Case Study 

District Heating

01. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT

2GG communication infrastructure, comprised of hardware and server-side solutions has been implemented to digitalize the DH network substation in the City of Ljubljana.

 

The main project goals were as follows:

 

To incorporate approximately 4000 district heating substations into a single IT system - which includes development, adaptation and installation of appropriate communication equipment, as well as development and implementation of customized software solutions at all levels (from communication modules on measuring devices in DH substations, optimized battery powered concentrators to a customized server implementation and integration of data into various platforms and software etc.).

 

To identify possibilities for optimizing operation of both - distribution network as a whole and individual DH substations in the network (and its subsystems) - the single main purpose of the project in to unify different data from different sources in a centralised database, which enables fast and streamlined integration with SW solutions. This enables optimisation of substation performance in the future, connecting also regulators and other equipment in the ICT infrastructure.

 

To connect the variety of solutions in the field (the distributor uses metering solutions from Itron, Kamstrup, Elster, Almess and other vendors as well as regulation equipment from Danfoss and Samson) into a unified communication infrastructure, 2GG solutions have been customized to cover a multitude of technologies to connect end-devices, including Wmbus, Mbus, Modbus, Implulse and Digital Inputs. On the application layer manufacturer specific device profiles were created in cooperation with suppliers of devices to enable full compatibility.

The main advantage of the system is the remote addition of new device profiles and complete two-way communication, enabling the customer a gradual development of the network as well as the flexibility of selecting optimized solutions for further development. 

Additionally, all data collection intervals are changeable, enabling a flexible approach to data gathering and full optimization of data transmission and processing costs. 

The goal of the roll-out is to optimize all levels of providing IT services in the district heating system and vertical integration of data.

02. KEY FEATURES

  • Integrated energy management - implementation of a comprehensive smart thermal energy system, which covers all levels of distribution from energy production to energy end-customers.

  • Advanced web interface - an interactive way of accessing different types of data (both for the distributor on several levels - maintenance, control, accounting, as well as for the client).

  • Vertical integration - technical information and service levels (from equipment in a single substation to complete network system tools).

  • Adapting to a particular group of users for optimization of work processes and analysis of data-distributors, vendors as well as technically advanced administrators and building managers.

  • Simplicity of information display - transparency and quality of key information to improve the efficiency of substations.

  • Better and faster detection of faults and poorly functioning substations, using various software tools, alarms, pre-set values, etc.

  • Development of solutions in accordance with the recommendations and requirements of modern district heating systems.

  • Implementation of an automatic control system for data analysis based on flexible data refresh intervals at all levels - from the measuring device to transmission over the GSM network.

  • All device settings are performed via the server software.

  • Diagnostics of probable errors on substations using software solutions on the server, with the possibility of setting threshold values and priority packets for detected errors.

03. PROJECT OBJECTIVES

  • Increasing the quality of services for all participants - both at the distribution level and at the level of final customers;

  • Increasing flexibility in introducing digitization measures - a single ICT system supporting different subsystems and utilities (heat, gas, in the future water and waste);

  • Establishing a single information-communication backbone - adaptable to the needs of an individual distribution system using customized web interfaces and cloud services;

  • Optimizing the costs of digitizing the distribution network - with the aim of reducing investment costs and extending the useful life of devices;

  • Openness of the system for the inclusion of other devices (such as heat cost allocators and water meters), which can lower investment costs and enable synergy effects (simplifying the processes of digitalisation of distribution networks).

04. SAVINGS

  • Introduction of technological solutions within the project will be a solid foundation and a tool through which the distributor will be able to control the district heating system on the client side and recognize critical and badly performing substations.

  • The long-term goal is a decrease in the return hot water temperatures (ΔT) by up to 20°C on certain substations. 

​When achieving the set objectives, the customer expects annual savings of: 

  • 50% of fuel savings due to lower thermal losses,

  • 50% savings in electricity consumption for pumping water. 

On this basis, the following savings are estimated: 

  1. Expected savings of 2% of energy from a total of 1,300 GWh per year;

  2. Expected savings of 1.5% for maintenance and operating costs;

  3. Changed user habits can bring up to 3.5% energy savings;

  4. Improving business through new (advanced) services for customers.