– 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. the implementation of energy supply security and reliability, 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 assessment of impact 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 progress 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 tariffs. 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, accessibility to all consumers, solution of urban and rural social issues, averting negative environmental impact, etc.
Nevertheless, the assessment of expedience and impact of promotion measures is still a new area; 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 emissions, energy efficiency and eco-labelling schemes of appliances, equipment or systems as well as buildings must be analysed following a general assessment methodology.
The supply 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 to whom different support measures should be applied have not been clearly identified yet. The users of RES may encompass both power plants of district heating companies (boiler-houses or CHP plants) and separate buildings using biomass, geothermal installations or solar collectors for generating heat and hot water.
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-valued identification of solutions is usually impossible since the problem itself is diverse. This requires versatile knowledge which could be systemized and purposefully disseminated.
The work carried out in 2011 enabled improving the understanding of the methodology by supplementing it with theoretical analysis widely describing the methodology formation process. The prepared methodology has broad application perspectives. Energy sector is analysed as all flows of energy resources, currently used and possible to use or save (saving is an alternative energy source), and influencing the national development in terms of economic, social and environmental aspects as well as reliable supply and renewable energy. The essence and purpose of the methodology are to determine the missing links in the development of sustainable energy development by analyzing the overall energy sector in respect of energy sources. This opens the door for promising directions of economic research and solutions by approaching the existing and future technologies for energy production transformation, distribution and saving as well as their organizational interconnection into complexes as the means stimulating the national economic and social advancement.
The necessity for the formation of general energy policy has been highlighted for several years, but it is impossible without a common attitude towards the perspective of using separate types of fuel as a part of making strategic solutions as well as implementing them. The combination of different, sometimes even opposite and hardly-achievable, aims is what the methodology for assessing aspects of sustainability is targeted at.
The performed work provided a possibility for a detailed analysis of theoretical issues that encompass problematic areas related to the aspects of economic theory regarding sustainable energy development. In general, it can be concluded that the current energy sector has few market segments where objective conditions for competitive market would be possible. The common feature in respect of sustainable development is that although the market is perceived as the most effective measure for resource distribution, it is incapable of sufficiently ensuring the efficiency of energy consumption, use of renewable energy sources, reliability of energy supply and environment protection. For this reason, a focused national policy, directed towards overcoming the shortfalls of energy market, is necessary. One of the most important advantages of such work is that the topic enables directing the efforts of the scientists and researchers, working in different fields and solving energy issues, and the research of students, doctoral candidates and researchers towards the common goal.
Prof. Dr. Habil. V. Klevas, together with the scientists of the Faculty of Economy and Management at Kaunas University of Technology, prepared an application for Long-Term Institutional Support for Economic Research Programme. The Research Council of Lithuania of 2011-2013 acknowledged it as the best application out of 5 and assigned to prepare the final version of the programme for the implementation from 2012. V. Klevas submitted an application to RCL Scientists Initiative to Develop Projects 2011-2012 under the topic “Economic Justification of Demand for Renewable Energy Sources”. It was acknowledged as deserving financing and was initiated.
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 the scope of Intelligent Energy – Europe programme.
In 2011 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%. The researchers prepared a Sustainable Energy Action Plan for Kaunas Region, representing Lithuania, and presented it during the meeting with the representatives of municipalities. The Plan is aimed to facilitate the fulfillment of new obligations of the municipalities provided for by the Law on Renewable Energy to prepare and implement the Renewable Energy Action Plans which are an essential part of Sustainable Energy Action Plan. Sustainable energy development is also carried out in other regions of the country; cooperation with Šilutė municipality has been initiated.
The most important activity of the project is the dissemination of information about sustainable energy in the society. On 11-15 April 2011, the EU Sustainable Energy Week was organized in all the EU countries. Together with Kaunas Regional Energy Agency, the project implementers who participated in the event conducted a science promotion conference about renewable energy for the students and teachers of Kaunas City schools, and visited the event organized for Sustainable Energy Week in Kaunas Juozas Urbšys Catholic Secondary School. Special attention given to the education of the young is important in terms of they are the most receptive social group. Moreover, information about the possibilities to develop renewable energy production using local agricultural materials was provided for farmers and producers of biofuel. The project implementers prepared a considerable amount of educational material aimed at various social groups.
To browse and download the whole material for the regions, visit www.regions202020.eu. This material aimed at regional communities is also available in the Lithuanian language on http://www.regions202020.eu/news/secnews-1-lt/.. This material aimed at regional communities is also available in the Lithuanian language on
In 2011 the project Ecoheat4EU, partially financed by the EU programme Intelligent Energy – Europe, was completed. Its aim was to demonstrate that modern district heating and cooling (DHC) systems may be very useful in implementing the objectives of national and European energy and environmental protection policy. DHC promotes effective energy consumption and enables a wide scope integration of renewable energy sources in the city area. These two aspects provide for the reduction of carbon dioxide emission.
One of the essential preconditions for increasing the benefits of DHC supply is consistent, effective and non-discriminatory legislation. However, sometimes this is complicated to achieve due to the difficulties related to the nature of DHC systems. For this reason, the project implementers prepared recommendations for all countries participating in the project by summarizing legislation and determining balanced legal mechanisms oriented towards the promotion of modern DHC supply system development in each of the 14 countries-participants that are the main target of the project. The benefits of the DHC in every country were estimated regarding three different time reference points as follows: results for 2007 were justified by the level of demand for district heating supply and actual fuel mix used for heating in 2007 using the accessible and reliable statistics; updated systems 2007 were justified by the comparison of the demand level for district heating in 2007 with the forecasted fuel mix used for heat supply in 2030. This situation, intermediate in terms of time, was proposed in order to determine only the benefit due to the replacement of fuel mix used for heat supply. The third time reference point, forecasted development in 2030, was justified by the forecasted heat demand level in 2030 with and without the use of the advanced fuel mix for heat supply.
The three-situation model was selected to illustrate the fact that the current European DHC systems may be improved by both the replacement of fuel mix used for heat supply (integration of RES and waste energy resources) and the increased heat sales. The benefit of DHC was estimated via comparing the primary energy supply, energy import and carbon dioxide emissions with the situation where DHC and cogeneration are absent. It was accepted that in such situation the total amount of energy is generated in coal-condensing power plants, while the respective heat is produced from fuel oil and natural gas fuel mix in boiler-houses.
Another project related to heat supply sector is Ecoheat4Cities. 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 effectiveness. A more specific aim is to eliminate non-technological obstacles: the lack of know-how and objective system indicators that impede the use of DHC potential.
District heating and cooling (DHC) supply 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 generation options, distribution and supply pose 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 acceptability of DHC for the consumers 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 “green” 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 define the environmental benefit of central DHC supply. The criteria for labels are to be 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
Improvement of energy efficiency is a relevant factor determining the energy costs and competitiveness of the companies. In food and beverage production companies, the energy costs comprise a considerable share in the total balance of production costs. Its reduction is one of the long-term goals of the company which may be achieved via implementing advanced technologies and improving the control of technological process via information systems enabling the optimization of energy costs. The systems can operate only under proper informational supply: they require sensors recording energy flows and a suitable automatic control algorithm monitoring and controlling energy flows. The formation of such algorithm is based on the analysis of collected data and determination of functional links between technological production processes and energy costs.
Under the order of JSC Benco Baltic Engineering Company, the Analysis of Energy Use efficiency and Influencing Factors was carried out by investigating cooling production efficiency in a selected food company. Cooling consumption measurements for separate consumers and a feasibility study of operational efficiency of cooling compressors and the need for additional efficiency measures were carried out. was carried out by investigating cooling production efficiency in a selected food company. Cooling consumption measurements for separate consumers and a feasibility study of operational efficiency of cooling compressors and the need for additional efficiency measures were carried out.
The work was partially financed by Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology under the Innovation Voucher Scheme.
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 residential houses and industrial buildings, incl. envelopes, 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 -20 oC to +350 oC.
Certification of energy efficiency for buildings
A Laboratory expert on certification of energy efficiency in buildings is carrying out the certification of energy performance for buildings.
A PhD Candidate E. F. Dzenajavičienė has completed the studies, prepared and presented a doctoral thesis Research of Efficient Biofuel Use for Sustainable Development of Municipal Energy Sector in an expanded seminar of the Laboratory. This dissertation was certified.
3 other PhD Candidates are studying and preparing their doctoral theses in the Laboratory.
DISSEMINATION OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH RESULTS
V. Klevas prepared a monograph Methodology for Sustainable Energy Development which is going to be published in 2012. In 2011 the researchers of the Laboratory participated and presented papers in local and international conferences; in total, 2 papers were presented in the Lithuanian and 6 in international conferences. Their articles were published in the conference material as well. The researchers have submitted or already published 2 articles and 1 chapter of a book in the reviewed articles on international databases. 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.