A new district heating network in Sweden is based on a digital control system that allows for what its developers call virtual energy storage in buildings.

Local utility Kalmar Energi and heat solutions firm NODA Intelligent Systems have partnered on the project, called a Smart Heat Grid. The system has linked 50 properties in the southeastern city of Kalmar (pictured) since last year, with a further 40 planned, including the new Linnaeus University campus.

The control system manages the heat network, co-ordinating production and distribution with consumption through real-time analysis. Stored heat can be redistributed across the network, reducing peak load.

‘Through intelligent property controls the energy reserve can be put to better use in other parts of the network, thus reducing so-called peak load without affecting the indoor climate,’ the developers said. ‘This evens out the load on the grid over a 24-hour period, so the boilers do not need to work as hard and the flow through the district-heating pipes is more uniform.’  

 ‘At Kvarnholmen in Kalmar there are plans for a new university, a hotel and other premises,’ added Mattias Hedberg, project manager at Kalmar Energi. ‘Without a smart district-heating network Kalmar Energi would need to lay more district-heating pipes to Kvarnholmen. Now we can handle the new buildings with the existing district-heating pipework. The only thing we need to add is the pipes to connect the new buildings.’

Patrick Isacson, NODA CEO, said: ‘Digitalization of the energy industry is important both locally and nationally, as it provides major efficiency and environmental gains.’

Image credit: Ärkan, Wikimedia Commons