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The workshop held at the IMECHE and led by William Orchard was a huge success

 4 September 2012

The free workshop  'The role of heat networks to deliver the 2050 carbon dioxide targets -Can you really trust your models? '  Led by William Orchard, Managing Director of Orchard Partners London Ltd, was a huge success.

One of the greatest energy challenges we face as a society is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from heat supply. There is much focus on electricity generation, but electricity comprises less than 30% of our overall energy demand, significantly less than the heat demand (over 35%). Effective modelling of the cost of upgrading the waste heat for heat networks is essential. Current models generally ignore the dynamic nature of networks and marginal and locational effects and use fixed average CO2 emission factors without accounting for global variation. This workshop aimed to explain the fundamentals of network modelling techniques and review existing models by way of comparison.

Joined by over 80 delegates from a variety of consulting companies, private practices, Local Authorities and other government organisations, the day was split into two sessions:

Morning Session

The foundation for the workshop will be set by explaining the principles of energy modelling, covering: primary energy, delivered energy, exergy and energy quality, CO2 overhead, the first and second laws of thermodynamics and how to model biomass as a constrained resource.

The workshop will then address the following key topics to demonstrate network modelling:

  • Marginal and average losses of heat and electricity networks, why heat networks can be cleaner. Time slice and location issues, difficulty of modelling least cost peak demand capacity.
  • How even coal fired CHP can decarbonise heat sectors fed by CCGT and gas boilers.
  • Why nuclear CHP might minimise nuclear capacity when decarbonising UK PLC.
  • Modelling the marginal fuel burn, marginal cost, and CO2 overhead, as well as peak demand and location effects, to optimise low CO2 heat supply networks and generators.
  • How to strike a balance between CHP and building fabric improvements (e.g. insulation).
  • CHP as a virtual electric heat pump, but with superior performance COP 8-14 compared to 3-4 (led by Professor Bob Lowe of University College London) with implications on the current EU policy of renewable status for heat from electric heat pumps but not heat from CHP.

Afternoon Session

The afternoon session covered the following topics on engagement and delivery:

  • David Cameron’s Big Society- can heat networks be David’s opportunity?
  • Can consumers become partners in new heat networks?
  • Can a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) structure be used to form a new cooperative utility to avoid the need for regulation of a common carrier heat by OFGEM?
  • Why domestic sector heat loads are likely to be the most attractive loads for infrastructure investors.
  • How an LLP structure can de-risk its development.

The day closed with a practical session on “Proposals for conversion of domestic sector to low temperature heat networks”. This covered:

  • Technical findings on proposals for low temperature (75C) heat networks compatible with waste heat from CHP, electric or engine driven heat pumps, or solar thermal.
  • Retrofitting to condensing CHP our domestic sector in built up areas, currently heated mainly by gas boilers and radiators (this will be tabled for discussion).
  • Challenging the practicality and cost projections of an all-electric individual dwelling heat pump scenario for retrofitting urban areas proposing a more flexible solution.
  • Installing dual fuel CHP needed to meet peak electricity loads in 2050 on the low voltage side of numerous 500kVA transformers to supply heat and electricity to clusters of dwellings and location for EV battery exchange.
  • The integration of electric transport solutions, thermal storage and large scale heat pumps with heat/electricity networks. Retention of gas for cooking versus electric induction hobs.
  • Heat exchange or direct connection? Domestic hot water storage or instantaneous water heating? Reuse current piping and heat emitters or new?
  • Circuits for condensing CHP. The Bodle Orchard circuits, developed under our Ecostiler funded demonstration CHP project, allow domestic heating to be served from condensing CHP. These will be tabled for engineers and designers with conclusions from our Ecostiler conference “So you think your boilers are condensing”.

All slides and speaker presentations will be available shortly. To be kept up to date on future workshops please sign up to the Carbon Descent newsletter. 

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