Breakthrough in heat network planning as 5-year project ends

13 April 2021

After five years, one of the largest projects that CSE has ever been part of has come to an end, but leaves a hugely valuable legacy that will revolutionise the way that low-carbon district heating networks are planned and built.

THERMOS was a multi-partner EU-funded initiative which developed unique energy planning software - available online - that optimises the planning of local heating and cooling networks by identifying financially viable routes for low-carbon district heating networks. 

It does this by combining advanced address-level heating and cooling mapping with energy-demand estimations and machine-learning algorithms, much of this developed by CSE. To make it more useful still, THERMOS also takes into account user-specific criteria such as the source of power being used, local energy costs, investment budgets, and the weight given to carbon emissions by the developer or local authority.

And THERMOS works for any area in the world; if rare or specific demand information (e.g. GIS or LIDAR data) is not available, THERMOS will draw on building characteristics from OpenStreetMap to perform its optimisation.

“This has been a most rewarding project to be involved in” said Martin Holley, Senior Project Manager at CSE. “THERMOS has really filled a gap in the world of heat network planning and is being widely used. CSE is now looking forward to continuing the journey with THERMOS and supporting its use in helping to develop efficient low carbon heat networks.”

The software was thoroughly put through its paces during a three-year validation phase involving a wide range of actors from the city planning and energy infrastructure sector from Europe and beyond. Testing under real-life planning conditions began in 2019. Since then THERMOS has proved itself and is currently being used to identify optimal network solutions for expanding existing systems, the planning of entirely new ones, or comparing the performance of specific network (and non-network) solutions.

The 16 THERMOS project partners and cities* have now struck an agreement which will allow them to continue offering, developing and promoting the software and its services to its currently around 1,400 users from energy agencies, urban planning offices, universities, consultancies, and beyond, as well as to future beneficiaries after EU project funding ends in April 2021.

You can access the THERMOS software and demo video here.

The source-code of the software has been made freely available, as has free online self-training and capacity building materials.

Local planners and authorities wishing to adopt the tool can further benefit from guidance and experiences of current users in the Replication Guide, Case Studies and Sustainable Adoption Roadmap available on the website.


THERMOS partners included universities, local authorities and city-wide authorities, energy and environmental agencies and specialist consultants in eight countries: UK, Imperial College, LondonGreater London AuthorityLondon Borough of IslingtonSpain, Creara Consultores SLAjuntament de GranollersPoland, Krajowa Agencja Poszanowania Energii SAMiasto Stoleczne WarszawaLatvia, Vides Investiciju Fonds SIAJelgavas DomeDenmark, Aalborg UniversitetGermanyICLEI European Secretariat GMBHDeutsche Energie-Agentur GMBHRomania, Primaria Municipiului Alba IuliaPortugal, Municipio de Cascais


THERMOS was funded by the EU through its Horizon 2020 programme and air quality, energy and climate neutrality targets.

For further information contact Martin Holley | 0117 934 1419

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