Logo TransUrban.NRW

The primary objective of TransUrban.NRW is to replace the classic district heating supply in traditional mining areas, which is often operated at temperatures of more than 100 degrees Celsius, with so-called LowEx networks, or 5th generation heating networks, and in this way significantly improve the CO2 balance of cities. The low-temperature networks required for this will either be newly built or integrated into the existing infrastructure. These new networks will be designed as energy exchange platforms through which all connected players can interact with each other. This is made possible by intelligent networking, which balances the heating and cooling requirements of buildings and thus increases the efficiency of the overall systems. This technology not only reduces energy losses, it also enables the integration of geothermal heat sources and/or the use of waste heat. Both are available on a comparatively large scale at low temperature levels. Fifth-generation heat networks can integrate renewable energies and waste heat into a supply system at all temperature levels.



Sebastian Schwarz

Team Energy Flexibility Management and Optimization


+49 241 80 49735


  Comparison between heat networks

Four different district energy systems are being planned and implemented as part of the TransUrban.NRW Reallabor. The cities of Gelsenkirchen, Mönchengladbach, Herne, and Erkrath selected for the implementation of the real lab are all located in structural change regions characterized by former hard coal or lignite mining. Each of the four locations represents a specific innovation focus.

For the planning and operation of 5th generation heating networks and corresponding district energy systems, the static operating assumptions commonly used up to now are no longer sufficient. New, dynamic methods are gaining in importance. The integral analysis of the district, using different target functions such as cost or CO2 minimization, in the early project phase forms the prerequisite for a resource-saving and economical operation of the district energy system solutions. To this end, new digital tools for the planning and operation of district energy systems are being developed in TransUrban.NRW. The focus here is on methods of mathematical optimization and dynamic simulation.

Beyond the purely technical design of new, particularly efficient and low-CO2 district energy system solutions, TransUrban.NRW is also focused on optimally designing the solutions found from an economic point of view. To this end, business models are being systematically developed to enable the economically sustainable operation of the technical innovations used in TransUrban.NRW.


Project information and partner

Duration: 5 years

Start: 04/2019

End: 06/2023

Partners: E.ON Energy Solutions GmbH | AVACON Natur GmbH | Catella Project Management GmbH | RAG Montan Immobilien GmbH | Institute for Automation of Complex Power Systems | Lehrstuhls für Energiesystemökonomik | heatbeat engineering GmbH | aedifion GmbH | Fraunhofer ISE

Sponsor: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)

Founding reference number: 03EWR020E

  Funding notice BMWK


This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) under grant no. 03EWR020E.