Special Issue "Urban District Heating and Cooling Technologies"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019) | Viewed by 9002

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Joan Carles Bruno
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Avda. Països Catalans, 26, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
Interests: applied thermal engineering; distributed generation of energy; renewable energy; polygeneration systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is well known that District Heating and Cooling (DHC) networks for urban environments can provide energy savings with significant economic and environmental benefits among others with respect to individual building heating and cooling facilities. Therefore many studies and reviews have been done in this field. However, this new special issue will not only cover the main features of DHC networks and their current state-of-the-art but will focus mainly on new advanced features such as:

  • Analysis of new cogeneration, trigeneration and polygeneration configurations to supply energy for DHC networks. Special attention will be given to renewable based DHC networks using several energy resources such as solid biomass and urban waste residues, solar energy, geothermal, etc. making use of several energy conversion technologies. And also with the possibility to favorably contribute to a more sustainable mobility in cities.
  • Low distribution temperature networks known as the fourth generation of DH networks.
  • Integration of compression and sorption heat pumps using new configurations for the simultaneous delivery of heating and cooling, both at the energy supply plant and/or as substation units.
  • Use of urban heat sources such as the recovery of heat from underground transport facilities, sewage water networks, etc. for their use in DHC networks.

The use of renewable energy sources, recovered heat from urban or industrial waste, cooling from regasification plants, new low temperature distribution networks and the synergies with electricity and gas fuels networks are paving the way to the new concept of smart energy system with a higher scope than the more usual smart grid concept limited to the electricity grid. The mentioned and many other new developments will help to widespread the implementation of DHC networks especially for the case of cooling supply that is currently less developed and at the same time contribute in this way to achieve the internationally agreed commitments on the environment and climate change.

Prof. Dr. Joan Carles Bruno
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • District heating and cooling networks
  • Renewable energy, Heat pumps integration
  • Recovery of urban waste heat
  • Recovery of industrial waste heat

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Recovery and Transport of Industrial Waste Heat for Their Use in Urban District Heating and Cooling Networks Using Absorption Systems
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(1), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10010291 - 31 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1215
Abstract
The use of industrial excess heat in district heating networks is very attractive. The main issue is the transport of the heat from the point of generation to the local distribution network, in a way similar to the structure of electricity transport and [...] Read more.
The use of industrial excess heat in district heating networks is very attractive. The main issue is the transport of the heat from the point of generation to the local distribution network, in a way similar to the structure of electricity transport and distribution networks. Absorption systems have been proposed to transport and distribute waste heat using two absorption stations. In one of them (step-up station), industrial heat at a low temperature is pumped to a higher temperature to facilitate its transport and at the same time increase the temperature difference between the supply and return streams, in this way reducing the hot water mass flow rate circulating through the heat transport network. Heat is then used in a second absorption system (step-down station) to provide heat to a low temperature local district network. In this paper, several absorption system configurations are analyzed for both stations. A detailed thermodynamic analysis of each configuration is performed using selected energy performance indicators to calculate its global performance. The implementation of these kind of systems could enable the use of waste heat to produce heating and cooling for smart communities located a few dozens of kilometers away from industrial sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban District Heating and Cooling Technologies)
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Article
Report on a Plus-Energy District with Low-Temperature DHC Network, Novel Agrothermal Heat Source, and Applied Demand Response
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(23), 5059; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9235059 - 23 Nov 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1524
Abstract
District heating and cooling networks can pose the possibility of including a variety of renewable energy sources as well as waste heat into a district’s heat supply concept. Unfortunately, low demand densities as they increasingly occur through higher building energy standards and in [...] Read more.
District heating and cooling networks can pose the possibility of including a variety of renewable energy sources as well as waste heat into a district’s heat supply concept. Unfortunately, low demand densities as they increasingly occur through higher building energy standards and in rural areas render conventional heating and cooling networks inefficient. At the same time, power-to-heat is becoming more and more important to make use of a larger amount of renewable energy sources on the electrical side by providing more flexibility by means of demand response and demand-side management. Within this work, a rural Plus-Energy settlement is presented addressing those topics by a low-temperature district heating and cooling network connected to a novel agrothermal collector supplying 23 residential buildings with decentralized heat pumps and PV systems. The collector, the network, and six of the buildings are equipped with comprehensive monitoring equipment. Within those buildings, forecast and optimization algorithms are implemented to adapt their heat pump operation to enable an increase of self-consumption, to include flexible electricity tariffs, and also to participate in power markets. Thereby, for the low-temperature district heating and cooling network, it has been shown that the concept can operate in the future at competitive heat costs. On the building level, up to 50% of cost savings could be achieved under ideal conditions with the optimization of the self-consumption of PV electricity. However, to ensure optimal results, the individual system components have to be dimensioned for this task. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban District Heating and Cooling Technologies)
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Article
A Comparison of Different District Integration for a Distributed Generation System for Heating and Cooling in an Urban Area
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(17), 3521; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9173521 - 27 Aug 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 984
Abstract
The paper proposes a comparison of different district integration options for a distributed generation system for heating and cooling in an urban area. The system considered includes several production units located close to the users, a central unit and the district heating and [...] Read more.
The paper proposes a comparison of different district integration options for a distributed generation system for heating and cooling in an urban area. The system considered includes several production units located close to the users, a central unit and the district heating and cooling network which can connect all the users to each other and to a central unit, where a cogeneration system and a solar plant can be placed. Thus, each user can be regarded as isolated from the others, satisfying its energy needs by means of an autonomous production unit. Alternatively, it can be connected to the others through the district heating and cooling network. When a district heating and cooling network is included in the design option the synthesis-design and operation problems cannot be solved separately, because the energy to be produced by each production site is not known in advance, as the flows through the district heating and cooling network are not defined. This paper uses a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) methodology for the multi-objective optimization of the distributed generation energy system, considering the total annual cost for owning, operating and maintaining the whole system as the economic objective function, while the total annual CO2 emissions as the environmental objective function. The energy system is optimized for different district integration option, in order to understand how they affect the optimal solutions compared with both the environmental and economic objects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban District Heating and Cooling Technologies)
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Article
Integration of Reversible Heat Pumps in Trigeneration Systems for Low-Temperature Renewable District Heating and Cooling Microgrids
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(15), 3194; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9153194 - 05 Aug 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1768
Abstract
District heating and cooling networks based on trigeneration systems and renewable energy technologies are widely acknowledged as an energy efficient and environmentally benign solution. These energy systems generally include back-up units, namely fossil-fuel boilers and electric chillers, to enhance system flexibility and cover [...] Read more.
District heating and cooling networks based on trigeneration systems and renewable energy technologies are widely acknowledged as an energy efficient and environmentally benign solution. These energy systems generally include back-up units, namely fossil-fuel boilers and electric chillers, to enhance system flexibility and cover peak energy demand. On the other hand, 4th generation district heating networks are characterized by low-temperature water distribution to improve energy and exergy efficiencies. Moreover, reversible heat pumps are a versatile technology, capable of providing both heating and cooling, alternately. In this paper, the integration of reversible heat pumps as single back-up units in hybrid renewable trigeneration systems serving low-energy micro-district heating and cooling networks is investigated. A detailed modeling of the system is provided, considering part-load and ambient condition effects on the performance of the units. Size and annual operation of the proposed system are optimized in a case study, namely a large office building located in Pisa (Italy), by means of a genetic algorithm-based procedure. A comparison with the conventional trigeneration system is performed in terms of economic and environmental perspectives. Results show that the integration of reversible heat pumps is an economically viable solution capable of reducing by 7% the equivalent annual cost, increasing the installed power of renewables up to 23%, and lowering by 11% carbon dioxide emissions, compared to the energy system with conventional back-up units. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban District Heating and Cooling Technologies)
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Article
Contracts, Business Models and Barriers to Investing in Low Temperature District Heating Projects
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(15), 3142; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9153142 - 02 Aug 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2035
Abstract
Approximately 1.2 EJ of energy are potentially available for recovery each year from urban heat sources in the EU. This corresponds to more than 10 percent of the EU’s total energy demand for heat and hot water. There are, however, a number of [...] Read more.
Approximately 1.2 EJ of energy are potentially available for recovery each year from urban heat sources in the EU. This corresponds to more than 10 percent of the EU’s total energy demand for heat and hot water. There are, however, a number of challenges to be met before urban waste heat recovery can be performed on a wide scale. This paper focuses on the non-technical issues related to urban waste heat recovery and is written on the basis of opinions gathered from stakeholders in the field. Three non-technical issues are focused upon. First, a number of important barriers to wide scale urban waste recovery are identified, and where applicable, recommendations are made regarding how to overcome these barriers. Second, important issues and challenges regarding contract design are identified and discussed. Key elements of heat supply contracts between the district heating company and the owner of the waste heat are described. Finally, the impact on business models of properties specific to urban waste heat recovery are discussed. Data were collected from two separate sources, both related to the ReUseHeat Horizon 2020 project, which addresses the application of urban waste heat recovery in existing district heating networks. First, a number of interviews with stakeholders were carried out. Second, information was collected from demonstrator sites involved in the ReUseHeat project. It was concluded that, for urban waste heat recovery to be taken up on a wide scale, there is still a large amount of work to do to overcome these major issues. This paper is novel in that key non-technical issues of urban waste heat recovery are discussed from the perspective of a large sample of actual stakeholders and practitioners in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban District Heating and Cooling Technologies)

Review

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Review
Opportunities for Integrating Underground Railways into Low Carbon Urban Energy Networks: A Review
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(16), 3332; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9163332 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1161
Abstract
Cities demand vast amounts of energy for their everyday operation, resulting in significant degradation of energy in the form of heat in the urban environment. This leads to high cooling requirements in cities, while also presenting the opportunity to reuse such waste heat [...] Read more.
Cities demand vast amounts of energy for their everyday operation, resulting in significant degradation of energy in the form of heat in the urban environment. This leads to high cooling requirements in cities, while also presenting the opportunity to reuse such waste heat in order to provide low-carbon heating for buildings and processes. Among the many potential energy sources that could be exploited in urban areas, underground railway tunnels are particularly attractive, as the operation of the trains produce considerable amounts of heat throughout the year. This paper reviews how secondary energy sources in urban areas can be integrated into heating and cooling networks, with emphasis on underground rail tunnels. This involves investigating potential urban waste heat sources and the existing state-of-the-art technologies that could be applied to efficiently recover this secondary energy, as well as analyzing how district heating and cooling networks have been a key mechanism to allow for a smooth transition from current fossil fuel based to future low-carbon energy sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban District Heating and Cooling Technologies)
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