Software Conserves Energy

The research project sOptimo at RWTH Aachen has developed software, which intelligently links and optimizes complex energy systems. This allows for the optimal planning of new industry parks and the improvement of existing energy systems, for example, to reduce costs and CO2. The KlimaExpo.NRW has recently given particular distinction to this innovative solution for conserving energy. Dr. Rebekka Loschen, team head of project management at KlimaExpo.NRW, added the project to the exhibition of State initiatives after reviewing it.

sOptimo algorithm, climate change

In NRW the industrial sector uses 42 percent of final energy – that’s approximately 250 billion kilowatt hours. Modern energy systems of gas, electricity, cold, heat loss, and energy storage, such as the ones in industry parks, are becoming increasingly complex. Planning that is both economic and energy-saving is no longer intuitive. This is where is where the software TOP-Energy is applied, which was developed together by the Chair of Technical Thermodynamics, LTT, at RWTH Aachen, the Society for the Advancement of Applied Computer Science in Berlin, and additional partners from practice. It offers assistance with the planning and reveals great saving potential with the help of the sOptimo algorithm. In a demonstration trial in the pharmaceutical sector it identified potential amounting to 34 percent in primary energy consumption. In this case that corresponds to annual CO2 conservation of around 11,000 tons.

Optimization of Energy Systems

KlimaExpo.NRW was impressed with the great conservation potential, leading it to add sOptimo as a qualified project in their theme “Re-thinking Energy.” “sOptimo can not only be used to better plan energy systems but also to further optimize systems already in operation,” says Loschen. “The project is a special and important simulus for energy transition.”

Professor André Bardow, project coordinator and head of LTT, accepted the official certificate of qualification. “We are proud of this recognition and are continuing to research the opimization of energy supply systems. The current follow-up project sOptimo+ builds the bridge between research and the broad practical application of opimization methods, thus reducing resource consumption and CO2 emissions in industry.”

Saving Money and Energy with Mathematical Algorithms

The objective of sOptimo and sOptimo+ is to solve the complex optimization problems of energy systems with the help of mathematical algorithms: these are implemented in the TOP-Energy software and deliver extraordinarily well-founded solution suggestions, which are based on more than 5,000 variables and 8,000 equations. One user is Energie AG Oberösterreich Wärme GmbH, which is implementing the software for daily operational optimization at its district heating plant. In less than six months costs were reduced. The method in sOptimo+ is to be expanded based on current results and the tool is to readied for application.

About the KlimaExpo.NRW

The KlimaExpo.NRW is an inter-department initiative of the NRW state government. The state government initiated the KlimaExpo.NRW in order to make energy transition, climate protection, and the necessary adjustment to the effects of climate change useable as forces for sustainable development for industry and society. The objective of the subsidiary is to present successful projects in innovative formats to a broad audience including internationally and to initiate additional committment to climate protection. The KlimaExpo.NRW aims to present the technological and economic potential of North Rhine-Westphalia in this field. It is also an exhibition and idea lab for NRW for not just one day in one place, but rather across the State and till 2022.