Managing economic and operational risk in district heating systems

PhD defence, Friday 10 August 2018, Magnus Dahl.

2018.08.10 | Maia Høyer Monod

Magnus Dahl (photo: Lars Kruse, Aarhus Universitet)

District heating operators and production planners face many uncertainties that affect both short and long-term decisions. Tomorrow’s heat production must be planned under uncertainty from the weather and the behavior and the heat consumers, and improving the understanding of these sources of uncertainty can help manage the associated risk. During this project, Magnus Dahl has developed tools to help production planners manage the economic risk from uncertain weather forecasts and changing consumer behavior using methods from meteorology and machine learning. On longer timescales, Magnus Dahl has studied the weather-driven dynamics of seasonal production planning and developed decision rules capable of reaping most of the economic benefit of shutting down production units over the summer without gambling with security of supply. Finally, long-term investment decisions in future district heating systems have been optimized, and the consequences of changing electricity prices, fuel prices and technology cost have been assessed.

The research findings and risk management tools developed in the project can be applied in many large district heating systems around the world. As part of the project, a state-of-the-art live heat load forecasting system has been implemented and is currently in operation at AffaldVarme Aarhus.

This industrial PhD project was completed in collaboration between AffaldVarme Aarhus and Aarhus University and is a part of the READY project (

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Friday 10 August 2018 at 14:00
Place: Building 3210, room 04.124, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University, Navitas, Inge Lehmanns Gade 10, 8000 Aarhus C
Title of PhD thesis: Production planning of energy systems – cost and risk assessment for district heating
Contact information: Magnus Dahl, e-mail:
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Thomas Hamacher, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, TUM
Professor Christian Veje, Center for Energy Informatics, SDU
Associate Professor Søren Peder Madsen, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University (chair)
Main supervisor:
Associate Professor Gorm B. Andresen, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University
Dr. Adam Brun, AffaldVarme Aarhus, City of Aarhus
Associate Professor Steffen Petersen, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defense is public.
The PhD thesis is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1520, rooms 128-134, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
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Revised 13.08.2018