A steady growing global demand for energy and rising greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in several initiatives from the European Union with the purpose of increasing energy efficiency. A part of this strategy is the introduction of energy performance certificates for buildings, containing a numerical primary energy indicator. Another instrument is to encourage an increased use of cogeneration. As a member of the European Economic Area agreement, these events also affect Norway.
The main aim of the project was to investigate how various relevant parameters influence the primary energy factor of district heating when a combined heat and power (CHP) plant is the heat producing unit. The study was to be based on Norwegian conditions.
To select relevant technologies, a mapping of existing and planned CHP facilities connected to district heating (DH) networks in Norway was carried out. The findings were that at present, there are nine steam cycle CHP plants connected to DH networks that are based on waste incineration, one steam cycle that is based on demolition wood and one reciprocating engine that is running on biogas. The installed electric capacity ranged from 0,3 MW to 22,8 MW and the annual district heating production from 1,5 GWh to 196 GWh. Based on this, it was decided to study steam cycle CHP plants further. Three different sizes were chosen: 2 MWel, 10 MWel and 25 MWel.
In addition, the situation in Europe was looked into. Here, steam cycle and combined cycle were found to be the two most dominant CHP technologies. To have a different technology to compare with, a combined cycle with 22,7MWel capacity was also included in the study.
By running plant simulations, the effects of part load operation, various district heating supply and return temperatures and different fuel types were quantified.
STEAM Pro was utilised to design the steam cycle models, while GT Pro was used to design the combined cycle models. STEAM Pro was also used to perform design simulations for different temperature levels in the DH network and to study the effect of different types of fuels. To be able to investigate the part load performance of the plants based on a given district heating demand, the models from STEAM Pro and GT Pro was imported into Thermoflex and modified.
Reducing the DH supply temperature from 120 to 80 °C and the return temperature from 80 to 35 °C in the 10 MW steam cycle plant increased the power efficiency by 25% and the power to heat ratio by 33%, but the total efficiency was only slightly increased. Variation of fuel, on the other hand, influenced the power efficiency and the total efficiency almost equally, and the power to heat ratio was hence left relatively unaltered.
The results from the simulations at the defined full load conditions showed that power efficiency was more than twice as high for the combined cycle than for the steam cycle plants, and the power to heat ratio was almost four times higher for the CC plant. The total efficiency was approximately 10 % lower for the combined cycle than for the steam cycles.
Performance also varied between the different sizes of steam cycles, and both boiler type and turbine size influenced power efficiencies and power to heat ratios. In contrast, the total efficiencies were close to equal.
Part load had a great influence on power efficiency and power to heat ratio for all technology types. Especially at very low load levels, the power efficiency was considerably reduced. The combined cycle experienced a total fall in power efficiency of 40%, while the reduction varied from 60% to only 29% for the steam cycle plants. The part load total efficiency was only slightly reduced for all plants.
Based on the part load simulations, annual efficiencies and power to heat ratios were calculated for different annual load distributions. The annual power to heat ratio and power efficiency was clearly influenced by changes in the annual load distribution pattern, while the effect was less notable for the annual total efficiencies.
To calculate the primary energy factors, the total efficiency and power to heat ratio results from the CHP plant simulations were implemented in an excel tool developed by . Some other modifications were also performed.
The district heating primary energy factors (PEFDH) for the defined base case varied from 0,85 for the Combined Cycle* alternative to 1,4 for the 2 MW steam cycle plant. The base case was defined to have medium energy density(8 MWh/m). This was later found to not represent the actual Norwegian conditions, where the average energy density is closer to 4 MWh/m. When this energy density was used, the PEFDH for the 10 MW steam cycle plant increased 9,4%, from 1,38 to 1,51. This value is still considerably lower than the primary energy factor for the average electricity production in the Nordic countries, which is 2,16.
It was found that the combined heat and power plant parameters had a significant influence on the primary energy factors. The power to heat ratio was particularly important when the power bonus method was utilised. One main conclusion is therefore that it is important that the performance indicators that are used for the CHP plant are realistic, and takes into account technology type, part load performance and what load duration curve the plant is subject to.
In most of the cases studied, the fuel handling process and the use of additives contributed most to the primary energy losses related to the PEFDH, while the sum of primary energy losses was dominated by the losses occurring in the CHP plant and the fuel handling. Nevertheless, what process and parameters that could potentially improve the PEFDH most depended on technology and choice of allocation method. In all cases studied, pump work related to circulating the DH water and energy consumption related to ash transport, construction and dismantling of the CHP plant and DH pipes were negligible or close to negligible. Heat loss became a considerably more dominant primary energy loss contributor when a low energy density was assumed.
In the end, the calculation of primary energy factors involves many choices that influence the results. It is therefore important that the calculation method becomes more standardised. As it is today, some processes are optional, for instance the use of additives. In this study, the use of additives had a non-negligible influence on the results. Furthermore, the CHP simulation results underlined the importance of taking type of CHP technology and operational conditions into account when calculating primary energy factors for this kind of systems.
According to NS-EN 15316-4-5, the power bonus method is the allocation method that should be utilised when calculating primary energy factors for district heating. This makes the district heating primary energy factors extremely dependent on power to heat ratio and the choice of PEF for avoided electricity. If the amount of avoided electricity production in fact is smaller than the full amount of CHP production or if the PEF of the avoided electricity is lower than what is assumed, this might lead to a severe underestimation of the PEFDH.
The ultimate goal with the use of primary energy is to encourage more efficient energy use. It is therefore important that the issues mentioned in the two paragraphs above are further studied and discussed as a part of exploring how a standard method should be designed to face this challenge.
Institutt for energi- og prosessteknikk , 2011. , 143 p.