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Technical Brief

CHP plant and DHC network: an optimization test-case in Italy with integration of renewable energy

[+] Author and Article Information
Paolo Sdringola

Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, via G. Duranti 93, Perugia 06125, Italy
paolo.sdringola@unipg.it

Stefania Proietti

Department of Sustainability Engineering, Guglielmo Marconi University, via Plinio 44, Rome 00193, Italy
s.proietti@unimarconi.it

Davide Astolfi

Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, via G. Duranti 93, Perugia 06125, Italy
davide.astolfi@unipg.it

Francesco Castellani

Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, via G. Duranti 93, Perugia 06125, Italy
francesco.castellani@unipg.it

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040196 History: Received August 29, 2017; Revised April 26, 2018

Abstract

The 2012 European Energy Efficiency Directive supported the development of cogeneration (CHP) and district heating and cooling (DHC) networks, stressing the benefits due to a more efficient energy supply, the exploitation of recovered heat, and renewable resources, in terms of fuel consumption and avoided costs/emissions. Policy decisions play a crucial role: technical and environmental feasibility of CHP is clear and well demonstrated, whereas economic issues (fuel prices, incentives, etc.) may influence its actual application. An increase from 10% to a potential 24% in the major economies is expected for the CHP share of electricity by 2030. In this framework, the introduction of low-carbon technologies and the exploitation of renewable energies are profitable interventions to be applied on existing plants. This work focuses on a small CHP plant, installed in the 90s and located within a research facility in Italy, supplying electricity and heat/cool through a district network. On the basis of monitored consumption of electricity, heating and cooling, energy fluxes have been assessed and an optimization process was performed to get a management profile enhancing both operational and economic parameters. The integration of renewable energies, i.e. solar-powered systems for supporting the existing devices, has been evaluated thus resulting in a hybrid tri-generation plant. CHP and DHC are confirmed as useful tools to match heating/cooling and electricity demands, to integrate distributed renewable generation, to enhance fuel diversity, and so to face the challenge of climate change towards sustainable energy networks in the future.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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