Operational optimization of district heating systems with temperature limited sources

Sam van der Zwan, Ivo Pothof

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    9 Downloads (Pure)


    Future district heating systems (DHS) will be supplied by renewable sources, most of which are limited in temperature and flow rate. Therefore, operational optimization of DHS is required to maximize the use of renewable sources and minimize (fossil) peak loads. In this paper, we present a robust and fast model-predictive control approach to use the thermal mass of buildings as a daily storage without violating temperature constraints. The novelty of this paper includes two elements. First, the focus on an operational control strategy that explicitly accounts for temperature-limited renewable sources, like a geothermal source. Secondly, the optimization problem is formulated as a (nearly) convex optimization problem, which is required for adoption of model-predictive control in practice. The examples show that the peak heating demand can be reduced by 50%, if the thermal inertia of the buildings is used and the heating setpoints are adapted. Furthermore, the operational optimization finds the proper balance between benefits of pre-heating using renewable sources with limited capacity and costs of additional heat losses due to pre-heating.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number110347
    Number of pages19
    JournalEnergy and Buildings
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • District heating
    • Geothermal energy
    • Model predictive control
    • Operational optimization

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