Key energy and technological aspects of three innovative concepts of District energy networks
In urban areas, the use of thermal energy services is intensive and relatively heterogeneous by their nature, spatial distribution and temperature level required. In this study three concepts of district energy networks that could provide these services very efficiently to a specific area representative of mid Europe (Geneva) are compared. The focus is on the energy and technological aspects related to each of the proposed networks. These networks are characterized by similar temperature levels; between 9.5°C and 18°C, rely on free cooling for most of the cooling services and use a combination of centralized and decentralized heat pumps to provide the heating services. Two of these concepts exploit the latent heat of evaporation/condensation of CO2 and of the HFO refrigerant R1234yf to store and transfer heat across the network. The third concept is more conventional as it uses the sensible heat of liquid water, however with a small temperature spread (2 - 8 °C). The three proposed networks allow the waste heat emitted by the users requiring cooling to be collected, transferred and valorised by the users requiring heating, thus reducing the load on the central plant. For the area considered, where the annual heating and cooling demand are 53.1 GWh and 49.4 GWh respectively, the annual final energy (electricity) consumption required to supply the thermal services amounts to 10.87 GWh for the CO2 variant, 10.52 GWh for the water variant and 9.60 GWh for the R1234yf variant.