What is it about?

In an effort to run integrated energy systems (IES) in a way that's both economical and low in carbon emissions, this research introduces small, miniaturized nuclear power (NP) units and carbon trading into the energy mix. We present a new scheduling model that brings two primary strategies into play: firstly, we conduct a heating renovation on the NP units, transforming them into cogeneration units (producing both electricity and useful heat) to enhance their operating flexibility. Secondly, we introduce auxiliary equipment like electricity and heat storage systems, as well as units that convert power to gas, aiming to further boost the system’s flexibility by enabling energy to be stored, time-shifted, or converted into different forms. Amidst the uncertainties of renewable energy outputs, our scheduling model uses chance-constrained programming and is validated by testing on a real North China IES, showcasing notable economic and low-carbon benefits.

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Why is it important?

This research is crucial as it provides a novel pathway towards achieving low-carbon operation in integrated energy systems by leveraging small nuclear power units and carbon trading. The integration of NP units offers a steadfast and low-carbon energy source, while the incorporation of a carbon trading mechanism aligns the financial and environmental interests of the IES. By converting nuclear power units into cogeneration systems and introducing auxiliary units that add a layer of operational flexibility, the IES can dynamically respond to varying energy demands and renewable energy fluctuations. Moreover, the model provides a practical and economically viable approach to maintaining a stable, low-carbon energy supply, offering a blueprint that could be extrapolated to various IESs worldwide, thus making a significant contribution towards global carbon emission reduction goals.


Embarking on this research was an intricate venture into the expansive field of low-carbon energy system operation, striking a harmonious balance between economic viability and carbon reduction. Introducing small nuclear power units and intertwining the carbon trading mechanism into IES brought forth a confluence of steady, low-carbon energy and economic prudence. The evolution from conceptualizing the low-carbon scheduling model to actualizing it on a real-world IES in North China was indeed a nuanced journey, shedding light on how technological interventions, backed by robust modeling and systematic validation, can pave the way for sustainable advancements in our energy systems. The intricate balance of managing reliable energy, economical operation, and carbon footprint reduction crafted a research journey that was as enlightening as it was challenging, navigating through the myriad facets of energy system integration, flexibility enhancement, and carbon management.

Professor/PhD Supervisor/SMIEEE Yang Li
Northeast Electric Power University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Optimal dispatch of low-carbon integrated energy system considering nuclear heating and carbon trading, Journal of Cleaner Production, December 2022, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.134540.
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