26 Aug 2015

4DH Conference: District heating will be part of European energy revolution

- Europe has a very interesting energy revolution on its way. Today, the energy supply mainly comes from nuclear and coal, but this is being reduced in the coming years, and the supply will go down significantly in a very short time, said former CEO of DONG Energy Anders Eldrup Tuesday at an international conference on future district heating held by the district heating research centre 4DH this week in Copenhagen. The conference has gathered 190 researchers and experts from the energy and district heating industry.

 Eldrup compares the European situation with the Danish oil crisis in the 70’s that led to Denmark’s current high share of wind energy and district heating because of a wish to be largely independent of other countries in the energy supply.

- Europe will come to the same situation as Denmark was many years ago. Therefore we need to learn how to produce energy more efficiently and increase the renewable production, and we see the European Energy Union taking up this issue, said Eldrup.

The research being made in future district heating can provide the solutions for this, he concluded, via better storage of electricity, combined heat and power plants and heat pumps.

Former CEO of DONG Energy: Europe needs to learn from Denmark become self-sufficient in energy with more renewable and efficient production. District heating provides the solution. Photo: Peter Kristensen

Focus on district heating

In its new Energy Union, the European Commission has an increasing focus on district heating.

- This is, among other reasons, due to the unique cooperation among European researchers and the district heating industry in the research centre 4DH, says Henrik Lund, Head of 4DH and professor at Aalborg University.

Emphasizing the importance of district heating in the Energy Union, keynote speakers at the conference today Wednesday are EU Policy Officer Eva Hoos and Senior Expert Philippe Schild from the European Commission’s DG Energy and DG Research.

Paul Hodson, who is head of the Energy Efficiency Unit in DG Energy, has previously referred to the Heat Roadmap Europe studies as "the most advanced on the EU's heating and cooling sector as a whole".

The researchers have mapped the heating demand in the EU as well as the excess heat from industry and power plants, which can be used for heating rather than being wasted, as is the case for more than half of the heat produced today.

Denmark is one of the countries with a high district heating share of 64 %, while other parts of Europe lag behind with a 10 % share on average.

District heating research is relevant

Further research in district heating is important to develop the district heating technology of the future, according to the researchers in 4DH.

- It is important to research the next generation of low-temperature district heating to ensure that district heating to an even larger extent than today can save energy and utilise renewable energy sources instead of coal. When the temperature of district heating decreases, more renewable energy resources are created, says Brian Vad Mathiesen, who is Professor in energy planning at Aalborg University and one of the conference organizers.

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