VITO/EnergyVille’s HeatriCity intelligent control solution for district heating networks in AI4cities project

About the AI4cities project

AI4cities is a EU funded project bringing together European cities looking for artificial intelligence to accelerate carbon neutrality.  VITO/EnergyVille was selected as a supplier of its smart control technology for district heating networks. The project, with a total funding of 4.6 million euros, is split into three phases to develop and implement AI based innovations for the 6 participating cities, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Paris, Stavanger, and Tallinn. Thanks to Microsoft’s unconditional support and network in the smart cities domain, VITO/EnergyVille was able to benefit from this opportunity. 


About the HeatriCity technology product: design, prototype and pilot

In phase 1, VITO/EnergyVille will design the first-of-its-kind solution HeatriCity, an intelligent control solution, which maximizes local renewable electricity integration through building heat demand management, at radically low investment costs

HeatriCity builds upon and extends the STORM District Energy Controller, a proven demand side management solution for peak shaving in thermal networks. It is a unique solution that enables coupling the heat and the power sectors by bringing together technologies such as AI, advanced optimization algorithms, internet of things (IoT), and cloud computing in a single system. HeatriCity will be hosted as an application on the FLEXharvester energy flexibility platform, taking advantage of its large number of functionalities. 

After phase 1, which is dedicated to solution design, a second phase for prototyping will follow.  Phase 3 will focus on piloting the solution in two selected cities. The project, with a total duration of 13 months, will be carried out between May 2021 and July 2022. Out of the 21 suppliers in phase 2, 10 and 3 suppliers will qualify for phase 2 and 3 respectively.   


STORM District Energy Controller

Autonomous control and optimization for district heating networks powered by AI

STORM is a thermal demand side management solution that enables you, as a heat network manager, to organize the energy consumption in your network in a more cost-efficient way, resulting in energy demand reduction. It also means that we’re able to push down consumption peaks, flattening the curve. In this way, energy is consumed at the most advantageous times.  

The controller uses the heat capacity of buildings for this purpose. When the heating is on, the walls, floors and interiors heat up. When the heating is turned down, this energy is released again, making the temperature in the room inherently more constant. This way, we ensure a peak heat reduction of up to 30%, resulting in significantly lower CO2 emissions from your heat network. 

The STORM controller is also an effective instrument in the highly fluctuating electricity market. For example, it ensures that the operational use of heat pumps coincides as much as possible with off-peak prices for purchasing electricity. The operational use of CHPs, on the other hand, coincides as much as possible with the peak prices for the sale of electricity.


FLEXharvester cloud platform for energy flexibility

FLEXharvester is an easy portable open data model and architecture for building energy flexibility management solutions. 

Built with the Microsoft Azure ARM template concept, the platform integrates the ongoing research developments in demand response applications of thermal networks. It enables Microsoft Solution Providers worldwide to understand, integrate and deploy energy flexibility solutions based on Microsoft apps and platforms.

Project partners

HeatriCity partner logos


Somil Miglani

Product Owner, STORM