International summer school in smart district heating

Halmstad University was one of the hosts for last week’s online summer school in district heating and cooling. The summer school was aimed to give young professionals from all over the world new knowledge about sustainability, energy, artificial intelligence and the smart societies of the future.

“It is always rewarding to lecture at the DHC + Summer School and to meet young, interested people who have come to understand that district heating and cooling are part of the future as a way of integrating more renewable energy into the heating sector.”

Urban Persson, Professor in Renewable Energy Systems

Screen shot from a computer where you can see 20 happy faces.

The 25 international students who attended this year's summer school had different backgrounds and occupations, but they all shared a great interest in district heating.

The DHC+ Summer School was held digitally from August 23 to 29 (DHC is short for District Heating and Cooling). This is the eighth year in a row that the summer school is organised by the European network for district energy, Euroheat & Power – and the first time online. The Swedish hosts were Halmstad University, NetPort Science Park, NODA Intelligent Systems and Danfoss.

Combining district heating and AI

The theme for this year's summer school was "Creating a Sustainable Ecosystem in District Heating and Cooling using Artificial Intelligence". The summer school consisted of intensive education with lecturing experts from industry and academia. From Halmstad University, lecturers from the research environments The Rydberg Laboratory for Applied Sciences (RLAS) participated – with a focus on district heating – and from Embedded and Intelligent Systems (EIS) – with a focus on AI.

“District heating, and smart energy in general, is a very interesting and important application domain for AI and Machine Learning. Over the years we have had several research projects focusing on using advanced data analysis techniques to improve efficiency and reliability of different energy systems, including heat and electricity. It was a very interesting experience to share the knowledge we have gotten with the very enthusiastic students during the summer school. To have the event online was challenging but based on the feedback we received from the students it worked quite well”, says Slawomir Nowaczyk, Professor in Machine Learning within the research environment EIS.

The 25 international students who attended the summer school had different backgrounds and occupations, but they all shared a great interest in district heating.

“It is always rewarding to lecture at the DHC + Summer School and to meet young, interested people who have come to understand that district heating and cooling are part of the future as a way of integrating more renewable energy into the heating sector. The combination of district heating and AI is an interesting area. We are pleased to have been able to start an interdisciplinary research collaboration here at Halmstad University and we are working to develop the area”, says Urban Persson, Professor in Renewable Energy Systems.

"It was a great experience!”

The week ended with a group task in the form of a realistic case study of challenges with district heating in a city. Costanza Saletti from Italy was part of the group with the winning solution:

“The summer school was a well-organised event that gave me the chance to improve my all-round knowledge on district heating and digitalisation through lectures and workshops, especially on many aspects I am not familiar with. The best part was meeting and sharing ideas with other students, professionals and company representatives thanks to very diverse networking activities which, despite the distance, created an informal and pleasant atmosphere. It was a great experience!”, says Costanza Saletti, PhD student in Industrial Engineering at the University of Parma, Italy.

Illustration med texten DHC+ Summer School.

Halmstad University will host also next year

In the summer of 2021, the summer school in district heating and cooling will be arranged by Euroheat & Power again – but hopefully in physical form in Karlshamn. Halmstad University is one of the hosts also next year, together with NetPort Science Park, NODA Intelligent Systems and Danfoss. Aksana Krasatsenka is the Programme Coordinator at Euroheat & Power:

“As organisers, we truly enjoyed the experience of preparing and conducting a digital summer school. This format opened up new opportunities – students from different parts of the world could participate, new networking activities could be arranged (for example "speed dating" with companies, universities offering career opportunities in DHC and online yoga class) and participants could watch pre-recorded lectures in advance and review the recordings for one month after the event. However, we must admit that a digital contact cannot replace a face-to-face interaction. Therefore, we really look forward to the next year's DHC+ Summer School when we can discover beautiful Sweden, visit technical sites and enjoy the freedom of networking”, says Aksana Krasatsenka.

Text: LOUISE WANDEL

A selection of lectures during the summer school:

  • The basics of district heating and cooling, Sven Werner, Senior Professor in Energy Technology at Halmstad University
  • The basics of data analysis, Kobra Etminani, Assistant Professor in Information Technology at Halmstad University
  • Anomaly detection for predictive maintenance, Slawomir Nowaczyk, Professor in Machine Learning at Halmstad University
  • Use of geographical information in district heating, Urban Persson, Professor in Renewable Energy Systems at Halmstad University
  • Business models in district heating, Kristina Lygnerud, Energy Department Manager, Swedish Environmental Institute (IVL) and Senior Lecturer at Halmstad University
  • Project work based on the district heating system in Karlshamn with presentation to an expert jury with subsequent award ceremony, led by Christian Johansson, CEO of NODA
  • Customer relations and communication, Marie Lindgren, Marketing Manager, Göteborg Energi
  • Workshop in data analysis, Kobra Etminani, Assistant Professor in information Technology, and Slawomir Nowaczyk, Professor of Machine Learning, Halmstad University

PUBLISHED

2020-09-03

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