Scientific paper of control concept for “100% Renewable District Heating Leibnitz” published



Smart control of interconnected district heating networks on the example of “100% Renewable District Heating Leibnitz”

The ThermaFLEX group has written and published an article for ScienceDirect about the demonstrator of Leibnitz (“100% Renewable District Heating Leibnitz”). The authors from AEE INTEC (Jakob Binder, Joachim Kelz and Ingo Leusbrock) collaborated with the partners BEST GmbH and Schneid GmbHto to write this article.

ThermaFLEX is a project focused on increasing flexibility and reducing CO2 emissions in the district heating sector. In order to realise the project, 11 demonstrators have been realised, each with a different focus. In the article published this month in ScienceDirect, the demonstrator in the city of Leibnitz, called “100% Renewable DH Leibnitz”, was discussed. To read the full article, click here.


District heating (DH) networks have the potential for intelligent integration and combination of renewable energy sources, waste heat, thermal energy storage, heat consumers, and coupling with other sectors. As cities and municipalities grow, so do the corresponding networks. This growth of district heating networks introduces the possibility of interconnecting them with neighbouring networks. Interconnecting formerly separated DH networks can result in many advantages concerning flexibility, overall efficiency, the share of renewable sources, and security of supply. Apart from the problem of hydraulically connecting the networks, the main challenge of interconnected DH systems is the coordination of multiple feed-in points. It can be faced with control concepts for the overall DH system which define optimal operation strategies. This paper presents two control approaches for interconnected DH networks that optimize the supply as well as the demand side to reduce CO2 emissions. On the supply side, an optimization-based energy management system defines operation strategies based on demand forecasts. On the demand side, the operation of consumer substations is influenced in favour of the supply using demand side management. The proposed approaches were tested both in simulation and in a real implementation on the DH network of Leibnitz, Austria. First results show a promising reduction of CO2 emissions by 35% and a fuel cost reduction of 7% due to better utilization of the production capacities of the overall DH system.


(Source: Kaisermayer, V., Binder, J., Muschick, D., Beck, G., Rosegger, W., Horn, M., Gölles, M., Kelz, J., & Leusbrock, I. (2022). Smart control of interconnected district heating networks on the example of “100% Renewable District Heating Leibnitz”. Smart Energy, 6, 100069.