Experiences from City-Scale Simulation of Thermal Grids

Dynamic simulation of district heating and cooling networks has an increased importance in the transition towards renewable energy sources and lower temperature district heating grids, as both temporal and spatial behavior need to be considered. Even though much research and development has been performed in the field, there are several pitfalls and challenges towards dynamic district heating and cooling simulation for everyday use.

This article (2021) presents the experiences from developing and working with a city-scale simulator of a district heating grid located in Luleå, Sweden. The grid model in the case study is a physics based white-box model, while consumer models are either data-driven black-box or gray-box models. The control system and operator models replicate the manual and automatic operation of the combined heat and power plant. Using the functional mock-up interface standard, a co-simulation environment integrates all the models. Further, the validation of the simulator is discussed.

Lessons learned from the project are presented along with future research directions, corresponding to identified gaps and challenges.

Authors: Johan Simonsson (Luleå University of Technology, Optimation AB), Khalid Tourkey Atta (Luleå University of Technology), Gerald Schweiger (Graz University of Technology), Wolfgang Birk (Luleå University of Technology)

Keywords: digital twin, simulation, district heating, district cooling, 4GDH, DHC