DTU and ENFOR in collaboration to optimize district heating

Monday 02 Nov 20


ENFOR was established in 2006 as a spin-off from the Technical University of Denmark. 

The company provides forecasting and optimization solutions for the energy sector. Utilities, energy traders, transmission and distribution system operators use ENFOR solutions for forecasting of renewable energy production, electricity and heat demand as well as optimization of district heating systems.

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DTU spinout ENFOR and DTU Compute in massive industry collaboration to build new, intelligent it-systems that will help supply the Danish people with cheaper and yet more environmentally friendly district heating. The project, HEATman, is funded with DKK 25 million by Innovation Fund Denmark.

Each district heating operator is unique, which means that it-systems for district heating production, -maintenance, -distribution and -consumer measurement are delivered by different companies. But the fact that the software systems cannot communicate with each other is a great challenge for optimization of district heating across the different operators.

"Our main responsibility is determining the supply temperature to the network, and when it should be supplied in order to avoid heat loss"
Managing Director Mikkel Westenholz, ENFOR.

The project HEATman aims to solve this challenge by uniting data from the systems in a groundbreaking digital solution.  This will have a massive impact on the consumers, the business and the environment and lead to more cost effective and energy efficient district heating.

16 different partners, led by NIRAS, are working together to make this happen, including DTU spin-out company ENFOR and DTU Compute.

Consumer forecasting to save hot water

In HEATman, ENFOR and DTU Compute are collaborating to develop an IoT system, for a district heating plant in Brønderslev, to forecast heat demand. When this is implemented, the heating operators can send out the right amount of heat at the right time, and save both money and reduce CO2.

ENFOR has many years of experience in designing, maintaining and providing precise and reliable renewable energy forecasting solutions to the energy sector.

“Our main responsibility is determining the supply temperature to the network, and when it should be supplied in order to avoid heat loss”, says Managing Director Mikkel Westenholz from ENFOR.

This is a 3-step process.

“The first step is making a weather forecast based on existing weather services, local temperature measurements and statistics. When we have a precise weather forecast, we can make a consumption forecast and finally predict when we need to send out the hot water, as it takes a while for it to arrive at the house”, he explains.

ENFOR is working in close collaboration with DTU Compute to develop these systems. He estimates that they will be able to save 10-20 percent of the heat loss in a given network, as well as achieve a significant CO2 reduction depending on how the water is heated.