by Linda Bertelsen
Member Company profile ABB

ABB is a global technology expert in energy solutions, software, drives and motors. That makes it the ideal partner to take district heating and cooling projects to a whole new level of performance, cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

Member Company Profile: ABB

District heating and cooling systems consist of many components and processes whose design and control must be carefully co-ordinated for best results. Each aspect of generating, capturing, converting, transmitting and distributing energy should ideally be combined into a single, integrated system. That includes the essential electrical, instrumentation and control equipment.

The overall efficiency of the system depends on the effective integration and holistic consideration of all these elements. That’s where ABB’s knowledge is especially important. Because whether supplying the full set-up, or working with other providers, ABB’s consultants are there to make everything connect and work together optimally.

Managing complexity

District heating requires a complex and often widespread network of transmission and distribution pipes that feed heat to substations and domestic, commercial and industrial buildings. Further complexity is added by the variety of heat sources. In addition to combined heat and power (CHP) stations and biomass plants, there may be capture of waste heat from various industries. Increasingly, systems are also fed by heat pumps and solar thermal installations and receive power from solar farms and wind turbines. Power-to-X technology, converting surplus electricity into other energy forms for storage and later use, is another growing aspect.

ABB can meet all these challenges and provide the means of controlling the whole operation. Optimised production and delivery of heating and cooling to meet changing demands requires joined-up thinking and technology. As well as its advanced energy solutions, ABB offers high-efficiency electric motors and variable speed drives (VSDs) which reduce energy consumption. Under the control of VSDs, motor-driven pump and fan performance is precisely adjusted to meet system and user needs with minimal wasted energy.

ABB in action

ABB’s technology will play a crucial role in a project to revolutionise and decarbonise district heating for the Danish port city of Esbjerg. At its heart is a huge MAN seawater heat pump, powered by energy from offshore wind turbines. ABB is bringing everything together by equipping the system with integrated electrical infrastructure and controls, motors and VSDs.

Heating and cooling are closely related, as illustrated by a development at the Hertsi shopping mall in Helsinki, Finland. Oilon ChillHeat pumps not only cool the building but supply the extracted heat to the local district heating system. ABB has provided VSDs for precise and energy-efficient adjustment of the pump compressors to match changing load and temperature conditions.

Stepping up for future-proof solutions

District heating has already evolved through several generations of advancement. ABB is heavily involved in delivering the latest stage, generation 4, which focuses on efficiency, flexibility and system performance. Developments focus on lowering the temperature at which hot liquids are transmitted and distributed to the network. This reduces energy losses from the pipes, as well as pipe and valve damage and wear. It also makes it easier to integrate a wider variety of heat sources into the system. More opportunities are also being explored to capture waste heat from industrial processes, including some with relatively low temperatures, while renewable energy options continue to expand.

ABB’s deep understanding of the underlying technologies enables efficient, integrated solutions which improve the business case for district heating and cooling. By cutting energy consumption, they help to save money, lower carbon emissions and meet sustainability goals – their potential value to the planet is enormous.

For further information please contact: Michael Nohr, michael.noer@dk.abb.com