HPT MAGAZINE - A Heat Pump Centre Product Web version
3822 HPT nyhetsbrev 2018
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Digitalization as an enabler for a robust, flexible and sustainable energy system
Digitalization is an enabler in many areas. And the energy system is, of course, no exception. With digitalization the energy system could become even more robust, flexible and sustainable. This issue of the HPT Magazine focuses on the possibilities of digitalization in relation to heat pumping technologies.

The Foreword points out that the term “digitalization” is commonly used, but not always strictly defined. And that such technologies might indeed improve the performance of more mature technologies, if we understand how to make them cooperate.

In one of the topical articles, digitalization is used for reaching energy costs savings. It describes a project where a control algorithm is developed, predicting solar energy gains. This leads to lowered costs for energy, keeping inhabitants' comfort intact. The other topical article investigates the so-called controller-in-the-loop approach to testing of heat pumping system controllers. This type of testing is less costly than prototype testing, and closer to real operation than software testing.

In this issue, you can also read about how the market for heat pumps is developing in China, in the Strategic Outlook. One driver is the coal-to-electricity project. The government is supporting the initiative, and the future for heat pumps in China looks good.

  • Foreword: Digitalization as a problem solving tool,
    by Hatef Madani
  • Column: Column: Heat pumps are at the centre of the energy transition by Wim Boydens and Lieve Helsen
  • HPT News
  • Ongoing Annexes in HPT TCP
  • Strategic Outlook: Heat pump market development in China, by Lingyan Yang
  • A heat pump system control based on solar gain prediction, by Davide Rolando and Hatef Madani
  • Controller-in-the-loop - New ways of optimizing costs and quality of heat pump systems, by Andreas Sporr and Michael Lauermann
Read the full HPT Magazine here.

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Foreword: Digitalization as a problem solving tool
Digitalization of an energy system – what does that really mean? Is it enough to add some sensors, and then consider the system being smart? Behind these questions lies a possible shift in how we look at digitalization: through the lens of problem-solving. In that way digitalization is seen as a tool rather than as a goal in itself. This might support the emergence of innovative technical solutions and business models for our current and future challenges.
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Column: Heat pumps are at the centre of the energy transition
Decarbonizing the energy system. This transition needs a holistic approach, beyond individually optimized components. An example of a more holistic concept is a system including a heat pump, which also makes use of the thermal inertia in a building. The heat pump uses the ground as a renewable energy source, providing cooling in the summer. The building acts as a TABS – thermally activated building system, providing a comfortable indoors climate. This adds up to a demand response system, meaning that it can offer flexibility to the electricity market.

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Strategic outlook: Heat pump market development in China
Heat pumps are widely deployed in China. Both air source and ground source heat pumps have found their share of the market. This development is supported by the Chinese government through various policies, such as a coal-to-electricity project. On top of cutting CO2 emissions, the Chinese shift from coal incineration to heat pumping technologies also reduces local air pollutants such as particles and NOx.
Air source heat pumps are mainly used in individual residential buildings, also in rural areas. The upfront cost is acceptable to many households, and national policies and funds have helped the sales staying at a high level for some years. In recent years, examples on such policies are Guidance on Promoting Electric Power Substitution and Work program on air pollution prevention and control in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and surrounding areas.

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Topical article: A heat pump system control based on solar gain prediction
How is the operation of a heat pump controlled? In Central and Northern Europe, the answer to that question is often “through the measured outdoors temperature”. Basically, this means that the system supply temperature is defined so that it covers the supposed heating demand caused by a specific ambient temperature.

Since also other factors such as heating distribution and the building envelope are considered when the system is installed, this control strategy gives roughly the correct supply temperature, on average. But other factors are not included – leading to periodic overheating. Such factors are e.g. solar radiation and heat generated by the inhabitants’ activities. The Swedish project “Smart Control Strategies for Heat Pump systems” developed a control algorithm that takes some of these factors into account.

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Topical article: Controller-in-the-loop - New ways of optimizing costs and quality of heat pump systems
Heat pumping technology systems are getting ever more complex. And with them, their controller systems. This development means that more components must be controlled, also in various configurations and modes of operation. To secure this, there is a growing demand for precise and cost-efficient testing.

Testing could be done through software or prototyping. But software testing is too far from real operation, and prototype testing is expensive, and difficult to adapt to new criteria. The Controller-in-the-Loop (CIL) concept might be the solution to this. With this approach, a physical controller is used to control a virtual system. Specifically, a virtual (part)-model of the refrigeration circuit is mapped in a simulation tool and coupled with a real controller. With this set-up, the controller behaviour can be checked for correct function before the actual initial operation. The behaviour of the system and the control is investigated through simulation of different test scenarios.

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