Integration of Renewable Energy Systems at City Gate Stations to Reduce Pre-Heating Gas Consumption

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
ARTICLE IN PRESS (scheduled for Vol 11, Issue 03 (SDEWES 2022)), 1110447
DOI: (registered soon)
Lapo Cheli1 , Michele Meazzini2, Lorenzo Busi2, Carlo Carcasci3
1 University of Florence, Firenze, Italy
2 Centria S.r.l., Arezzo, Italy
3 Università degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy


The Italian Natural Gas (NG) distribution network includes thousands of NG metering and pressure reduction stations, called City Gate Stations (CGS), for injecting gas into low-pressure networks. These plants are mainly based on the isenthalpic throttling of the gas flow to reduce its pressure, which leads to a significant reduction of its temperature by the Joule-Thompson effect. Gas preheating systems that avoid excessive cooling are installed upstream of pressure reduction valves and usually exploit conventional gas boilers. The energy consumption and carbon footprint could be reduced by integrating heat pumps coupled with renewable energy sources for NG preheating to support gas boilers. For this work, an ad-hoc thermodynamic model for estimating the thermal energy demand for pre-heating is developed, exploiting experimental data from a real CGS, and simplified models of heat pumps and renewable systems. This work aims to assess the actual technical and economic feasibility of energy savings through these technologies. Results show the validated model to be sufficiently accurate to estimate the need for gas preheating for these applications. For the considered case study, up to 38%, 32%, or 26% of the total thermal energy can be recovered with a PBT of less than 20 years, 15, and about 13 years, respectively.

Keywords: Natural Gas; City Gate Stations; Gas Preheating; Energy Efficiency; Heat Pumps; Renewable Energy

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