3SmartFW - Digital system for detecting and localizing leaks in district heating networks

In the district heating network shown here, the effects of two simulated leaks can be seen at different locations. The 3SmartFW project is investigating how unknown leaks in the district heating network can be localized online by measuring real pressure changes, for example.

Short description of the project

As part of the cooperation project, an intelligent system is to be designed and prototypically implemented that enables the rapid detection and precise localization of leaks in district heating networks based on data and, based on this, calculates response strategies for shutting off network sections while ensuring an optimal supply to end customers.

Energy self-sufficient, remote-controlled valve actuators are to be used for shutting off network sections, which can be seamlessly integrated into the utilities' network control systems and can provide more operating information from the network in real time thanks to the option of integrating additional sensors - e.g. for pressure, temperature and flow rate.

The central aim of the new "3SmartFW" system is to increase resource efficiency and security of supply in district heating networks. By detecting continuous leaks at an early stage, the aim is to minimize the waste of resources caused by them. In addition, leaks increase the likelihood of more serious consequential damage such as burst pipes. Early detection and localization of leaks should therefore help to reduce the probability of pipe bursts and the associated use of resources and costs. The planned intelligent network control in the event of an emergency - using automated network valves/valves at important points in the network - should ensure that as few end consumers as possible have to be disconnected from the supply and that the pressure in the network is maintained.

Project partners

  • 3S Antriebe GmbH, Berlin
  • 3S Consult GmbH, Garbsen
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Munich

Systems for Measurement, Control and Diagnosis department

The Systems for Measurement, Control and Diagnosis (MRD) department at Fraunhofer IOSB is responsible for the project.


Research topic

Would you like to find out more about this topic? Then visit the research topic page "Energy-optimized operation of buildings and district heating networks" and find out more.

Project details

3SmartFW - Digital system for detecting and localizing leaks in district heating networks

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.

Project sponsor: VDI Technology Center

Funding code: FKZ: 13DR013C