Skip to main content

User-driven Energy-Matching & Business prospection tool for industrial Excess heat/cold Reduction, Recovery and Redistribution

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EMB3Rs (User-driven Energy-Matching & Business prospection tool for industrial Excess heat/cold Reduction, Recovery and Redistribution)

Reporting period: 2019-09-02 to 2021-03-01

The research project EMB3Rs (User-driven Energy-Matching & Business Prospection Tool for Industrial Excess Heat/Cold Reduction, Recovery and Redistribution) aims to develop a planning tool – the EMB3Rs platform - that will allow energy-intensive industries and other excess heat and cold sources to explore ways of recovering and reusing their excess thermal energy. The platform will promote the valorisation and utilization of excess thermal energy by providing users with a means to simulate alternative paths towards recovering, transferring, transporting and potentially selling the energy to different compatible final users including: other processes within a given industrial plant, other industries (intra-sectorial) and other sectors (inter-sectorial) – i.e. buildings and agriculture.

The EMB3Rs platform encompasses several complementary analysis modules that can be invoked and run in different sequences to help users to maximize the benefits of recovering and using excess heat/cold, improve the environmental impacts of local energy systems and increase the efficiency of energy use in industry, amongst other goals. Users of the EMB3Rs platform will be able to estimate available excess thermal energy and map sinks, sources and links (GIS) through customized user interfaces and industrial thermal process optimization models (via the Core Functionalities Module and Process submodule) and link excess HC supply and demand nodes within least cost HC distribution routes (GIS module). An optimization module will explore alternative technological scenarios for excess heat recovery, distribution and matching with compatible demand by estimating the cost-benefit of the different scenarios (Techno-economic Optimization Module). The users of the platform will also be able to estimate the benefits of selling the excess HC in centralized and decentralized market structures - pool and two-way P2P networks - via the Market Module. Finally, the platform will allow users to explore different business models considering financial, policy and regulatory constraints (including social and environmental) within the value-chain of a heat use scenario (Business Module). These different analysis modules will be supported by a data processing/simulation manager system and have access to a common repository of data on default parameters, costs, technologies, information shared between modules, regulations and previous module runs, among other data (Knowledge Base).

The EMB3Rs tool will be tested in 7 case studies, to propose the best options for recovery and redistribution of the excess thermal energy in different contexts to validate the full set of functionalities of the platform. For the industry centric case studies (including two energy intensive industries in the UK and Portugal, and one industrial park in Greece), the platform will consider the conversion of excess heat to electricity, drying of conventional or alternative fuels or raw materials, complementing and/or substituting fossil HC systems with local generation via renewable resources and integration of thermal storage. For the network centric cases (including two existing networks in Lisbon, Portugal and in Landskrona, Sweden), the EMB3Rs platform will be used to check whether nearby sources of excess thermal energy can connect to the existing network. Finally, the case study in Copenhagen will consider the impacts of innovative market configurations based on P2P networks on the feasibility of integrating excess heat onto an existing DH network and the super user case will deploy the tool to analyse local synergies in the use of excess thermal energy among a large number of sinks and sources in a user defined area.
In accordance with the core aim of the project to develop the EMB3Rs platform, the work within the first 18 months of the project was focused on defining the main user requirements with the case study leaders which were translated into specifications for the EMB3Rs platform and modules. The main requirements in terms of data needs for a full characterization of the thermal energy sources, sinks and networks compatible with the range of cases that will be implemented in EMB3Rs were also defined. The data specifications were used to outline the structure and populate the Knowledge Base, the main hub of all data needs of the EMB3Rs platform. The first prototypes of the individual modules and the basic unintegrated version of the platform were concluded at the end of month 18 with the code published in the GitHub platform. Within the second half of the project the modules will be integrated into the main platform and further developed. The next steps also include the implementation of all the case studies. The outputs will contribute to further improve the platform and the modules.
By the completion of the project and in the medium term, the total number of industrial sectors/ sites/ parks, public authorities (including energy agencies), large private facilities and DHC operators aware and in position to directly benefit from the new heat modelling platform in the short to medium term is expected to exceed 2000. In addition to the sectors and stakeholders directly involved and/or aware of the outputs of the project and the EMB3Rs platform, a set of Key Performance Indicators are under development for project.
Preliminary estimates for expected impacts for the EMB3Rs case studies include:
- The cement company in one of the Portuguese case studies estimates that the application of the EMB3Rs tool lead to a reduction of about 30% in primary energy inputs and CO2 emissions, resulting from electricity generated from excess heat and foreseeing its use within their internal production processes.
- In the Swedish case study, the EMB3Rs tool will aid in the identification of new cost-effective routes to incorporation of locally available excess thermal energy from an industrial park. Preliminary inventories identifying that the available excess heat delivered to the local DH network could increase by approximately 60.000 GJ per year, which would drastically reduce the amount of heat that the company buys annually from its two regional net connections. There will only be a minor direct impact on GHG/CO2 emissions as well as on new connected households since the Swedish district heating market is very mature and fossil fuels, e.g. natural gas, is today only used for extreme peak demands.
- In the Portuguese case study involving a local DHC network, the company estimates that the tool will aid in achieving the target of a 50% reduction in the use of natural gas in the DHC network, leading to a reduction in 15000 ton/year in CO2 emissions.
- In the Danish case study, the EMB3Rs platform will be used to simulate the P2P case with 30 residential consumers connected to the DH grid, exploring the effect of using excess heat from a local supermarket on the local DH network. The case is expected to show that the average daily supply from waste heat would amount to approximately 17% of local heat use, avoiding the import of heat from other locations in the grid. Further performance indicators will quantify the cost savings, CO2 savings and fairness of prices of this solution. The project can also play an important part in the goal of increasing customers ownership of local energy communities within the DH grid, as well as boosting private investment in other parts of Copenhagen.
Planning and implementation phases of excess thermal energy recovery and use using the EMB3Rs tool.