There are numerous surplus heat sources available in our cities: data centres, ice skating rinks, supermarkets, etc. District heating (DH) is a significant technology in that it enables economic utilization of energy sources that would otherwise be wasted to cover buildings' heating demands.
Today's DH system applies a high temperature level for the heat distribution, causing significant heat losses, and rendering utilization of above-mentioned low-temperature surplus heat sources difficult. In order to reduce these distribution losses, and to enable utilization of surplus heat sources in an efficient manner, it is necessary to shift to lower distribution temperatures.
It is impossible to lower the supply temperature in the entire DH network due to existing customers with high-temperature demands. The transition to low-temperature DH must hence start from new building areas. Local low-temperature thermal grids (LTTGs) that utilize local surplus heat allow energy- and cost-efficient heat supply to new building areas, with minimal environmental impact.
A heating grid that utilizes multiple heat sources in combination with thermal energy storage (TES) is a complex system. Modelling and simulation is essential to find optimal solutions for both operation and design of the grid and its components. Moreover, to ensure efficient utilization of the surplus heat, storage units and the grid, and minimizing the peak heating demands, efficient and structured control strategies need to be developed.
LTTG+ will respond to these challenges by developing the knowledge to design and operate energy- and cost-effective local thermal grids. The research will be performed in collaboration with a broad consortium of DH suppliers, public bodies and property companies, including Statkraft Varme, Trondheim Municipality, Koteng Eiendom, Fortum Oslo Varme and Gjøvik Municipality.