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Ausführende Stelle: Technische Universität Berlin - Fakultät III Prozesswissenschaften - Institut für Energietechnik - Fachgebiet Gebäudeenergiesysteme - Sekr. HL 45
Förderinitiative: Energieoptimiertes Bauen (EnOB)
Laufzeit: 09/2013 bis 05/2017
Bewilligte Summe: 642.317 €
Förderkennzeichen: 03ET1197A
Topics: Heating, ventilation and cooling, Heating & cooling networks
Innovation: Diverse bionic developments such as evolutionarily optimised fittings, drag reducing additives and pipe surfaces that have never previously been used in thermal distribution networks are being adapted and evaluated in this project.
Keywords:

Quintessence

  • Bionics, i.e. the application of solutions from nature, helps to reduce flow resistances in hydraulic systems
  • Use of evolutionarily optimised fittings as well as drag reducing additives and microstructured pipe surfaces in heating and cooling systems
  • Carrier media additives reduce the frictional resistance in the pipelines by about 40 per cent
  • Bionically optimised fittings reduce the pressure losses by 20-30 per cent
  • This reduces the electricity demand of pumps

The energy consumption for distributing heating and cooling media in buildings depends on the flow resistance in the hydraulic systems. During the course of evolution, nature has developed various energy-efficient solutions for reducing drag. In addition, there are already numerous bionic developments, such as the bionic pipe elbow or optimised surfaces, which can reduce pressure losses in thermal networks. However, these have not been used so far in heat and cooling distribution networks.

Project context

2 to 3 per cent of the total electrical energy demand is caused by circulating pumps in single family and apartment houses (EU, Barthel, 2006). The German Energy Consumers' Association estimates the energy demand for circulating pumps in all German heating systems, including non-residential buildings, to be around 15 terawatt hours per year (TWh/a). This corresponds to 3 per cent of the total electricity consumption in the Federal Republic of Germany. In addition, if all the cooling in private households and for commercial and industrial use is also included, an energy demand for all circulating pumps of about 20 TWh can be assumed. This value is higher than the energy required by all German rail transport, including all trams and metro systems. There are therefore considerable possibilities for saving energy.

Research focus

The project is focussing on reducing the power requirements for distributing heating and cooling media in buildings by employing new as well as already proven bionic principles.To this end, the pressure loss reductions resulting from employing different optimised fittings, pipe surfaces and drag reducing additives were proved, firstly for individual components and ultimately for overall systems: for example with pipe bends, pipe materials and modified carrier media. The scope is to optimize the hydraulics of heating and cooling networks so that the interaction of the individual components produces the lowest possible pressure loss.

This test rig enables a detailed comparison of conventional and bionic networks.

This test rig enables a detailed comparison of conventional and bionic networks.

© Hermann-Rietschel-Institut

Further images

Schematic showing the evaluation of bionic solutions for heating networks

Schematic showing the evaluation of bionic solutions for heating networks

© Hermann-Rietschel-Institut
Manually bent bionic pipe elbow made of PVC

Manually bent bionic pipe elbow made of PVC

© Hermann-Rietschel-Institut
A 3D laser-sintered bionic pipe elbow

A 3D laser-sintered bionic pipe elbow

© Hermann-Rietschel-Institut
A 3D laser-sintered bionic T-piece

A 3D laser-sintered bionic T-piece

© Hermann-Rietschel-Institut
Another variant of a 3D laser-sintered bionic T-piece

Another variant of a 3D laser-sintered bionic T-piece

© Hermann-Rietschel-Institut
A special aqueous polymer solution reduces the pressure losses

A special aqueous polymer solution reduces the pressure losses

© Hermann-Rietschel-Institut
Highly accurate test rig for the gravimetric measurement of fittings

Highly accurate test rig for the gravimetric measurement of fittings

© Hermann-Rietschel-Institut

Successes

Bionic fittings for deflection and flow separation which reduce the individual pressure losses by 20-30 per cent have been developed. Practice-based tests are being conducted on carrier media additives that reduce pipe friction resistance in heating networks by about 40 per cent.

The frictional resistances of various internal pipe surfaces were investigated: VC-sharkskin, chiselled grooves, grooved foil from 3M, epoxy resin from Hempel.

The frictional resistances of various internal pipe surfaces were investigated: VC-sharkskin, chiselled grooves, grooved foil from 3M, epoxy resin from Hempel.

© Hermann-Rietschel-Institut

Application

For newly installed domestic heating and heat distribution networks, the carrier media additives and the new fittings can be used in combination to reduce pressure losses by a total of about 40 per cent – or to enable the use of smaller pipes. The new fittings can be used in all pipe networks with a high proportion of fittings. The new fitting geometries can be used with minimal space requirements in integrated systems and components such as combi boilers and compact heat generators.

Last Update: 23. May 2017

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