It is in urban areas that the demand for heating and cooling demand assumes highest density. At the same time a huge amount of low-grade waste heat is diffused within the urban texture, the largest amount being rejected by air-conditioners, cooling systems in industrial processes and tertiary buildings (i.e. dry coolers and wet cooling towers), datacentres’ chillers and supermarkets’ refrigeration systems.
Moreover, for historic reasons, cities have born along rivers, lakes and seashores. All these sources make low-temperature renewable energy available, which utilisation is highly replicable because it is accessible right where it is needed.
Having this in mind, the overall objective of REWARDHeat is to demonstrate a new generation of low-temperature district heating and cooling networks, which will be able to recover low-grade renewable and waste heat available at low temperature. Focusing on the exploitation of the energy sources available within the urban context allows to maximize the replicability potential of the decentralized solutions developed in the project.
REWARDHeat will promote punctual metering, thermal storage management, network smart control as means to enable and optimise the exploitation of renewable and waste heat in DHC networks.
At the same time, this approach permits a change of paradigm with respect to the business models devised: thermal energy will not be seen as a commodity anymore, rather it will be sold as a service to the customers.