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DBDH members meeting

by Steffen

Members meeting Sandbjerg Gods, June 1st 2015

On the 1st of June, DBDH members from all around Denmark and foreign guests were gathered at Sandbjerg Gods in Sønderborg for the DBDH summer members meeting. In the beautiful hills where Denmark once lost and later regained southern Jutland, the scene was set for concurring new land – more specifically UK and Scotland and the market for district heating.

The day started with a site visit to Sønderborg district heating biomass project. Jens Dall from Dall Energy showed the new specially designed biomass boiler which his company had delivered to Sønderborg District Heating. Managing director Erik Wolf explained the 3 main reasons for choosing the Dall Energy boiler: Great flexibly in source of energy, low CO2 emission and the system’s ability to run in a cost-efficient way even when the heat demand is very low.

After the site visit, the meeting continued at Sandberg Gods. Lars Gullev, Chairman of DBDH, welcomed all members and guests, and afterwards two new DBDH members, Belmaflex and EMT Nordic, presented themselves.

Belmaflex produces and sells joints and fittings from the plastic material PEHD (polyethylene), first of all designed for joining pre-insulated piping systems.

EMT Nordic supplies a number of turnkey IT solutions to utility companies for, amongst others, data collection, data validation, data treatment and consumption visualisation.

The theme of the day was the possibilities for district heating in UK and Scotland and started with an introduction on the government–to-government work that Denmark does in order to help the Danish energy technology export, by Torsten Malmdorf and Anders Hasselager from the Danish Energy Agency. They stressed the fact that insufficient government planning on different levels is the main barrier for entering this otherwise very mature and promising market.

The first of the UK speakers was Andy King from Grontmij who gave the audience a general state of the market introduction to the UK and Scottish district heating market. He also sees the missing planning as a big challenge, but underlined that there is a huge potential for district heating to reach new governmental green energy goals and a general dissatisfaction with the existing very expensive heating system. He also stressed the problem of a bad reputation of district heating in the UK due to some old bad stories.

George Munson from Leeds District Heating Projects explained how the city of Leeds has very large ambitions in relation to district heating, but even though he has worked on the project for 12 years, there still has not been built anything. However, the breakthrough is close.

Dean Drobot from the University explained some of the visions and challenges as a big institution wishing to install and expand district heating. As the other speakers, he also confirmed that the general lack of planning is a very real problem on this specific project in Glasgow. Competing support schemes which actually had the same goal is another challenge.

The last speaker of the day was Gill Dyer from Cowi UK. She compared the UK and the Danish district heating market and stated that the main task was not how to copy the Danish model to the UK, but how to modify the model to the special UK needs. The problem of property and the governmental focus on solving this problem are significant drivers for district heating in the UK.

By the end of the meeting, there was a lively debate for more than an hour with all guest speakers as expert-panel. There were many questions but in general, the members wanted to know when the big breakthrough would come. And what they could do to help it along. There was not any easy answer for this but the speakers were optimistic, however stressing that the development of the UK market will take place in small steps. The Scottish market is closer to a proper breakthrough. To speed up the development there is a great need for more communication and knowledge sharing on site visits to Denmark so that the decisions makers can see some great examples of what actually works.

As is tradition, the day ended with a lovely network dinner and a good chance to talk to new and old colleagues.


See pictures from the event and download presentations here