300 researchers, decision-makers and industry representatives are meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday this week in Aalborg, Denmark, to discuss the future energy supply at the 2nd International Conference on Smart Energy Systems and 4th Generation District Heating. 4DH research shows that modern district heating systems are a key component in a sustainable and fossil free energy supply.
“Today, 40% of the energy consumed in Europe is for heating. All this energy can become sustainable through modern district heating systems collecting waste heat from power plants and industry, and working at low temperatures which minimizes the heat loss and integrates more sources of renewable energy,” said Henrik Lund, Head of 4DH Research Centre.
Among the keynote speakers at the conference are David Connolly, coordinator of the Heat Roadmap Europe studies, Paul Voss, director of Euroheat & Power, and Tetsunari Iida, director at Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies in Tokyo. The UN is represented by Lily Riahi, leader of the UNEP initiative District Energy in Cities, which inspired by 4DH research is trying to expand district energy in cities all over the world.
The conference will also host the world premiere of “Smart Heating Europe”, a video with the message that smart heating systems are necessary to lower our CO2 emissions and achieve 100% renewable energy.
Waste heat can heat all of Europe
District heating might not be the answer to everything – but it is an important part of the solution.
“A combination of district heating, energy savings and heat pumps is a big part of the solution to a future fossil free energy system. One example is that the heat currently going to waste in Europe from power plants and industry is actually enough to heat all of Europe and more if we collect it in district heating networks,” said David Connolly.
The researchers emphasize that district heating is more cost-efficient in cities. In less densely populated areas, heat pumps can instead supply cheap, renewable electricity for the heating. But no matter how the heating is supplied, it makes sense to increase the energy efficiency and save on the heat.
“It is cost-efficient to reduce the heating by around 30-50%. After that, the price of sustainable heat will be cheaper than the price of further heat savings,” said David Connolly.