Low-temperature District Heating : Various Aspects of Fourth-generation Systems

Detta är en avhandling från Department of Energy Sciences, Lund University

Sammanfattning: With decreasing heat demand and less availability of high-temperature heat supply in future energy systems, the current district heating systems may experience increased competition on the heat market. A viable option to mitigate increasing competition is to operate systems with lower temperature levels, and the most conceivable way to achieve lower temperature levels is to decrease return temperatures.In this thesis, aspects of improvements in district heating systems are assessed. Three aspects, in particular, have been analysed. These are integration between energy systems, improvements in heat distribution technology, and economic benefits of low-temperature district heating systems.An increasing interest in integrating different energy systems has been prompted by the rapid introduction of intermittent renewable electricity supply in the energy system. Large-scale conversion of power to heat in electric boilers and heat pumps is a feasible alternative to achieve the balancing capacities required to maintain system functioning. Analysis of the unique Swedish experience using large heat-pump installations connected to district heating systems shows that, since the 1980s, 1527 MW of heat power has been installed, and about 80% of the capacity was still in use in 2013. Thus, a cumulative value of over three decades of operation and maintenance exists within Swedish district heating systems.Increased competition prompted by changes in the operation environment necessitates improved heat distribution. This thesis focuses on three system-embedded temperature errors: first, the temperature error that occurs due to recirculation in distribution networks at low heat demands; second, the temperature error that occurs due to hot-water circulation in multi-family buildings; third, the temperature error that occurs due to lower heat transfer than is possible in heat exchangers (i.e. too-short thermal length). To address these temperature errors, three technology changes have been proposed (i) a three-pipe distribution network to separate the recirculation return flow from the delivery return flow, (ii) apartment substations to eliminate hot-water circulation use, and (iii) improved heat exchangers for lower return temperatures. The analysis of the proposed changes indicates annual average return temperatures between 17°C and 21°C.The final analysed aspect is the economic benefits of low-temperature district heating. It was identified that strong economic motives for lower operating temperatures in future heat supply exist, whereas the economic motives are significantly weaker for the traditional heat supply.The five papers presented in this thesis are related to future district heating systems through the five abilities of fourth-generation district heating (4GDH), which are documented in the definition paper on 4GDH