Renewable heat networks: modelling for robust design

  • Supervisor: Professor Paul L Younger (University of Glasgow)
  • Sponsor Company: Cluff Geothermal Ltd.
  • PhD Student: Sotirios Kyriakis
  • This student has graduated and the project is complete

Delivery of renewable heat is a major challenge in decarbonising our energy economy. Although geothermal heat networks have long delivered district heating in Iceland, the Paris Basin and parts of eastern Europe, they are in their infancy in many other places. As the demand for such systems increases, the old design tools need to be updated, not only to take into account what has been learned in practice over the decades, but also to take advantage of the state-of-the-art in computing.

Modern renewable heat networks in the UK are increasingly being required to operate over wider temperature ranges than those long-established elsewhere. Given the dramatic non-linear variation in fluid properties (especially viscosity) over this wide temperature range, traditional heat network analysis methods, which assume that pipeflow hydraulics and thermal energy transport can be solved-for separately, are inapplicable. Rather, fully-coupled solutions, in which the feedbacks between heat and flow are fully accounted for iteratively, are now required.

Therefore this project aims to:
(i) develop an object-oriented, fully-coupled heat and flow simulation code for heat networks
(ii) test its applicability to existing heat networks 
(iii) use the code to explore design implications for new renewably-sourced heat networks, particularly using deep geothermal resources.