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Publication Title | The Preliminary Research of Sea Water District Heating and Cooling for Tallinn Coastal Area

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Smart Grid and Renewable Energy, 2012, 3, 246-252 Published Online August 2012 (

The Preliminary Research of Sea Water District Heating and Cooling for Tallinn Coastal Area

Allan Hani, Teet-Andrus Koiv

Environmental Department, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia. Email:

Received May 2nd, 2012; revised June 1st, 2012; accepted June 8th, 2012


This paper describes possibilities to utilize sea water for district heating and cooling purposes in Tallinn costal area. The sea water temperature profiles and suitability of heating and cooling generation are studied for continental climatic con- ditions. The district network study bases on 21 buildings located near to the Gulf of Finland. Industrial reversible heat pump technology is selected to cover heating and cooling loads for the new buildings. Combination of existing district heating and heat pump technology is considered for existing buildings. The results show possibilities, threats and need for further research of the sea water based heat pump district network implementation.

Keywords: District Heating; Cooling; Sea Water; Heat Pump; Renewable Energy; Office Building

1. Introduction

The European Union 20-20-20 targets emphasize imple- mentation of renewable energy sources in member states energy balances. Sea water is a large renewable energy source, which can be combined with reversible heat pump technology to produce both thermal and cooling energy. The working principle is similar to geothermal energy production, but the sea water allows utilization of free cooling during spring and autumn period. The heat pump technology is studied widely around the World. A comprehensive review of heat pump systems implemen- tation possibilities in different fields and also recent im- provement with coefficient of performance (COP) is presented [1]. The heat pump technology rapid growth in 2005-2010 is documented [2,3]. The sea water electrically driven heat pump technology feasibility is compared with conventional district heating, in case the network radius is less than 5 km [4]. The calculation includes coal-fired plants electricity production losses and pumping costs. When the electricity is produced from natural gas, the radius degreases. Feasibility of different district heating and cooling production options is studied [5]. The life cycle costs are included (installation, system operating, maintenance costs). The sea water district heating and cooling is 1.5 times more expensive in China, due to relatively low coal-produced electrical energy price. All the economic calculations shall be carried out project by project separately. Indirect sea water cooling for Japan commercial buildings is researched [6]. Thermal storage

tank of 4500 m3 is used. Storage tank covers 32% of the cooling peak load. Difference of water temperature utili- zation is 7 K (5 ̊C - 12 ̊C). Cooling capacity of chillers is 2.3 MW. Large advantage in maintenance costs was found also a slight saving in initial cost was found. Boiler plant and heat pump technology is compared by quasi- dynamic energy-saving calculation [7]. The static calcu- lations authors presented earlier the same year (2010) underestimated the feasibility of sea water district heat- ing and cooling by 20%. Similar study was carried out in Japan [8]. Compared to conventional systems (cooling tower and heating boiler plant) the saving of 29% was received for district cooling and 5% for district heating. In Sweden the short and long term impacts of heat pump technology are compared with district heating systems [9]. Totally 6 TWH thermal energy was produced in Sweden year 2007. Energy optimization tool MODEST was used for systems modelling. In a total thermal en- ergy balance of Sweden, still the heat pump systems for district heating will be developed in small scale, com- bined heat and power from renewable energy resources (CHP) is preferred. Nevertheless, in our Estonian case the share of cooling energy of selected buildings is higher than thermal energy. Therefore in certain costal areas the free cooling from sea water could be feasible and ecologically friendly. In Germany the de-nucleari- zation as a process is started [10]. Renewable energy storage and transportation possibilities are presented in the article. The problems are laid on the table, but solu- tions are still fully open. In Greece the cooling dominates

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