OptiHeat: National energy optimisation

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve resource use, the European Commission published in December 2012 a new directive on energy efficiency (2012/27/EU). The member states have to conduct, among others, cost-benefit analyses of heating and cooling systems. These assessments shall detect optimal solutions, in terms of technologies and management concepts, to efficiently cover heating and cooling demand while minimising resource uses and costs.

Current optimisation methodologies for heat management rely on mathematical methods like Mixed Integer Linear and Non-Linear Programming (MILP, MINLP). So far, these optimisation methods all address specific and distinct aspects of heat management (e.g. heat recovery, network or energy conversion technology design). An integrated approach combining these aspects has not been fully proposed yet. These methods have also been developed for single processes and urban or industrial sites, but not yet for large (regional and national) scale applications. The lack of a holistic multiple-scale approach to optimization could lead to sub-optimal solutions and/or to the insufficient consideration of constraints.

The main objective of the OptiHeat project is therefore to develop an integrated optimisation method for heat management. It will combine several existing and specific optimisation methods (covering energy production, storage, heat recovery, etc.) considering costs and CO2 emissions minimisation. The optimisation methodology will be applicable to small and large scales (processes, sites, regions and countries).

This project will lead to a flexible optimisation method having larger applicability than the current case-specific, stand-alone, approaches. The outcomes of the thesis can be used to conduct cost-benefit analyses as required by the EU. The optimisation method will also provide the scientific background for the development of new energy-contrating services related to optimal heat management across regions and countries.

The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Research and the National Research Fund (FNR) in the context of a doctoral grant (AFR), and is carried out in partnership with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland).

For more information: Public Research Centre Henri Tudor – OptiHeat

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Contact: Alexandre Bertrand