User days 2021

Presentation of TOP-Energy 3.0

More than 80 experts from science, business, and industry were able to take their first look at the new TOP-Energy generation which is scheduled for release this spring. The opportunity was provided by the online user days. The TOP-Energy software is already in its third generation. After a comprehensive relaunch it was very well received by users and interested parties. In the user presentations, it became clear that TOP-Energy 3.0 provides the right answers to urgent questions from practice. Therefore, especially the experienced users of TOP-Energy are pleased about the new features which will make working with the software even easier and more pleasant in the future.

Standard tool for energy system optimization

TOP-Energy is a software for energy system optimization that has already been developed for many years at GFaI in the research area Graphical Engineering Systems, Graphing for short. After long-time division manager Gregor Wrobel moved to the management of GFaI, the research division has been headed by Dr. Stefan Kirschbaum since September 2020. Dr. Stefan Kirschbaum has played a leading role in the development of TOP-Energy from the very beginning. The development history of TOP-Energy goes back to 2003 and begins with a research project at RWTH Aachen University.

Today, TOP-Energy is established on the market as a standard tool for energy system optimization. It is capable of mapping the complex conditions of the energy market and taking them into account in the optimization.

Development goal: user-friendliness

The main focus of TOP-Energy’s program development has always been ease of use. The new generation of TOP-Energy goes a big step further in this direction: To meet the high expectations of users, the user interface has been redesigned. It is now operated via ribbons – menu ribbons that display the functions and commands contextually. TOP-Energy is distinguished by its easy-to-use graphical workspace on which the components of the energy system are arranged as symbols and linked to each other by networks to form a scheme. There are some innovations here as well: The symbols were redesigned, manual routing of the nets is now possible, and the controls can be moved to their own schemes. In this way, extremely complex systems can be represented clearly.

Further innovations

Approximately 200 components for modeling energy supply systems are available in the component template libraries. In addition to technical components, these include tariff components for economic calculation and control components for detailed mapping of individual operating modes. The flexibility to add optional parameters and operating conditions to the dynamic components is due to TOP-Energy 3.0’s structure of elementary components, the so-called Elementarys. This keeps the parameterization clear and the model lean. A new validation function helps to exclude errors in the model at an early stage.

One of the decisive improvements is the significantly higher computing speed. The time series analysis functions integrated in TOP-Energy allow operational optimization even for coupled systems in real time. Geographical location data and weather data are conveniently integrated via the master data module with its interfaces to OpenStreetMap and the DWD (German Meteorological Service). A time series preview integrated into the user interface of TOP-Energy enables the fast time-related analysis of complex data without having to start the included time series editor ETA. ETA stands for Engineering Time Series Analyzer, a comprehensive software tool also developed and distributed by GFaI’s Graphing research unit. With TOP-Energy 3.0, ETA also appears in a new design and with new functions.

from: GFaI information 1/2021 (in print)