Efficient District Heating in a Decarbonisation Perspective: A Case Study in Italy

Mattia Ricci, Paolo Sdringola, Salvatore Tamburrino, Giovanni Puglisi, Elena Di Donato, Maria Alessandra Ancona, Francesco Melino
2022 Energies  
The European and national regulations in the decarbonisation path towards 2050 promote district heating in achieving the goals of efficiency, energy sustainability, use of renewables, and reduction of fossil fuel use. Improved management and optimisation, use of RES, and waste heat/cold sources decrease the overall demand for primary energy, a condition that is further supported by building renovations and new construction of under (almost) zero energy buildings, with a foreseeable decrease in
more » ... he temperature of domestic heating systems. Models for the simulation of efficient thermal networks were implemented and described in this paper, together with results from a real case study in Italy, i.e., University Campus of Parma. Activities include the creation and validation of calculation codes and specific models in the Modelica language (Dymola software), aimed at investigating stationary regimes and dynamic behaviour as well. An indirect heat exchange substation was coupled with a resistive-capacitive model, which describes the building behaviour and the thermal exchanges by the use of thermos-physical parameters. To optimise indoor comfort conditions and minimise consumption, dynamic simulations were carried out for different operating sets: modulating the supply temperature in the plant depending on external conditions (Scenario 4) decreases the supplied thermal energy (−2.34%) and heat losses (−8.91%), even if a lower temperature level results in higher electricity consumption for pumping (+12.96%), the total energy consumption is reduced by 1.41%. A simulation of the entire heating season was performed for the optimised scenario, combining benefits from turning off the supply in the case of no thermal demand (Scenario 3) and from the modulation of the supply temperature (Scenario 4), resulting in lower energy consumption (the thermal energy supplied by the power plant −3.54%, pumping +7.76%), operating costs (−2.40), and emissions (−3.02%). The energy balance ex-ante and ex-post deep renovation in a single user was then assessed, showing how lowering the network operating temperature at 55 °C decreases the supplied thermal energy (−22.38%) and heat losses (−22.11%) with a slightly higher pumping consumption (+3.28%), while maintaining good comfort conditions. These promising results are useful for evaluating the application of low-temperature operations to the existing district heating networks, especially for large interventions of building renovation, and confirm their potential contribution to the energy efficiency targets.
doi:10.3390/en15030948 fatcat:xb5un5si4fddzhaixlf2w5beny