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About 20% of the German energy demand is supplied by natural gas. Ad-
ditionally, for about twice the amount Germany serves as a transit country. Thereby, the German network represents a central hub in the European natural gas transport network. The transport infrastructure is operated by so-called transmissions system operators or TSOs. The number one priority of the TSOs is to ensure security of supply. However, the TSOs have no knowledge of the intentions and planned actions of the shippers (traders).
Open Grid Europe (OGE), one of Germany’s largest TSO, operates a high-
pressure transport network of about 12.000 km length. Since flexibility and security of supply is of utmost importance to the German Energy Transition (“Energiewende”) especially with the introduction of peak-load gas power stations, being able to predict in- and out-flow of the network is of great importance.
In this paper we introduce a new hybrid forecast method applied to gas
flows at the boundary nodes of a transport network. The new method employs optimized feature minimization and selection. We use a combination of an FAR, LSTM DNN and mathematical programming to achieve robust high quality forecasts on real world data for different types of network nodes.
Keywords: Gas Forecast, Time series, Hybrid Method, FAR, LSTM, Mathematical Optimisation

The German high-pressure natural gas transport network consists of thousands of interconnected elements spread over more than 120,000 km of pipelines built during the last 100 years. During the last decade, we have spent many person-years to extract consistent data out of the available sources, both public and private. Based on two case studies, we present some of the challenges we encountered.
Preparing consistent, high-quality data is surprisingly hard, and the effort necessary can hardly be overestimated. Thus, it is particularly important to decide which strategy regarding data curation to adopt. Which precision of the data is necessary? When is it more efficient to work with data that is just sufficiently correct on average?
In the case studies we describe our experiences and the strategies we adopted to deal with the obstacles and to minimize future effort.
Finally, we would like to emphasize that well-compiled data sets, publicly available for research purposes, provide the grounds for building innovative algorithmic solutions to the challenges of the future.

Deep learning for spatio-temporal supply and demand forecasting in natural gas transmission networks
(2021)

Germany is the largest market for natural gas in the European Union, with an annual consumption of approx. 95 billion cubic meters. Germany's high-pressure gas pipeline network is roughly 40,000 km long, which enables highly fluctuating quantities of gas to be transported safely over long distances. Considering that similar amounts of gas are also transshipped through Germany to other EU states, it is clear that Germany's gas transport system is essential to the European energy supply. Since the average velocity of gas in a pipeline is only 25km/h, an adequate high-precision, high-frequency forecasting of supply and demand is crucial for efficient control and operation of such a transmission network. We propose a deep learning model based on spatio-temporal convolutional neural networks (DLST) to tackle the problem of gas flow forecasting in a complex high-pressure transmission network. Experiments show that our model effectively captures comprehensive spatio-temporal correlations through modeling gas networks and consistently outperforms state-of-the-art benchmarks on real-world data sets by at least 21$\%$.
The results demonstrate that the proposed model can deal with complex nonlinear gas network flow forecasting with high accuracy and effectiveness.

This study examines the usability of a real-world, large-scale natural gas transport infrastructure for hydrogen transport. We investigate whether a converted network can transport the amounts of hydrogen necessary to satisfy current energy demands. After introducing an optimization model for the robust transient control of hydrogen networks, we conduct computational experiments based on real-world demand scenarios. Using a representative network, we demonstrate that replacing each turbo compressor unit by four parallel hydrogen compressors, each of them comprising multiple serial compression stages, and imposing stricter rules regarding the balancing of in- and outflow suffices to realize transport in a majority of scenarios. However, due to the reduced linepack there is an increased need for technical and non-technical measures leading to a more dynamic network control. Furthermore, the amount of energy needed for compression increases by 364% on average.

In the transition towards a pure hydrogen infrastructure, utilizing the existing natural gas infrastructure is a necessity. In this study, the maximal technically feasible injection of hydrogen into the existing German natural gas transmission network is analysed with respect to regulatory limits regarding the gas quality. We propose a transient tracking model based on the general pooling problem including linepack. The analysis is conducted using real-world hourly gas flow data on a network of about 10,000 km length.

As a result of the legislation for gas markets introduced by the European Union in 2005, separate independent companies have to conduct the transport and trading of natural gas. The current gas market of Germany, which has a market value of more than 54 billion USD, consists of Transmission System Operators (TSO), network users, and traders. Traders can nominate a certain amount of gas anytime and anywhere in the network. Such unrestricted access for the traders, on the other hand, increase the uncertainty in the gas supply management. Some customers’ behaviors may cause abrupt structural changes in gas flow time series. In particular, it is a challenging task for the TSO operators to predict gas nominations 6 to 10 hours ahead. In our study, we aim to investigate the regime changes in the time series of nominations to predict the 6 to 10 hours ahead of gas nominations.

Deep learning for spatio-temporal supply anddemand forecasting in natural gas transmission networks
(2021)

Germany is the largest market for natural gas in the European Union, with an annual consumption of approx. 95 billion cubic meters. Germany's high-pressure gas pipeline network is roughly 40,000 km long, which enables highly fluctuating quantities of gas to be transported safely over long distances. Considering that similar amounts of gas are also transshipped through Germany to other EU states, it is clear that Germany's gas transport system is essential to the European energy supply. Since the average velocity of gas in a pipeline is only 25km/h, an adequate high-precision, high-frequency forecasting of supply and demand is crucial for efficient control and operation of such a transmission network. We propose a deep learning model based on spatio-temporal convolutional neural networks (DLST) to tackle the problem of gas flow forecasting in a complex high-pressure transmission network. Experiments show that our model effectively captures comprehensive spatio-temporal correlations through modeling gas networks and consistently outperforms state-of-the-art benchmarks on real-world data sets by at least 21%.
The results demonstrate that the proposed model can deal with complex nonlinear gas network flow forecasting with high accuracy and effectiveness.

In the transition towards a pure hydrogen infrastructure, repurposing the existing natural gas infrastructure is considered. In this study, the maximal technically feasible injection of hydrogen into the existing German natural gas transmission network is analysed with respect to regulatory limits regarding the gas quality. We propose a transient tracking model based on the general pooling problem including linepack. The analysis is conducted using real-world hourly gas flow data on a network of about 10,000 km length.

Optimizing the transient control of gas networks is a highly challenging task.
The corresponding model incorporates the combinatorial complexity of determining the settings for the many active elements as well as the non-linear and non-convex nature of the physical and technical principles of gas transport.
In this paper, we present the latest improvements of our ongoing work to solve this problem for real-world, large-scale problem instances:
By adjusting our mixed-integer non-linear programming model regarding the gas compression capabilities in the network, we reflect the technical limits of the underlying units more accurately while maintaining a similar overall model size.
In addition, we introduce a new algorithmic approach that is based on splitting the complexity of the problem by first finding assignments for discrete variables and then determining the continuous variables as locally optimal solution of the corresponding non-linear program.
For the first task, we design multiple different heuristics based on concepts for general time-expanded optimization problems that find solutions by solving a sequence of sub-problems defined on reduced time horizons.
To demonstrate the competitiveness of our approach, we test our algorithm on particularly challenging historic demand scenarios.
The results show that high-quality solutions are obtained reliably within short solving times, making the algorithm well-suited to be applied at the core of time-critical industrial applications.