Digital optimization platform for district heating systems

Biomass district heating systems are an important contribution to the realization of a sustainable energy supply and promote regional value creation. The efficient and low-emission operation of such plants requires intelligent interaction between energy supply, storage and distribution. This allows to adjust the load distribution to the optimal operating conditions of the heating system, taking into account the user requirements.

Currently, most district heating systems are controlled based on current power demand. This means that the output of the heat generator is always adapted to the current demand of all heat consumers, which, however, sometimes leads to unfavorable operating points with low efficiencies and high emission values. The demand-oriented mode of operation additionally complicates plant dimensioning and leads to high, short-term peak loads and thus to an oversizing of the heat supply plants. This has a negative impact on efficiency and investment costs. Fossil-fired peak load boilers or generously dimensioned short-term storage (e.g. daily storage) are used for compensation.


The aim of the project is to implement decentralized optimization measures based on demand response. A system-wide platform for district heating planning and operation that integrates all components such as generation, distribution and consumption is being developed. A strong focus is on the integration of end customers.

The measures implemented in DOPPLER are intended to increase the overall efficiency of district heating systems and reduce CO2 emissions. The system-wide platform will be suitable for upscaling to larger networks.

Approach and methodology:

Technology provider Arteria Technologies will bring its existing district heating simulation platform to DOPPLER. Another innovative point is the connection of the Arteria platform with MEO Energy’s smart home system, which allows secondary-side flexibilization potentials (PV, heat pump, thermal storage) to be used for demand response programs.

End users are integrated through a motivation system based on gamification methods developed by the Industrial Science Institute, which focuses on socio-economic aspects of demand response such as load shifting through behavioral changes, remote control of buffer storage or reduction of secondary side supply temperatures. The system-wide platform will be demonstrated at four representative locations in Austria (district heating networks of Güssing, Mischendorf, Horn and Rohrbach). A “digital twin” will be created for each of these four demonstration sites, linked to the real-time data collection of the four demonstration networks.

Scheiber Solutions will implement a GIS representation of the district heating platform in dashboards for all stakeholders. eKUT and the Industrial Science Institute will focus on analyzing new business models related to demand response, end-user engagement, and smart home connectivity. Finally, the Upper Styria Energy Agency will examine the legal aspects of these new business models and formulate the necessary policy changes regarding data usage, dynamic tariffs, etc.

Project key facts

01.11.2022 - 30.10.2025

funding program
Flagship region Energy

Project type
Cooperation project experimental development

Project budget
688.760 €

Project management

Güssing Energy Technologies GmbH

The following model solutions are being developed in the DOPPLER project:

Digital twin for optimizing district heating networks
Gamification as an incentive for customer involvement in demand response measures
Business models for demand response measures in district heating networks

Media reports on the project