Performance assessment of a novel natural gas pressure reduction station equipped with parabolic trough solar collectors
World's energy picture is still framed in a context characterised by extensive use of the natural gas. Luckily there are significant opportunities for increasing energy efficiency and fostering energy recovery in natural gas infrastructures. In particular integration with renewable energies is an asset to be exploited. This paper presents a novel configuration of the so-called natural gas pressure reduction stations equipped with sun-tracking parabolic trough solar collectors. In addition, the system is coupled with thermal energy storage. The energy and environmental performance of this new configuration is investigated with the support of a dynamic model implemented in Matlab-Simulink®. Energy saving has been calculated for three European cities, namely Genoa, Naples, and Amsterdam, characterised by different latitudes and hence solar irradiations. The results revealed that, despite the technical and physical constraints, it is possible to achieve carbon-free operations in summer periods for southern locations. The proposed system configuration has shown to be a strategic retrofit intervention to pursue reducing carbon emissions linked to the gas distribution operations.