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Recent Researches in Geography, Geology, Energy, Environment and Biomedicine

The use of thermal energy storage for energy


system based on cogeneration plant
Anna Volkova, Andres Siirde

factor in selecting cogeneration plant capacity [1].


Abstract—Usage of thermal energy storage together with Heat demand usually is strongly time-varying or even
cogeneration technology provides an attractive solution by allowing discontinuous. Usage of thermal energy storage together with
the production of electricity in the periods, when heat load is low and cogeneration technology provides an attractive solution by
later consumption of heat, when load is high. The purpose of the
allowing the production of electricity in the periods, when heat
paper was to investigate the perspectives of using heat storage in the
form of accumulator tank with cogeneration plants in Estonia. Two load is low and later consumption of heat, when load is high
alternatives were compared: the first alternative being an energy [2].
system, which included small-scale cogeneration plant, thermal Usually cogeneration plant produces thermal energy to
energy storage equipment in the form of accumulator tank and peak provide base-load capacity and peak-load boilers have to be
boilers, was compared with the second alternative: the traditional utilised additionally. These boilers can be partly replaced by
energy system including only cogeneration plant and peak-load
thermal energy storage equipment charged during low-load
boilers. The methodology offered for evaluation of these two
alternatives included the following steps: defining of the optimal time and utilised in the peak-load time [3].
capacity by heat produced in cogeneration maximisation method; Thermal energy storage as a possibility to increase the
simulation of district heating system operating; construction of heat efficiency of cogeneration operation was discussed and
load duration curve taking into account thermal energy storage; analysed in various researches and studies including both
comparing of alternatives by technical and environmental parameters. short-term thermal storage [2-5] and long-term thermal storage
[6] use together with cogeneration.
Keywords— CHP, cogeneration, energy efficiency, energy
There are cogeneration plants operating in Estonia, but the
system, thermal storage.
technology of thermal energy storage is not used on these
I. INTRODUCTION plants. The perspectives for involvement of new cogeneration
plants are high and the use of thermal storage will make these
R egarding the agreements within the bounds of EU
Directive 2004/8/EC on the promotion of cogeneration
based on a useful heat demand in the internal energy market,
possibilities wider. At the moment there is only one research
where possibility of thermal storage together with cogeneration
plants in Estonia has been analysed [7].
Estonia should increase the share of electricity produced in the
There are three types of technologies which can be used for
cogeneration plants of gross electricity consumption.
heat storage: storage in water, storage in the ground and rock
According to this Directive strategic objectives for the and storage in form of chemical compound [6]. The most
Estonian electricity sector have to ensure that by 2020 the
common type of thermal storage is an accumulator tank made
electricity produced in cogeneration plants forms 20% of the
of steel, which can maintain high temperature and has high
gross consumption and at least 18% by the year 2015. At the
efficiency.
moment close to 15% from electricity gross consumption is The purpose of the paper was to investigate the
produced in the cogeneration mode.
perspectives of using heat storage in the form of accumulator
Cogeneration is the simultaneous generation of heat and
tank with cogeneration plants in Estonia. Case study is
electricity, therefore it is important to use both types of
presented, where energy system including small-scale
produced energy appropriately. Concerning electricity, it may cogeneration plant, heat storage equipment and peak boilers,
be both used on the spot and transported across great
has been compared with traditional energy system including
distances; heat, however, may only be used on site or very
cogeneration plant and peak-load boilers. Alternatives were
close to it. Thus, the heat load is considered the determining
evaluated from technical and environmental point of view.
As a case study, the heat load data for one typical little city
Manuscript received May 14, 2011. This work was supported by the in Estonia were used. It is planned to install in this city a new
European Social Fund within the researcher mobility programme
MOBILITAS (2008-2015, 01140B/2009). small-scale cogeneration plant based on gas engine
A. Volkova is with the Department of Thermal Engineering, Tallinn technology. One of the possible solutions can be an installation
University of Technology, Kopli 116, Tallinn, Estonia, 11712, phone of cogeneration plant coupled with thermal energy storage.
+3725582866; e-mail: anna.volkova@ttu.ee. The efficiency of this solution was evaluated using offered
A.Siirde is with the Department of Thermal Engineering, Tallinn
University of Technology, Kopli 116, Tallinn, Estonia, 11712, methodology.
asiirde@staff.ttu.ee

ISBN: 978-1-61804-022-0 71
Recent Researches in Geography, Geology, Energy, Environment and Biomedicine

II. METHODOLOGY This method supposes that the optimisation criterion is


When accumulator tank is used the cogeneration operating calculated by equation (1).
regime can be changed. Cogeneration can operate all day long
with full capacity and boilers can be used less. It means that Q·t→max,
when the heat produced by cogeneration cannot be used at the if Q=f(t) (1),
same moment, it can be stored and then utilised when heat load where
is higher than the heat produced in cogeneration.
The methodology algorithm was offered for evaluation of Q=f(t) - heat load duration curve;
thermal energy storage use possibility together with Q - heat load, kW;
cogeneration plant. This methodology included following
t load duration hours per year, h.
steps: defining the optimal capacity by heat produced in
cogeneration maximisation method; simulation of district
The optimal cogeneration capacity is equal to such heat load
heating system operating; construction of heat load duration
when the amount of heat produced by cogeneration is
curve taking into account thermal energy storage; comparing
maximal.
of alternatives by technical and environmental parameters.
B. Simulation of district heating system operating
A. Defining the optimal capacity by heat produced in After defining the optimal heat capacity for installed
cogeneration maximisation method cogeneration plant, the operating simulation was made for a
Before installation of a new cogeneration plant an energy district heating system, including consumer, cogeneration
producer faces the basic question of how high the plant’s plant, peak boiler and thermal energy.
installed capacity should be. One of the main issues for Simulation model realised in the Excel software
cogeneration efficiency is heat use by consumer. The risks of environment was used for this simulation.
installed cogeneration capacity are related to two scenarios: if Heat load in thermal energy storage unit, i.e. accumulator
a load is used that exceeds the optimum setting, the station will tank was calculated using equation (2)
not be able to operate during long period due to insufficient
heat load, while, should the load be installed below optimum, QTESi = QTESi −1 ⋅ (1 − lTES ) + (Qi − QCOGi )
the potential of utilising heat capacity will not be fully used if QTESi ≥ 0; QTESi −1 ≥ 0; Qi − QCOGi ≥ QTESi −1 (2),
[1].
According to the method used in previous research, the
where
optimal capacity for cogeneration was selected based on the
amount of heat demanded by consumers [1, 8]. Heat load QTESi is heat load in thermal energy storage during i hour,
values for residential buildings and load prevalence during the kW;
year are visualised with a heating load duration curve. The QTESi −1 is heat load in thermal energy storage during i-1
load for a district heating system consists of three main
contributions: heating load, domestic hot water and hour, kW;
distribution losses. The distribution losses are the heat losses lTES is heat losses per hour from thermal energy storage;
from the pipes to environment and they stay fairly constant Qi is consumer heat load during i hour, kW;
over the year. The domestic hot water load is also constant QCOGi cogeneration heat load during i hour, kW.
over the year; it is reduced only during the night time and
during the summer months. The building heating load is the
dominating load for most of the year and it follows the Heat load of peak boiler is calculated by equation (3)
seasonal variations of the climate.
There are two possibilities for construction of the heat load Q PBi = Qi − QCOGi − QTESi −1
duration curve.
The first method is when the heating load duration curve is
if QTESi = 0; QTESi −1 ≥ 0; Qi − QCOGi ≤ QTESi −1 (3),
derived from hourly loads to show all possible variations to the
system. These data can be available from the existing boiler where
house operating data. The second method is heating load QPBi is heat load of peak boiler during i hour, kW.
deriving from monthly degree-days.
The optimal cogeneration facility is the one that is based on
Analysis of hourly load is required for evaluating the
the heat duration curve and produces the maximum amount of
thermal energy storage facility use. Typical winter, summer
heat year-round while working at full installed capacity. This
and spring/autumn day has been analysed after simulation. As
means that the cogeneration plant capacity is determined by
a result of analysis, the operation seasons when cogeneration
the largest area rectangle (maximum rectangle) inscribed in the
plant and thermal energy storage should be used, have been
heat duration curve.

ISBN: 978-1-61804-022-0 72
Recent Researches in Geography, Geology, Energy, Environment and Biomedicine

selected. The following indicators were selected for comparing and


evaluation: heat produced by cogeneration, cogeneration
C. Construction of heat load duration curve taking into
operating time per year, electricity produced by cogeneration,
account the thermal energy storage
primary energy efficiency.
After simulation of each operating hour using equations (2- For the calculation of both cases a gas engine was used as
3), a new heat load duration curve can be constructed. cogeneration technology.
The heat load can be calculated using equation (4) Gas engine based cogeneration plants are widely-distributed
in the world, and particularly in Estonia. The main fuels for
Qi = QCOGi + QPBi (4). gas engines are natural gas and light fuel oil.

The heat load duration curve, showing the cumulative III. RESULTS
duration for different loads in the system within a full year, can According to the part 2.B. the heat load duration curve for a
be cconstructed using the calculated hourly loads. reference city was constructed based on real data for the years
2009-2010 (Figure 1). The optimal capacity was defined. The
D.Comparing of alternatives solid line shows the heat load duration curve.
A district heating system consisting of cogeneration plant and As it can be seen from the Figure 1, the maximum heat load is
thermal energy storage has been compared with a system 7300 KW. The dash line shows the optimal capacity defining
including only cogeneration plant without any thermal energy process. The optimal capacity calculated by formula (1) is 2,58
storage. MW, which is 0,353 from the maximal heat load.

Fig. 1 Heat load duration curve and optimal cogeneration capacity defining

For simulation of district heating system operating, including The parameters used for calculations are shown in Table 1
cogeneration plant coupled with thermal storage the following As it can be seen from the Figure 2A, the heat load during
assumptions were made: winter days is always higher than the maximum cogeneration
-Losses of thermal energy storage are equal to 0.5% per hour; plant heat capacity. The heat load is covered by the heat
-Thermal energy maximum storage heat capacity is 5 MWh. produced by cogeneration and peak boiler. It means that
during winter months the thermal energy storage utilities are
TABLE 1 not used.
THE PARAMETERS OF COGENERATION PLANT AND PEAK BOILER The Figure 2B shows typical spring/autumn day, when the heat
USED FOR SIMULATION
load during the day becomes little higher or lower, than the
Cogeneration plant Peak boiler installed cogeneration plant capacity. Using the thermal energy
(gas engine) storage capacity it is possible to supply the required heat
Capacity 2,18 MWel ;2,58 MWth 5 MWth without the peak boilers. In this case the produced heat is used
Efficiency ηel=39%, ηtotal=85% 90% by heat consumers but actually later, than it has been
Fuel natural gas natural gas produced.

ISBN: 978-1-61804-022-0 73
Recent Researches in Geography, Geology, Energy, Environment and Biomedicine

A B

Fig. 2 Simulation for heat load, cogeneration plant , thermal energy storage and peak boilers
A.Winter day B. Spring/autumn day

Using equation (4) the new heat load duration curve has As it can be seen, the cogeneration plant coupled with
been constructed. The Figure 3 shows this curve (the solid thermal energy storage equipment can operate during longer
line). The dash line shows heat, produced by cogeneration. period that without it, and it can produce more heat and
electricity.

Fig. 3 Heat load duration curve taking into account thermal energy storage

The different indicators were analysed for evaluating the in comparison with separate power and heat production by
thermal energy storage use in district heating system with 22.67 %, which is by 2.51% larger than in cogeneration
cogeneration plant. The results of the evaluation are shown in without the thermal energy storage use. Despite the additional
Table 2. heat losses from the thermal energy storage unit this
According to this table, the heat and electricity amount technology makes operation of cogeneration plant more
produced by cogeneration can be increased by more than 26% effective.
by using the thermal energy storage. The thermal energy Besides, the reduction of CO2 emissions is larger by 26%
storage use provides the primary energy efficiency increasing with the thermal energy storage, than without it.

ISBN: 978-1-61804-022-0 74
Recent Researches in Geography, Geology, Energy, Environment and Biomedicine

TABLE 2
COMPARISON OF INDICATORS FOR COGENERATION WITH AND WITHOUT ACCUMULATOR TANK

Cogeneration energy system Cogeneration energy system with


Indicator ∆
without accumulator tank accumulator tank
Heat, produced by cogeneration 12544 MWhth 15877 MWhth 3333 MWhth (+26.6%)
Electricity produced by cogeneration 10635 MWhel 13460 MWhel 2825 MWhel (+26.6%)
-32441 MWhth
Heat produced by peak boilers 12173 MWhth 8873 MWhth
(-27.1%)
Fuel consumption 40800 MWh 44371 MW 3571 MWh (+8,8%)
Primary energy efficiency increasing in
comparison with separate heat and power 20,16% 22,67% 2,51% (+12.45%)
production
CO2 reduction comparison with separate heat
2070 t 2615 t 545 (+26%)
and power production

The installation of an accumulator tank is relatively cheap


IV. CONCLUSIONS measure for increasing the efficiency of energy system, which
The usage of thermal energy storage together with can also be used in Estonia. According to Estonian local
cogeneration technology allows the production of electricity in obstacles, the thermal energy storage can be mostly used
the periods, when the thermal load is low and later during the spring and autumn time, when the heat load during
consumption of heat, when the load is high. At the moment the the day could be higher and lower than the installed
thermal energy storage technologies are not used for efficient cogeneration plant capacity.
cogeneration plant operation in Estonia. The purpose of the
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