District heating
Distribution network

Posted on Monday, October 5, 2020 by Steen Schelle Jensen

2020: From potential to data-driven results

With most of an unpredictable year behind us, we continue our series of predictions of what district heating’s 2020 will be remembered for 10 years from now.

Based on the resolve we are seeing amongst utilities combined with the development in the industry, we believe this year will mark the transition from talking about the potential of digitalisation to showing the results it has generated.

Most Swedish utilities have already come a long way with remote meter reading. But the value of smart meter data is determined by how it is brought into play, which requires the right tools. One of them is Kamstrup’s analytics platform, Heat Intelligence.

The right tool for the job

Heat Intelligence helps district heating utilities optimise their distribution and operations. The tool combines smart meter data with facts about the pipe network (length, diameter and type) to create a digital twin that can help maximise performance in the distribution network in relation to temperature, flow and pressure levels. This new level of transparency enables temperature optimisation, faster identification of heat loss and leaks and improved asset management – all with the purpose to ensure quality of delivery and create the right conditions for integration of waste heat and renewables.

Ambitious Swedish projects

We have a number of ongoing pilot projects with Swedish utilities to define their opportunities in using Heat Intelligence as a grid visualisation tool and the value of the detailed insight they can get from a digital twin of their distribution network.

Expected benefits include improved understanding of their network, being able to make more qualified decisions regarding cost-heavy renovation and investments and giving more people access to specialised knowledge to enable faster onboarding. This will result in lower temperatures, less heat loss and more efficient operations – and allow utility professionals to spend their time on what creates the most value.

Data-based asset management

Several Danish utilities have already generated great results with Heat Intelligence. Aars District Heating has achieved a whole new level of network transparency now that they can monitor temperatures and flow all the way to and from each customer.

The tool is used as a daily operations tool as well as to find the network’s weakest links and prioritising renovation efforts so that their asset management is now based on data. Measurable results include going from about 200 bypasses to 16, lowering the forward temperature by 3 °C and reducing annual heat loss by 7.8 MWh per consumer in one particular area.

It is clear that the district heating systems of the future will only become more complex. Having the necessary tools to understand and control your network will therefore only become more important. Fortunately, the breakthrough in digital solutions on the market today is a promising indicator of what utilities will able to do in 2030.

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