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Knowing in advance the minimum temperature at which a building's occupants will be comfortable helps improve urban heat network energy-management decisions and can ultimately lead to broader use of renewables, lower CO2 emissions, reduced heat loss, and more affordable fuel costs. A new method is currently being tested in a virtual environment.
Urban heat networks are expected to
play a major role in the energy transition. This comes as no surprise when you
consider that the networks can use a mix of energy sources, including
renewables, and recover heat from household waste incineration plants. CCIAG,
which operates Grenoble’s urban heat network, is partnering with CEA Tech
institute Liten on a project that aims to improve urban heat network management
while maintaining the quality of service delivered to consumers. “We would like
to be able to fine-tune the temperatures injected into the network without
sacrificing user comfort,” said a Liten representative. “This means accurately
forecasting energy demand depending on the season and time of day and factoring
in the way in which heat is propagated across the network.”
Liten developed software that can
gather and analyze data from flow and temperature sensors and control pump and
additional generator switches. The software is currently being tested in a
virtual environment—a numerical simulator of a representative sampling of 26
consumers. Testing in a real-world environment will begin in 2015–2016.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.