International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.43, No.14, 8314-8336, 2019
Investigation of solar energy utilization for production of hydrogen and sustainable chemical fertilizer: A case study
Renewable energies play a vital role in the economic and social development and progress of many countries. As one of the most significant sources of renewable energy, solar energy has been used due to its availability in many regions. Generating electricity for hydrogen production is one of the applications of solar energy. In petrochemical complexes, hydrogen is often used for producing fertilizers, especially urea fertilizers. The present study aims at investigating five major Iranian petrochemical complexes in terms of their suitability for the construction of a solar plant to produce electrolysis-based green chemical fertilizers. To this end, a multicriteria decision-making model is proposed, which includes the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and extended TODIM method of multicriteria decision making (including crisp, interval, and fuzzy numbers). The present research investigates 10 criteria for prioritizing petrochemical complexes, classified into four general categories, namely, climatic, geographic, environmental, and probability of natural disaster occurrence categories. Having calculated the weight of the criteria using the fuzzy AHP method, the alternatives are prioritized using the extended TODIM method. The methods of simple additive weighting (SAW), Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS), and VIKOR were then used for validation of the results. Results showed that the Shiraz Petrochemical Complex has the highest priority and Khorasan Petrochemical Complex has the lowest priority for producing green fertilizer via solar energy-assisted water electrolysis. By using the solar system, Shiraz Petrochemical Complex can emit over 1900 tons less pollutants in the environment per day and provides up to 8% of its annual total production through clean energy.