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Strategic techno-economic assessment of heat network options for distributed energy systems in the UK

Ahmed, Asim, Mancarella, Pierluigi
Energy 2014 v.75 pp. 182-193
capital, case studies, energy, heat, models, pipes, rural areas, temperature, United Kingdom
Distributed energy systems facilitated by heat networks are rising in the UK as a viable option to decarbonise the heating sector, particularly at a community level (up to several MW). However, in this respect there is lack of suitable modelling tools and studies to assess the techno-economic performance of heat network options in different areas at a strategic level. Therefore, this paper presents a generic and comprehensive model to perform heat network design and assessment according to specified input criteria and assess operational, capital, and overall costs of multiple alternatives. More specifically, the model developed can provide strategic information on the feasibility and performance of heat network options with different operational temperatures, load densities, network lengths, cost parameters, pipe types, dwelling connection types, etc. (which are key to address the utilisation of different local supply sources in distributed energy systems). Generic test networks were used for strategic analysis, which resemble typical topologies used for electrical networks in the UK in urban, sub-urban, semi-rural, and rural areas. Numerical case studies and sensitivity analyses were carried out to assess different options and the main drivers in different scenarios. As a general result, twin pipes emerge as the most viable alternative.