Assessment of absorption cooling as a district heating system strategy – A case study
Heat load variations, daily as well as seasonal, are constraining co-generation of high-value energy products as well as excess heat utilisation. Integration of heat-driven absorption cooling (AC) technology in a district heating and cooling (DHC) system raises the district heat (DH) demand during low-demand periods and may thus contribute to a more efficient resource utilisation. In Sweden, AC expansion is a potentially interesting option since the cooling demand is rapidly increasing, albeit from low levels, and DH systems cover most of the areas with potential cooling demand. This study aims to assess the potential for cost and CO2 emission reduction due to expansion of DH-driven AC instead of electricity-driven compression cooling in the DHC system of Göteborg, characterised by a high share of low-cost excess heat sources. The DHC production is simulated on an hourly basis using the least-cost model MARTES. Despite recent advances of compression chillers, the results show potential for cost-effective CO2 emission reduction by AC expansion, which is robust with regards to the different scenarios applied of energy market prices and policies. While the effects on annual DHC system results are minor, the study illustrates that an increased cooling demand may be met by generation associated with low or even negative net CO2 emissions – as long as there is high availability of industrial excess heat in the DHC system, or if e.g. new biomass-based combined heat and power capacity is installed, due to the avoided and replaced marginal power generation. âº Techno-economic evaluation of district heat driven absorption cooling. âº Case study of Göteborg’s district heating system. âº Consideration of recent advances of compression chillers. âº Absorption cooling has potential for cost-effective CO2 reduction. âº Absorption cooling has potential for increase of the system resource efficiency.