In the frame of a three-day online partner meeting from 08 to 10 June, the LowTEMP consortium live-tested learning material on innovative strategies and tools to plan, finance and manage low-temperature district heating (LTDH) systems. A particular highlight was a virtual trip to the region of South Ostrobothnia, Finland, which enabled the partnership to visit the Kurikka district heating plant, as originally planned.

Efficient district heating (DH) systems are an important component to achieve sustainable energy supply and thus contribute to reducing energy waste and greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions. To reach this goal, LowTEMP raises know-how among the responsible public and private stakeholders on the necessity to deploy smart and sustainable energy supply systems. These systems allow the use of renewable or unused surplus heat and low-temperature heat distribution.

Now, after two and a half years of project implementation and joined exchange and increase of knowledge, the LowTEMP consortium is testing the second set of teaching material for a two to three-days seminar targeted towards municipal representatives responsible for energy issues, heat suppliers and energy utilities, energy agencies, planners and engineers in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). This learning material presents innovative strategies and tools to plan, finance and manage LTDH systems.

The project now has further six months to test and finalise the training modules and seminars. The currently valid Europe-wide travel restrictions made teaching lectures and exchange only virtually possible, however, more than 30 participants from nine partner countries joined in an online meeting, which was split into several training sessions from 08 to 10 June 2020. The partners who developed modules presented them in a 30 to 45 minutes PowerPoint presentation including practical examples and short assignments to the partnership, thus including interactive elements. The partners then had the opportunity to provide constructive feedback so that the modules can now be further improved and optimised.

The following modules were tested in the second set of seminars:

Integration of solar thermal heat production into DH-systems (developed by AGFW-Project GmbH)

  • General principle, installation requirements and planning, opportunities and integration into DH-systems

Heat pumps and large heat pumps as a flexible solution to lower supply temperatures and upgrade DH systems (developed by AGFW-Project GmbH)

  • Heat pump types, integration of multiple heat sources and flexibilization of DH-systems

Calculating life cycle costs of LTDH projects – tool and manual (developed by BTU)

  • Analysis to identify the most cost-efficient district heating system

LCA calculation in (LT)DH systems (developed by RTU)

  • Comparative calculation tool to analyse sustainability and environmental behaviour

Best practices in existing structures and new areas (developed by IMP PAN)

  • Implementation of LTDH concepts in existing buildings and installations and new urban developments and local heating systems

The first set of seminars was tested during a virtual partner meeting in March this year.

Within the remaining project time until December 2020, the “LowTEMP Training Package” will be completed with more modules and then made available on the LowTEMP website. After finalisation, it will be transferred to other BSR municipalities, energy agencies, planners and DH suppliers via a “train-the-trainer” approach, thus increasing the durability of the project know-how and outcomes.

A special highlight of this partner meeting was the virtual trip to the region of South Ostrobothnia in Finland, where the partner meeting was originally to take place. The project partner Thermopolis presented in a video the sights of the cities of Seinäjoki, Ilmajoki and Lapua as well as the Koskenkorva Vodka distillery, which implements an efficient circular economy and produces steam energy for the distillation process in its own bioenergy plant. In a second video the district heating plant Kurikka was presented, which uses wood chips as fuel for the district heating supply of Ilmajoki. In the LowTEMP project, the possibilities of using waste heat were investigated. The plant would have been visited during an on-site meeting.