The hot water tank is widely used for domestic hot water (DHW) preparation. When supplied by district heating (DH), the operation of DHW tanks directly influences the DH return temperature, thereby affecting the DH system efficiency, supply capacity and the realization of the low temperature district heating. However, the conventional charging method often results in high DH return temperature. This study develops a new charging method aiming at reducing the DH return temperature without violating the comfort or hygiene requirements. The concept uses the multi-mode charging method considering the periodical characteristics of the load pattern. Multi scenarios are simulated by dynamic models using the practical DHW load profiles from a case study. Moreover, the impacts of the tank configuration, the location of the temperature sensor, and the distribution heat loss are investigated. The results show that the new control method can reduce the primary return temperature by 5–8 °C compared to the conventional control method. The distribution heat loss imposes great impact on the DH return temperature. In addition, the tank with the external heat exchanger performs better than the tank with the internal heating coil if the circulation heat loss is less than 50% of the DHW demand.
- Domestic hot water tank
- District heating return temperature
- Tank control method
- Distribution heat loss
- Modelica models