Name: Annelies Vandermeulen


KU Leuven , VITO

Promotie / Defence

When: 29/10/2020 13:00
Language: nl

Where: aula Arenbergkasteel, 01.07, Kasteelpark Arenberg 1, 3001 Heverlee

Promotor / Supervisor

  • Prof. dr. ir. Lieve Helsen (promotor)
  • Tijs Van Oevelen (co-promotor) , VITO NV

Samenvatting van het onderzoek / Summary of Research

To combat climate change, we need an energy system with higher shares of renewable energy sources. However, these energy sources (like wind and solar power) are hard to predict and difficult to control. Hence, to ensure the energy demand (e.g. electricity and heat in residential buildings) can be fulfilled at all times, we need a flexible energy system as well. In other words, when there is too much wind and solar power, we should store the excess energy. At a later point in time, when the sun has gone down and there is no more wind, we can use the stored energy to satisfy the energy demand. However, to cope with large shares of sustainable energy sources, we will need a lot of energy storage and we need to use it intelligently.

Therefore, this PhD studies one specific type of energy storage and the flexibility it can create in detail: energy storage in the pipes of a district heating network. There is water flowing through these pipes from the plant to the customers and back. If the temperature of that water is increased/decreased, we can charge/discharge the network itself with energy. If we can use this type of storage, we may not need to invest in additional energy storage systems such as a water storage tank, hence saving money. However, with the water in the network constantly moving around, splitting and mixing with other water flows as it goes, it is difficult to control and to determine how much energy flexibility we have created. This is the challenge this PhD aims to face: how to control and quantify energy flexibility from district heating network storage, in short network flexibility.

First of all, this PhD studies how network flexibility behaves. Using this knowledge, we can quantify network flexibility. Hence, determine how much energy flexibility we have created and determine the value of this flexibility. Finally, this PhD determines the optimal (or best possible) way to use this network flexibility. As such, we can see how much we could possibly gain when we use it in a certain situation and is a good starting point for actual district heating system controllers that can create network flexibility and aid in the evolution to a sustainable energy system.

Volledige tekst van het doctoraat / full text

Examencommissie / Board of examiners

  • Prof. dr. ir. Lieve Helsen (promotor)
  • Tijs Van Oevelen (co-promotor) , VITO NV
  • Prof. dr. ir. Robert Puers (voorzitter/chairman)
  • Prof. dr. ir. Dirk Saelens (secretaris/secretary)
  • Prof. dr. ir. Geert Deconinck
  • Prof. dr. ir. Sylvain Quoilin
  • Dr. Igor Sartori , SINTEF
  • Prof. dr. Ivo Pothof , Deltares