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District Lab - experimental facility for innovative district heating systems on a community level

: Schmidt, D.; Kallert, A.; Richter, S.; Huther, H.

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Lund, H. ; Aalborg University:
4th International Conference on Smart Energy Systems and 4th Generation District Heating, SES4DH 2018. Book of Abstracts : Aalborg, 13-14 November 2018
Aalborg: Aalborg University, 2018
International Conference on Smart Energy Systems and 4th Generation District Heating <4, 2018, Aalborg>
Abstract, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IEE ()
4G district heating; Energiesystem Stadt; Versuchseinrichtung

Especially low temperature district heating is recognized as a key technology for the (cost-) efficient integration of renewable energy and waste heat sources in our energy systems. Energy system studies indicate that a further development of low temperature district heating systems is needed for a decarbonisation of the heating sector. A deployment of local district heating schemes is mandatory to reach the set climate goals. On the other hand, we see that district heating is also put into question. To face these challenges research on innovative district heating concepts integrating decentral feed-in of renewable energy is needed.
The Fraunhofer IEE has started to set up a new research and experimental facility as a test and development platform for innovative district heating systems in close cooperation with industry partners. This facility consists of a real district heating grid in a lab-scale and expands the possibilities of the already existing facilities. This experimental environment is more flexible than experiments compared to tests in real operating district heating grid (demonstration) since no public utility mandate is connected to the District-LAB facility. Tests with variating temperatures and pressures can be conducted; new components and operating mode can be tested. On the other hand, the real behaviour of components and systems can be tested in a real life environment, simulation models can be validated in this facility.
First project ideas are with three different fields as the tests of new operational strategies (e.g. dynamic and changing boundaries for feed-in and utilization, grid operation with new temperature regimes, dynamic pressure and temperature changes) or tests of components (as piping systems, heat exchanger / sub-stations, pumps, control elements) or within the field of the development of simulation tools and validation (e.g. static hydraulic simulations incl. heat losses, dynamic simulations of control strategies and pressure changes).
The paper presents a more detailed description of the facility and the planned research activities to foster the discussion about needed research and to invite possible partners from academia and industry for future cooperation.