Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have developed new software that can be used to analyze and optimize transport grids for electricity, gas, and water, even at the planning stage, based on numerical simulations. This can lighten the tasks of retrofitting and expansion, save energy and cost, and enhance safety and security.

Operating pipelines in severe winters is very challenging. If the gas in the pipes cools off too sharply, it partly liquefies and can no longer flow as swiftly. To maintain the temperature of the gases within a certain range consistently, a complex system of compressors, pre-heaters, coolers, and other elements is needed. Systems operators constantly monitor the condition of their pipelines and plan ahead for reactions to potential temperature and pressure changes.

This new simulation software, called MYNTS (Multiphysical Network Simulation Framework), helps with the operation and planning of such complex networks. The program models the transport grids as systems of differential algebraic equations. Through numerical simulations, the grids can be flexibly analyzed and better planned. Specifically, the simulation immediately demonstrates the effects of changes in various factors. Using MYNTS, for example, one can calculate how temperature fluctuations alter the flow measurements, or how the failure of sub-networks influences the other grid components.

Because each field of application also has its unique features, specialized versions of the software are available for various utilities. With MYNTS for simulation of gas transport systems, for example, a user can set up and control his or her own sub-networks or add compressor stations and mixing chambers. In order to accelerate simulation computations, the software runs on computers with multiple processors.

This software is also of interest for smart grids since intelligent networking and controlling of electricity producers, storage facilities, electricity consumers, and network resources within supply networks are considered to be among the greatest economic and environmental technology challenges.