Via EUREC Members, AEE INTEC
Under the direction of AEE INTEC, Austrian large-scale research project “THERMAFLEX”, demonstrating zero-CO2 in district heating systems, has been started.
In 2016, Austria’s space heating requirement amounted to approx. 87 TWh/a (total energy requirement: 311 TWh/a). A quarter of this demand is provided by heat supply based on district-heating (provided by more than 2000 district heating systems). Thus, the district heating sector already plays an important role in Austria’s energy supply. Due to the already installed infrastructure (approx. 5,400 km pipe length), the existing expansion potential especially in dense urban areas, the application of new concepts, technologies and renewable energy sources, the growing possibilities for sector coupling and resulting contributions to the decarbonisation of our energy system, the district heating sector will become even more important in future.
Schematic overview on the implementation of the demonstrator “Virtual Heating Plant Gleisdorf” including existing DH system (blue) and planned extension (dashed-blue). Source: AEE INTEC
Elements of flexibility building a future energy system
In a sustainable and fully decarbonised energy system, including large shares of renewables, partly volatile energy sources, integrated sector coupling, decentralised and centralized structures will lead to a considerable increase in system complexity. At the same time, however, supply security must be maintained while energy costs must remain affordable for end customers. This can only be achieved by increasing the flexibility of the overall system, enabled by intelligent interaction between technical and non-technical elements.
The flagship project “THERMAFLEX”
This is precisely the point where the flagship project “THERMAFLEX”, led by AEE INTEC, comes in, which as a project of the “Green Energy Lab” of the “Vorzeigeregion Energie” programme subsidized by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund focuses on increasing energy flexibility while reducing CO2 emissions in the district heating sector. No fewer than 27 project partners (district heating operators, technology providers and research institutions) work on identification, simulation-based planning, evaluation and selection as well as implementation in combination with detailed monitoring and associated optimisation of flexibilisation measures. The focus lies on seven demonstrators in district heating supply areas of small, medium-sized and large cities in Austria. The funding for the project “THERMAFLEX” and selected demonstrators amounts to approximately eight million Euros and makes this project the largest project regarding the total funding within the second call for tenders of the “Vorzeigeregion Energie” programme.
You will find ore information on the project in AEE INTEC website and in Green Energy Lab Thermaflex