THERMOS is a computer program for investigating the potential for district heating and cooling systems, or heat networks.
A heat network is one way to provide heat for space heating, water heating, and in some cases industrial processes. In a heat network, heat is produced centrally and distributed to the places where it is needed using a network of insulated pipes, which usually use water as the medium for heat transmission. Centralising heat production can be more efficient, by using larger plant or by capturing heat that would otherwise be wasted.
THERMOS is intended to support people who already have a moderate to sophisticated understanding of heat networks, and who are assessing the feasibility or in the early stages of planning a heat network.
If you are interested but this doesn't sound like you (yet), the Wikipedia article on district heating provides a good introduction.
THERMOS helps with three connected jobs in planning heat networks:
Mapping heat demand
To plan a heat network, you need to know where the heat will be consumed. Sometimes this information is available (in Denmark, for example), but not always. THERMOS includes an innovative bottom-up method for estimating buildings' heat demands, with a simple interface that makes creating a heat map for a location very straightforward.
THERMOS can also help you build a map of the places where the heat distribution pipes could be laid.
Deciding on a cost-effective network layout
Even with a heat map, it is difficult to come up with a good network design: three decisions need to be made which will affect whether a network looks like a good idea or not
- Where the heat should be supplied from
- Which heat demands ought to be connected to the network and which ignored
- Where the heat distribution pipes should go
THERMOS includes an optimisation model for heat networks which can help to answer these questions and help find a good heat network for the heat demands on the map.
Deciding how best to supply heat
Finally, once a heat network has been planned there is a question about how to supply the heat: what mix of technologies can produce the required heat with the least cost, or lowest emissions, and so on.
THERMOS will include a supply model which can help to answer these questions.