Renewable and Waste Heat Recovery for Competitive District Heating and Cooling Networks

Solutions developed

The main aim of the EU-funded REWARDHeat project is to develop a new generation of low-temperature district heating and cooling networks that will recover low-grade renewable and waste heat available at low temperatures. Its ultimate vision is to enable new ways to provide heating and cooling to buildings, making thermal energy a service, not a commodity.
REWARDHeat will promote punctual metering, thermal storage management and network smart control as means to enable and optimise the exploitation of renewable and waste heat in DHC networks.

Main results

REWARDHeat will promote punctual metering, thermal storage management, network smart control as means to enable and optimise the exploitation of renewable and waste heat in DHC networks.
At the same time, this approach permits a change of paradigm with respect to the business models devised: thermal energy will not be seen as a commodity anymore, rather it will be sold as a service to the customers.

1. DHC network PLANNING solutions
REWARDHeat will explore alternative configurations of a DHC network, where there are multiple heating and cooling sources available. It will provide recommendations for the replication of the systems depending on their boundary conditions.
2. Substations including local storage and reversible heat pump
Specific configurations adapted to network temperature levels, application and consumer’s energy uses will be demonstrated. 3 or 4 substation configurations including sizing procedures and control strategies will be devised.
3. Distribution pipelines dedicated to low temperature DHC networks
Following analysis of the optimal distribution pipe materials and installation techniques, partners will develop a prefabricated 4-pipe product specifically designed around the needs of low-temperature DHC networks.
4. Thermal storage capacity exploitation
REWARDHeat will demonstrate how to optimise thermal storage to create flexibility. Although the utilisation of storage in the DH sector practice is not new, the control of such a system in the presence of significantly varying loads both at user and heat generation sides becomes a challenge.
5. Datamining and control infrastructure
Control strategies based on the prediction of foreseen energy demand will be elaborated to guarantee an optimized balancing.
6. Business models based on ‘heat as a service’
A business model will be developed for each of the eight demonstrator networks based on the assumption that heat is delivered as a service rather than as a commodity. Based on the business models identified, parameters of importance for the transition from high temperature to low temperature DHC networks will be identified.
7. Financing schemes driven by large private-public funding
REWARDHeat aims to make DHC networks more attractive to investors by increasing transparency. A financing support approach targeted to the specific economic, legislative, social and environmental parameters will be elaborated.
8. Impact scenarios, recommendations and guidelines
Operational scenarios will be assessed as a basis to demonstrate the economic viability of the REWARDHeat solutions both from the energy providers and prosumers points of view. The work will document the recommendations for REWARDHeat integrated infrastructures approach and develop practical guidelines in order to support and facilitate replication and exploitation.
9. Serious Game - REWARDHeat Business Game
A business game focused on practice-oriented further education will be developed and applied with different stakeholders.