District Heating and Cooling

District heating and cooling (DHC) investment is playing an increasing role for municipalities looking to reduce fuel bills while cutting carbon emissions. Estimates suggest these networks typically save customers 60% off their utility bills on average compared to each building using its own dedicated system powered by major energy suppliers. They are capable of reducing carbon emissions by over 90% and fuel by almost 80% for domestic heating and cooling applications.

Alongside the drive to reduce emissions, the trend toward DHC represents an enormous opportunity for growth. Globally, the market accounted for $164 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $298 billion by 2026.

210,000 homes in the UK, out of 27 million, currently benefit from being part of a community heating scheme. Incentives such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and Energy Company Obligation which require energy suppliers to promote connection to a district heating system in low income areas have helped promote it further.

In 2016, the UK Government allocated almost €320 million as consultation remuneration for expanding their district heating network. Other European nations have already adopted the method for decentralised heating with 8% in France, 12% in Germany, 42% in Sweden and 61% of homes in Denmark being powered by district heating.

Room to Grow

District heating is seen as a good way to reduce the energy consumption of communities. Rather than having 200 small boilers powering 200 buildings, DHC systems have one large boiler powering all of them, greatly reducing total energy use as well as maintenance costs.

Recent advancements also capture and redistribute heat which would otherwise have been wasted. They can hook into other district heating networks to make use of excess heat from factories, power stations, hospitals and waste plants. In countries such as Sweden, where district heating is widespread, CO2 emissions halved between 1970 and 1990.

Another significant advancement is the cogeneration plant, often called combined heat and power plant (CHP). As it generates both heat and electricity, it benefits from considerable economies of scale.

The sector has enormous growth potential but there are barriers. Despite considerable efficiencies gained, providers are still reliant on fossil fuels, which reduces its environmental and economic value in keeping pace with growing demand.

The HERO® Solution

HERO® solves that problem by providing a flameless, zero-emission source of heat. It uses hydrogen catalysis rather than combustion to provide all the heat a central boiler will need in a far more affordable and sustainable manner. It can be configured for a wide range of purposes including district heating systems.

By replacing fossil fuels with clean burning hydrogen, it promises to improve the environmental and economic impact of district heating systems. This in turn can accelerate their uptake and help considerably in phasing out carbon emissions.

“The race is now on between the technoscientific and scientific forces that are destroying the living environment and those that can be harnessed to save it. . . . If the race is won, humanity can emerge in far better condition than when it entered, and with most of the diversity of life still intact.”

E.O. Wilson
The Future Of Life