Experiences from city-scale simulation of thermal grids

Johan Simonsson*, Khalid Tourkey Atta, Gerald Schweiger, Wolfgang Birk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dynamic simulation of district heating and cooling networks has an increased importance in the transition towards renewable energy sources and lower temperature district heating grids, as both temporal and spatial behavior need to be considered. Even though much research and development has been performed in the field, there are several pitfalls and challenges towards dynamic district heating and cooling simulation for everyday use. This article presents the experiences from developing and working with a city-scale simulator of a district heating grid located in Luleå, Sweden. The grid model in the case study is a physics based white-box model, while consumer models are either data-driven black-box or gray-box models. The control system and operator models replicate the manual and automatic operation of the combined heat and power plant. Using the functional mock-up interface standard, a co-simulation environment integrates all the models. Further, the vali-dation of the simulator is discussed. Lessons learned from the project are presented along with future research directions, corresponding to identified gaps and challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • 4GDH
  • DHC
  • Digital twin
  • District cooling
  • District heating
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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