Freelance DCS to control district heating plant in Berlin Neukölln

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The well-proven control and measurement technology from ABB controls the district heating plant Neukölln in Berlin. Through the new, integrated heat accumulator of the power-to-heat unit, the district heating and electricity production can be temporally decoupled from the heat supply.

Berlin's biggest heat storage is located in the Neukölln district. Originally there was a huge tank with millions of liters fuel oil in the middle of the premises of the district heating plant (FHW - Fernheizwerk) Neukölln supplying district heating to numerous buildings in the district. Since the beginning of 2015, after a conversion for 2.8 millon euros, the 22 m high tank can now be used as a heat accumulator. Instead of fuel oil it is now a storage for ten million liters of hot water.
Robert Tomasko, head of district heat generation FHW Neukölln
"The heat accumulator is able to supply approximately 3,250 households with district heating for 24 hours on a frosty winter day."

Seven combined heat and power plants for environmentally friendly energy

The heating plant produces environmentally friendly district heating in an area with about 160,000 inhabitants, commercial enterprises and public institutions in Berlin Neukölln and Kreuzberg. The supply is provided by a nearly 100 km long pipeline network and 1,150 transfer stations. Up to 3,500 m3 heating water at a temperature of 75 to 110 ° C can be pumped through the lines per hour. Seven combined heat and power plants (CHP) with a total of about 10 MW of electricity and about 11.5 MW thermal power produce heat and electricity by using the highly efficient cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP) technology. The heat generated power is used for the self-supply and also fed to the public grid.
Robert Tomasko, head of district heat generation of FHW Neukölln
"For the generation of district heating and hot water are five and two steam boilers operated with different fuels"

Integration into existing system

The district heating plant in Neukölln is controlled using the ABB Freelance DCS. The open and closed loop control of the existing generation park of the heating plant and the new plant should be interconnected. "It was also important to increase the flexibility of the systems to respond optimally to the fluctuations in the heating network," ABB Project Manager Bodo Hubrig explains the demanding task. 

With the expansion of solar and wind power plants, the demand of flexibly controllable conventional power plants rises steadily. How much electricity is produced by renewable energy installations, is always dependent on the weather. If they produce too little current, the frequency decreases in the electricity grid. In this case, conventional power plants such as the FHW Neukölln must produce more electricity within the shortest time. If solar and wind power plants generate too much power, the production in conventional power plants must be shut down quickly or regulated. This is done through the provision of balancing energy, which should be available within only a few seconds or minutes, depending on the type of energy. 
Tobias Bachmann, project manager of the district heat generation FHW Neukölln
"As we are satisfied with the Freelance DCS, it was obvious for us to also integrate the new heat storage, the power-to-heat system and the co-generation plants into the existing control system"

Higher flexibility of the facilities

"We can achieve the flexibility we need with the appropriate system technology but also with the control options we have in the ABB control system, that enables fast startup and shutdown of the co-generation plants," says Bachmann. "The power-to-heat plant converts current into district heating just like a giant immersion heater. The energy can then be stored in the heat storage, so that we can now take preferably renewable excess electricity of up to ten megawatts from the grid within only five minutes.

This allows us to operate our facilities optimally, regardless of the heat demand. Through the temporal independence of the district heat production and demand, electricity can be produced even if there is no demand for the high-efficiency cogeneration process heat by the customer. On the other hand, the heat supply is ensured even without production of electricity. 

"Besides the technical integration of the new systems into the existing control system, we have a number of components supplied for the hydraulic part of the heat accumulator," says Frank Karliczek, Account Manager at ABB Process Automation. "This is a great example of good inter-divisional cooperation." In addition to drives for the pumps also flowmeters from ABB are used in the FHW Neukölln. 

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