​Illustration: Boid

Chalmers is becoming a unique marketplace for energy

​Campus Johanneberg is becoming a test arena for the local energy supply of the future. A cloud-based trading venue will control the production and use of electricity, heat and cooling in the buildings around the clock. The conclusions will be utilized by cities in the EU that want to develop into fossil-free communities.
​The project is quite unique in taking a holistic approach to all energy supplies – from electricity to heating and cooling. By way of a customized digital marketplace, the energy system will balance supply and demand for energy, depending on a variety of parameters. Nine partners, led by the city of Gothenburg, are engaged in the project (see facts below).
A group of researchers at Chalmers have done simulations and analysis during the spring and summer to build the models that will make the energy system and the marketplace work.

Anh Tuan Le, Kalid Yunus, Zack Norwood and David Steen, researchers at the division of Electric Power Engineering, are contributing with simulations and analysis for the energy system and the cloud-based marketplace at campus Johanneberg.
"We have developed an investment model that prescribes technical solutions to reach the goals to reduce energy consumption and cut energy peaks at the campus area," says David Steen, researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering. "It also shows how the system should be operated by combining different energy sources, depending on what is most beneficial in terms of environment and economy, at any given time."
Takes care of excess energy
"Electricity, heat and cooling produced at Chalmers can be stored and transferred between the buildings. Thus, we can use excess energy and keep down the amount of electricity that needs to be generated locally or purchased from outside", says David. "To a large extent, campus already is self-sufficient in terms of district heating, thanks to Kraftcentralen – Chalmers' own combined heat and power plant (CHP)."

David Steen, researcher in Electric Power Engineering

The researchers recommend a combination of different production techniques and energy storage, such as combined heat and power plant, solar panels, heat pumps, absorption chillers, batteries and thermal storage. Some of this already exists on campus today, but a good deal remains to be built in the coming year. In September, investment decisions with a budget of 15 million will be made.
The new energy system will also benefit from investments that the property manager Akademiska Hus is planning, in addition to the FED project plans.
Free trading in the campus area
When it comes to how electricity can be traded in a local area, the project is also innovative. Thanks to the fact that many of the buildings in the campus area included in the project are exempted from the Swedish legal requirements for network concessions, different players can sell and buy electricity among themselves without restrictions. This is a prerequisite for testing the local energy market.
In what ways will the students and those working and visiting Chalmers notice the test arena?
"Hopefully not at all", says David. "The indoor climate in the premises should not be affected and the system will be self-governing. On the other hand, one may notice such things as the building of a 280-cubic meter accumulator tank at Kraftcentralen and installations of solar cells on the roofs. We also hope that interested students want to engage in different ways. Among other things, students will be invited to take part in innovation competitions and there is also the opportunity to complete both master thesis and bachelor projects linked to the project."
A showroom will be established on campus, where the project will be displayed to interested visitors.
Full operation by the end of 2018
The researchers will continue to refine and complete the model through 2018. For example, forecasts for energy use will be included, as well as any restrictions affecting the transmission possibilities.
“Our project partner Akademiska Hus is already working actively to reduce energy consumption in the premises. Therefore, it will be an additional challenge for us to reach the goal of reducing energy imports by as much as 30 percent," says David.
This autumn, construction work will start on campus and in December 2017, the first version of the energy marketplace will be launched. From autumn 2018, everything is planned to be fully operational and after one year of operation, conclusions will be drawn, useful for EU cities wanting to implement the system on a larger scale.
Continued research on the future energy system
“It's really an exciting project to work in”, says David. “We all contribute with different competences in the cooperation. In addition, it gives us the opportunity to continue our research about local energy systems and to further develop the models we have created. Small local energy systems will be increasingly important for fossil-free and renewable energy supply in the future. There is an increasing interest in this, which benefits the society and also means a profitable development for different types of property owners.

Small local energy systems will be increasingly important for fossil-free and renewable energy supply in the future, according to Kalid YunusAnh Tuan Le, Zack Norwood and David Steen, Chalmers' researchers in the FED-project.

Text and photo: Yvonne Jonsson

Some objectives for the project
  • Reduce the import of energy to the campus area by 30 percent
  • Cut the energy peaks, when fossil energy is used, by 80 percent
  • 10 000 transactions on the local energy market
About the project
The Fossil-free Energy Districts project, FED, is an innovative effort by the City of Gothenburg, Sweden, to decrease the use of energy and the dependence on fossil fuel in a built environment. A unique local market for electricity, district heating and cooling is being developed together with eight strong partners. Johanneberg Science Park, Göteborg Energi, Business Region Göteborg, Ericsson, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Akademiska Hus, Chalmersfastigheter and Chalmers University of Technology are all contributing with their expertise and knowledge to make FED attractive for other European cities as well. During 2017−2019 the FED testbed will be situated on Campus Johanneberg. FED is co-financed by the European Regional and Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative, an initiative of the European Commission for cities to test new solutions for urban challenges.

Read more about FED at the homepage for UIA

Page manager Published: Fri 29 Sep 2017.