Multicarrier Energy Systems: Shaping Our Energy Future

Mark O'Malley, Muhammad Anwar, Steve Heinen, Tom Kober, James McCalley, Madeleine McPherson, Matteo Muratori, Antje Orths, Mark Ruth, Thomas Schmidt, Aidan Tuohy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus Citations


Multicarrier energy systems (MCESs) are characterized by strong coordination in operation and planning across multiple energy vectors and/or sectors to deliver reliable, cost-effective energy services to end users/customers with minimal impact on the environment. They have efficiency and flexibility benefits and are deployed in large and small scales on the supply and demand sides and at the network level but are more complex to control and manage. In this article, MCESs are reviewed in the context of future low carbon energy systems based on electrification and very high variable renewable energy penetrations. Fully exploiting these systems requires some cost reductions, more sophisticated operations enabled by standardized communications and control capabilities detailed planning paradigms, and addressing their corresponding economic challenges. All these point toward the direction of analysis, markets, and technology research and development coupled with better policy and regulatory frameworks. One futuristic vision of a very low carbon energy system is proposed that illustrates potential pathways to an MCES-dominated energy future.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number9103958
Pages (from-to)1437-1456
Number of pages20
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1963-2012 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5C00-76752


  • Cogeneration
  • e-fuels
  • energy hubs
  • energy systems integration
  • hybrid heating
  • hybrid transport
  • multi energy systems
  • multigeneration


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