Gray-box approach for thermal modelling of buildings for applications in district heating and cooling networks
District-heating-and-cooling (DHC) systems are a proven energy solution that has been deployed for many years in a growing number of urban areas worldwide. They comprise a variety of technologies that seek to develop synergies between the production and supply of heat, cooling, domestic hot water and electricity. Although the benefits of DHC systems are significant and have been widely acclaimed, yet the full potential of modern DHC systems remains largely untapped. There are several opportunities for development of energy efficient DHC systems, which will enable the effective exploitation of alternative renewable resources, waste heat recovery, etc., in order to increase the overall efficiency and facilitate the transition towards the next generation of DHC systems. This motivated the need for modelling these complex systems. Large-scale modelling of DHC-networks is challenging, as it has several components such as buildings, pipes, valves, heating source, etc., interacting with each other. In this paper, we focus on building modelling. In particular, we present a gray-box methodology for thermal modelling of buildings. Gray-box modelling is a hybrid of data driven and physics based models where, coefficients of the equations from physics based models are learned using data. This approach allows us to capture the dynamics of the buildings more effectively as compared to pure data driven approach. Additionally, this approach results in a simpler models as compared to pure physics based models. We first develop the individual components of the building such as temperature evolution, ow controller, etc. These individual models are then integrated in to the complete gray-box model for the building. The model is validated using data collected from one of the buildings at Lulea, a city on the coast of northern Sweden.