Publication | Peer reviewed papers | Potentiale, Bioenergiesysteme, Logistik

Co-Simulation of an Energy Management System for Future City District Energy Systems

Moser AGC, Muschick D, Gölles M, Lerch W, Schranzhofer H, Nageler PJ et al.

Published 2019

Citation: Moser AGC, Muschick D, Gölles M, Lerch W, Schranzhofer H, Nageler PJ et al. Co-Simulation of an Energy Management System for Future City District Energy Systems. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Innovative Applied Energy. 2019.


The continuous increase of (volatile) renewable energy production and the development of energy-efficient buildings have led to a transformation of city districts’ energy systems. Their complexity has increased significantly due to the coupling of the different energy sectors like heating, cooling and electricity. Such complex multi-energy systems can be operated more efficiently and reliably if knowledge of their specific components (in terms of mathematical models) as well as knowledge of weather forecasts is incorporated in a high-level controller, which is typically referred to as an Energy Management System (EMS). However, still little comprehensive information on the costs and the practical advantages of such systems is available. For this reason, a simulation environment to estimate the real costs and advantages of the use of such an EMS is required. Consequently, this work focuses on the development of an EMS for future city districts’ energy systems and the development of a co-simulation environment in order to demonstrate the benefits of the use of the developed EMS in comparison to a conventional control strategy. The co-simulation is implemented with the aid of the co-simulation platform Building Controls Virtual Test Bed (BCVTB) and consists of the following parts: a non-linear, thermoelectric model and a control block containing either the conventional control strategy or the EMS. The thermoelectric model is built up using the well-established simulation tools TRNSYS and IDA-ICE, simulating the energy hub of the city district and the districts’ buildings, respectively. The control block is simulated using MATLAB, where IBM ILOG CPLEX is used for solving the resulting mixed-integer linear program (MILP) of the EMS. Finally, an economic model for financial (and ecological) assessment of the operation is simulated with the aid of the software package Dymola. To put the developed EMS and the co-simulation into practise a case study based on a new city district in Graz, Austria, which is currently in the planning stage, is carried out. The integration of the responsible planners and investors in the modelling process guarantees the models’ practical applicability. In the case study the performance of the originally planned conventional control strategy is compared with the performance of the developed EMS using annual simulations with a simulation time step of 1 minute, and a 24 hour prediction horizon and a 15 minute time step for the EMS. For a more robust and realistic comparison both control strategies are simulated for different scenarios considering current and future (2060) climate conditions, medium and high energy demands (load), ideal and real load prediction methods and varying import prices for electricity from the electricity grid. The results show that the use of the developed EMS strategy results in reduced annual total costs (considering operational and investment costs of additionally suggested distributed energy resources) in comparison to the conventional control strategy. Furthermore, the annual CO2-emissions could be reduced by increasing the self-consumption of the installed (renewable) energy resources and thus decreasing the necessary energy imports from the electricity and the heating grid.

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