Accurate forecasts for the operation of combined heat and power unitsECOsystem
ECOsystem is a hardware- and software-based solution for the optimisation of power plants with combined heat and power (CHP). Amongst these types of systems, the primary one is a combined heat and power unit which simultaneously produces heat and electricity. In order to operate the system economically, both the heat and electricity which are generated must be sold. This mostly happens through middlemen on the EEX (European Energy Exchange), who sell it for the following day. The resulting problem is that it is difficult to predict the demands of the heat consumers who are connected. In other words, the operator does not know how much power he will produce on the following day in order to cover the unknown heat load. So he therefore resorts to making a rough estimate. In reality, the combined heat and power unit cannot regularly comply with the forecast schedule for the following day because the amount of heat that the customer actually purchases can differ significantly from that forecast. Since the incorrectly forecast electricity cannot be economically stored or additionally purchased, balancing energy is required. For the operator of the combined heat and power unit, this entails substantial additional costs that reduce the income of the power plant. If the ECOsystem and its sensors are installed in the combined heat and power unit, the forecast can be significantly improved. As a result, the balancing energy-related losses which the operator incurs are always minimised. When dealing with forecasts for a reference customer, the ECOsystem forecast achieved an 85% reduction in deviation from the following day’s real profile. With the help of the ECOsystem’s additional integrated actuators, information for switching the system on and off is transmitted to the combined heat and power unit’s controls. The system can therefore dynamically react to deviations from the forecast. The ECOsystem controls the combined heat and power unit in a superimposed manner, but does not intervene in control processes that are critical to safety. The task of optimising operations becomes even more efficient through this interaction.