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Energy Losses Study on District Cooling Pipes: Steady-state Modeling and Simulation (Civil Project)

Distribution losses are a very important factor in district energy systems. By optimizing the losses in such a system, both economical and environmental aspects can be fulfilled. Unfortunately, there is few information regarding losses for district cooling systems.

This study focuses on losses in district cooling networks by using both R-network and FEM simulation models. A R-network model composed of thermal conductances has been developed through analytical equations and simulations have been performed for validation. Afterwards, an in-progress construction project of a district cooling network from the city of Gävle, Sweden, is analyzed.

The assessment consists of 15 pipe diameters in three configurations (two symmetric cases and one asymmetric), at three ground laying depths (0.8, 2 and 4 meters) for a duration of 7 months (April to October). A particular case in which the main distribution pipes from and to the plant are submerged in the city’s river for a distance of 1 km is investigated in order to estimate the temperature increase of the supply water.

A maximum cooling loss below 2% of the total delivered energy during the season for any network configuration resulted from the calculation. Finally, the mixed pipes array seems to be a feasible investment both economically and technically but it cannot be used for the entire network spread since a part of the network has been already built with the non-insulated plastic pipes. The R-network model proved to be effective and reliable in the analysis which provides confidence that it can serve as a solid foundation for a calculation tool – primarily for design purposes and also for estimating energy loss.
Source: University of Gävle
Author: Calance, Marius Alexandru

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