Data intelligent operation of district heating and district cooling systems

4 April 2019

Data intelligent operation of district heating and district cooling systems

KeepWarm project partner University of Zagreb (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering), together with the Centre for IT-Intelligent Energy Systems (CITIES) project and the City of Zagreb, organised a joint workshop on “Data intelligent operation of district heating and district cooling systems”, which took place on 3-4 April 2019 at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. It was also attended by some representatives of DHS from Slovenia.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in using big data to improve district heating and district cooling systems. Sensors are becoming cheaper and the use of smart meters, which measure hourly heat consumption at every consumer in the district heating systems, became more common. The vast amount of data can be used for constructing better models, resulting in lower operating costs of district heating and district cooling systems. Moreover, cogeneration units, large heat pumps and electric boilers in district energy systems have to bid for electricity on day-ahead markets. The result of this changing framework for district heating and district cooling operation is increased complexity of operating the systems but also an opportunity for economic, CO2 emissions and energy savings in the system.

Furthermore, efficient and successful integration of large-scale variable energy sources like wind and solar energy calls for a rethinking of the design and operation of energy systems and their interaction with other sectors of modern society. Current energy systems where supply is following the demand will change to a system where the demand must follow generation. Consequently, this calls for a switch of focus towards unlocking and describing the energy flexibility at all levels of the energy system. Here, the thermal inertia of district heating/cooling systems will play an important role, as the scale of the system is essential for providing the needed solutions; e.g. solutions for seasonal storage. This workshop will also focus on the importance of data-intelligent operation of integrated power and thermal systems for accelerating the green transition using thermal storage solutions on the proper scales. To achieve all of the latter, a paradigm shift towards integrated energy systems powered by digitalisation and data intelligence is needed.

By engaging in an open debate between different industry, academia and governmental partners, the aim of this two-day workshop was an improved collaboration between different partners and a better understanding of problems and solutions in the domain of district heating and cooling systems.

For more information about training activities planned in Croatia, please check out this article as well as the project country page on our website.