Smart control of interconnected district heating networks on the example of “100% Renewable District Heating Leibnitz”

Valentin Kaisermayer, Jakob Binder, Daniel Muschick, Günther Beck, Wolfgang Rosegger, Martin Horn, Markus Gölles*, Joachim Kelz, Ingo Leusbrock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


District heating (DH) networks have the potential for intelligent integration and combination of renewable energy sources, waste heat, thermal energy storage, heat consumers, and coupling with other sectors. As cities and municipalities grow, so do the corresponding networks. This growth of district heating networks introduces the possibility of interconnecting them with neighbouring networks. Interconnecting formerly separated DH networks can result in many advantages concerning flexibility, overall efficiency, the share of renewable sources, and security of supply. Apart from the problem of hydraulically connecting the networks, the main challenge of interconnected DH systems is the coordination of multiple feed-in points. It can be faced with control concepts for the overall DH system which define optimal operation strategies. This paper presents two control approaches for interconnected DH networks that optimize the supply as well as the demand side to reduce CO2 emissions. On the supply side, an optimization-based energy management system defines operation strategies based on demand forecasts. On the demand side, the operation of consumer substations is influenced in favour of the supply using demand side management. The proposed approaches were tested both in simulation and in a real implementation on the DH network of Leibnitz, Austria. First results show a promising reduction of CO2 emissions by 35% and a fuel cost reduction of 7% due to better utilization of the production capacities of the overall DH system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100069
JournalSmart Energy
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • district heating
  • interconnection
  • bidirectional heat exchange
  • smart control
  • energy management system
  • demand side management
  • model predictive control
  • Bidirectional heat exchange
  • Demand side management
  • District heating
  • Model predictive control
  • Interconnection
  • Energy management system
  • Smart control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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