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Achieving low return temperatures from district heating substations

Gadd, Henrik, Werner, Sven
Applied energy 2014 v.136 pp. 59-67
assets, data collection, energy resources, environmental impact, heat, heating systems, primary energy, quality control, temperature, waste incineration
District heating systems contribute with low primary energy supply in the energy system by providing heat from heat assets like combined heat and power, waste incineration, geothermal heat, wood waste, and industrial excess heat. These heat assets would otherwise be wasted or not used. Still, there are several reasons to use these assets as efficiently as possible, i.e., ability to compete, further reduced use of primary energy resources, and less environmental impact. Low supply and return temperatures in the distribution networks are important operational factors for obtaining an efficient district heating system. In order to achieve low return temperatures, customer substations and secondary heating systems must perform without temperature faults. In future fourth generation district heating systems, lower distribution temperatures will be required. To be able to have well-performing substations and customer secondary systems, continuous commissioning will be necessary to be able to detect temperature faults without any delays. It is also of great importance to be able to have quality control of eliminated faults. Automatic meter reading systems, recently introduced into district heating systems, have paved the way for developing new methods to be used in continuous commissioning of substations. This paper presents a novel method using the temperature difference signature for temperature difference fault detection and quality assurance of eliminated faults. Annual hourly datasets from 140 substations have been analysed for temperature difference faults. From these 140 substations, 14 were identified with temperature difference appearing or eliminated during the analysed year. Nine appeared during the year, indicating an annual temperature difference fault frequency of more than 6%.