# Adaptable Energy Systems Integration by Modular, Standardized and Scalable System Architectures: Necessities and Prospects of Any Time Transition

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## Abstract

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## 1. Introduction

#### 1.1. Literature Review of the Investment Planning Problem

#### 1.2. Research Gap and Contribution of This Work

- A technical concept building on modularity, standardization and scalability is presented at a manageable level of abstraction but including detailed notes on implementation (Section 2).
- The notion of adaptability is introduced in the context of sustainable energy infrastructure (Section 2).
- A case study shows an exemplary system’s evolution, which is enabled by the presented architecture (Section 3).
- Positive technical, strategical and societal prospects are discussed (Section 4).
- The connection to other concepts and visions of energy systems integration is shown to highlight compatibility and thus direct implementability (Appendix A).

## 2. Envisioned Technical System Architecture of Future Infrastructure and Supply

#### 2.1. Overview of Basic Elements of the Architecture

#### 2.2. Physical Modularity and Standardization of Conversion and Storage Units

#### 2.3. Integration into the Electric Grid

#### 2.4. Hydraulic Integration into the District Heating System

#### 2.5. Spatial Integration into the Urban Built Environment (Spatial Planning Perspective)

## 3. Exemplary Hypothetical Evolution of a Realized System Over Decades

## 4. Technical, Strategical and Societal Prospects of the Introduced Adaptability

#### 4.1. Adaptability as an Indicator for the Sustainability of Systems

**Definition**

**1**(Adaptability)

**.**

- Lower cost of redevelopment and redesign,
- lower cost of installation and system integration,
- compatibility with future markets, and
- local concentration, economies of scale and continuous controllability.

#### 4.2. Lower Cost of Redevelopment and Redesign of Portfolios

#### 4.3. Lower Cost of Installation and System Integration

#### 4.4. Long-Term Market Compatibility

#### 4.4.1. Access to New Markets

#### 4.4.2. Market Compatibility by Fit: Generation Capacity and Quality

#### 4.5. Local Concentration, Economies of Scale and Continuous Controllability

#### 4.5.1. Local Concentration and Economies of Scale

#### 4.5.2. Continuous Controllability by Available Real Options

#### 4.6. Thinkable Actors for an Implementation (and Business Cases)

## 5. Conclusion and Outlook

#### 5.1. Summary and Conclusions

#### 5.2. Outlook on Future Research

## Acknowledgments

## Author Contributions

## Conflicts of Interest

## Appendix A. Analogies and Connections to Existing Architectures, System Descriptions and Concepts

#### Appendix A.1. Integrated Infrastructure and Supply Planning: Urban Energy Systems (UES)

#### Appendix A.2. Local Multi-Carrier Generation: Distributed Multi-Generation (DMG)

#### Appendix A.3. High Level Multi-Input-Multi-Output Systems Perspective: Energy Hub

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**Figure 1.**Vision of transition paths to final greenfield optimality, adapted from [27].

**Figure 2.**Abstract perspective on key elements of the architecture: energy conversion and storage units are modularized and can easily be snapped into the platform to connect to different networks.

**Figure 3.**Overview of system architecture with thinkable, fully optional modules (none mandatory, all to be implemented at will and at any time). (

**a**) Exemplary specific configuration of a unit portfolio with different technologies being modularly integrated; (

**b**) Floor layout indicating one practical implementation of the system architecture (not to scale).

**Figure 5.**Three examplary configurations as a response to different spatial requirements indicate general scalability and universality of the system architecture.

**Figure 6.**Typical combined heat and power generation based on a steam or gas turbine and a generator.

**Figure 8.**Conceptual view on the hierarchy of enabling elements of the infrastructure and derived benefits of an implementation.

**Figure 9.**Qualitative difference between pure generation power and the associated quality of supply (deliberately without time and capacity scale).

**Figure 10.**Availability of real options may inhibit (left) or support (right) the adaptability of a portfolio, and affects the quality of the associated investment cash flows (investment period and capital intensity). (

**a**) Conventional generation: few real options, low liquidity; (

**b**) This architecture: many real options, high liquidity.

Key Element of This Architecture | Note on Physical Implementation | Changeability Enablers [32] | ||
---|---|---|---|---|

Adaptability | Scalability, Modularity | Block-type units in intermodal containers (as defined in ISO 668 [28]) | Scalability Modularity Mobility | Transformability |

Standardization | Hydraulic matrix setup and electric grid connection | Compatibility | ||

Defined connectors and outlets for all units | ||||

Inherent feature of electric power and heat (commodities) | Universality |

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

## Share and Cite

**MDPI and ACS Style**

Hinker, J.; Wohlfahrt, T.; Drewing, E.; Contreras Paredes, S.F.; Mayorga González, D.; Myrzik, J.M.A.
Adaptable Energy Systems Integration by Modular, Standardized and Scalable System Architectures: Necessities and Prospects of Any Time Transition. *Energies* **2018**, *11*, 581.
https://doi.org/10.3390/en11030581

**AMA Style**

Hinker J, Wohlfahrt T, Drewing E, Contreras Paredes SF, Mayorga González D, Myrzik JMA.
Adaptable Energy Systems Integration by Modular, Standardized and Scalable System Architectures: Necessities and Prospects of Any Time Transition. *Energies*. 2018; 11(3):581.
https://doi.org/10.3390/en11030581

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Hinker, Jonas, Thomas Wohlfahrt, Emily Drewing, Sergio Felipe Contreras Paredes, Daniel Mayorga González, and Johanna M. A. Myrzik.
2018. "Adaptable Energy Systems Integration by Modular, Standardized and Scalable System Architectures: Necessities and Prospects of Any Time Transition" *Energies* 11, no. 3: 581.
https://doi.org/10.3390/en11030581