This study proposes to use gas-fired boilers as peak shaving heat sources in heating substations due to their capability to increase the reliability, flexibility and heat capacity without the need to change the district heating network (DHN). However, the design and operational requirements with different connection modes for this kind of DH system are still not clear. This paper presents a systematic study on this kind of DH system, analyzes the connection modes of series and parallel connections between the gas-fired boilers and the heat exchangers. For each connection mode, we figured out the thermal balances and obtained the design and operational parameters including the supply temperatures of the heat exchangers, gas-fired boilers and their variations under different network temperature levels and the base load ratios (beta). Under the series connection mode, the design supply temperature of the heat exchangers has no relation with the design peak shaving flow ratio (omega '); it decreases linearly along with smaller beta, and the decreasing slope is higher with bigger temperature difference (Delta t) of the DHN. However, the design supply temperatures of gas-fired boilers increase linearly when beta and/or omega ' are smaller, and the increasing speed is proportional to Delta t. For the parallel connection mode, the design supply temperatures of the heat exchangers and gas-fired boilers are all affected by beta, omega ' and Delta t. The former decreases when beta and/or omega ' are smaller, while the latter increases at the same time. Finally, the design peak shaving flow ratio omega ' are determined for the peak boilers with series and parallel connection modes. The study provides a theoretical basis for the design and operation of the DH system with peak heating boilers in substations in order to reach a lower investment and higher efficiency.
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