Conventional and advanced CO2 based district energy systems
District energy systems can potentially decrease the CO2 emissions linked to energy services, thanks to the implementation of large polygeneration energy conversion technologies connected to buildings over a network. To transfer the energy from these large technologies to the users, conventional district energy systems use water with often two independent supply and return piping systems for heat and cold. However, sharing energy or interacting with decentralised heat pump units often results in relatively large heat transfer exergy losses due to the large temperature differences that are economically required from the water network. Besides, the implementation of two independent supply and return piping systems for heat and cold, results in large space requirements in underground technical galleries. Using refrigerants as a district heating or cooling fluid at an intermediate temperature could alleviate some of these drawbacks. A new system has been developed, that requires only two pipes, filled with refrigerant, to meet heating, hot water and cooling requirements. Because of the environmental concerns about conventional refrigerants, CO2, a natural refrigerant, used under its critical point, is considered an interesting candidate. A comparative analysis shows that both in terms of exergy efficiency and costs the proposed CO2 network is favourable.