Decision Support Tool for Decarbonisation Assessment of District Heating Systems (2021  2023)





Project No.


Source of funding:  European Regional Development Fund Specific objective 1.1.1. “Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract internal funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure” measure “Post-doctoral research aid”. Project application selection round No.4.

Project period: 01.01.2021 – 30.06.2023 (30 months)

Total budget: 111 504.90 (94 779.16 from EU as ERDF, 5 575.25 EUR – from the University of Latvia)

Project leader: Researcher, Jelena Ziemele,


To develop a decision support tool for identifying decarbonisation level for development scenarios to assess the transition from the existing district heating system towards the 4th generation district heating (4GDH) system by using hybrid modelling methodologies – SD, LCCA and MCA.


Implementation of the 4th Generation District Heating (4GDH) system would allow the EU member states to move towards the EU goal of climate neutrality by 2050 and achieve one of the European Green deal’s goals – supply clean, affordable and secure energy. Planning of energy systems that provide transition towards 4GDH and achieve deep decarbonisation is necessary for policymakers, DH producers and consumers, and other stakeholders in the EU at regional and local levels. Currently used models limit users' understanding of the dynamic behaviour of an energy system and do not allow identifying the driving forces behind transition towards the 4GDH. Therefore, the scientific aim of START project is to develop a decision support tool for identifying the decarbonisation level for scenarios in the transition towards the 4GDH system by using three modelling methodologies – system dynamic (SD), Life Cycle Carbon Assessment  (LCCA) and multi-criteria analysis (MCA). To achieve the set goal, a SD model will be developed during the project, which will be integrated with the LCCA. The developed scenarios will be evaluated by using MCA. This novel hybrid model will facilitate the understanding of feedback mechanisms while simultaneously interacting with the system.

As a result of the project, the postdoctoral researcher will improve her scientific, managerial and communication skills, which will help her achieve the status of an independent, mature researcher.

The project will promote the development and implementation of the objectives of the Smart Specialization Strategy in the field of smart energy, because developing and validating of innovative decision support tools for decarbonisation of development scenarios of DH system that support the defined objectives of the EU Climate and Energy Framework. Moreover, the project connects to the field of an engineering system, because the modelled DH systems development scenarios will provide high-efficiency engineering solutions in energy supply. Additional, the project develops human resource by getting new knowledge about integrated energy systems.

The scientific results will be presented at three international conferences and in two scientific publications.





Project report on the tasks completed in the period from 01.07.2022. until 30.09.2022.

Project report on the tasks completed in the period from 01.04.2022. until 30.06.2022.

Annual report on dissemination, communication, mobility and training activities, and progress and risk monitoring 2021

Project report on the tasks completed in the period from 01.01.2022. until 31.03.2022.

Project report on the tasks completed in the period from 01.10.2021. until 31.12.2021.

Project report on the tasks completed in the period from 01.07.2021. until 30.09.2021.

Project report on the tasks completed in the period from 01.04.2021. until 30.06.2021.

Project report on the tasks completed in the period from 01.01.2021. until 31.03.2021.



Ziemele, J., Dace, E. (2022) An analytical framework for assessing the integration of the waste heat into a district heating system: Case of the city of Riga. Energy, 254. Article number: 124285.


Daugavietis, J. E., Soloha, R., Dace, E., Ziemele, J. (2022) A Comparison of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis Methods for Sustainability Assessment of District Heating Systems. Energies, 15 (7), 2411.

Ziemele J., Talcis N., Osis U., Dace E. (2021) A methodology for selecting a sustainable development strategy for connecting low heat density consumers to a district heating system by cascading of heat carriers. Energy, 230. Article number: 120776.