As a district heating service provider, providing uninterrupted, effective and comfortable heating to our end-users is our utmost priority. Grundfos’ advanced pump system not only allows us to fulfil our promise, but has also taken our heating capability in the region to a new level
Located in the east of Liaoning Province, the city of Fushun sits at the heart of the Shenyang Economic Zone. The city is known for its long and cold winters with temperatures averaging at about - 11.4 ℃ and dropping to - 30 ℃ in January each year. It comes as no surprise then, that heat generation and supply is one of the most important forms of livelihood in winter, with the heating season lasting up to 150 days.
Fushun Thermal Power Co., Ltd. is one such district heating service provider in Fushun, supplying heat to government organisations, businesses and residents across the districts of Xinfu, Shuncheng and Wanghua. It covers a network of 10.8 million square metres, providing heat to 143,000 end-users through 160 heat exchanger substations connected by 376km of underground pipes.
Heating in Fushun – status and challenges
According to national data, about 60% of the land area in northern China requires heating - affecting a population of about 700 million people. Around the same time as it published the first national ‘Five Year Plan’ in the 1950s, China embarked on its journey to build a government-subsidised central heating system, kicking-off the construction of district heating power plants in cities such as Beijing, Harbin, Xi'an and Changchun. By the 1970s and 1980s, central heating had gained significant traction, with many heating power plants and heat exchanger substations built across cities in the northern region.
However, with rapid urbanisation accelerating the growth in population and the number of residential buildings, China’s demand for heat quickly outstripped its capacity to supply heat. Some district heating facilities in Fushun city are old, dated and require high energy consumption. This makes it hard for them to meet even the most basic demand for heating from Fushun residents.
The heat exchanger substation serves as the ‘nerve centre’ connecting the heat generated by power plants to the end-users. It is typically made up of two main components: the water replenishing system and the circulation system, with the circulation system further broken down into its primary and secondary networks. The primary network works to regulate the heat generated by the power plant to the appropriate temperature and the secondary network distributes it to the end-user. Therefore, in circumstances where heating is not effective or efficient, one can often look to the heat exchanger substations, in addition to the distribution networks, for the root cause.
The new Fushun No.15 Heat Exchanger Substation is a good example of this. With a heating area of 134,000 square metres, the heat exchanger substation is supposed to supply heat to 28 residential buildings and 1,954 households. However, it is unable to do so effectively.
“The new Fushun No.15 Heat Exchanger Substation is located at the tail end of our heating pipe network and is our weakest link. When facing severe cold weather, residents will face insufficient heating. Additionally, the operations of the substation produce loud noises, which makes neighbouring residents unhappy,” says Liu Dehua, Head of Maintenance and Services at the Xinfu Branch of Fushun Thermal Power Co., Ltd.
Installing Grundfos’ integrated and intelligent pump solution
To solve the long-standing heating challenges and improve the quality of heating for residents in Fushun, Fushun Thermal Power Co., Ltd partnered Grundfos in a pilot project to optimise its Fushun No.15 Heat Exchanger Substation.
After a detailed inspection and analysis, Grundfos proposed replacing the original circulation pump system with a prefabricated, integrated, intelligent pump system, with a remote monitoring and smart control system. The integrated and intelligent pump system comes with enhanced mechanical efficiencies that help enhance heating efficacy and stability, while reducing energy consumption.
Liu Dehua commented that the smart and intelligent features of the pump are what makes it outstanding. “Every aspect of the pump system is monitored and controlled by a microcomputer, which automatically adjusts the pressure and flow of hot water according to outdoor temperatures and other pre-set parameters. This really helps the pump system to adapt continuously to changing demands, improve overall system efficiency and guarantee the quality of heating for residents of Fushun.”
“As a district heating service provider, providing uninterrupted, effective and comfortable heating to our end-users is our utmost priority. Grundfos’ advanced pump system not only allows us to fulfil our promise, but has also taken our heating capability in the region to a new level,” said Liu Dehua.
Yang Yong, Production Manager at the Xinfu Branch of Fushun Thermal Power Co., Ltd noted that the partnership between Fushun Thermal Power Co., Ltd and Grundfos started in 2014, when they first learned about the company’s water pumps. The collaboration continues to this day.
“We trust the stability and efficiency of Grundfos’ pump solutions, which generally do not need any form of maintenance. It is good to cooperate again with Grundfos on the optimisation of our Fushun No. 15 Heat Exchanger Substation. The pilot use of Grundfos’ prefabricated, integrated and intelligent pump system, specifically designed for China, provides an excellent model case study for the upgrade and transformation of district heating nationally,” said Yang Yong.
Promising heat, while saving water and energy
In late October 2019, Grundfos’ prefabricated, integrated and intelligent pump system commenced operations at the Fushun No. 15 Heat Exchanger Substation. To date, it has been running for a whole heating season. Most residents enjoy temperatures warmer than Fushun City’s mandated heat supply temperature of 18 ℃.
Compared to the last heating season, the effects and comfort levels of heating have been greatly improved with the installation of Grundfos’ intelligent pump system.
Residents of Fushun city are very happy with the transformation, with one resident noting a significant improvement in heating and comfort levels at home this year versus two years ago, when they had experienced issues such as pipe leakages, insufficient pressure and overall poor heating effects. Another elderly resident said, “Temperatures at my house have increased from 13℃ to 18 ℃. The upgrade of the heat exchanger substation has greatly improved the heating comfort for the public and I applaud the efforts.”
More importantly, the upgrade of the heat exchanger substation saw reductions in energy consumption and operational costs. Across the 2019 heating season, the Fushun No.15 Heat Exchanger Substation achieved heat savings of 7.2% compared to the previous year, circulating pump energy savings of 8.53% and water loss savings of 4.9%, resulting in more than RMB12,000 savings in electricity bills.
Yang Yong continued, “Since the selection of Grundfos equipment, the need for maintenance, and complaints from end-users about the heating effects and noise of our heat exchanger substations in winter, have decreased drastically."
“With Grundfos’ pump solutions, comfort of end-users in the area has been greatly improved. Residents can now be assured of a warm winter, which is a massive lifesaver, especially during the pandemic period when people are staying at home the majority of the time,” added Liu Dehua.
“Grundfos solutions have kept pace with the rapid advancement of science and technology, and I believe its intelligent solutions will continue to play important roles in the future of heating. I look forward to the wider adoption of Grundfos’ solutions across more upgrade and optimisation projects like the Fushun No. 15 Heat Exchanger Substation, so we can achieve more significant water, energy, and heat savings for the wider society. This not only helps enable the sustainable operations of district heating service providers, it might be just the push in the right direction towards the green development and revolution of China’s heating industry,” concluded Yang Yong.