Optimization of heat production for multi-plant district heating network

Tingting Fang and Risto Lahdelma


District heating, multi-plant, optimization, production planning, state estimation


A model was designed to optimize the heat production at different heat plants of a district heating network in order to minimize the distribution cost of heat subject to satisfying all the customer’s needs that was predicted by an earlier developed heat demand forecasting model. The target is to obtain the cost of heat as a function of heat production. Fuel costs and pumping costs were taken into account as they are the main categories of cost that are significantly affected by the change of the heat production at different plants. We illustrate the method with a small district heating network with two parallel heat plants and three customers. Given the supply temperatures at both plants, the total cost of heat for both heat plants as a function of volume flow variable at one plant was computed. The cost function was used to search the optimal heat production at all the plants by computing the volume flows at all the pipes and temperatures at all the nodes based on the forecasted heat demands.

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