Double Loop Network for Combined Heating and Cooling in Low Heat Density Areas

Michele Tunzi*, Matthieu Ruysschaert, Svend Svendsen, Kevin Michael Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

This study investigated a double loop network operated with ultra-low supply/return temperatures of 45/25 °C as a novel solution for low heat-density areas in Denmark and compared the proposed concept with a typical tree network and with individual heat pumps to each end-users rather than district networks. It is a pump-driven system, where the separate circulation of supply and return flow increased the flexibility of the system to integrate and displace heating and cooling energy along the network. Despite the increased use of central and local water pumps to operate and control the system, the simulated overall pump energy consumption was 0.9% of the total energy consumption. This was also an advantage at the design stage as the larger pressure gradient, up to 570 Pa/m, allowed minimal pipe diameters. In addition, the authors proposed the installation of electrically heated vacuum-insulated micro tanks of 10 L on the primary side of each building substation as a supplementary heating solution to meet the comfort and hygiene requirements for domestic hot water (DHW). This, combined with supply water circulation in the loop network, served as a technical solution to remove the need for bypass valves during summer periods with no load in the network. The proposed double loop system reduced distribution heat losses from 19% to 12% of the total energy consumption and decreased average return temperatures from 33 °C to 23 °C compared to the tree network. While excess heat recovery can be limited due to hydraulic issues in tree networks, the study investigated the double loop concept for scenarios with heat source temperatures of 30 °C and 45 °C. The double loop network was cost-competitive when considering the required capital and operating costs. Furthermore, district networks outperformed individual heat pump solutions for low-heat density areas when waste heat was available locally. Finally, although few in Denmark envisage residential cooling as a priority, this study investigated the potential of embedding heating and cooling in the same infrastructure. It found that the return line could deliver cold water to the end-users and that the maximum cooling power was 1.4 kW to each end-user, which corresponded to 47% of the total peak heat demand used to dimension the double loop network.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 6091
JournalEnergies
Volume13
Number of pages24
ISSN1996-1073
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Double loop network
  • District heating
  • District cooling
  • Ultra-low temperatures
  • Power-to-heat

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