In short

  • Rotterdam Engineering is a key player in the DHC sector, and has lots of expertise in this field
  • Fluvius, a utility infrastructure firm asked the company to execute a DHC feasibility study for about 14.000 potential customers, with a tight deadline
  • With the help of HeatPlanIT, Rotterdam Engineering was able to deliver a comprehensive study on time and in great detail

The challenge

“We were involved in the development of HeatPlanIT from the start”, explains Pieter-Jan Dewitte, Pipeline Engineer at Rotterdam Engineering. “About one and a half years ago, Kurt Marlein and Wouter D’Hondt, HeatPlanIT’s product manager and lead developer came to our office to gain insights on district heating and cooling (DHC). We discussed the development of the software and we stayed in touch. With our DHC expertise, we were a kind of test panel and had an advisory role during the development process.”

“Recently, Fluvius, a Belgian utility infrastructure company asked us to execute a feasibility study of a DHC network. The biggest challenge was the scale of this study. It’s possible for us to manually build a business case for about ten to twenty candidate consumers. But Fluvius gave us a list of about 14.000 potential consumers. For a large study like this, we needed an automated solution. We needed HeatPlanIT.”

Kurt Marlein: “Rotterdam Engineering is an important player with lots of expertise in the DHC sector. So, we’re pleased they chose HeatPlanIT for this feasibility study.”

“With HeatPlanIT we can handle larger projects. For a case as big as Fluvius, we would have needed three months. Now we did the calculations in a few days, and with more detail.”

The solution

Pieter-Jan: “The principal added value of the software is that it’s very strong graphically. The software allows you to see the whole network, with all its components and possible users, in a GIS application and Google Earth or Google Street View. This is comfortable for us, and has a huge added value for the client, as it makes the whole network much easier to visualize.”

“Secondly, I value the software’s flexibility. If a rule needs changing, we can implement this fairly easy. For example, we decided to only connect buildings with a fixed minimal yearly energy consumption. After we selected these buildings, the software automatically changes the network topology and the diameters of the pipes. With other solutions you would have to start over. So, this makes it easy to try several scenarios and allows you to experiment with different parameters. To eventually come up with the optimal solution.”

“Lastly, I’m very happy with the support. If we have a question, Comsof’s engineers respond very quickly. We’re on the same wavelength, which eases communication.”

“With HeatPlanIT we can handle larger projects”, concludes Pieter-Jan. “For a case as big as Fluvius, we would have needed three months, which would’ve been too long. Now we did the calculations in a few days, and with more detail.”

Favorite feature: Heat source matching

“Heat source matching proved to be valuable to us. Especially in the beginning. We wanted to calculate the profitability of adding many small consumers to the network. Connecting as many buildings as possible to a DHC network isn’t always sensible, as deployment is very expensive. The feature allowed us to change the heat source capacity and check the impact on the network and deployment costs. As a result, we saw it wasn’t interesting to connect certain areas. Without this feature, it would’ve been hard to estimate the cost of additional connections.“