sOptimo+: Integrated optimization of energy systems in practice


Reinert, Christiane © Copyright: Lehrstuhl fuer Technische Thermodynamik der RWTH Aachen


Christiane Reinert

Group Leader Energy Systems Engineering


+49 241 80 98179




sOptimo Logo Copyright: © LTT

According to the IPCC report on global warming, the industrial energy sector accounts for one third of global energy consumption. It is widely recognized that the rational use of energy in industry is a key measure for realizing both environmental and economic goals: Energy costs are typically of the same magnitude as a company’s profits, and thus enhancing the energy system will not only save primary energy, but might also lead to a considerable increase of its profitability. Still, any investment in energy efficiency competes with investments in production facilities and product design. Therefore, thorough assessments are required for each investment to decide whether an energy efficiency measure is cost effective or not.

  INEOS Köln Copyright: © INEOS Köln / Oliver Brenneisen

Industrial energy systems are typically distributed systems comprised of two subsystems: The energy supply system and the system of final energy users. The energy supply system converts available forms of secondary energy into final energy required by the final energy users. The users employ the delivered energy in all kinds of technical processes, convert it into useful energy, and reject heat to the supply system. The final users usually correspond to a production site including all technical processes and buildings. The supply system is connected to the public energy market and the environment: The public energy market supplies various forms of secondary energy and takes in feed-in electricity from the supply system; the environment performs heat exchange with the examined site. Distributed energy supply systems (DESS) are highly integrated and complex systems containing a multitude of technical components including energy conversion plants, energy distribution infrastructure, and energy storage facilities. Thus, the optimization of DESS poses non-trivial, multi-criteria problems that may be considered on three levels: the synthesis level, the design level, and the operation level. At the synthesis level, the design engineer needs to optimize the structure or configuration of an existing (retrofit design) or of a new (grassroots design) energy system; this encompasses the selection of the technical components and the optimal layout of their interconnections. It should be noted that retrofit design always includes grassroots design as an alternative, and thus is the more complicated task. At the design level, one has to define the technical specifications (capacity, performance, etc.) of the units selected during synthesis. Finally, given the system synthesis and design, the optimal operation modes need to be specified and implemented for each instant of time at the operation level. Since design and operation influence the solution of the synthesis problem, all three levels must be taken into account for an optimal synthesis.



InfraServ Knappsack Copyright: © InfraServ Knappsack

The aim of this research is the integration of the method for the optimal synthesis of energy supply systems into the daily workflow of consultants and energy supply companys. Therefore the results and methods of the previous project sOptimo have to be extended. The results proved huge potential for improved energy efficiency and cost saving of energy supply systems. Still some essential functions and interfaces are missing to use the methods in practical application.



Logo BMWi Copyright: © BMWi

This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.