Public summary (Research questions, analytical and practical approach)
The 5th Generation District Heating and Cooling (5GDHC) network has great advantages in integration of low temperature resource, bi-directional operation, decentralized energy flows, and possible energy sharing. However, there are research gaps, related to this technology: the lack of a simulation platform for rapid prototyping in different regions, the unknown technical and economic performance in various conditions, and the lack of feasibility study for early opportunities and potential barriers. In the frame of this project, a simulation platform will be developed using agent-based modelling and GIS to evaluate the technical and economic performance of the 5GDHC technology and study possible applications of the 5GDHC in the Baltic and Nordic regions.It will adopt an integrated multidisciplinary approach by combining technical and economic simulations, technology database, digital-GIS resource mapping, business model optimization and policy-orientated feasibility study for dissemination/replication.The database of available resources will be developed by means of collecting data from a large number of geolocations. A digital numerical mapping approach will be used based on heat maps and QGIS tool to visualize the technical performance of various indicators at simulated locations. A simulation platform, which integrates both the agent-based modelling and GIS, will be further developed based on Python and Urban Modelling Interface tool. Three local market business models for 5GDHC at community level will be designed, which will be optimized based on Nash-type game theory and non-linear objective function. A ‘reverse techno-economic’ simulation will be used to find the ‘break-even points’ for investment. The possible impacts of policy interventions will be investigated through scenario/sensitivity simulations to explore barriers and opportunities for different stakeholders in different regions.Through the investigation at diverse cultural and geographical contexts in Baltic-Nordic regions, this project will contribute significantly in the increase of flexibility and resilience of urban energy systems and promote new local energy market. This project will strengthen the Baltic-Nordic knowledge in the areas of energy-efficient buildings and energy systems. This will not only promote best technical and economic solution, but also develop strategies for higher education of next-generation researchers in these regions to tackle future challenges and developments.
The goal of the project is to evaluate technical and economic performance of the 5th Generation District Heating and Cooling (5GDHC) technology and explore the feasible applications of the 5GDHC in the Baltic and Nordic regions. The combined use of technical and economic simulations, technology database and GIS techniques will provide insight into and competitive advantage for further 5GDHC development. The project contains objectives covering three different areas, namely the connection to local and national energy systems, business development, and dissemination/replication. All of these objectives will be considered in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden.
Energy system/infrastructure-related objectives
In this project, potential solutions will be optimized to maximize the use of low-grade energy. This will affect building demand profiles where energy needs of one building can be balanced by the surplus of another. Furthermore, it will affect the local energy supply as the infrastructure will require less heating or cooling. Finally, intermediate and seasonal heat and cold storage will also be affected as the 5GDHC network can store heat/cold within the building’s structure/5GDHC sink, while accommodating excess PV/wind power. As a result, it is necessary to carefully design the system and find suitable locations for 5GDHC implementation. The specific objectives are summarized below.
To collect data from open sources and by interviewing/surveying potential participants to estimate their heat demand/supply and temperature levels.
To map available resources on a local, regional, and national scale.
To identify potential agents (e.g., residential buildings, office buildings, shopping malls, data centers, etc.) in 5GDHC in each target context.
To create a high-resolution GIS database for digital mapping of 5GDHC agents.
To develop a Python library for rapid prototyping in 5GDHC simulation.
To evaluate the technical performance of 5GDHC in representative locations and its impact on local, as well as aggregated regional and national energy systems.
Objectives associated with the business solution for the creation of new sustainable markets
This project will consider the possibility of deep co-operation and energy sharing between various participants. Business models for various actors will be explored, creating a new sustainable market for the future energy sector. The relevant objectives are defined below.
To design, test and evaluate three local market business models for 5GDHC at the community level:
Thermal Energy Purchase Agreement (TEPA): the district heating operator finances and owns the 5GDHC network and then sells heating and cooling services to end-users at agreed prices.
Local Thermal Energy Provider (LTEP): real estate companies invest in and operate the 5GDHC network, purchasing heat from various sources.
Local Thermal Energy Community (LTEC): the local community owns and operates the 5GDHC network with various participants sharing the ownership.
To introduce reverse technical and economic simulation for feasibility studies. This will determine the resources, business models and their combinations, which are closest to the break-even point in a large set of locations across the target regions.
Objectives related to dissemination and replication
At this stage of development, it is necessary to consider the possibilities to expand and replicate the 5GDHC in various regions. There are gaps in knowledge about local energy systems and their potential benefits at all levels and for various stakeholders. The dissemination and replication objectives are as follows:
To select representative locations in various Baltic and Nordic climate zones for general simulation to replicate the study.
To map the 5GDHC market that is relevant to local energy solutions in other areas of the Baltic and Nordic regions.
To make the simulation platform available as a testbed for actors outside the consortium.
To identify driving factors and barriers faced before and during the implementation of the 5GDHC, by means of considering local conditions, such as legislation, heating market, tariff systems and business models, existing energy infrastructure, etc.
This project is expected to achieve the following four results:
- R1. Technology database and a digital map of 5GDHC agents and corresponding technical and economic performance in the Baltic and Nordic regions.
- R2. 5GDHC simulation platform for peer-to-peer energy sharing in communities.
- R3. Optimal agents and design of the local 5GDHC market for various Baltic and Nordic countries.
- R4. Break-even points for investments into 5GDHC in a larger set of locations across the Baltic and Nordic regions.
Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), Estonia
Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), Estonia
Dalarna University (HDa), Sweden
Riga Technical University (RTU), Latvia
Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI), Lithuania
Estonian Power and Heat Association, Estonia
Latvian District Heating Association, Latvia
„HeatConsult“, engineering company, Estonia
Ltd. “Alksnes enerija”, District heating company, Latvia