Method for achieving hydraulic balance in typical Chinese building heating systems by managing differential pressure and flow

Lipeng Zhang, Jianjun Xia, Jan Eric Thorsen, Oddgeir Gudmundsson, Hongwei Li, Svend Svendsen

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Abstract

Hydraulic unbalance is a common problem in Chinese district heating (DH) systems. Hydraulic unbalance has resulted in poor flow distribution among heating branches and overheating of apartments. Studies show that nearly 30% of the total heat supply is being wasted in Chinese DH systems due to a lack of pressure and flow control. This study investigated using pre-set radiator valves combined with differential pressure (DP) controllers to achieve hydraulic balance in building distribution systems, and consequently save energy and reduce the emissions. We considered a multi-storey building modelled in the IDA-ICE software, along with a self-developed mathematical hydraulic model to simulate its heat performance and hydraulic performance with various control scenarios. In contrast to the situation with no pressure or flow control, this solution achieves the required flow distribution and close-to-design room temperatures, as well as 16% heat savings, 74% pump electricity savings, and proper cooling of supply water. The energy consumption savings would therefore have positive environmental impacts, and be reflected in seasonal reductions of 2.1 kg/m2 CO2, 0.02 kg/m2 SO2, and 0.01 kg/m2 NO x for 3rd step energy efficiency buildings in Beijing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding Simulation
Volume10
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
ISSN1996-3599
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • District heating
  • Hydraulic balance
  • Differential pressure controller
  • Pre-set radiator valve
  • Pressure and flow control
  • IDA-ICE

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