A district heating (DH) system is one of the most important components of infrastructures in cold areas. Proper DH network design should balance the initial investment and the heat distribution cost of the DH network. Currently, this design is often based on a recommended value for specific pressure loss (R
) in the main lines. This will result in a feasible network design, but probably not be optimal in most cases. The paper develops a novel optimization model to facilitate the design by considering the initial investment in the pipes and the heat distribution costs. The model will generate all possible network scenarios consisting of different series of diameters for each pipe in the flow direction of the network. Then, the annuity on the initial investment, the heat distribution cost, and the total annual cost will be calculated for each network scenario, taking into account the uncertainties of the material prices and the yearly operating time levels. The model is applied to a sample DH network and the results indicate that the model works quite well, clearly identifying the optimal network design and demonstrating that the heat distribution cost is more important than the initial investment in DH network design.
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