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EnEff:Campus: Optimisation of energy-based systems in campus-like real estate – RWTH Aachen and Research Centre Jülich

EnEff:Stadt - Forschung für die energieeffiziente Stadt

Project example building: The main building at the EON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen

© Holger Knauf

Technology summary

Software type Planning, Balancing/Optimising
Term of project Januar 2011 - September 2014
Identification code EnEff:Campus - Entwicklung eines integralen Planungshilfsmittels
Key aspects

Project description

Based on a dynamic simulation for optimising the entire energy system of campus-like real estate, the project intends to develop, validate and test a tool on two examples by the end of 2013, whereby the intention is to identify potential on the respective campuses belonging to Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH and RWTH Aachen University (Melaten campus).

Goals, conception

Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH and RWTH Aachen both have extensive district and local heating networks of various ages. However, the current state of design tool technology makes it difficult to design networks dynamically in order to meet future requirements with a view to achieving more energy efficient structures with smaller loads and to exploit thermal storage effects at different levels (buildings, networks, etc.).
Based on a time-resolved overall simulation in the Modelica modelling language, tools will therefore be designed as part of this project that meet these requirements. The thermo-hydraulic simulation shall contain all relevant elements (buildings, distribution networks, generators) and depict them at a suitable level. This will enable the effort required for the parameterisation and the computational time for the models to be kept within sensible limits. The simulation is planned to be entirely modular in structure so that particularly interesting areas can be supplemented with more detailed models.
Depending on their age and the various part-structures, the existing data available for large-scale real estate can vary considerably. Therefore in order to use existing detailed data but simultaneously work sufficiently precisely where there is a lack of available data, the recording of parameters for the simulation will also be modular in structure.
The simulation results will be supplemented with comprehensive, continuous measurements in the various campuses. This data, which also largely encompasses all the buildings, the distribution network and the generators, will enable conclusions to be drawn about the energy efficiency and savings potential. The intention is not to determine measures in regard to individual buildings but to view them in the context of the entire system. The operation and design of the network and the generators therefore also form a focus.

Implementation, Interim findings

Until now the project has focussed on capturing existing data and developing initial simulation modules. The available data at Jülich is very good and many long-term measurement series and their parameters for buildings have already been successfully captured. Data and parameters for the distribution network and the generators are also available to a large extent. However, the data at the Melaten campus is less complete and is currently still being captured. This nevertheless provides a good opportunity to develop approaches for classifying and generalising differing amounts of data records.

For the simulation, a simplified building model was developed based on VDI 6007 and implemented using the Modelica program language (in the Dymola program environment). The model has been successfully tested on example calculations, test rooms and in the first real buildings from the Jülich campus, and in all cases show sufficiently precise results with short computational times. It has already become clear that a focus of the work will be on capturing and classifying input parameters, since these have a considerable influence on the simulation and can be very difficult to determine for specific buildings (user profiles, etc.).

For the standardised evaluation of the building model, a program has been developed in Python that enables informative graphics and characteristic values to be produced.

Next steps, Prospects

In the next stage it is planned to complete the data records for both campuses as much as possible and, where required, supplement them with own measurements. The necessary measurement technology for this has already been selected, procured and tested. In addition, work is currently being conducted to create a database to which all data (measurements, parameters, simulations) shall be transferred in order to compare the data and enable it to be processed quickly.

Parallel to the simulation, a precise analysis of the existing measurement data is being conducted that will provide information on the condition and initial potential for improving the energy efficiency of the campuses.

In terms of the simulation, further models will be developed and refined during the course of 2012 to enable the network and generator structures to be depicted. This in turn will enable requirements for recording data and developing parameters to be determined. 

Project partners

Three partners are involved in the project:
The G-EL department at Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH is responsible for monitoring and preparing the measurement data for the buildings and supply networks at Research Centre Jülich. In addition it will provide all parameters for the buildings and network that are required for the investigation.

In conjunction with the Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate at RWTH Aachen’s E.ON Energy Research Center, Department 10.0 Facility Management at RWTH Aachen is responsible for recording the measurement data and parameters for the Melaten campus at RWTH Aachen.

The Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate at RWTH Aachen’s E.ON Energy Research Center is responsible for evaluating and analysing the data, developing and implementing the design tool, producing energy concepts and conducting the scientific monitoring and evaluation. 

  • E.ON Energy Research Center - website
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich - website