Martin Sollich presents an innovative approach to optimizing district heating networks, addressing complexities in integrating renewable and waste heat sources while ensuring sustainability and efficiency. His research focuses on applying nonlinear optimization to design large-scale networks that meet heat supply demands under various constraints.

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Designing district heating networks presents challenges such as nonlinearities, binary topology decisions, and the integration of intermittent renewable and storage sources. Existing methods often lack scalability or oversimplify problems, resulting in suboptimal solutions. There is a critical need for an optimization approach that can handle these complexities while considering network physics and operational constraints.


Sollich’s research group introduces a physics-based nonlinear optimization approach that incorporates thermal and momentum equations governing network behavior. By treating binary variables implicitly through topology optimization methods, the approach optimizes large network problems efficiently. Multi-objective optimization integrates cost, CO2 emissions, and technological constraints like heat demand and pressure limits, utilizing adjoint-based methods for gradient computation and design variable optimization.


The presented approach demonstrates superior scalability and efficiency compared to traditional methods. Leveraging adjoint methods and topology optimization principles, Sollich achieves significant computational improvements, enabling flexible network designs and effective decarbonization strategies. The optimized solutions promise sustainable and cost-effective district heating networks capable of integrating diverse heat sources and meeting stringent environmental targets.

Martin Sollich concludes by highlighting the transformative potential of this optimization approach in advancing district heating network design. By employing advanced nonlinear techniques and physics-based modeling, the approach optimizes performance metrics while promoting sustainability. Future research aims to enhance the approach further, integrating additional complexities like heat storage and advancing renewable energy integration for more resilient and efficient heating systems.

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