This paper deals with the modelling of an existing neutral-temperature district heating network, meaning that the distribution temperature is close to the ambient temperature, with decentralised heat pumps. The considered case is located in Ospitaletto, Italy. Heat sources are given by industrial waste heat at about 25 °C and aquifer wells at about 15 °C. Two models are used to analyse the network: a detailed model able to calculate local values of operating parameters and an approximate model focused on energy balances aggregating all users with a lumped demand. Both models include the behaviour of heat pumps, a feature not available in other district heating modelling tools. An entire year of operation is considered, with an hourly time resolution. Load profiles are provided as inputs, while the main outputs consist of energy balances and primary energy consumptions. The corresponding results are compared, showing a reasonable agreement, where the approximate model underestimates the overall electricity consumptions by about 15% with respect to the detailed model. On the other hand, the different information levels and execution times (the detailed model requires about 30 min to solve the considered network for a full year with hourly time steps, while the approximate model is almost immediate) make the two models suitable for different purposes, like the simulation of control solutions for the detailed one and scenario analysis for the other.
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