Six demosites are at the heart of the project.
Four of the demo sites have district heating and cooling companies that are active in mature heat markets (Germany and Sweden), making the interconnection with electricity essential. Two of the demosites (Austria and Spain) are in district heating and cooling companies that operate on less mature heat markets, making the interconnection important for future efficiency in the energy system.
The Austrian demonstration site is the biomass district heating plant Maria Laach which supplies 30 heat consumers by a 1.5 km district heating grid. The heat is generated by two biomass boilers on 600 kW each. The main heat customers are restaurants, hotels, schools, public buildings and multifamily buildings with a heat demand of 120-215 MWh/annually each. The operational focus is a high utilisation of biomass; hence a small biomass CHP is planned to cover the base load and prevent inefficient part load operation of the biomass boilers. This future CHP plant could possibly act on the electricity balancing markets. In addition to this there is a current flexibility potential of a 8 cubic metre large storage tank.
The Maria Laach plant is a typical plant for Lower Austria, and one of more than 700 plants in Lower Austria and more than 2,000 plants all over Austria. The typical size allows for an optimal representation of the development during the project and facilitates the dissemination to the other Austrian plants. During the project, the plant operation parameters will be optimised for the application of the future biomass CHP plant and other renewable heat sources by active and flexible management of grid temperature, buffer storage temperature und consumer buildings.
The demonstration project at Frankfurter Allee will have lighthouse character for tailor-made, innovative and sustainable energy concepts for heating, cooling and electricity. The use of cross cutting technologies focusing on the use of low temperature excess heat sources at site (and in its vicinity) in combination with district heating and locally generated renewable energy will be centric part of the energy concept.
The aim of the Berlin demonstrator is the development and implementation of a replicable innovative energy concept in densely populated urban areas, which combines flexibility on the producer side as well as on the consumer side. Sector coupling plays an important role here: Power-to-cooling as a combination of photovoltaics (PV) with cooling with simultaneous excess heat utilization of the waste heat in the cooling process; Power-to-transport as a combination of PV for charging for e-mobility and utilization of excess heat from subway tunnels and sewage pipes for heat supply. A newly developed digital orchestration tool will use self-learning algorithms on fluctuations in the excess heat occurrence for the preparation of a supply prognosis as well as on control concepts and will control the energy flow from the PV system to the potential users of energy.
The Spanish demonstration site is in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. It is a plant with combined heating, cooling and power (CCHP) that provides the University of Balearic Islands (UIB) and the innovation park Parc Bit with electricity as well as heating and chilled water through the district heating and cooling (DHC) network.
The flexibility of the district energy network will be improved by implementing a control system for smart substations with the aim to enhance the efficiency in the distribution of the energy as well as the ability to store energy in the network. On the customer side the flexibility will be optmized by installing controllable valves and control systems for the energy meters.
In Borås, Sweden, the energy and environmenatal companu Borås Energi och Miljö operates the district heating system and the annual heat supplied to customers is around 600 GWh. The district heating is produced by several production units (boilers) utilising different kinds of fuel with varying price and environmental impact.
Borås Energi och Miljö joined the Flexi-Sync project together with one of their major customers Willhem, a housing company. The intention is to study how the district heating production is affected when the customer uses the thermal capacity of their building stock and their heat pumps in a clever way. If the overall heat demand in the district heating grid during “peak load” hours can be reduced it is possible that expensive and environmentally heavy fuels, used for the heat production, can be reduced.
One of the Swedish demonstrations sites is in Eskilstuna in the Energy Evolution District, an area that is in a in a transition process and consists of a variety of different business, utilities and dwellings. In this area the property owner will test and show the results from using new products and services that tackles issues regarding energy and energy consumption. The results from the tests and demonstrations will be evaluated and visualized to enable others to get encouraged and inspired.
The demosite in Eskilstuna participate in Flexi-Sync to gain knowledge and practical experience regarding flexible heat demand. At the site the aim is to test building side flexibility through utilizing building thermal storage and flexible operation of an exhaust air heat pump. The demo site has a district heating grid and a biomass CHP plant and on the grid operation side, the aim is to test machine learning based demand forecast, operational co-optimization (flexibility and production side), and optimizing with electricity trading (day-ahead and intraday balancing).
In Mölndal, Sweden, the energy company Mölndal Energi AB operates the district heating system. The annual heat supplied to customers is around 290 GWh. The district heating is produced mainly at Riskulla plant (CHP and boilers) using different kinds of renewable waste products from forrest-, wood-, paper or building industries
Mölndal Energi AB joined the Flexi-Sync project together with one of their major customers, the housing company Mölndalsbostäder AB. The intention is to study how the district heating production is affected when the customer uses the thermal capacity of their building stock as a way to optimize and reduce heat production costs. If the overall heat demand in the district heating system during “peak load” hours can be reduced it is possible that expensive peak fuels can be avoided. It will also be studied at what extent the thermal capacity of buildings can be used in optimizing electricty produktion in the CHP plant.
This project has received funding in the framework of the joint programming initiative ERA Net Smart Energy Systems’ focus initiative Integrated, Regional Energy Systems, with support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 775970.