Modelica-based simulations of decentralised substations to support decarbonisation of district heating and cooling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


District heating and cooling are considered effective solutions to decarbonise the energy use in the building sector. The latest generation of district heating and cooling also increases the potential of integrating heat pumps and chillers in each building substation. The benefits of such integration are the reduction of network temperature and distribution losses; the recovery of waste heat through a bidirectional network; and the decentralised production of heating and cooling. Sizing the network depends mainly on the heat flows between connected buildings. The substation performance and technical installations determine these heat flows. We present in this paper Modelica-based simulations of two design cases for substations. The first design case involves installed heat pump, chiller, and circulation pumps. Alternatively, the second design enables the heat pump to provide direct cooling through a heat exchanger. The models for these installations were developed using the Modelica language to perform continuous-time simulations. The performance in each design case was evaluated in terms of seasonal coefficient of performance and total electric energy use. An analysis on a cluster of 11 buildings suggests that the addition of the direct cooling heat exchanger can save up to 10% of the total annual electric energy use. Additional savings can be achieved by optimising the building supply temperatures and the district network temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-472
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 28

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Building Technologies


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