A Unifying Passivity-Based Framework for Pressure and Volume Flow Rate Control in District Heating Networks

Felix Strehle, Juan E. Machado, Michele Cucuzzella, Albertus J. Malan, Jacquelien M. A. Scherpen, Sören Hohmann

A fundamental precondition for the secure and efficient operation of district heating networks (DHNs) is a stable hydraulic behavior. However, the ongoing transition towards a sustainable heat supply, especially the rising integration of distributed heat sources and the increasingly meshed topologies, introduce complex and potentially destabilizing hydraulic dynamics. In this work, we propose a unifying, passivity-based framework which guarantees asymptotic stability of any forced hydraulic DHN equilibrium while allowing for meshed, time-varying topologies and different, dynamically interacting distributed heat sources. To establish the desired hydraulic equilibria, we propose decentralized, passivity-based pressure and volume flow rate controllers for the pumps and valves in the actuated DHN subsystems. In particular, we leverage the equilibrium-independent passivity (EIP) properties of the DHN subsystems, the skew-symmetric nature of their interconnections, and LaSalle's Invariance principle to assess asymptotic stability in a modular manner. The obtained results hold for the state-of-the-art as well as future DHN generations featuring, for example, multiple distributed heat sources, asymmetric pipe networks, and multiple temperature layers. We verify our findings by means of simulations.

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