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District heating

District energy

Industrial customers see the value of digitalising district heating

19. June 2023
credit DONG Energi

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Digitalisation of the Danish District Heating Sector

This case story is a part of the case catalogue Digitalisation of the Danish Heating Sector. Find more examples of digitalisation and data-driven operations by downloading the case catalogue.

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Avedøre Holme in the Southern part of Copenhagen is facing a substantial change in its district heating system. The supply temperature will be lowered significantly from 165 degrees Celsius to 110 degrees Celsius. Over the next five years, the entire distribution system will be renovated. These are just a few of the major changes that are expected to reduce the heating bills of the company’s industrial customers. A great deal of work lies ahead for the district heating company. However, before work can begin, the manual data processing methods currently being used need to be replaced by digital solutions to monitor the process from start to finish.

Once the changes to the heating system have been implemented, digital solutions will administer the company and continued optimisation of the distribution system. The Avedøre Holme district heating plant has 145 industrial customers, and all of them receive hot water from Avedøreværket, a combined heat and power station. The water has a high supply temperature of 165 degrees Celsius. Combined with the plant’s antiquated distribution system, heat losses are significant.


The plant has long wished to provide much more efficient and economical district heating to its industrial customers. The supply temperature will need to be lowered and, in time, the pipe system will need to be replaced. The plant also needs to be able to monitor customers’ consumption, temperatures and installations.

The plant has already installed remotely read meters. However, the meters are obsolete and can no longer communicate with the current administration system, which also has its own faults. Overall, this means that the plant currently has to process most of the data on the heating system manually. The plan is to begin lowering the supply temperature from 1 January next year. The temperature needs to be lowered from 165 to 110 degrees Celsius. The temperature can only be lowered by one degree per day in order to monitor the effect on the system. The steel in the distribution system will contract as the temperature is lowered, and this can result in pipe bursts.

The current system cannot monitor the effect on the pipes, so the distribution system might be damaged during the process. Therefore, continuous and reliable hourly data on customer consumption is necessary to make it possible to lower the supply temperature as drastically as planned. Avedøre Holme has therefore decided to replace its meters with remotely read meters from Kamstrup. The plant will also replace its current administration system with Softværket’s Forsyning|FOF. Together, these two solutions guarantee that the plant can automatically receive and process data on invoicing, consumption, temperature, etc. The district heating plant is also offering industrial customers the option to have a new district heating unit from Danfoss installed, with the plant taking over both the unit and the service pipe. Taking over maintenance responsibilities means that the plant can be sure about cooling, temperatures and maintenance from the new hourly data. At the moment, the plant has no way to compile data from its customers.


Lowering the supply temperature in Avedøre Holme’s distribution system is expected to reduce distribution system losses by a minimum of 10-20 percent. The reduced heat losses will naturally result in lower district heating costs for customers. The lower supply temperature will also make  it possible to receive heating from the VEKS transmission network, which has a lower supply temperature. Reducing grid losses by just 10 percent would mean annual savings of approximately € 1 million in heat losses and € 400.000 in operations and maintenance. Another important factor is the transition to solely providing comfort heating.
The plant is also working on changing the way the capacity fee is calculated for customers.

The plan is to calculate the tariff based on maximum capacity, and this is another reason why a new system is required. Three years of historic data is needed to transition to the new and more up-to-date basis for calculation. The plant’s pipe system from the 1960s will need to be renovated within the next three to five years. Pre-insulated pipes will need to be installed and this will require lower temperatures. Temperature optimisation for the customer will be an important part of the digitalised heating system. The company will have a much better basis for lowering heating consumption if it takes over the unit and service pipe from its customers.