Danfoss: District Energy End to End Optimization solution

District Energy
© Srdjan Randjelovic

Dmitry Bochkalov from Danfoss tells us what we need to know about their District Energy End to End Optimization solution

Digitalisation is an enabler for better efficiency and operation of district heating, especially the new, Greener and Decarbonised 4th and 5th generations cannot exist without digital help.

In general, we can split the District Energy system into the following parts:

  • Demand side is necessary for prediction of the load and minimisation of temperature level/heat need.
  • Distribution deals with pressure and temperature fields into the network, thus defining needed pressure and temperature levels of heat at the production side.
  • Generation side is about to optimize which plant goes into operation, charging or discharging of heat storage and forecasting the load for the whole network, where the side effect is to forecast electricity production from combined heat and power plants.

The overarching precondition is to get data as granular as possible through the true Internet of things (IoT) data collection system and that calculated decisions of the artificial intelligence (AI) engine are connected with hardware execution elements: valves, differential pressure controllers and electronic temperature controllers.

Danfoss’s District Energy End-to-end (E2E) optimization solution is a modular-based software solution for District Energy utilities and also service providers (e.g. ESCO companies, consultants/planners, ..), with the aim to enable efficient control and improving operational efficiency of District Energy systems as well as design efficiency on greenfield, expansion and refurbishment projects.

District Energy E2E optimization

Danfoss’s District Energy E2E optimization offerings consist of four basic software solutions:

  • Monitoring & control (inc. data acquisition): Danfoss Enspire®.
  • Production Optimization: Mentor Planner.
  • Distribution Optimization: Energis Operator and/or Mentor Planner:
  • Real-time network model.
  • Temperature optimizer.
  • Pressure optimizer.
  • Network design tool: Energis Designer.
  • Demand prediction: Mentor Planner.
  • Demand optimization: Leanheat (secondary side supply temperature optimization).

Click here to view: Danfoss District Energy E2E modular schematic

A short description of the functionality of each software solution:

  1. Leanheat by Danfoss is a hosted (cloud-based) AI solution, using IoT technology to enable smart heating control & maintenance for buildings.

Leanheat uses climate sensors in apartments, connected by IoT technology, which enables Leanheat’s AI to learn the building’s thermodynamic behaviour and to optimally control the HVAC system, by influencing secondary supply temperatures and heating schedules. Leanheat can reduce the maximum power usage by 10–30% without compromising living comfort. Leanheat can also, utilising building thermal capacity, reduce peak loads on building levels, helping consumers avoid potential “peak load” related penalties.

  1. Danfoss Energis is a thermo-hydraulic modelling tool, developed specifically for use in District Energy systems to support planning, design and operational processes. The District Energy model built with Danfoss Energis is a digital clone of the network.

Energis Designer is a functionality allowing us to build the network model using network asset data (x-y-z coordinates for all elements, DN’s, nodes, consumer power, production power, …) and calibrate the model so that it mathematically acts as the real system. Energis Designer can also be used in greenfield, expansion and refurbishment projects, as it allows automatic calculation of required piping diameters and lengths. By experience, Energis Designer can save up to 17% on investment costs due to better calculation of required piping diameters.

Energis Operator is a network model, built and calibrated with Designer but also coupled with real-time data and load forecast. It allows us to simulate current and future hydraulic as well as thermal conditions in the district energy distribution system, analyse historical conditions and do different kinds of what-if scenario analysis. Energis Operator enables:

  • Overview of the temperature, flow and pressure at any point in the network (even where no real measurements exist).
  • Overview of the composition of production sources at any point in the network.
  • Simulation of future conditions based on load forecast.
  • What-if analysis for daily operating challenges.
  • What-if analysis for critical events, preparation of alternative scenarios of response.
  • Planning of interventions with the goal of effective execution while at the same time sustaining the quality of services.
  1. Danfoss Mentor Planner is a data-based optimization solution, using neural-network and statistical data models to predict future demand, optimize a production plan and lower network supply temperature, thus enabling a better operational economy of the system.

Load forecaster is a basic functionality of Mentor Planner. Load forecaster predicts future consumption (heat requirement) in our network, which serves as a basis for production and temperature optimization. Mentor Planner Load forecasted is also used for Energis Operator simulation and what-if scenarios functionality.

The production optimization module suggests the most economical operating schedule of production units for up to six days ahead, maximising profit (for example, electricity production with combined heat and power [CHP]) and lowering production costs (for example, maximising operational hours for production sources with primary energy lowest costs). Production optimization can reduce production costs by up to 3%.

The temperature optimization modules calculate the lowest possible network (primary) supply temperature-based load forecast, maximum mass flow and expected (desired) return temperatures. By experience temperature optimization can lower heat losses between 5-10%, consequently lowering production costs up to 2%.

  1. Danfoss Enspire® – a monitoring & control solution. It is a hosted solution (cloud-based) and enables network operators remote control and monitoring of a whole District Energy system, from production to demand side. The emphasis is on delivering an easy to use product, packed with specific functionalities like auto-commissioning and predefined report and alarm templates, but also with just the right amount of flexibility that network operators, building owners, ESCO companies or other professional users need (e.g. flow-diagram designer and editor).

Other District Energy software solutions

Concerning other software solutions, Danfoss Enspire® serves as a data acquisition solution, providing an API interface which Energis, Mentor Planner, Leanheat or third-party software can use to access real-time and historical data, as well as send optimized set-points back to the system (and thus influence operation directly or indirectly).

Considering that the Danfoss District Energy E2E optimization solution is modular, it enables us to deliver our customers different combinations of the suite, trimmed to customers actual needs. Or it enables us to split the project into multiple phases, starting with the basic phase and later, continuing with more advanced solutions like production and temperature optimization to achieve the most efficient and decarbonised operation of District Energy utilities.


© 2019. This work is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND.

Contributor Profile

Senior Director, Global Business Development, District Energy Division
Danfoss Trata d.o.o.
Phone: +386 1 5820 456
Website: Visit Website


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