E.ON are prioritising to forward the transition of classic fossil district heating systems to intelligent low-CO2 energy solutions in the “TransUrban.NRW” Reallabore (living lab).
The project is a winner of the idea’s competition "Reallabore der Energiewende" (Real Laboratories of the Energy Transition) organised by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and is now starting as a model project in quarters in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The New Project and its Partners
The project is being implemented by a consortium led by E.ON, together with E.ON regional company Avacon, municipal companies, the real estate industry and partners from research, such as RWTH Aachen University.
The technology used will be using the latest generation low-temperature heat networks, like the solution ectogrid which E.ON developed in Sweden and TransUrban.NRW implements in Germany for the first time.
Whilst district heating networks are often operated at temperatures of more than 100 degrees Celsius, today's so-called LowEx networks require only 10 to 40 degrees Celsius.
This reduces energy losses and enables the integration of renewable energies such as geothermal energy or the use of waste heat, which is available in large quantities at a low-temperature level.
In combination with heat pumps, higher temperatures or cooling energy can be generated as required. These innovations will be brought to market more quickly by TransUrban.NRW and become competitive through economies of scale.
A further essential innovation step is the design of the LowEx network.
The Low-temperature Network made it possible by intelligent connectivity, which can balance the heating and cooling requirements of the buildings, increasing the efficiency of the network.
The waste heat generated during cooling is fed back into the energy cycle and is available elsewhere to cover the heating requirements.
This works in a similar way as if a refrigerator were to collect the heat given off at its rear and feed it back into a heating circuit.
“Our goal is to significantly improve the carbon footprint of cities. This is not just about expanding renewable energies. We want to look at the energy supply as a whole and implement it in partnership,” said E.ON Board Member Karsten Wildberger.
“With our low-temperature networks we have found a way to finally bring the energy transition as a heat transition into the city,” Wildberger added.
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