THERMAFLEX DEMO PROJECT: Coupling of the wastewater treatment plant with the energy supply
Stadtwerke Gleisdorf GmbH and Abwasserverband Gleisdorfer Becken are regional supply and disposal utilities with a sense of responsibility, innovative ideas and a vision for the future. Both companies have great ambitions to increase the efficiency and flexibility of their systems and to use renewable and locally available energy sources to ensure a regional, environmentally friendly and economical (affordable) heat supply and wastewater treatment in the long term.
The ongoing connection of new district heating customers to the district heating network, which mainly uses biomass and solar thermal energy as heat sources, will require additional heat generation plants in the near future. At the same time, the capacity of the sewage treatment plant must be expanded due to the dynamic growth in the region. This was taken as an opportunity to take a look outside the box together with AEE INTEC and answer the following questions:
• Which regionally available heat sources can be used in addition to biomass and solar thermal energy?
• How can the energy input of a sewage treatment plant be optimized, valuable materials recovered, and energy surpluses made usable?
• How can district heating grids, wastewater treatment plants, electricity grids, gas grids, etc. be linked to an intelligent energy system?
• What flexibility potentials are required in coupled energy systems, and how can these be realized?
• Which intelligent control concepts are required to be able to operate highly complex heat supply systems with multiple heat sources and system couplings?
This has resulted in new, innovative and flexible concepts for district heating networks and sewage treatment plants which will be further developed and implemented within the framework of the ThermaFlex demonstration project. The entire project is currently being evaluated and finalized and consists of the following main areas:
• Innovative wastewater treatment process with recovery of valuable materials with membrane distillation and heat pump to optimize the treatment process and biogas production
• Coupling of wastewater treatment and district heating to enable the use of heat potentials from the wastewater treatment plant and to increase the flexibility and efficiency of the overall system.
• Integration of large storage capacities and thermochemical storage facilities into a smaller district heating network
• Cascadic heat utilization (return flow supply)
• Implementation of a “virtual heating plant” as intelligent high level control system
The result of the project will be a showcase of a new future-proof generation of energy systems with maximum use of local renewable resources, high efficiency, high technical and economic flexibility, high security of supply and competitive costs. The overall concept as well as parts of it have a large application potential in sewage treatment plants and district heating systems of any size. The measures lead to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, additional use of renewable energy sources and energy savings. Consumers will also benefit from the creation of a renewable, secure and affordable energy supply.
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