HOT|COOL NO. 1/2017 - "System Integration"


By Johan Desmedt, Project manager district heating and cooling networks, EnergyVille Dirk Vanhoudt, senior researcher, EnergyVille

network of Mijnwater BV in Heerlen (NL) and the DH network in Rottne (Växjö, SE), where the resulting energetic, economic and environmental benefits will be assessed. During the project, two versions of the controller will be developed. The first version will be implemented and tested during the winter of 2016 – 2017 and the following summer. After analysing the performance of the controller, an update will then be developed and tested during the next 2017 – 2018 winter. Through replication, dissemination and education efforts, the project outcomes will be transferred to several stakeholders across the EU, and thus will contribute to a wider deployment of DHC networks at EU level. By harvesting the flexibility in this wide range of networks, the controller will contribute to a more sustainable energy mix of renewable energy and excess heat utilization. The whole idea of the STORM concept is to develop and demonstrate a generic intelligent DHC network controller. Intelligent in this sense means that the control actions taken by the controller serve to optimize the DHC system as a whole. Generic means that the controller must be able to deal with a wide range of new and existing DHC networks, and is easy to install, i.e. that the installation and start-up of the controller requires a limited amount of expert knowledge. In this way, technical barriers for the implementation are reduced.

District heating and cooling (DHC) is considered to be a very efficient option for providing heating, cooling and domestic hot water to buildings, particularly when they are located in densely populated areas. The main advantage consists in the possibility of utilizing excess heat from industries or heat generated by CHP plants, biomass, solar or geothermal systems. The big challenge for our future energy system will be to integrate as much as possible these available sustainable energy sources, which unfortunately are fluctuating and are often not available when we need them. Utilising the intrinsic flexibility in a district heating network can make it possible to deliver more energy from a smaller sustainable energy source. This results in more efficient and more competitive DHC networks. Furthermore, by making better use of the flexibility, DHC networks can even support the electrical grids by operating heat pumps and CHPs at moments of excess or scarce of renewable power on the electrical grids. Therefore, by ‘harvesting’ the intrinsic flexibility, DHC networks become ‘smarter’, undergoing the same transition as the transition towards smart electricity grids. In combination with thermal energy storage capacity, smart DHC networks are an enabling technology. This is the focus of the H2020 STORM project.

Figure 1: Overview of clusters in Mijnwater, Heerlen

Figure 2: Technical scheme of Mijnwater, Heerlen

Demonstration at Mijnwater BV, Heerlen, The Netherlands The first demonstration site of STORM is a highly innovative 4th generation (low flow-temperature) DHC network. In this network, flooded mine galleries act as a renewable heat and cold source and provide a total of 500,000 m² floor area connected to a low temperature DHC network. The mines were originally used as the production source, supplying heat

The H2020 STORM project The H2020 STORM project aims to demonstrate the benefits of a smart and generic DHC network controller based on self-learning algorithms. The project started in 2015 and will continue until 2018. The developed controller will maximize the use of excess heat and renewable energy sources in DHC networks. It will be implemented in 2 pilot sites, the DHC

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