Main research areas of the Laboratory:
– methodological justification of sustainable energy development conception;
– development of methods and measures for regional energy planning;
– impact assessment of measures for the promotion of sustainable energy development.
OBJECTS AND TASKS OF THE RESEARCH
Strategic documents of the EU and Lithuania stress the importance of scientific research directed towards the main objectives of the energy policy, i.e. security and reliability of energy supply, more efficient energy production and consumption, wider use of renewable energy sources (RES). Different countries apply different promotion and regulation measures which stimulate the demand of respective technologies, products and services in the market. Only when the demand is high enough, the basis for progressive technologies and solutions is obtained and the successful development as well as implementation of strategic objectives is ensured.
The impact assessment of promotion measures often lacks objective criteria. The businesses aim at more favourable conditions to secure their investments and ensure the profitability, while the state support to the development of some technologies distorts the market competitiveness and increases the consumers’ expenses. On the other hand, insufficient support and great risk of investment deter potential investors, which results in the absence of potential benefits from the application of new technologies.
The attention is currently focused on the technological advancement which notably outpaces the implemented state, organizational and fiscal measures. Balancing all promotion measures to make them versatile, rather than single-targeted, is also an important task. At present, many countries are forced to alter the economical promotion policy, because the increased technology supply has generated the interest of businesses and investment due to the applied favourable energy purchase costs. However, an uncontrolled development of such technologies would increase energy production costs which are paid by all energy consumers. The justification of promotion preconditions and measures requires assessing their benefits and long-term usefulness regarding different aspects, which would serve as the basis for the development of economic, regulatory and organizational promotion system. The main objective in justifying the scope of promotion measures is to estimate or otherwise determine their public benefit which reveals itself through energy supply security and reliability, affordability to all consumers, solution of urban and rural social issues, averting negative environmental impact and other benefit which may be exposed both national (e.g. improvement of foreign marketing balance, high GDP development in energetics) and local level (e.g. improvement of employment, production expansion in regions).
Nevertheless, the assessment of expedience and impact of promotion measures is still a new area in Lithuania; thus, searching for solutions requires following the international-level or indirectly related research and methods enabling a more versatile assessment of the measures. This holds for both the assessment of future usefulness of technologies, and the applied organizational and regulatory forms of the measures. The effectiveness of various regional or urban programmes, use of waste energy, regulation of emission, energy efficiency and eco-labelling schemes of devices, equipment or systems as well as buildings must be analysed following a general assessment methodology.
The scientific problem is related to the objective assessment of the public benefit due to the RES development capable of revealing the advantages which could not be disclosed by assessing financial benefits and solving the environmental and social problems at the same time. Single-criteria identification of solutions is usually impossible since the problem itself is diverse. This requires versatile knowledge which could be systemized and purposefully disseminated. Exceptionally regulatory measures in the society may be treated as realisation of interests of EU bureaucrats and certain lobbyist groups.
The wider use of many perspective energy saving and RES-based technologies is limited by the slowly increasing demand; formation of the demand for RES technologies is a rather poorly investigated issue. The users of RES technologies who should apply for different support measures have not been clearly identified yet. The users of RES may encompass both power plants of heat supply companies (boiler houses or thermal power plants) and separate buildings using biomass, geothermal equipment or solar collectors to produce heat and hot water.
In 2012 the economic and social benefit assessment of promotion measures, based on life-cycle costs method, escaped external costs and social benefit was prepared. Assumptions were analyzed in which way different RES technological solutions could be promoted by developing sustainable development scenarios for cities.
Dr. Habil. V. Klevas performed economic justifications for RES demand promotion. Together with researchers from the Faculty of Economics and Management of Kaunas University of Technology he initiated a long-term institutional economic research program for 2012–2013. On 16 11 2012 the first working meeting of program Long-term competitiveness challenges for Lithuanian economy took place. During the meeting the proposals and insights were submitted by the Lithuanian Bank Council deputy Raimondas Kuodis, Vilnius University professor Rimantas Rudzkis and LSC vice-chairman Rūta Marcinkevičienė.
Another program implemented together with six Lithuanian higher schools (Vilnius University, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Mykolas Romeris University, The General Jonas Zemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, Aleksandras Stulginskis University and Vytautas Magnus University) was initiated in autumn 2012. During the first working meeting program implementers discussed the objectives and future activities.
In Lithuanian state budget financed program Long-term competitiveness challenges for Lithuanian economy the researchers will aim to determine competitive danger of new booming world economy centers for traditional technologies based-production in Lithuania, to investigate the interrelation of higher technologies and innovations expansion in economy sector with business units, the shock impact of credit market.
Besides, researchers will analyse and propose improvement measures for resources distribution and use in public sector, will aim at identifying structural changes of human capital, work resources in state economy sector taking into account migration impact and considering world economy trends. At the end of the program recommendations will be submitted as well as methods according which macroeconomic processes will be assessed and their impact will be simulated.
The researchers of the Laboratory not only carry out national research, but also participate in many international projects contributing to the former and the spread of information. The greatest amount of research is performed in theframework of Intelligent Energy – Europe programme.
In 2012 the Laboratory continued the project Regions Paving Way for a Sustainable Energy Europe (ENNEREG), financed by the European Union. 12 European regions, supporting the initiative of the Covenant of Mayors and participating in the project, initiated the implementation of the energy and environmental protection goals set by the European Union, i.e. to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, increase the share of renewable energy sources up to 20% of final energy consumption, and improve the efficiency of energy consumption by 20%.
ENNEREG project is represented by 12 European regions, in Lithuania this is Kaunas region. Alongside with main pioneer-region, in 2011, another Lithuanian twin-region was involved into the project, that is Šilutė municipality, which joined the initiative of the Covenant of Mayors and which had difficulties in implementing the responsibilities of sustainable energy planning.
The project working group is responsible for helping to update and specify the Sustainable Energy Action Plan, also by contributing to dissemination of sustainable energy ideas in Sustainable energy day organized by the municipality. During the implementation of the project a detailed overview of Šilutė municipality energy sector was performed, expansion possibilities were evaluated, on the basis of which a plan of sustainable energy development till year 2020 was prepared. The project representatives also provided training on sustainable energy planning basics to municipality representatives. During the project Šilutė municipality sector profile was created on website, where latest news on sustainable energy development in the region are provided:
LEI working group actively participated in helping Šilutė municipality representatives to organize Sustainable Energy Day in Šilutė on 17 05 2012. The project participants prepared material for sustainable energy lecture, which took place in all municipality high-schools for senior classes’ pupil. During the conference which took place at the municipality, LEI representative presented a report on the importance of sustainable energy planning.
In 2012 the working group encouraged to more actively apply heat and energy saving actions in dwelling-houses. On 10 03 2012 during meeting with Eiguliai society representatives, the discussion was related with thermo-vision application and thermo-vision investigation of apartment houses. On 15–18 03 2012 at exposition Namų pasaulis 2012 the possibilities of heat and energy saving in buildings were presented to visitors as well as considerable amount of useful educational material.
During the project sustainable energy development projects are collected and prepared, which later were presented in other EU regions as examples of good experience. One of such examples was Birštonas town as an eco-town example at the conference, which took place on 22 May 2012 in Poland (Poznan).
Project partners actively participated both in international activity and in Lithuania. On 08 11 2012 we represented Kaunas region in ENNEREG seminar, which took place along with Fedarene (European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and Environment) general assembly in Bilbao (Spain).
Project partners also visited scientific research center, which specializes in energy and environmental innovations research.
In 2012 international conference Covenant of mayors and up-to-date initiatives of the European Commission – to improve heating sector and energy efficiency of buildings, which was organized by Panevėžys city municipality together with EK Intelligent Energy for Europe technical support initiative ManagEnergy. The representative of ENNEREG presented a report on the experience of sustainable energy planning in Kaunas region.
The material devoted to region societies may be found in Lithuanian language as well on:
New business opportunities for solar district heating and cooling
In July 2012, the laboratory joined new project New Business Opportunities for Solar District Heating and Cooling (SDHplus), which was initiated by the EU partners and it’s duration is 36 months and is the continuation of previously implemented IEE project SDHtake-off. The project is coordinated by the partners from Germany – Research Institute for Solar and Sustainable Thermal Energy Systems SFZ Solites. The project encompasses 18 partners from 12 EU countries.
Partners from the first project provided decision makers with necessary knowledge, recommendations, possible support schemes in developing solar district heating plants. The successive project SDHplus is directed towards wider application of solar district heating plants in district heating network and meeting heat demand in buildings.
The obejctives of SDHplus project is to foster wider application of solar energy in district heating by:
• Describing and promoting examples of successful solar energy integration into solar district heating power plants systems;
• Developing and implementing new pilot business models in solar district heating power plants, taking into consideration the fact that district heating uses renewable energy sources, the application of which in buildings is considered as measures increasing energy efficiency;
• Developing and implementing new market strategies in solar energy district heating sector (such as, the green tariff, engross models).
Expected project results:
• New SDH business models and SDH marketing strategies open up new opportunities for DH suppliers and other stakeholders and thus create a relevant contribution to the market growth.
• Show cases are created for integrating SDH into various specific district heating solutions. These show cases respond to the market barriers of DH stakeholders (e.g. combination with CHP, high costs).
• SDH markets develop in the newcomer countries ES, FR, HR, LT, PL, SI. It is estimated that they can reach a capacity of 500 MWth until 2020.
• High level dissemination activities, in particular the international SDH workshops and visit tours to new SDH plants.
Presently approximately 130 solar power plants are operating in Europe, the capacity of which is higher than 350 kW. 40 power plants in this number have the nominal capacity higher than 1MW. High capacity power plants with storages are developed to meet day’s heat demands in dwelling houses. In European countries solar heat is transferred into coolness. In Denmark and Germany solar power plants with seasonal heat saving storages are continuously developed.
Four experienced countries participating in the project develop solar power plants in the following directions:
• Sweden combines solar power plants with biomass applications in heat network, whereas final consumer producing heat supplies it to city’s DH network. 7 MW solar collectors installed on earth in Kungalv town heat up 1000 m3 capacity storage.
• Denmark integrates solar collectors into local DH network. 13 MW solar collectors are installed on ground heat up a 10 thous. m3 capacity storage.
• German solar collectors are installed on the roof of houses and heat up dwelling houses and transfer heat surplus to seasonal heat storage. In Neckarsulm town 4 MW solar collectors are installed on the roof of dwelling houses and connected with 63 thous. m3 capacity storage.
• In Austria SDH for town’s DH network is performed by energy services company (ESCO). In Graz town 1 MW solar collectors are directly connected to town’s DH network.
Solar energy heat is not currently used in DH network in Lithuania. This project will enable to promote knowledge on possibilities to use solar energy in DHN and applied technologies. Despite the fact that the intensity of Solar in Lithuania is lower than in South European countries, the experience of Nordic countries shows that in this climate zone this may be a good alternative to biomass as well as fossil fuel, taking into account that for the same amount of energy to be collected from biomass requires approx. 30 times higher earth surface, whereas estimated heat production costs (in Germany) amount to 40 Eur/MWh (~ 13.8 ct/kWh).
Another project related to district heating sector is Ecoheat4Cities was to be completed in 2012. Its long-term objective is DHC development in the future perspective of increasing sustainability aiming at justifiable systems, appropriate consultations regarding efficient decision making, integrating RES and energy efficiency measures. A more specific aim was to eliminate non-technological obstacles: the lack of knowledge and objective system indicators that impede the use of DHC potential.
District heating and cooling (DHC) is an effective and environment-friendly means to provide heating and cooling services to the consumers, commercial institutions and industries. DHC provides means for achieving the aims of the European energy policy by making especially efficient use of primary energy and integrating renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, some obstacles to the broader use of DHC on the European level still remain. Non-technological obstacles impeding the DHC development in the European cities is the fact that this energy sector is perceived as not transparent enough. This is because its comparison to other heating and cooling markets (individual RES technologies, heat pumps, etc.) is complicated. Local DHC systems and different alternatives of generation, distribution and supply impose difficulties for local planners and investors in the assessment of projects, while politicians face problems in justifying, deciding and assessing the impact of policies. Similarly, consumers lack knowledge about the energy efficiency and environmental benefits of DHC.
Ecoheat4Cities aims at eliminating the non-technological obstacles by improving the accessibility of DHC to the users and developing a voluntary “green” energy (heating and cooling) labelling scheme. The developed scheme will assess energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources, whereas the presentation of such information to local politicians, citizens and potential investors will enable the choice of energy efficient and renewable energy-based technological solutions.
A labelling scheme is under development to motivate DHC supply companies to advertise their services from the primary energy sources perspective. The European consumers, including private and public sectors, will be able to easily estimate the environmental benefit of DHC supply. The criteria for labels were determined to enable a simple comparison of DHC with other methods of heating and cooling, similarly to the currently applied and future schemes of energy efficiency and “green” labelling.
MAIN APPLIED RESEARCH OF THE LABORATORY
The implementation of Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the energy performance of buildings encompasses regular control requirements or regulation of alternative measures for heating systems in building with heating boilers with capacity larger than 20 kW as well as air conditioning systems with capacity larger than 12 kW, which should be implemented by member states.
In accordance with the order of the Ministry of Energy a study was performed at the Laboratory, where economic expedience of such regular assessments, based on control expenses and forecasted control benefit due to more efficient operation of engineering systems and saved energy resources of these buildings was evaluated. Alternative measures for regular control were proposed on the basis of studies results – notification of buildings’ owners, questionnaires-forms, the use of which would enable to get adequate results for regular checks, which demands lots of expenses.
Another important part of this work – review and correction of present control methods as well as changes proposed taking into account new edition of energy efficiency directive as well as Commission Regulation (EC) No 1516/2007 of 19 December 2007 establishing, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, standard leakage checking requirements for stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment containing certain fluorinated greenhouse gases.
Provided corrections and appendixes of methods are confirmed by corresponding Lithuanian regulations.
SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE LABORATORY
Thermo-visual diagnostics of buildings, electricity sector and technologic processes
Thermo-vision is a non-contact measuring technology for surface temperatures based on measuring heat radiation intensity. This type of research is applied for investigating and maintaining dwelling houses and industrial buildings, incl. roofs, piping, electrical installation, chimneys and mechanical facilities. It is also used for determining the leaking and filling levels in the tanks/containers, observing and control the quality of the processes. Thermo-visual research is carried out using IR thermography camera Flir B400 that has a surface temperature measuring range from -20oC to +350oC.
Certification of energy efficiency for buildings
The Laboratory expert on certification of energy efficiency in buildings is carrying out the certification of energy performance for buildings.
On 8 January 2013 a PhD Candidate E. F. Dzenajavičienė has successfully completed the defence of doctoral thesis Research of Efficient Biofuel Use for Sustainable Development of Municipal Energy Sector . This dissertation was certified.
Three other PhD Candidates are studying and preparing their doctoral theses in the Laboratory.
DISSEMINATION OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH RESULTS
V. Klevas prepared and published one section from the Monograph. One article is submitted and reviewed in the journal, included into ISI list, 1 article is published and two more are submitted in scientific journals, registered in international scientific information data bases.
In 2012 the researchers of the Laboratory participated and presented papers in local and international conferences; in total, 5 papers were presented in the Lithuanian and 5 in international conferences. Since the researchers pay much attention to educating the scientific and technical community and society on relevant energy issues, they composed 2 science-promotion articles and several leaflets. Researchers of the Laboratory perform scientific research, advisory activities and provide services in accordance with the contracts with Lithuanian public institutions, companies and organizations.
Training of Šilutė municipality representatives on 17 04 2012
Sustainable energy day in Šilutė municipality on 17 05 2012
ENNEREG booklets for energy consumers
Meeting with Eiguliai society on 10 03 2012
Responses to visitors questions in the exhibition
Namų pasaulis 2012 on 15–18 03 2012
Presentation of Birštonas as ecologic town development in conference in Poznan (Poland) on 22 05 2012
Inspection of experimental energy efficient building in Bilbao (Spain) on 09 11 2012
Presentation at Panevėžys city conference on 04 12 2012
SDHplus participants at solar collectors installed in Germany
DHC scheme of Denmark city Breadstrup
Solar collectors on the territory of DGC enterprise
Solar collectors installed on the roof of dwelling house
63 thous. m3 capacity storage of collected solar energy
Ecoheat4cities information for DHC enterprises and town city planners on the benefit and merits of the system labeling and recommendations for their improvement
Results of checking costs-benefit analysis for regular heating and air conditioning systems
Certification example of energy efficiency for building