The Heat Transition – Mathematical Models and Optimization #SWI2023

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Municipalities in The Netherlands are responsible of transitioning to an energy system that does not rely on natural resources. One of its goals is to transition from a heating system that is highly reliant on natural gas to one that is using sustainable resources for the heating of homes, buildings and cooking. This transitional process is also called the “heat transition”. Due to resource scarcity and limited technical solutions, solutions have been limited to 3 alternatives:

  1. District heating: in highly concentrated areas with excess heating from for example industrial processes;
  2. Electrical heating systems: for individual homes and buildings with higher isolation levels and more recent building years (1990 and younger);
  3. Hybrid solutions: in rural areas with older buildings and buildings in areas with no access to district heating and can not be technically isolated to levels needed for electrical systems.

Policymakers have difficulties in choosing where to use which alternative and individuals struggle with this insecurity. We want to explore how a balancing model could potentially help decision makers (municipalities, government officials, energy companies) and potentially to individuals strategically allocate scarce resources and technical solutions and regulate market availability of resources based on price and technical availability.


  1. Derive a mathematical model for the current and potential future heating configurations of (a part of) a municipality which is able to describe the relevant decision variables (heat production, energy consumption, investment costs, … ).
  2. Verify the model with data from the municipality of Rotterdam
  3. Formulate suitable optimization problems based on the derived models.

The models could serve as a tool to strategically allocate financial resources in heat transition processes and to make financial investment plans for the Rotterdam municipality, specifically in relation to the sustainable development goals for 2030 and further.


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The Heat Transition – Mathematical Models and Optimization