A fast and accurate modeling approach for water and steam thermodynamics with practical applications in district heating system simulation
In U.S. district heating (DH) systems, steam is the most common heat transport medium. Industry demand for new advanced modeling capabilities of complete steam DH systems is increasing; however, the existing models for water/steam thermodynamics are too slow for large system simulations because of computationally expensive algebraic loops that require the solution to nonlinear systems of equations. For practical applications, this work presents a novel split-medium approach that implements numerically efficient liquid water models alongside various water/steam models, breaking costly algebraic loops by decoupling mass and energy balance equations. New component models for steam DH systems are also presented. We implemented the models in the equation based Modelica language and evaluated accuracy and computing speed across multiple scales: from fundamental thermodynamic properties to complete districts featuring 10 to 200 buildings. Compared to district models with the IF97 water/steam model and equipment models from the Modelica Standard Library, the new implementation improves the scaling rate for large districts from cubic to quadratic with negligible compromise to accuracy. For an annual simulation with 180 buildings, this translates to a computing time reduction from 33 to 1–1.5 h. These results are critically important for industry practitioners to simulate steam DH systems at large scales.