SimKI-Mop - Simulation tools and AI methods for multi-feeder optimization in district heating networks

About the project

The overall objectives of the project are to increase the use of renewable energy in district heating and to make the operation of district heating networks more efficient. Four sub-objectives will be pursued in close cooperation with three district heating network operators:

  • Development of a system for the efficient creation and maintenance of data-driven and thermal-hydraulic simulation models. Their integration enables optimal analysis and optimization of district heating networks using historical data, physical models and real-time data.
  • Develop methods and tools for selecting and placing new sensors. On the one hand, the sensors must be placed in a way that allows easy monitoring of the network status (and optimization of the operation based on this). On the other hand, the number of sensors and their location must be considered in terms of hardware and installation costs.
  • Investigation of possible optimization potentials in the operation of district heating networks by analyzing the previous power plant operation of network operators (in particular, finding an optimal compromise between flow temperature and volume flow).
  • Development of methods and tools for dynamic dispatching of decentralized power plants and consideration of dynamic production costs. The impact of the energy transition on the operation of district heating networks will be analyzed to take into account the increasing dynamics and volatility in network operation.

Together with the research projects SAM-FW (FKZ 03EN3078A-I) and EnEff-Netzregelung (FKZ 03EN3076A-D), the project is part of the thematic network "FW-Netzoptimierung" initiated by the project sponsor PTJ. As part of this network, internal networking will take place and public workshops will be organized to discuss the objectives and first results with stakeholders. The first public workshop is planned for Q2/2024.


Project partners

  • Fraunhofer IOSB, Karlsruhe (coordinator): IOSB deals with the synergetic combination of deterministic and data-driven simulation approaches. Interfaces are developed and infrastructure is provided to realize the extensive data generation tasks for training the ML models. The IOSB brings together all necessary information about the demonstrators and test models in an integrated model approach and thus supports the development of generic optimization methods. Another focus is the dissemination of research results.
  • 3S Consult GmbH, Garbsen: 3S Consult GmbH offers engineering consulting and software from one source and has been a reliable partner for operators and planners of district heating supply systems for more than 35 years. The scope of SimKI-Mop includes the creation and operation of detailed thermo-hydraulic simulation models for the district heating networks of the associated partners as a basis for further developments. Further focuses are the optimal allocation of sensors and the development of mathematical models for the optimized operation of district heating networks with several feeders. In addition, the deterministic simulation models will be used as a training platform for the AI-based processes of the project partner KT-Elektronik.
  • KT-Elektronik GmbH, Berlin: With its self-developed SAM District Energy platform, KT-Elektronik GmbH provides a real-time interface for accessing data from district heating transfer stations in thousands of properties. Based on this database, data-driven models of the district heating networks of all participating partners will be created in SimKI-Mop. These lightweight models allow dynamic calculation of heat distribution and operational optimization for complex generator constellations, which will become increasingly important in the future due to the transition to decentralized district heating networks based on renewable energies.


Associated partners

  • Fernheizwerk Neukölln AG, Berlin
  • Stadtwerke Bad Salzuflen GmbH, Bad Salzulflen
  • HALLAG Kommunal AG, Hall in Tirol


More information



Systems for Measurement, Control and Diagnosis department

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

Project details

SimKI-Mop - Simulation tools and AI methods for multi-feeder optimization in district heating networks

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

Lead partner: Julich Research Center

Funding reference: 03EN3074A/B/C

Project duration: 1.6.2023 - 31.5.2027


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.