HOT|COOL NO.2/2016 - "District cooling in the Middle East"


The district cooling market in GCC is forecasted to grow at an outstanding compound annual growth rate (CGAR) of approximately 15 % over the next few years to serve large-scale developments in real estate and commercial sectors. By 2019, it is expected that 40% of overall worldwide district cooling demand shall come fromMiddle East and Africa. As per experts, this means a market of around US $ 29 billion. Saudi Arabia is expected to lead the growth of district cooling in GCC in the coming few years with projected growth rate of 34%, followed by Qatar at CAGR of approximately 18%.

GCC also successfully adopted European standards for pre- insulated piping systems. EN 13941 standards are used now widely for district cooling distribution network design and construction. Lusail City in Qatar is one of the largest application of EN 13941 based pre-insulated bonded pipe system where network pipe length is approximately 170 kilometers with pipe diameter ranging from DN 65 to DN 1600. This highly efficient and reliable system helped in reducing the thrust blocks in the buried piping system. The government is playing an important role in adoption of district cooling as a sustainable and efficient way of cooling the residential and commercial sectors. The government of Dubai established the Regulatory & Supervision Bureau (RSB), which supports the implementation of Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 (DIES) and Demand Side Management (DSM) which aims to increase the energy efficiency by 30% by 2030. District cooling is an important sector where Dubai looks to increase the market penetration from current 20% to 40% by 2030. In Qatar, Kahra- Maa (Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation) formed a district cooling services department to establish district cooling services regulatory framework in the State of Qatar. Kahra-Maa district cooling services department advises to use Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) for cooling tower makeup in all central cooling plants as per ministerial directive. District cooling is aligned with the Qatar National Vision (2030) which focuses on economic development by promoting and ensuring reduction in Qatar’s Electricity and water savings, environmental stability with a focus on reduction in carbon emissions. In Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) provides industrial support to district cooling systems.

District cooling is implemented in GCC for a wide variety of types of buildings including residential, offices, hotels, hospitals and shopping malls. District cooling plants provide comfort, reliability and flexibility to the end-user with economy-of-scale. Large centrifugal compressor-based chillers with field-erected cooling towers are typical in a stick built plant configuration. Most of the district cooling plants in the region are provided with chilled water-based thermal energy storage (TES) tanks that not only reduce the peak power demand but also reduce net capital cost. To conserve the natural water resources, treated sewage effluent (TSE) is widely being used as makeup water for condenser systems. District cooling plants are highly efficient with efficiencies in between 0.85 to 0.95 kW/TR at peak. This results in substantial savings in electricity which helps in managing the electrical demand by reducing the need to build power plants and transmission and distribution systems. As per an estimate, window, split and ducted air conditioning units have approximately 48% of cooling market share in Dubai, but drive 58% of the total cooling electrical load on power grid whereas district cooling and central chilled water plants have 25% of the market share but consume only 16% of electrical load for cooling.

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