In this paper, the configuration of a district heating network which connects from the heating plant to the end users is optimized. Each end user in the network represents a building block. The connections between the heat generation plant and the end users are represented with mixed integer and the pipe friction and heat loss formulations are non-linear. In order to find the optimal district heating network configuration, genetic algorithm which handles the mixed integer nonlinear programming problem is chosen. The network configuration is represented with binary and integer encoding and it is optimized in terms of the net present cost. The optimization results indicates that the optimal DH network configuration is determined by multiple factors such as the consumer heating load, the distance between the heating plant to the consumer, the design criteria regarding the pressure and temperature limitation, as well as the corresponding network heat loss.
Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, 2013, Vol 1, Issue 4, p. 291-303