New open access article: Unconventional Excess Heat Sources for District Heating in a National Energy System Context

A team of researchers from the Department of Planning, Aalborg University has recently published an article based on the D1.5 of ReUseHeat “Urban excess heat utilisation in future energy systems” (access the original report here). This article belongs to the Section Energy Sources of the open access publication Energies 2020, 13(19), 5068;



District heating (DH) is an important technology in future smart energy systems as it allows for an efficient implementation of various renewable energy sources. As DH develops towards lower temperatures and renewable electricity production increases, new types of heat sources become relevant. Thus, the aim of this article is to assess the potential for utilizing four unconventional excess heat (UEH) sources in DH systems, namely: Data centers, wastewater treatment, metros and service sector buildings. The main method used to assess the UEH potentials is an energy system analysis focusing on the availability and economic feasibility of utilizing the UEH sources in national contexts. The analysis consists of 2015 and 2050 scenarios for Germany, Spain and France. The results show a potential for utilizing the UEH potentials in all three countries, both in 2015 and 2050 systems. The potentials are highest in the 2050 scenarios, primarily due to larger DH shares. Furthermore, the potentials are limited by competition with other heat supply sources, conjunction with heat demands and feasible heat pump operation. In conclusion, the four UEH sources could impact the local DH systems, but in a national energy system context they are expected to play a minor role.


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