas cogeneration systems and customers load to share electric and thermal energy and thereby achieve energy conservation and CO2 reduction.
Renewable energy, such as photovoltaic power generation, has been actively promoted to achieve a low-carbon society. It should be noted, however, photovoltaic power generation poses challenges such as unstable power grid frequency* because the output fluctuates significantly depending on weather conditions.
Thus, introduction of renewable energy on an extensive scale would result in unstable supply in addition to inherent fluctuating demand in the grid. To stabilize the electricity demand-supply balance generally requires a new investment on installations such as large-scale storage batteries.
Osaka Gas has been working to develop technologies for ensuring coordinated operation of photovoltaic power generation and gas cogeneration systems to stabilize electricity supply.
* The frequency serves as an index of demand-supply balance throughout the power grid of an electric power company, as shown in the figure below. In western area of Japan, the frequency is changing around the reference frequency of 60 Hz.
(2) Supply capability
Since the Great East Japan Earthquakes occurred, Japan has been in situation of insufficiency of power supply. Therefore, not only large-scale power systems but also negawatts, that is supply capability of customers' power source and generators, are gaining recognition.
Osaka Gas has been working to develop technologies for group controlling of cogeneration that installed at customer sites and supply sufficient capacity.
Fluctuation in output of photovoltaic power generation can be mitigated by measuring such fluctuation and controlling gas cogeneration output to cancel the fluctuation.
According to the external order of energy-saving, output of multiple cogeneration systems is simultaneously increased to realize required capacity by group control.
The Smart Energy Network system connects renewable energy systems and cogeneration systems in geographically distant places by the information-communication technology, and balances supply and demand.
For example; at the market price rise, the Smart Energy Network system determines the most suitable and effective cogeneration systems and customer's loads for controlling within a community according to their current operation conditions. The Smart Energy Network system contributes to improving balance between supply and demand throughout the entire power system by increasing cogeneration output or decreasing customer's load.
The above-mentioned application models have been operated on a trial basis.