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Open AccessArticle

Design and Assessment of District Heating Systems with Solar Thermal Prosumers and Thermal Storage

1
Urban Energy Systems Laboratory, Empa, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
2
Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich, 8049 Zurich, Switzerland
3
Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 8049 Zurich, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Urban Energy System Laboratory, Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Überlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.
Academic Editor: Javier Batlles
Energies 2021, 14(4), 1184; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14041184
Received: 20 January 2021 / Revised: 8 February 2021 / Accepted: 15 February 2021 / Published: 23 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Heating and Cooling for Buildings and Industry)
In this study, a holistic energy, economic and environmental assessment was performed on a prosumer-based district heating system, including scenarios with varying district size, retrofitting stages and system configurations. A modeling framework was built which comprises a thermal network design and simulation model; a building energy demand model for districts; and supply and storage technology models that allow assessing system solar fraction, equivalent annual cost and greenhouse gas emissions of district heating systems (DHS). Furthermore, the approach allows comparing the performance of a DHS with individual heating systems (IHS) for the district with the same set of technology options (rooftop-mounted solar thermal collectors, gas boilers and thermal storage tanks). The framework was applied to a Swiss case study. The results of the case study show that DHS often outperform IHS; however, parameters such as the district size, the retrofitting stage of buildings and the system configuration have impacts on the performance of the DHS. The most important parameter lies in the adequate selection of the storage volume over solar collector area ratio, which indicates that DHS solutions are only advantageous if they are properly sized. Smaller districts and districts with retrofitted buildings especially benefit from DHS solutions in terms of energy, economic and environmental performance. Maximum solar fractions of 50% (non-retrofitted case) and 63% (retrofitted case) were reached with the DHS solutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: district heating network; solar thermal collectors; distributed solar prosumers; simulation modeling; thermal storage district heating network; solar thermal collectors; distributed solar prosumers; simulation modeling; thermal storage
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, D.; Carmeliet, J.; Orehounig, K. Design and Assessment of District Heating Systems with Solar Thermal Prosumers and Thermal Storage. Energies 2021, 14, 1184. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14041184

AMA Style

Wang D, Carmeliet J, Orehounig K. Design and Assessment of District Heating Systems with Solar Thermal Prosumers and Thermal Storage. Energies. 2021; 14(4):1184. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14041184

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wang, Danhong; Carmeliet, Jan; Orehounig, Kristina. 2021. "Design and Assessment of District Heating Systems with Solar Thermal Prosumers and Thermal Storage" Energies 14, no. 4: 1184. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14041184

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