Digitalization as the Enabler for High Performance District Heating Systems



Digital technologies are expected to improve the efficiency and system integration of additional renewable sources, as well as making the entire energy system reliable, smarter, and more efficient. Future digital applications may allow district energy systems to fully optimize the operation of their plant and network assets while realizing immediate and feasible decarbonization of urban heat supply: With data to optimize district heating systems and new business opportunities.

This conference offers information on cutting-edge technologies and solutions around digitalization measures in district heating supply systems and creates a forum for participants from business, research institutions, and politics to engage in discussions and in exchanging ideas on these topics in addition to allowing new research and technology to be presented. Thus, the conference provides an opportunity for an open interdisciplinary conversation on how to address the upcoming challenges of the digital energy transition

The presenters bring with them a wide range of expertise in digitalization solutions with a specific focus on the design and management of district heating systems. They additionally give insight into the development status of new digital business processes. 

This event completes the Annex TS4 project, "Digitalization of District Heating and Cooling: Optimised Operation and Maintenance of District Heating and Cooling Systems via Digital Process Management", which was carried out within the framework of the International Energy Agency's District Heating and Cooling Programme. It is organized in close collaboration with the Fraunhofer Cluster for Integrated Energy Systems (CINES).  


The conference aims to

  • Present activities, solutions and challenges from various perspectives
  • Discuss the role of digitalisation within a future decarbonated and integrated energy system
  • Gain an impression of current commercial solutions.

This conference is directed towards 


  • District heating network operators and energy suppliers 
  • Digitalisation solution providers (software and hardware, consultants) 
  • R&D institutes and universities 
  • Policy makers, energy authorities, and associations

Programme schedule / 20.11.2023

Agenda - Monday

12:30 - Coffee reception and registration


14:00 - Opening

  • Digitalization as Key Technology to Optimize District Heating | Robin Wiltshire, IEA DHC Chair, UK
  • Welcoming and the Role of Digitalization in German Energy Research | Tobias Heffels, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Germany
  • Introduction to the Conference Themes | Dietrich Schmidt, Fraunhofer IEE, Germany
  • Smart Thermal Networks in the European Union: Status, Trends and Outlook | Jonathan Volt, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Netherlands





15:15 - Challenges of Digitalization in District Heating
Chair: Dietrich Schmidt, Fraunhofer IEE, Germany

  • The Role of Digitalization for District Heating and Cooling Performance Upgrade: an Industry Perspective 
    Matteo Pozzi, Euroheat & Power / DHC+, Belgium
  • Industry Needs for Practical Implementation of Digitalization Processes
    Annika Brecht, AGFW - Energy Efficiency Association for Heating, Cooling and CHP, Germany

15:45 - Coffee break





16:15 - Digitalization of the Demand Side
Chair: Michele Tunzi, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

  • End-to-End Heat Supply System Optimization via Leanheat Software
    Oddgeir Gudmundsson, Danfoss AS, Denmark
  • Energy Meters and Submeters Data for Innovative Control and Operation of Heating Systems in Buildings
    Kees van der Veer, Brunata A/S, Denmark
  • District Heating Management
    Alessandro Capretti, A2A spa, Italy

17:00 - Coffee break

17:30 - Panel Discussion Industry | Science | Politics

District Heating Digitalization 
Implementation: Challenges, Motivators, Solutions

Chair: Marijke Welisch, Fraunhofer CINES, Germany 


  • Industry:
    Bernd Rüger, Stadtwerke München, Germany
    Steen Schelle Jensen, Kamstrup AS, Denmark 
  • Science:
    Michele, Tunzi, Technical University, Denmark
    Dietrich Schmidt, Fraunhofer IEE, Germany
  • Politics:
    Jonathan Volt, EC JRC, Netherlands
    Akzana Krasatsenka, DHC+, Belgium

18:00 - Summary


18:15 - Excursion Offering:

  • Site visit at the EUREF Innovation Campus


19:30 - Conference Dinner

  • at Fraunhofer ENIQ

Programme schedule / 21.11.2023

Agenda - Tuesday

08:30 - Opening – coffee reception


09:15 - Digitalization to Link the Entire Supply Chain –
System Perspectives
Chair: Dirk Vanhoudt, Vito, Belgium

  • From the Substation Outwards – Anomalies, Prediction and Optimization | Nicola Kleppmann, SAMSON AG, Germany
  • The Glue of AI Solutions and the Energy Sector | Christian Johansson, Noda, Sweden
  • DistrictLab-H: a new Tool to Optimize the Design and Operation of District Heating and Cooling Networks | Mathieu Vallée, Roland Bavière, CEA, France



10:00 - Digitalization of Energy Infrastructure 
Chair: Edmund Widl, AIT, Austria

  • Expanding System Boundaries with Flexibility
    Filippa Sandgren, Utilifeed, Sweden 
  • Advantages of Using Digital Twins for the Operation of District Heating Systems
    Ines Lindmeier, Wien Energie GmbH, Austria
  • Smart Management of Integrated Energy Systems Through Model Predictive Control
    Mirko Morini, University of Parma, Italy

10:45 - Coffee break



11:15 - Business Models – Unlocking the Value of Digitalization in DHC
Chair: Steen Schelle Jensen, Kamstrup AS, Denmark

  • Digitization of District Heating Quarters – a Cost Benefit Analysis
    Markus Blesl, Technical University of Stuttgart, Germany
  • New Business Models for Utilities
  • Legal Requirements for Data Protection and Cybersecurity in the Digitalization of District Heating and Cooling
    Carsten von Gneisenau, Stiftung Umweltenergierecht, Germany

12:00 - Lunch



13:00 - Future Perspectives
Chair: Dietrich Schmidt, Fraunhofer IEE, Germany

  • Digitalization within the Energy Field:
    14 Propositions to Success!

    Manuel Wickert, Fraunhofer CINES, Germany
  • N.N.


13:30 - Closing Remarks on the Conference’s Theme



14:00 - Closing of the Day
Conference Chair: Dietrich Schmidt, Fraunhofer IEE, Germany


15:00 - Excursion offering:
Site visit in Berlin


Dr. Dietrich Schmidt

Please register until the 30th october


Fraunhofer ENIQ 

EUREF-Campus 23/24 
10829 Berlin / Germany