District Heating Knowledge Platform
The district heating (DH) knowledge platform contains generalized knowledge about existing heating systems, heating demand, operators of the grid, available approaches and methods to implement low temperature district heating (LTDH) in the partner countries. The DH knowledge platform also includes an overview on the current status of smart energy supply systems and the use of renewables in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). It serves as an essential information and data collection as the basis for sustainable applicable heating strategies and provides actors responsible for energy supply systems in BSR cities and regions with all relevant basic information to support the process of integrating LTDH in the existing heating supply systems and concepts.
Work Package Leader: Klaipeda University
Pilot Energy Strategies
The installation of smart district heating (DH) systems in communities should be embedded in an energy strategy, which investigates and displays the possibilities on how to apply and run such a system. Based on a methodology developed in the first phase of the project, several strategies have been developed which were also based on the experiences made during the realisation of the pilot measures. These transferable guidelines are called pilot energy strategies and help stakeholders when implementing and developing their own strategies and LTDH projects. The strategies provide several options and scenarios for the transition to smart LTDH systems with various customer types (i.e. residential, commercial and industrial heat demand as well as low and high heat density areas). Besides that, they consider the most common framework conditions in the BSR, institutional and organizational structures, roles of different stakeholders, and technical preconditions. The target group for these outputs are municipalities and public authorities, utility companies, especially heat suppliers and operators of DH systems, planners and engineers as well as housing associations and house owners. Please, have a look at the methodology and pilot energy strategies here:
In parallel to the development of the strategies, tangible pilot activities were realised. Therefore, several of the municipalities participating in LowTEMP implemented activities to test and/or start the implementation of LTDH in their DH infrastructure. These pilot measures had different characters, depending on the current type of the DH supply infrastructures, connected types of buildings, existing problems and potentials for improvement.
Work Package Leader: Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) Cottbus – Senftenberg
Within LowTEMP, the sustainability of the integration of low temperature district heating (LTDH) systems in the energy supply structures in Baltic Sea Regions (BSR) and municipalities was evaluated. The (positive) effects of the implementation of LTDH on the reduction of energy waste and CO2 emissions from district heating (DH) grids in the Pilot Energy Strategies and pilot testing measures were presented. This was followed by a holistic perspective where LTDH systems, the type of energy sources and the design factors were jointly considered regarding optimisation of environmental impact, economic feasibility and technical performances. The environmental and economic life cycle assessment studies (LCA and LCCA) were a good tool to evaluate the impact on the sustainability for future development driven by specific policy measures. To present the environmental benefits of LTDH, a simulation model had been developed. This IT-based model served to illustrate – in a user friendly and easy to understand manner – the ecological, economic and social effects of LTDH.
Life Cycle Analyses (LCA)
The main objective of a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) was to evaluate the overall impact of switching existing DH system to LTDH projects in terms of environmental benefits and burdens. In order to assess these, the LCA took into account all the life cycle stages of the LTDH implementation.
Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) for LTDH Systems
With this output, stakeholders were able to perform life cyclce cost analysis of one or more district heating projects. Users were provided with an analysis, an excel based calculation tool and a manual. With the help of the excel-based tool, future stakeholders are able to calculate the costs of a LTDH system that occur during a life cycle of max. 100 years based on the net present value. The results could subsequently be compared with the life cycle costs of conventional, non-LTDH systems, or with decentralized systems and thus function as a basis for decision-making:
The manual gives guidance on how to use the tool and how to compare the results with the alternatives just mentioned. The manual includes an example of calculation from the LowTEMP pilot measure from Gulbene municipality:
The analysis gave detailed information on the topic life cycle cost analysis and how the tool was developed:
Simulation Model on the Environmental Benefits of LTDH
Work Package Leader: Riga Technical University (RTU)
Financing Schemes and Business Models
..The major challenges when it comes to low temperature district heating are often connected to economic or organisational aspects. Thus, it has been important to examine possibilities to finance district heating investments and how business models can change when shifting to fourth generation district heating. LowTEMP investigated the economic framework conditions that are necessary for the installation of low temperature district heating systems and at the same time, collected knowledge on existing business models. Based on this, new value chains were created and suitable business models as well as business opportunities were proposed. LowTEMP wanted to show that district heating improvements will have a positive financial impact on operators and customers. The use of lower cost fuels, modern equipment and improved distribution networks can reduce operating costs and lower heat prices, even when considering the high financing costs of system upgrades. Target groups for the material involved district heating companies and municipalities who wanted to examine new business opportunities and how they could change their business model and funding structure for district heating in a low temperature district heating scenario. The funding gap calculation tool is targeted at district heating operators, investors and funding authorities.
Calculation Method to Determine Economic Efficiency and Funding Gaps
With this output, stakeholders are able to determine the profitability and calculate the funding gap of a DH project based on the internal rate of return and net present value of an investment over a period of 20 years. It includes an excel based calculation tool, a manual and an analysis for more background information. The user has the freedom to configure investments in either grid, generating plant, or both. Up to three different types of generating plants can be chosen out of a variety of different technologies but own settings are possible, too.
Study on Business Models and Innovative Funding Structures for LTDH
The study offers an introduction to business models in general and current funding structures for district heating systems in the Baltic Sea Region. It describes the components of the most widely known tool – the business model canvas – and showcases how this model can be used for classical district heating and low temperature district heating. It also includes a toolbox introducing tools for business model development for low temperature districts heating models. A template of a business model canvas is also available. Both these elements can be used by district heating companies, municipalities and consultants involved in analysing the potential for low temperature district heating in a certain area as well as for the development of news business plans.
Work Package Leader: Sustainable Business Hub (SBHub)
Online Calculation Tool: Thermonet Calculator
Thermonet Calculator is a pre-feasibility tool, that enables stakeholders to calculate the financials and other key figures for a given low temperature district heating project. It is designed to be internationally applicable with an adjustable degree of abstraction, making it usable for both technical and non-technical stakeholders. It includes output such as business economics, user economics, emission reduction calculations and sensitivity analysis. This includes figures such as net present value (NPV), payback times and internal rate of return (IRR). The tool also allows for instant feedback on changes to the input numbers.
Please find here the tool in Danish and in English language:
It was the key aim of LowTEMP to raise awareness and achieve capacity building in the field of smart and sustainable district heating (DH) system as well as to promote the project know-how and increase sensibility for the need to implement low temperature district heating (LTDH) systems in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The gained knowledge on the implementation of sustainable DH technologies was compiled and afterwards disseminated and promoted within the LowTEMP partner municipalities and regions as well as to important experts in the project partners’ networks. A next step within the LowTEMP capacity building activities was the development of training materials and programmes to educate the target groups in the planning, financing and managing of sustainable LTDH grids. After testing the training materials in the project consortium, they were finalised as the “LowTEMP training package”. This training programme was then transferred to other BSR municipalities, energy agencies, planners or DH suppliers via a “Train the Trainer” approach, thus increasing the durability of the project know-how and outcomes.
Work Package Leader: Institute of Fluid Flow Machinery, Polish Academy of Sciences (IMP PAN)