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Upgrading the performance of district heating networks in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Upgrade DH (Upgrading the performance of district heating networks in Europe)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

According to the EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling (2016), the contribution of district heating (DH) in the EU accounts for 9% and is mainly driven by fossil fuels such as gas and coal. District heating networks present a high potential for the transition of the heat sector, both technically and organizationally. They are able to integrate efficiently biomass and other renewable energies and they could facilitate sector coupling (coupling between heating, electricity and mobility).
In order to use this potential, many district heating networks must first upgrade the existing distribution system, including the substations and consumer connections: reaching lower leakage rates and heat losses, reducing operation temperatures, adapting piping dimensions and hydraulic, introducing modern IT-based management systems and options for user control. This makes the heat distribution more efficient, but also improves the efficiency of the heat generation. Moreover, DH systems allow the integration of biomass, other renewable energies, excess and waste heat. In order to have an optimized impact, the retrofitting measures should therefore begin with the retrofitting of the distribution network, including measures regarding substations and heating system of the connected buildings. In a further step, efficiency measures can be implemented on the generation side and the share of renewable and waste heat can be introduced and increased gradually. This must go hand-in-hand with predictions of future heat demand as well as with efficiency measures on the end use of heat.
The EU project Upgrade DH (H2020; Contract No. 785014; supports the upgrading and retrofitting process of DH systems in different climate regions of Europe, covering various countries. The target countries of the Upgrade DH project are: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Denmark, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, and The Netherlands. In each of the target countries, the upgrading process is initiated for concrete DH systems of the so-called Upgrade DH demonstration cases (demo cases). The gained knowledge and experiences are replicated to other European countries and DH systems in order to leverage the impact.
Core activities of the Upgrade DH project include the collection of the best upgrading measures and tools, the support of the upgrading process for selected district heating networks, the organisation of capacity building measures about DH upgrading, financing and business models, as well as the development of national and regional action plans. In addition, an image raising campaign for modern DH networks will be carried out in the Upgrade DH project. The outcome will be the initiation of district heating upgrading process in the above-mentioned target countries and beyond.
The Upgrade DH project is implemented from 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2021 (36 months). In the Interim Period, after 18 months of implementation, the following work has been performed and the following results have been achieved:
- 16 Best Practice (BP) examples on project which have undergone already an upgrading process have been collected and described.
- A “Catalogue on “Best practice instruments and tools to diagnosing and retrofitting inefficient networks” was elaborated and includes descriptions of tools that can be used for calculations, modelling, planning, mapping and decision-making. The document contains 12 software-based tools and 4 instruments.
- Several study tours and site visits have been organised for project partners and stakeholders to best practice examples and demo cases. Approximately in total 100 participants attended these events, so far.
- A handbook on “Upgrading the performance of district heating networks - Technical and non-technical approaches” was elaborated and is available in 6 languages. The contents have been communicated and are already used as a basis in another European research projects (LowTemp). The handbook was printed and is widely disseminated.
- A guideline on successful business models and financing schemes for upgrading DH networks has been elaborated and will be available on the webpage by December 2019.
- In each target country, working groups have been set up consisting of local stakeholders of the Upgrade DH demo cases in order to discuss about the upgrading measures and processes.
- For each Upgrade DH demo case, a global assessment and diagnosis of the current status of the DH system was made. Various upgrading measures were identified and their feasibility is currently being checked.
- 8 replication cases with most promising upgrading potentials have been identified. These follower cases get priority access to project results and are attending Upgrade DH events. Different DH system operators became aware of the activities of the project and contacted directly the project team to participate as replication case.
- Many dissemination activities were made in order to raise awareness among the different stakeholders and to promote the project.
The expected potential impact categories of the Upgrade DH project are:
- Primary energy savings and GHG emission savings triggered by the proposed actions (compared to best available solution existing today), considering the different climate regions of Europe
- Increased share of waste/residual heat and renewable sources of heat
- Scale of the replicability potential of the proposed solutions
- Number of retrofitting approaches initiated by the project within its duration which are integrated in the regional or national action plans
Site visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Stakeholder meeting in Ferrara
Project meeting in Lithuania
Project meeting in Denmark
Project interview in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Study tour in Denmark
Project meeting in Lithuania
Study tour in Denmark
Study tour in Denmark