Heat Networks

© Fraunhofer ISE
Gutleutmatten construction area in Freiburg. Within the framework of the project, the decentralized integration of solar thermal systems into a local heating supply concept is being investigated.

As a supply infrastructure, heat grids are generally well suited for integrating renewable energies and waste heat into the energy system in a cost-effective and flexible manner. Especially in densely populated areas, heat flows from renewable energies and waste heat can be provided much more cost-effectively via piped systems than is the case with object supply at the building level. Realized examples show, however, that even with low heat densities, heat supply via heat grids is technically feasible and can be offered competitively to end customers if the energy policy framework conditions are geared to this.

We are investigating modulating modes of operation for the entire local heating network with the integration of decentralized hot water tanks and heat sources such as solar thermal systems, with the aim of minimizing losses and realizing high renewable coverage shares. In this context, we conduct research in the field of optimized, model-predictive control and dynamic thermohydraulic simulation.

Our research results are used by operators of heating networks, such as energy suppliers or local cooperatives, but also by manufacturers of hydraulic system components and suppliers of control technology.

Our R&D services in detail:

  • thermohydraulic modeling of heat networks
  • optimization of operation and control strategies
  • integration of decentralized heat generators

Selected Research Projects

Reallabor Großwärmepumpen (Living Laboratory on Large-Scale Heat Pumps)

Living Laboratories for the Energy Transformation




Solar Thermal Energy in the Municipal Energy Supply