Cryptocurrency mining as a novel virtual energy storage system in islanded and grid-connected microgrids

Mehran Hajiaghapour-Moghimi, Ehsan Hajipour, Kamyar Azimi Hosseini, Mehdi Vakilian, Matti Lehtonen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Renewable electrical energy (such as: solar and wind energies) generation in microgrids (MGs), is gaining attention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Microgrid operators (MOs) aim to create self-sufficient, environmentally sustainable grids, increasing the capacity of renewable energy sources (RESs) by up to 100%. Despite of the benefits of this trend, challenges arise from non-controlled characteristics of these power generations and their seasonal variations, causing fluctuations and renewable energy curtailment. Although the technical solutions; such as: the demand response (DR) programs, and the conventional electrical energy storage systems (EESSs) can help, however those may face limitations in countries with high seasonal energy generation and consumption variations. This paper introduces cryptocurrency mining loads (CMLs) as innovative virtual energy storage systems (VESSs), named cryptocurrency energy storage systems (CESSs). It proposes a structure to store excess renewable energy in cryptocurrency units (CCUs) like Bitcoin (BTC). CESSs can be charged during off-peak intervals and, conversely, they discharge during high-demand periods to reduce the overall operational cost of MGs. Furthermore, it presents a new energy management system (EMS) formulation for the optimal operation of MGs in the presence of CESSs, providing an opportunity to generate additional electricity from RESs and to mitigate renewable energy curtailment. This paper explores the optimal operation conditions of both islanded and grid-connected MG with the proposed CESS. Utilizing a dataset from an island in Finland as a practical MG, its effectiveness is demonstrated through several case studies. The results of one case study in this paper demonstrate that the proposed CESS can decrease the operating cost of the MG by about 46.5%. Additionally, it is showed that by application of CESS the renewable energy curtailment is significantly reduced, and approached zero.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109915
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems
Volume158
Early online date5 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Cryptocurrency mining
  • Energy management
  • Energy storage system
  • Microgrid
  • Renewable energy source

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