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Digitalization and sector coupling enable companies to turn into flexumers. By using the flexibility of their multi-energy system (MES), they reduce costs and carbon emissions while balancing the electricity grid. However, to identify the necessary investments in energy conversion and storage technologies to leverage demand response (DR) potentials, companies need to assess the value of flexibility. Therefore, this study quantifies the flexibility value of a production company’s MES by optimizing the synthesis, design, and operation of a decarbonizing MES considering self-consumption optimization, peak shaving, and integrated DR based on hourly prices and carbon emission factors (CEFs). The detailed case study of a beverage company in northern Germany considers vehicle-to-X of electrical industrial forklifts, power-to-heat on multiple temperatures, wind turbines, photovoltaic systems, and energy storage systems (thermal, electrical, and hydrogen). We propose and apply novel data-driven metrics to evaluate the intensity of price-based and CEF-based DR. The results reveal that flexibility usage reduces decarbonization costs (by 19%–80% depending on electricity and carbon removal prices), total annual costs, operational carbon footprint, energy-weighted average prices and CEFs, and fossil energy dependency. The results also suggest that a net-zero operational carbon emission MES requires flexibility, which, in an economic case, is provided by a combination of different flexible technologies and storage systems that complement each other. While the value of flexibility depends on various market and consumer-specific factors such as electricity or carbon removal prices, this study highlights the importance of demand flexibility for the decarbonization of MESs.
Markus Fleschutz, Markus Bohlayer, Marco Braun, Michael D. Murphy, From prosumer to flexumer: Case study on the value of flexibility in decarbonizing the multi-energy system of a manufacturing company, Applied Energy, Volume 347, 2023, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2023.121430.