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OPTiOptimisation of District Heating Cooling systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OPTi (OPTiOptimisation of District Heating Cooling systems)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-06-30

“With a user-centric design, we will contribute to next-generation District Heating & Cooling systems”

The OPTi project aspires to create a long-lasting impact by rethinking the way DHC systems are architected and controlled. The overarching goal is to create business benefit for the industry as well as to ensure optimal end-consumer satisfaction.
OPTi will deliver methodologies and tools that will enable accurate modelling, analysis and control of current and envisioned DHC systems. The methodology will be deployed both on a complete system level, and on the level of a building(s).
OPTi will treat the DHC system as a system subject to dynamic control, and will treat thermal energy as a resource to be controlled for DHC systems towards saving energy and reducing peak loads. This will lead to the most environmentally-friendly way of utilizing energy sources, thus reducing the reliance on additional boilers running on oil and/or electricity and overall providing a socio-economically sustainable environment.

OPTi will help energy companies to operate both today’s and future DHC systems in an optimal way:
• System level: We envision opportunities for SMEs to provide new services/solutions
• House level: More intelligent home DHC control systems like remote control and the consumer “virtual knob”
• General: We foresee that the OPTi framework will enable engineers to design and plan DHC

Luleå Energi AB invests 45 MEUR (2014-2018) in their DHC to meet the requirements from the expanding Luleå City. This will enhance the system and allow for new solutions to be deployed and is directly beneficial for this project.
• Saving 30% of energy for water and heating on a system level
• Saving 30-40% of peak consumption on houses/clusters of houses
• Promote ways of operating today’s and future DH/DC systems in more optimized and environmentally friendly way including alternative energy sources and energy storage methods
The project started approximately 1.5 months later than the original start date of March 1:st, due to a necessary amendment (AMD-649796-3) to the grant agreement. Nevertheless, we have made progress on several fronts in the reporting period, across work packages and pilots. These are summarized below and the complete account is given in the core report.


Initially, the state of the art in three defined Research Areas was reviewed and updated and the work focussed on use-cases, requirement and key performance indicators. A set of eight use cases was defined based on the analysis of industrial and consumer needs. Five core key performance indicators (KPIs) were defined as well as means for their assessment. We have also derived a complete set of functional and non-functional requirements for the OPTi framework which are used as the starting point for the development.

Based on this we have specified the system architecture for the OPTi framework. The architecture specification contains a detailed description of the different components of the OPTi framework and three different architectural views: a functional view, a process view and an information view.

We have defined (ongoing work) a holistic economic sustainability methodology through tailoring EC proposed guidelines on cost benefit analysis (CBA) for Smart Grid projects to the DHC networks and applied it to the Luleå Energy pilot case

Testing has already begun in both the pilot locations. Peak load reduction tests were conducted in Luleå and DR experiments (related to change in set-point temperature) were performed in Mallorca. We are now assembling some early findings from these tests.

From a dissemination and communication perspective, we have created Project promotion material, a project website and a Dissemination and Communication plan. In P1, we had a total of 39 dissemination activities including talks, visits, publications and industry events. We are also organizing a workshop in Sydney as part of the IEEE SmartGridComm 2016 conference.

From the project management perspective, we have conducted several project management team (PMT meetings), first at weekly frequency and later at bi-weekly frequency. We have conducted 5 face to face meetings (in Luleå, Athens, Stuttgart, Mallorca and Aachen), and an integration workshop. All face to face meetings have resulted in a boost in result generation and addressing development challenges.


During the reporting period we have achieved the following results which are the key to achieve the set project objectives. The results are the ingredients for new development and will also be further refined.

A. - First version of a user interaction system design (Virtual Knob) was developed. This system has been implemented in the LEN office building in Sweden and user thermal comfort feedback data is being collected and analysed.

B. - An approach based on context vector was developed to estimate the baseline consumption of consumers in a DHC network. The approach was evaluated using historical data from Luleå, Sweden and the accuracy of baseline prediction was around 85%.

C. - Regarding consumers’ thermal comfort, an extension of the concept of utility functions has been developed via a novel hybrid approach, which combines the theoretical utility functions, available in the literature, with statistical analysis of data obtained as feedback from the consumers (from the virtual knob).

D. - Two different approaches for incentive based ADR contracts were developed and experimentally evaluated: Fixed versus Learning-based Incentives in ADR Contracts (FLIADR), and Net Benefit-based Incentives in ADR Contracts (NBIADR).

E. - A DR framework was developed to impart fairness with regard to thermal comfort in a DHC network. The approach was evaluated in simulation under various network conditions.

F. - The Smart Energy Generation Algorithm tool (SEGA) (on-going work) is an economic optimisatio
Already from its early stages, the project has defined its requirements and architecture aiming at (a) advancing the state-of-the-art in the areas defined in the OPTi proposal and the DoA, and (b) maximizing its economic and social impact.

On the former, the progress is demonstrated through the work of the core technical WPs 3, 4 and 5 whereas the latter has been the focus of the work on exploitation and business models in the context of WP7 where project assets and initial business models are already been defined. Refer to the respective sections of the technical part of the core report and the WP deliverables to get a comprehensive understanding of the work.

Furthermore, the project has defined clear and measurable technical and socio-economic KPIs for monitoring and evaluating its progress on those directions in WP2. In particular, the following list summarizes specific progress made by the individual partners in the consortium and how it impacts their business

A. - LEN is exploring new Demand Response frameworks motivated by the progress made in OPTi and in the FP7 project Wattalyst.

B. - OPN is planning on using the results in physical modelling such as automated model generation tool in other projects and as a service that can be provided to utility companies.

C. - IBM is exploring the use of the thermal demand forecasting work into a broader solution suite on demand forecasting that can be offered to utility companies.

D. - The co-simulation framework developed in the project which simulates DHC systems, has allowed TWT a new capability of its co-simulation tool, which can be used to expand its business value.

E. - The pilot tests on peak load reduction and demand response carried out at LEN and SAMPOL demonstrated the potential to reduce operation costs. The same can be applied by other DHC utility companies for economic benefits.

F. - The Cost Benefit Analysis framework being developed in the project (led by AUEB) seeks to provide a framework to holistically evaluate the assets developed in the project. Such a model can be more generally applied, and specifically beyond OPTi.

G. - The physical models and the integrated co-simulation framework developed in the project can be used for use-cases beyond those identified in the project and can be promoted for benchmarking purposes by a wider audience, both academic and industrial.

It is the belief of the partnership that the project is progressing well beyond the state of the art.
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