The principle behind Rotterdam's district heating is simple. Residual heat is released in the port, by industry and by power stations. This residual heat can be used to heat homes and offices. This makes it a good alternative to natural gas.
The challenge is that the current heat networks are not yet functioning optimally. The temperatures delivered are sometimes unnecessarily high and a great deal of heat is lost along the way. In some cases, there can even be up to 30% heat loss. Plenty of room then for considerable optimisation.
Make the heat network more intelligent
Hervé Huisman, CEO of Gradyent, explains how they want to tackle this challenge. “We have developed a digital tool using digital twin technology. That is a digital replica of the physical elements of a heat network. This digital twin provides insights which can lead to enormous improvements in the network."
It is already difficult to match supply and demand effectively. Sometimes the supply is at 80 degrees while actually 90 degrees is needed, or the other way around. With the connection of new sources and users, this will become even more complex. Huisman explains how Gradyent makes heat networks smarter, so that they can move with supply and demand. “You can compare our innovation to a smart meter. It takes into account the behaviour of the occupants of a house; is someone at home or not. Really, we have developed an intelligent thermostat for an entire city."
Not only does Gradyent help to limit heat loss, it also enables administrators to make better choices about the use of, for example, geothermal energy or heat pumps.
The young innovative company recently moved from Utrecht to Rotterdam, and there is a reason for that. Rotterdam is enormously interesting for this type of innovation. Huisman; "The city, industry and port offer the scale and complexity where our technology can really prove itself. If we can be successful in a city like Rotterdam, that gives us enormous credibility with other major networks in Europe."