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A new planning tool helps to link the businesses energetically, enabling process heat to be used concertedly and further synergy effects to be developed.
© InfraServ GmbH & Co. Knapsack KG
Planning tool for integrated power networks
Projektinfo 12/2014
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Saving energy in commercial and industrial parks

Industrial parks are typically home to a diverse mix of cross-industry businesses. The requirements of these businesses vary when it comes to energy supply depending on the nature of their production. For businesses in the metal processing industry for instance, thermal energy requirements in the range of many hundreds of degrees Celsius are typical, while in the food industry, heat requirements are rarely above a hundred degrees Celsius. Businesses operating in the direct vicinity can make good use of waste heat from such processes.

On an industrial park it is possible to network numerous energy supply systems and consumers of closely neighbouring companies and to interconnect processes. Great efficiency gains can be achieved through the effects of compromise and synergy between different companies than would otherwise be feasible through the separate optimisation of stand-alone systems. Industrial parks consequently are often supplied with power by a central site operator.
A newly developed software package is intended to assist planners and operators in tapping such efficiency potential. The software, developed jointly by researchers and practitioners in the scope of “Structurally optimising energy supplies for industrial parks – sOptimo” project, focuses on electricity, low and high-temperature thermal energy as principle energy sources. Further components can be included in future, such as compressed air supply, through programme extensions.


The new software can be used to restructure or expand existing industrial sites and plan integrated energy supply infrastructures for new industrial parks. The objective in this regard is to fashion an optimal structure for highly complex industrial sites too with a vast range of supply variant combinations and topologies. The software makes it possible to optimise the energy efficiency of all systems and to intelligently interconnect mass and energy flows, e.g. through the use of waste heat, at an early stage in planning and with minimal investment costs. The software incorporates various energy sources, such as electrical power and low and high-temperature thermal energy at different temperature levels. The software maps different generator variants, such as boilers, combined heat and power plants (CHP) and chillers. The costs associated with the installation of line routes for new system construction are also factored in.

Programme for tapping savings potential

Most businesses have steep targets when it comes to recuperating money spent on efficiency and savings measures. This is why some potential improvement measures with slightly longer payback periods or requiring reorganisation of proven production processes tend to be ignored.
The new software package provides suggestions for designing components, elements and systems. The software furthermore generates criteria for the assessment of different variants, e.g. based on investment and operating costs, capital value and CO2 emissions. Computations factor in, among other considerations, the load profiles of the different consumers, the energy system structure, the topography and a technology database of integrable components.
Users predetermine the energy requirements of the components and specify a potential superstructure that establishes the maximum number and type of supply components theoretically feasible at the site. The programme uses this information to propose a cost or CO2 optimal solution depending on the issue. The proposed optimal solution may also include technologies that – with a limited number of variants computable without an “optimiser” – would potentially have been ruled out from the outset.

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Project management
RWTH Aachen, LTT

GFaI e. V.

Operator, energy service provider
InfraServ GmbH & Co. Knapsack KG

Operator, energy service provider
Siemens AG


Structural optimization of distributed energy supply systems
Link to the website of the research project of RWTH Aachen university

Learning Energy Efficiency Networks
Website of the LEEN GmbH