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Digitalization of Thermal Energy Technologies – Modelling and Simulation Methods
Mechanical Engineering
Organization logo: Technical University of Denmark

About this course

Digital solutions such as digital twins are expected to play a major role in the realization of the future energy sector i.e. smart grids and smart cities as well as the industrial sector i.e. industry 4.0. The backbone of such digitalization relies on the development of numerical models that are conceptually, physically and mathematically consistent and tailored to the specific objective of the application. The aim of the course is to give the students experience in developing numerical models of complex thermal energy technologies such as: heat pumps, organic Rankine cycles, refrigeration systems, gas turbines and industrial process facilities. Further, the students will learn to apply these models to simulate and analyze the technologies in question. The course focuses on the application of modelling and simulation systematics to ensure the development of models that are conceptually, physically and mathematically consistent. The students will learn to develop models of different complexities i.e. design, operational and transient models and will further learn to select the appropriate model complexity. The students will be introduced to the principles of different numerical solvers such as Newton-Raphson and Runge-Kutta and the practical applications of these. Further, the students will gain practical experience in the use of simulation software suitable for simulating thermal energy technologies. An introduction will be given to Engineering Equation Solver (EES), Modelica and Dynamic Network Analysis (DNA) as well as fluid properties software such as CoolProp or Refprop. The students will work on a group project throughout the course where they will develop models of a thermal energy technology with increasing complexity. A design model will assess the influence of different cycle and component design variables. An operational model will assess the influence of off-design operation and control strategies and finally, a transient model will assess the transient response and operation of the system. Each of these models should be documented and analyzed in a technical report.

Expected learning outcomes

  • At the end of the course the learner will be able to:

  • Develop models of complex thermal energy technologies by utilizing a systematic model development procedure

  • Assess the conceptual and numerical validity of the developed models

  • Design and assess thermal energy technologies by using simulations of the developed models

  • Implement different model complexities i.e. design; operational and transient models

  • Select the appropriate model complexity

  • Implement different approaches to model component characteristics i.e. empirical or first principle and lumped or distributed models

  • Select the appropriate approach to model component characteristics

  • Utilize appropriate simulation software to simulate thermal energy technologies

  • Apply numerical methods for solving systems of algebraic; differential and differential-algebraic equations

  • Provide constructive peer-feedback on reports and project presentations of fellow students.


2 individualized group reports. Overall assessment of reports.

Course requirements

The students are expected to have a background in engineering thermodynamics and have prior knowledge on heat transfer and fluid mechanics.


Series of on-line instructional videos, while course hours will be used for exercises, group work and peer-feedback sessions.

More information
  • Local course code
  • Study load
    ECTS 5
  • Level
  • Contact hours per week
  • Instructors
    Jonas Kjær Jensen, Brian Elmegaard
  • Mode of delivery
  • Course coordinator
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