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So far Leandra has created 35 blog entries.

New solar-bioenergy villages in Germany

2018-05-17T10:48:58+02:00Jul 18th, 2017|

Several bioenergy villages with combined biomass and solar heat supply are being realized at the moment in Germany. The idea of solar thermal integration in district heating networks is spreading in rural areas.
In Mengsberg, the largest collector field in a bioenergy village is planned with 3000 m² high-temperature flat-plate collectors. After four years of pre-planning, the contract was signed in April between the local energy cooperative and the company Viessmann, which will deliver the 9 km district heating network with approximately 150 connections turn-key.Also in the region of Lake Constance, more bioenergy villages should be inaugurated until the end of the year. Solarcomplex AG from Singen is realizing a second solar district heating plant in Randegg following the model of the pioneer village of Büsingen. The village of Randegg with 1000 inhabitants is supplied by a biomass boiler since 2009, and 2000 m² solar thermal collectors will now complement the heat supply. In the same region the utility of Radolfzell is planning a district heating network with solar thermal integration. The first pipes will be installed over the summer.

In Rheinland-Pfalz, where a plant was inaugurated last year in Neuerkirch-Külz, the diggers are at work again in the neighboring village of Ellern. Also this district heating network should be supplied by approximately 1200 m² solar thermal collectors. The impulse came from the village itself, and the project group was innovative regarding the communication campaign to reach enough connections for the district heating network to be built: a heat consumption calculator was made available online and ten interested citizens were specifically trained, so that they could inform and convince their neighbors.

At the end of April already, the plant of Hallerndorf (largest in Bavaria) was inaugurated with a public celebration. The operator is the green electricity supplier Naturenergie AG.

In all the new solar-bioenergy villages, the solar plants are dimensioned to cover the complete heat demand in the summer months. Additionally, home owners who decide to connect to the village’s heat supply get free connection to the high-speed internet.

Guido Bröer

New German solar yield prediction tool for solar district heating systems

2020-04-01T16:50:37+02:00Jul 17th, 2017|

SCFW (ScenoCalc Fernwärme) is an open-source tool based on Microsoft Excel. It was developed within a German research project aiming at extending the scope of the existing tool ScenoCalc to a system level approach and enabling a solar yield prediction specifically for solar district heating systems. The tool can be downloaded for free at www.scfw.de (German language).

From the roof into the district heating network

2018-06-11T14:24:24+02:00Jul 17th, 2017|

The district heating operator in Berlin-Adlershof BTB enables the connection of a solar thermal plant and an innovative plus-energy house concept for a district via net-metering contract.

The specificity of the business model currently appears very clearly. The 613 m² evacuated-tube collectors from Ritter XL located on two from the five buildings already produce heat since May but the apartments in the buildings are not occupied yet. Still, the future occupants benefit from the heat produced now since the BTB (Blockheizkraftwerks-Träger- und Betreibergesellschaft mbH), operator of the district heating network, has offered the housing company a special deal: every kWh of solar heat which is not needed in the buildings is fed-into the district heating network and accounts for one kWh that will be delivered by the district heating network in the winter.This is a win-win situation. The evacuated-tube collectors produce more over the year than the heat consumption of the five buildings, even if only two of the roofs are covered. The surplus heat is free for the district heating operator. On the other hand, the housing company has guarantee that it does not need to buy heat and can define a relatively cheap fixed rent including heat costs. Thanks to the fact that the network is used as storage, only 10 m³ of storage volume is needed for the five buildings. As soon as these are loaded, the additional solar power is fed into the district heating network.

Guido Bröer

Experimental solar district heating plant for research activities

2018-06-11T15:47:02+02:00Jul 17th, 2017|

An experimental district heating and cooling is in operation since April 2017 at the French National Research Center for Solar Energy (CEA INES). A 300 m² solar thermal plant with six different technologies of solar panels combined with a 40 m³ storage tank feed the network. This platform is ready for 4th Generation District Heating development as it allows to test decentralized feed-in, power-to-heat equipment, combined heat and power and more.

This experimental platform will allow to implement, test and validate innovative components or systems in real environment, advanced management algorithms, dynamic modeling and simulations. It also links the three different energy vectors (heat, gas, electricity) and is connected with existing INES experimental platform (i.e. PV collectors or electricity storage).The production plant is composed of 300 m² of vacuum tube and flat plate solar collectors with the possibility of implementation of other new fields, a condensing gas boiler of 280 kW and a 40 m3 storage tank. It will be completed in the coming months with a power-to-heat equipment (heat pump) and a combined heat and power boiler. Several dozens of hydraulic configuration of the central plant can be tested. For example, solar collectors can feed in the network either in a centralized or decentralized way with or without storage. One of the consumer is connected to INES semi-virtual test bench that can emulate space heating and domestic hot water loads: it is used to develop and test innovative and decentralized feed-in substations.

An absorption machine coupled with a storage tank of 5 m3 will recover the heat coming from the heat network in order to supply the experimental cooling network. This technology platform will be used to develop and demonstrate new products and systems with industrial partners.

For more information, please contact: cedric.paulus@cea.fr

Travel to Denmark with a delegation of the Metropolitan Region Hamburg

2018-06-11T15:47:12+02:00Jun 20th, 2017|

On June 13, a delegation of the working group on climate protection and energy of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region visited two SDH sites in Denmark. As local advisory board for the Hamburg region within the SDH project, the working group aims at paving the way for SDH projects in the region. In the Metropolitan Region with 5 million inhabitants, there are already numerous district heating networks in operation – but so far only few with renewable energies.

A group of 25 persons followed the invitation of Hamburg Institut to visit renewable district heating sites in Gram and Vojens / Denmark. The group consisted mostly of expert staff members from counties, ministries and municipalities of the region, all keen to get first-hand information on SDH plants and seasonal heat storages.In Gram they discussed with the manager of the district heating cooperative about the step by step approach of the municipality to transform its district heating system from fossil fuels to renewable energies: Starting in 2009 with a 10 000 m2 solar thermal plant, the cooperative enlarged it in 2014 by another
30 000 m2, and a 110 000 m3 heat storage. Overall, the district heating network in Gram now covers about 60% of its heat with solar energy.After lunch at the castle of Gram, Peter Eijbergen and Christian Stadler from the SDH-manufacturer Arcon-Sunmark, and the consultants Per Alex Sørensen (from PlanEnergi) and Dr. Matthias Sandrock (Hamburg Institut) discussed with the participants the experience and challenges of realising SDH projects in the German market. Technical, legal and financial barriers and solutions to overcome them were analysed – as well as the issue of public acceptance, planning and space availability in a densely populated metropolitan region.

On the way back to Hamburg, the group stopped at Vojens to visit another SDH plant – one of the largest plants in Denmark with
71 500 m2 solar thermal collectors and a seasonal heat storage of 200 000 m3.

The feedback of the participants was very positive: Impressed by the Danish projects and well informed by the SDHp2m partners, participants stated their motivation to bring equivalent projects forward in the Hamburg region.

Simona Weisleder

Poland: solar for more efficient district heating networks

2020-02-05T16:29:18+01:00May 5th, 2017|

Solar district heating has great opportunities in Poland as a key technology to lower air pollution levels in cities. Aneta Więcka from the Polish Institute for Renewable Energy emphasised in this interview that costs of high-quality coal are raising and financial support for demonstration plants is available.

Is SDH a promising and attractive option for utilities in Mazovia and Poland in general?

Więcka: Yes, the opportunities are definitely there. District Heating (DH) remains the primary technical solution for providing thermal energy in Poland at lower particle emissions (PM10, PM 2,5) than individual coal-fired boilers. The largest share in DH (75 % in 2015) is covered by CO2-intensive coal-fired cogeneration plants, whereas renewable heat adds up to only 7.4 %, with a mere 7 % generated from biomass. In 2015, 443 DH companies with a capacity above 5 MWth, had an operating license by the Energy Regulatory Office. Based on data by this government agency, the total heating capacity associated with licensed DH companies amounted to 56 GW (71 GW in 2002). Heat demand has fallen because of the public’s greater awareness of environmental issues and because of stricter efficiency standards for building modernisation. Mazovia looks like a very promising region for SDH due to a high number of DH utilities and networks. Moreover, the local population has high purchasing power and is very aware of environmental issues, but a lack of stable and long-term energy policies has inhibited investment in DH.
There is now a change in the regulatory framework, partly influenced by the EU. According to Article 116 of the Polish Renewable Energy Sources Act (adopted in June 2016), heat producers and traders must purchase thermal energy from the grid to which they are connected if the energy comes from waste treatment or renewables, which also creates opportunities for SDH. Lastly, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, NFOŚiGW, is preparing a programme to support heating businesses in their efforts to become Energy Efficient Heating Companies, as specified in the European Energy Efficiency Directive.Plenty of opportunities – but what are the barriers which prevent an ‘SDH boom’?
Więcka: SDH faces special challenges, such as scarce knowledge of the solutions’ technical and economic parameters and high upfront costs. But there are other factors which make for a difficult situation: The economic performance of DH systems drops whenever better insulated or low-energy buildings reduce heat demand in the networks while fixed costs don’t change.

Do you have any strategies for an SDH market rollout in Mazovia?

Więcka: Yes, we do have a step-by-step action plan. The first step involves the implementation of a pilot SDH plant for demonstration purposes. During this phase, installations might receive support from the National Centre for Research and Development. The second key action is to hold stakeholder meetings and offer capacity building training to demonstrate the economic viability of an SDH market in Poland. If the risks are acceptable, actual investment projects might benefit from subsidy schemes created by the EU or national environmental funds.
In conclusion, the key driver for a shift from coal towards solar in Poland seems to be the growing cost of high-quality coal and EU environmental and climate protection regulations. One example is the proposal in the Regulation on the internal market for electricity to gradually exclude power plants producing emissions above 550 g CO2/kWh, something that might start in 2025 if the regulations are finally accepted this year by the EU Parliament and Council. This will encourage the heating and cooling sector to stop investing in coal.

Which type of SDH plant is more likely to be part of the Polish scenario? Large centralised plants like in Denmark or smaller systems connected in a distributed way to the district heating networks?

Więcka: In my opinion, Polish DHC operators should invest in large centralised plants as has been done in Denmark in order to achieve economies of scale. The examples from Denmark show us that even Scandinavia’s climate makes it possible to build large and efficient solar thermal systems. The most important aspect is an economic one, as has been highlighted during the workshop. Solar heat at energy costs of 25 to 45 EUR/MWh may be more competitive than conventional DHC heat in Poland, where it costs around 41 EUR/MWh.Although you don’t have a crystal ball: What do you think is a reasonable time frame until we see the first SDH system in Poland?
Więcka: If DH utilities are looking for a subsidy to build such a plant, now is a good time to invest. The first system is needed for a shift in attitude towards heating systems. We are wondering whether a Polish or a foreign energy company will be the first investor. It will be easier to connect a solar system to a newly built district heating network than to upgrade an existing one. Additionally, Poland is faced with major air pollution challenges especially because of fine particles such as PM 2.5 and 10. Regional and national attempts have been made to try and reduce coal and waste combustion in individual heating boilers. The construction of new SDH plants could be one solution to lower air pollution levels in Poland.

Is there any concrete project of an SDH system being developed in Mazovia or anywhere else in Poland?

Więcka: A good example could be the project under study in the Praga district of Warsaw. This part of Warsaw is very old and has no district heating, as the buildings were set up before the second world war. They are now being renovated, presenting an opportunity for SDH with storage. There are plans to connect part of the Praga district to the existing Warsaw DH network and there is another opportunity to create DH systems based on new power generation technologies. 

Aneta Więcka, Senior Expert and Head of the Solar Energy Team at the Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO). Established in 2001 and based in Warsaw, the Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO) is an independent research group and the main private research institute in Poland with deep knowledge of renewable energy in all its forms, whether it is wind, solar, biogas or biomass. The organisation also has substantial know-how in the field of energy planning, from energy policy and legislation to economic and financial analysis to technical issues and design.

The interview was carried out by Riccardo Battisti, a solar thermal consultant and market researcher working at Ambiente Italia (Rome, Italy).

Conference ‘Renewable district heating in large cities’ in April 2017

2018-06-04T14:41:20+02:00Apr 20th, 2017|

On the 3rd of April 2017, an expert conference was held in Hamburg with around 170 experts on renewable energies in large-scale district heating systems, organized by the SDHp2m partners Hamburg Institut and AGFW. Strategies and realized best-practice-examples from international and national pioneer cities showed how the transition of urban heat supply towards renewable energies succeeds and which important role district heating can play.

The presentation by Wouter Verhoeven, Warmtebedrijf Rotterdam impressed the participants by the consequent expansion of the district heating network and the integration of industrial waste heat, mainly from the large port areas of the city. Also the actions for the involvement and information of the citizens in the implementation phase of the projects were really convincing: making the inauguration of the new pipeline a public festival, organizing architectural competitions for substations or offering special learning programs at public schools.Dr. Werner Prutsch, head of the environmental administration in Graz, captivated the audience with a very dedicated lecture on district heating as the key to the urban energy transition in Graz. The city had to act a few years ago, when it became clear that the coal-fired power plant would soon no longer be available. The administration in Graz, various stakeholders in the city and Styria have not only developed a coherent concept for the transformation of the supply with renewable energies, but have also implemented the first projects. One of the most ambitious projects is certainly ‘Big Solar Graz’, where a solar thermal system with a collector field of 450 000 m² and a seasonal storage with 1 800 000 m³ will be realized.

Elisabeth Undén, assistant deputy mayor and chairman of Göteborg Energi brought the topic to the point with its core principle: ‘Use the energy that you have’. 90% of all households in Göteborg are connected to district heating, which is already fossil-free. In her lecture, the main focus was on saving potential and buildings as day-to-day storage.

The final panel discussion with Jens Kerstan, Senator for Environment and Energy in Hamburg, Werner Lutsch, Managing Director AGFW and President of Euroheat and Power, Dr. Werner Prutsch, Pieter Wasmuth from Vattenfall Wärme Hamburg GmbH and the SDHp2m partners Per Alex Sorensen from PlanEnergi and Christian Maaß from Hamburg Institut was moderated by Stefan Schurig of the Word Future Council. Main outcome of the discussion: consistent political guidelines and above all also trade can make renewable district heating a decisive driver of the energy transition.

Simona Weisleder

Interview with the region of Thuringia, SDHp2m project partner

2018-06-11T15:21:53+02:00Feb 15th, 2017|

he region of Thuringia in Germany is one of three EU regions whose regulatory regional authority is a project partner of SDHp2m. Euroheat & Power had the opportunity to interview one of the representatives from the regional government of Thuringia, Mr. Martin Siewert, about the motivation of the region to be a project partner.
Read the interview here.

Overview of EU-funded heating and cooling projects now available

2018-06-11T15:37:06+02:00Jan 25th, 2017|

A number of activities and projects funded by EU programmes are supporting the EU heating and cooling strategy adopted in early 2016. For the first time a single document has been drafted by the European Commission  providing  an overview of the EU-funded projects in the area of heating and cooling for calls between 2011 and 2016. The document is available here.

“Hot stuff!” – An aquifer heat storage for Hamburg

2018-06-11T15:45:23+02:00Jan 25th, 2017|

The SDHp2m partners Hamburg Institut and PlanEnergi have worked on a strategy to introduce renewable energies in Hamburg’s district heating system. A key element of the strategy is a heat storage for industrial waste heat and solar heat in a salty aquifer.

In a study for the City of Hamburg, the consultants have analyzed several options for the replacement of an old coal fired CHP plant for the city’s district heating system with renewable energies and waste heat (click here to read the study in German language).The study concluded that the coal fired plant could be entirely replaced by renewable and waste heat sources at competitive costs. To recover industrial waste heat and heat from a possible large SDH plant, the consultants suggest storing the surplus heat in summer in a natural aquifer. This water in this aquifer could in any case not be used as drinking water due to its high salinity.

The study has provoked massive public attention: The reputable weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT made a frontpage story in its Hamburg edition and concluded: “This is hot stuff!”.

Source: Hamburg Institute

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