Royal HaskoningDHV creates district heating network designs with Comsof

In brief

  • Royal HaskoningDHV is an independent international engineering firm
  • The company uses Comsof Heat for high-level plans of district heating networks
  • Their network design results are optimized and they save a lot of time

Royal HaskoningDHV is an independent international engineering firm. It specializes in providing spatial and environmental advice. As the Netherlands have reached a climate deal, the company set up a dedicated taskforce to contribute to a sustainable society. The roll out of district heating networks is a part of its scope.

Mark Van Oostende is pipelines advisor: “We were looking for software to assist us with the creation of district heating network design drafts. During the ‘Smart Energy and 4th Generation District Heating Conference’ in Denmark in 2019, we found that many of such tools are still under construction. We also noticed a presentation on Comsof Heat by Kurt Marlein. After further research, this software appeared to be the most advanced.”

Alternatives to natural gas

“Communities ask us to find out what the alternatives to natural gas are to provide them with heating”, says Sijbrand Balkema, hydraulic engineer at HaskoningDHV. “If district heating is the most realistic option, we draw up a high-level plan of execution. This plan depends on the available heat sources; is it a biomass plant, a geothermal source, another source, or a combination? We use Comsof Heat for our calculations. Projects vary from 200 to 3000 potential users.”

“In a next step we present our findings and different design options to the city, based on the calculations made with Comsof Heat. Then it is the utility company’s turn to offer a more detailed and final design. Also here we believe that Comsof Heat can play an important role.”

“We import the necessary GIS data and Comsof Heat automatically adds demand points and connections.”
Sijbrand Balkema

“We have been using the Comsof Heat tool since mid-2019. It started with a training, and Comsof assisted us with our first projects. Today two people in the company work with the software. We import the necessary GIS data such as street center lines, buildings and heat demand in QGIS, and Comsof Heat automatically adds demand points and connections.”

Excel is not enough

“We used Excel before Comsof Heat”, explains Mark. “If you just need the basics, such as pipe diameters, and basic capacity calculations, Excel suffices. However, if you want to dive into more detail, and want to cut costs, for example by playing around with heat demand and delta T, you need a more advanced solution.”

“Thanks to the software you end up with an optimal result”
Mark Van Oostende

“Thanks to the software, you know exactly how long the network is going to be. You end up with an optimal result, which saves costs. In addition, we optimize our own time. Of course this is a new software for us, and we needed some time to get familiar with its capabilities. But after a few projects, we got the hang of it and realized huge time savings. And if we need assistance, the Comsof support is there for us.”

“The software is constantly improving. One of its new features is to manually determine substation locations. This is a valuable addition to us, as you can further optimize the network, and change around equipment where needed. The visualization in Google Street View helps us to see the full picture.”

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