Optimal design and operation of district heating networks require accurate, but simple models to allow fast simulation. This paper describes the analytical derivation of such a model based on existing work regarding heat loss and dynamic temperature profile calculations in literature. The most important addition from this work is the incorporation and investigation of heat transfer from supply to return side in double pipes, something which is often (over)simplified in more commonly used models. The paper presents the mathematical derivations and the assumptions made in detail for the case of steady-state heat losses in double pipes. The resulting model is carefully examined in a parameter study, from which a number of interesting conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, the heat losses are found to be nearly independent of the mass flow rate in the range of mass flow rates usually encountered in thermal network pipes. The remaining heat loss calculation is simply based on temperature levels and thermal resistance factors, determined by the pipe dimensions and materials. Furthermore, it is found that heat losses from supply to return side should be incorporated in the analysis for better accuracy of the results, even more so with the increasing popularity of twin pipes with common insulation.
van der Heijde, B., Aertgeerts, A., & Helsen, L. (2017). Modelling steady-state thermal behaviour of double thermal network pipes. International Journal of Thermal Sciences, 117, 316–327. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijthermalsci.2017.03.026