Aarhus University Seal

Analysis techniques for the transformation of buildings and distribution networks to 4th generation district heating (4GDH) (2019)

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD course
Time of year: 21-25 January 2019
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: 45 contact hours / 135 hours total.
Capacity limits: 25

Objectives of the course:
District heating is a technology with advanced technical production facilities and distribution systems. In recent years, the complexity of district heating systems has increased, including increased use of control and monitoring mechanisms in all parts of the system.  With the transition to smart energy systems, 4th generation district heating (4GDH) and variable renewables, as well as access to detailed data from high-resolution smart meters in buildings; new problems, opportunities, and solution methods arise. In this course we therefore focus on two key topics: i) Analysis techniques for large data sets in a district heating context and ii) the transformation of buildings and distribution networks to 4GDH.

During the course these topics will primarily be addressed through individual and group work on relevant real-life cases from the large district heating system in Aarhus city. Lectures from industry and academia and study of relevant technical and scientific literature are also part of the program.

The course is organized in close collaboration between researchers from the Renewable Energy Systems group and the Indoor Climate and Energy group at Department of Engineering, Aarhus University, the Danish District Heating Association and AVA, which is one of the largest district heating companies in Denmark.

Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Execute advanced statistical and time series data analysis in a district heating context.
  • Prepare 4GDH supply and demand side district heating solutions based on data analysis.
  • Assess new solutions using multi-criteria decision making under uncertainty.
  • Recommend a transitional process towards 4GDH solution for existing and/or new networks.

Compulsory programme:
The student must show active participation in at least 80% of the workshop sessions/lectures and deliver the required project assignments on time.

Course contents:
The course is structured in three phases. Phase 1 and 3 are to be completed at the students own location while Phase 2 takes place at Aarhus University as a one week workshop. 

Phase 1:
The student is expected to read part of the course material before the course takes place. This is estimated to be about 40 hours of work.

Phase 2:
The program is anticipated to be structured as follows:

  • Day 0 (Friday): An optional day with visits to various district heating production and distribution facilities in the Aarhus area will be arranged the Friday before the compulsory program in Aarhus takes place. A more detailed program will follow at a later date.
  • Day 1 (Monday): “Data analysis techniques and data workshop”
    A number of relevant statistical and time series data analysis techniques will be presented and data from the cases will be used in the following data analysis workshop. (time estimate: 8 h) 
  • Day 2 (Tuesday): “Multi-criteria decision making in district heating”
    Multi-criteria decision techniques will be presented and data from the cases will be used in the following workshop. (time estimate: 8 h) 
  • Day 3 (Wednesday): “Setting the scene for 4GDH systems”
    Lectures and discussions related to 4GDH solutions and their role in systems with a high share of renewable energy. (time estimate: 8 h)
  • Day 4 (Thursday): “Transitioning to 4GDH solutions”
    Existing buildings and/or district heating networks may not be immediately ready for 4GDH. In this session we focus on gradual transitions to a 4GDH infrastructure for such areas. (time estimate: 8 h) 
  • Day 5 (Friday): “Presentation of case solutions”
    The course participants: 1) present their work on the cases and 2) presents an abstract for the research to be done in the final phase of the course. (time estimate: 8 h)

Phase 3:
Each student must complete a project where part of the course content is applied to the student’s own research. This work should be summarized in a report that has the format of a regular research paper (or part of such). The student is encouraged (but not required) to submit the paper to a relevant research journal. (time estimate: 40 h)

Master degree in civil or mechanical engineering (or similar).

Name of lecturers:

  • Associate Professor Steffen Petersen
  • Associate Professor Gorm Bruun Andresen
  • Adam Bruun, PhD, AffaldVarme Aarhus
  • Nina Detlefsen, PhD, Grøn energi
  • And invited speakers form industry and academia.

Type of course/teaching methods:
The teaching will consist of a combination of lectures and case based workshops and assignments.

For basic understanding of district heating technology, the textbook District Heating and Cooling by Sven Werner and Svend Frederiksen will be used. Additional technical and scientific literature will be announced in due time before the beginning of the course.

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
The assessment will be based on active participation in the course sessions as well as on the written report/research paper that must be delivered within 4 weeks after the course.

Department of Engineering, Aarhus University.

Special comments on this course:

21 to 25 January 2019


Course fee: DKK 750

Deadline for registration is 15 December 2018. Information regarding admission will be sent out in January 2019. 

If you have any questions, please contact Gorm B. Andresen (gba@eng.au.dk) or Steffen Petersen (stp@eng.au.dk).

18806 / i43