District heating and cooling is the centralised generation and distribution of heating and cooling. Depending on local circumstances, networks can be both lower carbon and cheaper for consumers than an individual heating system. A district heating network allows a large number of individual consumers to access heat that has been produced from a number of sources such as: combined heat and power (CHP), large scale heat pumps, municipal waste incineration, biomass boilers or industrial waste heat recovery.
As countries move to incorporate more intermittent renewable sources of electricity such as solar PV and wind into existing electrical grids, district heating and cooling networks can fulfil an important balancing role. Along with large scale thermal storage, CHP plants can be operated at short notice to provide electricity when the sun stops shining or the wind stops blowing, and the heat produced can be stored for later use. Likewise, an electricity system with high renewables penetration can sometimes produce excess electricity when not needed, using this electricity for heat production and storing it for later use can help balance the grid.
Multiple ownership models exist for district heating networks, ranging from full state or municipal ownership, long term concession agreements with private operators for heat generation and distribution, “unbundled” networks with separate ownership of different network assets or a private owner/operator that bills and interacts directly with consumers.
District energy systems are local energy networks that provide heating and cooling to buildings in their district. They do this by supplying hot water or steam for heating systems, and chilled water for air conditioning.
They are an efficient and cost-effective way to reduce the carbon footprint of built-up areas like city centres and industrial parks.
New generation district heating and cooling systems (so called cold district heating networks) that are able to provide both heating and cooling simultaneously. In these systems the waste heat from chillers can be recycled and used for space heating or hot water production..
Heat Pumps in District Heating and Cooling Systems
District energy systems allow for greater energy savings while meeting environmental concerns. Withair's District Cooling and Heating Solutions in response to the long-term comfort needs (heating and air-conditioning) of both public and private sectors, at the same time as protecting the environment. How do you heat or cool a neighborhood or an entire city at the same time as reducing its CO2 emissions? By using urban heating and cooling systems!
For district cooling, the transition from local air conditioning units to more centralised district cooling can help to reduce peak electricity demand and increase efficiency. In winter, the source for the cooling can often be sea water, which is a cheaper resource than using electricity to run compressors for cooling. Water is then distributed to buildings and offices through existing water pipe networks, either directly or through district cooling substations.
A district heating plant pumps heated water to consumers where it is used for room and floor heating directly, or through a heat exchanger that transfers the heat to an internal circulation. The cold water then returns to the district heating plant which circulates endlessly in a closed pipeline. The heated supply water could also be used for domestic hot water through a heat exchanger. Some district heating systems use steam as medium for heat distribution instead of water. This is especially suitable for industrial processes which often require higher supply temperatures. If it is too cold to be added to the district heating system they are warmed up by heat pumps, which means using a lower temperature of approximately 60-65 degrees instead of up to 80-90 which is the standard today.
Aim of Project
District heating/cooling is expected to play a key role in the energy grid and supply, particularly when heat pumps are connected to the system. This project aims to gather information and ideas for policy makers, decision makers and planners of energy systems about the opportunities and challenges of implementing heat pumps in district heating and cooling systems.
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