Energy savings through first smart heat network for buildings

Optimisation even possible without radical modifications

Delft, 5 October 2016 – Knowledge institutes Delft University of Technology and Deltares have joined forces with Deerns, Kuijpers, Priva and Van Beek to realise the first smart heat network for buildings in the Netherlands on the campus of Delft University of Technology. Smart heat networks help to reduce CO2 emissions and to realise the required energy transition. On 30 September 2016, the parties involved concluded the research phase of the project. The first results are promising and boost confidence in the feasibility of the project. The results also indicate that substantial energy savings can be achieved with relatively little effort.

During this initial research phase, the behaviour of Delft University’s current heat network was identified through simulation models as well as the characteristics of the buildings on the campus. This forms the basis for striking a better balance between supply and demand and making the heat network more efficient based on real-time data such as the weather and the heat produced in the buildings. The simulations clearly show that it is possible to transport warm water through the pipes at lower temperatures while still ensuring a comfortable temperature in the buildings. This is important in terms of connecting to renewable energy sources in the future.

The research results of Deerns and Deltares show that, without large-scale building modifications, the use of gas-fired boilers can be reduced by 20%. This reduction will be mainly achieved by setting the temperature in the heat network as low and as dynamically as possible based on current weather forecasts. Priva and Kuijpers have successfully tested this new setting in part of the heat network. Van Beek subsequently makes the actual energy performance of the heat network transparent through monitoring.

“For the Netherlands, the use of intelligent heat networks is a necessary step in the energy transition, because heat uses 40% of our primary energy,” says Ivo Pothof, water and energy expert at Deltares. Delft University of Technology’s campus is a good place to demonstrate this because this is where all the knowledge comes together.” In addition to the campus of Delft University, there are several other locations in the Netherlands where similar heat networks can use energy smarter and more efficiently.

The campus of Delft University of Technology acts as a ‘living lab’, where experiments with innovative insights and methods take place in an existing environment. A total of 23 buildings are connected to the heat network of Delft University. The current available heat sources are CHP (combined heat and power) systems and gas-fired boilers. Sander Snelleman, Team Leader Energy at Delft University of Technology: “It is very interesting for Delft University that the simulations show us exactly where the bottlenecks that need to be addressed are located in our heat network. The first simulations are very promising. In any event, they show us that a primary energy savings of 10 to 15 per cent is possible with limited modifications. This reflects the ambition of Delft University of Technology to sustainably generate or buy a quarter of the existing energy demand in 2020, to consume 40% less energy and to reduce CO2 emissions by 50%. The possible use of renewable energy sources can help us further towards realising a CO2-neutral campus.”

5 ottobre 2016

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