Modelling and Simulation of the Fifth-Generation District Heating and Cooling

Abstract: District heating and cooling are efficient systems for distributing heat and cold in urban areas. They are a key solution for planning future urban energy-efficient systems due to their high potential for integrating renewable energy sources. The systems also play an important role in community resilience, which makes them a multidisciplinary research topic. The continuous development of these systems has now reached the fifth-generation whereby end-customers can benefit from the intrinsic synergies this generation offers. A typical Fifth-Generation District Heating and Cooling (5GDHC) system consists of connected buildings that together have simultaneous heating and cooling demands. Local heat pumps and chillers in decentralised substations modulate the low network temperature to the desired building supply temperatures. The demands are potentially balanced by the means of recovering local waste heat from chillers, while also utilising heat pumps to provide direct cooling. The heat carrier fluid in the distribution pipes can therefore flow in either direction in the so-called bidirectional low-temperature network. A balancing unit is incorporated to compensate for network energy imbalances. The exchange of energy flows is realised at different stages within the individual building and across connected buildings. Numerous factors influence the quantity and quality of the exchanged energy flows. Demand profiles in each building, the efficiency of building energy systems, and control logics of system components are some examples of these factors. Investigating this generation using traditional computational tools developed using imperative programming languages is no longer suitable due to system complexity, size variability, and changes adopted in different use cases. Modelica is a free open-source equation-based object-oriented language used for the modelling and simulation of multi-domain physical systems. Models are described by differential-algebraic and discrete equations. The mathematical relations between model variables are encapsulated inside an icon that represents the model. Different component models interface variables through standardised interfaces and connection lines. Large complex systems are composed by the visual assembly of components in a Lego-like approach. Models developed in Modelica can be easily inherited for rapid virtual prototyping and/or edited to adopt changes in the model use. This dissertation has a fourfold objective. Firstly, it demonstrates the development of a simulation model for an installed 5GDHC system located in Lund, Sweden. Secondly, it characterises the components that constitute a 5GDHC system. Thirdly, it unravels the exchange of energy flows at different system levels and describes, in a logical progression, the modelling of 5GDHC with Modelica. Fourthly, it presents ethical risk analyses of the different role-combinations that may arise in 5GDHC business models. The developed model is used in performing annual simulations and to evaluate the system performance under two different substation design cases. The results indicate that adding a direct cooling heat exchanger in each substation can reduce the electric energy consumption at both substation and system levels by about 10 and 7 %, respectively. Moreover, the annual waste heat to ambient air can be decreased by about 17 %. The dissertation fosters an ethical discourse that engages the public and all who take part in the multidisciplinary research on 5GDHC to guarantee safe operation and appropriate services. Future research will build on the models presented in this dissertation to investigate different network temperature and pressure control strategies, in addition to adopting several design concepts for balancing units and thermal energy storage systems.