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TEMPerature Optimisation for Low Temperature District Heating across Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TEMPO (TEMPerature Optimisation for Low Temperature District Heating across Europe)

Reporting period: 2020-04-01 to 2021-03-31

The technical and economic viability of today’s district heating (DH) networks is impacted by transitions to highly efficient building stocks and ineffective business models which fail to benefit all stakeholders. Lowering network temperatures in DH networks present an answer to these challenges. It will reduce the heat losses in the networks, and will open up the opportunity to integrate sustainable low grade energy sources based on waste heat (e.g. from data centers or industrial processes) or renewable heat (e.g. solar or geothermal heat). As such, not only district heating will improve its own position as an economic interesting alternative to others, but it will at the same time also improve the ecological impact on the European energy system. The TEMPO project aims at reducing the temperature levels in DH networks, by
1) technological innovations to create low temperature (LT) networks for increased network efficiency and integration options for renewable and residual heat sources;
2) new business models to boost network competitiveness and attractiveness for stakeholder investment.

In TEMPO, the objective is to develop and demonstrate six innovations related to networks, digitalization of those networks and building optimization to TRL7-8.
The innovations are related to fault detection, visualization tools, smart control of DH networks, innovative piping systems, optimization of building installations and innovative decentralized buffers.
The innovations are combined into 3 solution packages suitable for 3 different application areas: new LT DH networks in urban areas, new LT DH networks in rural areas, and existing high temperature (HT) networks.
The benefits of these solution packages to reduce network temperatures are demonstrated in 2 selected representative demos.

The first solution package, for new urban LT networks is not demonstrated in TEMPO.

The Enerpipe demo (in the region of Nürnberg, Germany) is a new rural LT network whereby solution package 2 will be demonstrated to reduce temperatures and so can open up the possibility to integrate a renewable energy source at a later stage.

The existing network of A2A (Brescia, Italy) currently operates at a very high supply temperature.
By integrating solution package 3, with particular emphasis on end consumer engagement, reduction in network temperatures is similarly demonstrated.

Each solution package is coupled to an innovative business model, which can leverage cost savings due to improved energy efficiency to offset the investment costs.
Stakeholder engagement and consumer empowerment are highly present.

Finally, Europe-wide rollout is envisaged through the development of exploitation and replication plans.
The development of version v1 of the ICT-platform for fault detection, the visualisation tools for experts, decentralised buffers, CHP optimization and the building optimisation was fully achieved. The finetuning of the smart control algorithms was finalised during the last winter period 2020 - 2021. In the winter period of 2020 – 2021 measurement data from the Enerpipe and Brescia demo was used for training and validation of the smart control algorithms and models.
The development of version v2 algorithms has already started from the beginning of January 2021 in order to mitigate for this delay so that the version v2 algorithms and models can be tested at the demo sites in the next winter period 2021 - 2022.

For the Enerpipe demonstrator the innovations CHP optimisation, decentralised buffers and the building installation testing were done. A CHP optimisation algorithm was implemented at the demo site and performs market based operation of the CHP unit. The results showed that a second CHP would be beneficial from the standpoint of optimal operation and to enlarge the profit towards the electricity market. Several communication and response tests were done on the decentralised buffers.
For the Brescia demo site version v1 of the smart controller is currently being tested. Furthermore, the features return temperature minimisation and supply temperature optimisation have been tested during the previous winter period 2020 – 2021. Response tests for the building model, the heat exchanger model and the network model were also performed and showed good results compared to the measurements.

The key exploitable results were identified in the project. A draft exploitation plan was made and describes the 3 key exploitable results (KER) and the way the partners will exploit these results during and after the project.
The 6 technologies developed go beyond the current state of art.
By the end of the project, the TEMPO consortium will have tested 2 versions of these technologies: a basic version and an updated version.
These technologies will be developed up to TRL7-8, which means that they will be close to market ready.
Furthermore, also the new business models for network operators which go hand-in-hand with the technological innovations are advanced.
Finally, new engagement methods for end-customers in the project are not yet established in the district heating sector.

The insights in the smart controller and the harvesting of the thermal flexibility of the building thermal mass and the district heating network can pave the way for new companies/products/processes and can on their turn increase the competitiveness of district heating companies. The potential for such cross-fertilisation is increased in TEMPO since several project partners are currently involved in other research and demonstration projects or commercial offers. The increased understanding of thermal flexibility will also benefit the so called prosumer efforts, in which a customer in a grid can sometimes consume energy and sometimes generate energy into the grid. The decentralised buffer systems provide an innovation for houses with small surfaces. The technology of reinforcement learning is applied here and brings additional knowledge in this field. The optimization of the building installation will prevent future faults in building installations with the technical guidelines and the automated webpage.
Picture of the TEMPO mixing station in the A2A demonstator in Brescia, Italy
Picture of the TEMPO test plans and the several test periods