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Smart Infrastructure as a Driver for Sustainable Smart Cities
By Rainer Bachmann, Head of Platforms & Operations, Domain E-Mobility, E.ON Solutions and Michael Krumpholz, Managing Director, E.ON Energy Solutions GmbH
Dr. Michael Krumpholz is the Head of Sustainable City Solutions on behalf of E.ON Germany. His goals are to develop a sales strategy for the Berlin market, to acquire initial pilot projects and to set up a municipal network. Dr. Krumpholz develops conceptual ideas in cooperation and close coordination with the corporate development of E.ON Germany as well as with the associated companies to carry out pilot projects on new construction projects and in existing buildings.
Today, 73 per cent of all European citizens are living in cities. Until 2050, this percentage will be growing up to 80 per cent. Cities have been accountable for two-thirds of the CO2 emissions in Europe. This makes it mandatory that cities need to become more sustainable if the EU climate targets are to be reached.
Traditionally, the infrastructure of cities has been set up with independent, separated systems for electricity, heating, cooling, mobility, and broadband communication. Digitalisation and an increasing share of electrification in the heating, cooling, and mobility sector are paving the way to sector coupling and an integrated approach for city quarters. Smart infrastructure integrates electricity, heating, cooling, mobility, and broadband communication. It does not increase the efficiency of each sector separately, but it realises synergies between the sectors and thus optimises the overall efficiency of the system. Additionally, such smart infrastructure enables and supports smart customer services for the urban space inhabitants like e-car sharing or a digital end customer platform.
To be more specific, let us have a closer look at the supply of heating and cooling for buildings. Traditionally, two separated systems have been installed, one system for the heating (e.g., a heating boiler, a cogeneration unit or district heating) and the other for the cooling supply (e.g., a cooling unit or district cooling). New, highly energy-efficient buildings require less heating at lower temperatures and less cooling at higher temperatures.
The rapprochement of the supply temperatures enables a single, two-pipe system to supply both heating and cooling. This simple two-wire system (with a warm and a cold pipe) is also known as a cold heating network. Cold heating networks use central generation units for maintaining the temperatures of the warm and the cold pipe in a defined range suitable for operations. In each building, heat pumps are used for the generation of the desired temperature levels for heating, hot tap water, and cooling.
The heat pumps are supplied through the city quarter electricity grid and controlled via the local broadband grid. In a European tender in 2018, E.ON won the concession to build and operate such a cold heat network for Berlin TXL.
Going one step further includes adding a local electricity grid supplying e-chargers for e-cars and other electromobility services with decentralised, renewable energy generation, and an overall energy management system. Adding a battery system and combining it with a multilayer thermal storage system allows to significantly reduce the peak load of the overall city quarter electricity demand. Additionally, it enables the provision of grid services for the supplying electricity grid operator.
New, and highly energy-efficient buildings require less heating at lower temperatures and less cooling at higher temperatures
"Smart infrastructure integrates electricity, heating, cooling, mobility, and broadband communication"
The EU parliament has approved several new grid codes, coming into effect in 2019. The most relevant codes are the Requirements for Generators (RfG) and the Demand Connection Code (DCC). They require that the distribution system operators (DSO) are metering and controlling the electricity in the low voltage grid. To enable that, the rollout of intelligent secondary substations is planned by all relevant DSOs.
Such substations will provide metering data of voltage and current in real-time. The metering data is forwarded to a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system and analysed in a grid control centre application system. Some of the DSOs are even setting up additional grid control centres for the low voltage grid.
The disturbances to be detected are mainly
- too high load in the grid which damages or wears down the infrastructure
- too high reactive power in the grid
- voltage peaks which are produced by grid harmonics, which stem from “wrong” frequencies below or above 50 Hz
The MEISTER project plans to offer smart grid services to the public or private DSO. The services are based on the utilisation of unidirectional and bidirectional chargers for e-mobility.
The charge point management platform - being operated by a non-regulated market player, the “aggregator” - has to be equipped with functions to control the chargers in a grid segment. We expect that the disturbances can be handled in only one grid segment, namely behind the specific secondary substation.
When the DSO detects an anomaly in the grid, he will request the aggregator to check which correcting consumption and re-feeding into the grid can be expected. For this check, the aggregator will have to connect to the automotive OEM electric vehicle database, the charge points themselves, the grid control centre and - in a relevant use case - to a fleet management system. Thus a thorough IoT concept needs to be established to perform such services under the given real-time requirements.
In conclusion, MEISTER is demonstrating how an electricity grid and e-mobility market players will interact in a decentralised, renewable energy world. It is thus an important step towards an intelligent smart city quarter infrastructure integrating electricity, heating, cooling, mobility, and broadband communication with the highest efficiency.