Cities use waste heat to save energy and cut emissions

Date: 18 December 2018

An EU-funded project is helping European cities to run district heating and cooling systems with waste heat. Solutions provided through the project capture and use this affordable and plentiful resource to help households, factories and offices save energy.

The heating and cooling of buildings consumes more than 40 % of Europe’s energy output. Add to that the EU’s aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and there is clear need to provide cities with ways to exploit more renewable energy resources.

The CELSIUS project answered this challenge by creating 30 demonstrator schemes which showcased a range of technologies, systems and practices for the roll-out of green heating and cooling solutions in district energy networks. Initially, the project worked with five pilot cities – Gothenburg, London, Rotterdam, Cologne and Genoa.

The demonstrators assessed technologies and approaches for the sustainable production of green energy, along with ways of improving energy infrastructures and methods for boosting energy storage capacity. In addition, work was carried out on integrating systems – for example by connecting existing heating networks to optimise the use of resources across a large urban area. Other demonstrators looked into ways of reducing end-user demand for primary energy, like using district heating networks to power certain household appliances.

Carbon neutral
“Instead of having individual gas boilers in each residence, cities using district energy networks centralise the production of heating and cooling, making it more efficient as well as flexible”, explains project coordinator Katrina Folland from Gothenburg Municipality, Sweden. “The approach allows for the recuperation of waste energy and thus reduces the need for primary energy sources such as fossil fuels. By helping cities plan, develop and optimise their district energy systems, we are helping them to become carbon-neutral, smart cities.”

The CELSIUS demonstrators were closely monitored to determine potential energy savings and the impact they could have if replicated. Results show that CELSIUS cities consume less fossil-fuel energy than their more traditional counterparts. For example, by implementing project activities, Genoa saved 4 485 MWh of energy annually and Gothenburg saved 1 572 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Focus on networking
While the project officially ended in December 2017, the CELSIUS consortium is continuing its work. The aim is to create a permanent administrative structure to maximise the project’s impact and support participating cities.

Project results are now being assessed or put into practice in 72 cities across the continent. The CELSIUS cities are committed to collaborating with the project team to make their heating and cooling systems more sustainable and to develop green energy plans. They have been joined in their efforts by a network of 68 CELSIUS city supporters, made up of individuals, similar energy-saving projects, and public and private institutions that want to help cities overhaul their heating and cooling systems. “Through these joint efforts, CELSIUS will continue to be a trustworthy hub for knowledge-sharing and networking around sustainable and smart heating and cooling solutions”, adds Folland. “In this new phase, we are looking to broaden our scope and deepen our impact by working more closely with our member cities in the development of their smart and sustainable heating and cooling solutions.”

Source: The European Commission