HOT|COOL NO. 2/2020 - "Decarbonizing"

Airplanes, trucks, and cargo ships that do not emit CO 2 . Does that sound like future music to your ears? The Jumbo jet Denmark is in the air and is on its way to the green future where DISTRICT HEATING can tie it all together. District heating can ensure that the sustainable future becomes financially sustainable too! Here you see a little of the HUGE plan that will make Denmark, a pioneer in green energy conversion, become CO 2 neutral in 2050 – with district heating as the backbone of it all!

We start in the theory classroom: The energy is constant. New energy cannot enter the universe, and energy cannot disappear. Energy cannot be used. But energy can change from one form to another. Chemical energy can e.g. change to motion energy and heat (as it does in a combustion engine car). Or when waste burns, becoming heat, producing steam, that drives a turbine, running a generator, making electricity, and so on. We have become adept at directing the transformation from one form of energy to another. To convert energy into the form of energy we need to meet our goals. But every time the energy changes its form, we say, there is a loss of energy. Of course, that is not true. But we perceive it this way, e.g. when the car uses gasoline and most of the energy turns into heat we can't use for anything.

The principle of green conversion of aircraft, trucks, and cargo ships:

1. POWER FROM WIND TURBINES TO PRODUCE HYDROGEN - Conversion from electrical energy to hydrogen happens via electrolysis - and a part of the converted energy turns into heat energy. Either, wasted energy, or energy used for DH. - Then the hydrogen is compressed to 700 bar to become liquid. Electricity is required here too, and again, much of the electrical energy becomes heat - either wasted or used for DH. 2. CO 2 CAPTURE - Carbon capture technology is to wash the smoke to remove the CO 2 , before leaving the chimney - from e.g. a waste incineration plant or biomass-fired plant. The process requires electricity and heat energy - obtained by burning more waste. Again, the excess heat is either wasted energy or energy for DH. 3. HYDROGEN AND CO 2 TURN INTO LIQUID FUEL - By mixing hydrogen (produced by wind turbines) and CO 2 (captured from, e.g., waste incineration), environmentally friendly liquid fuel for ships, trucks, or aircraft, can be produced. CO 2 and hydrogen are the basics ingredients in the hydrocarbons we currently are pumping up from the underground as oil and gas. To produce liquid fuel, such as eFuel, an energy conversion developing heat energy – is either wasted or utilized for DH.

Here is where the district heating comes into the picture. District heating is brilliant when large energy transformations happen. The largest transformations today are combustion - with CO 2 emissions as a negative side benefit. The district heating (DH) has so far reduced the energy waste from e.g. electricity generation by using surplus heat for another purpose: heating homes, institutions, offices, and everything else. But right now, new winds are blowing over Denmark to reduce CO 2 emissions. Tailwinds for wind turbines and solar cells, and headwinds for the combustion, from which district heating has been so good at utilizing the excess heat. But with the new winds blowing, new opportunities arise too, when surplus heat from data centers, today emitting as much CO 2 as air transport, is to be utilized. Or when the wind energy transformed from electricity to liquid sustainable fuel to be used by airplanes, trucks, and cargo ships! Again, DH becomes the key to utilizing the heat energy from the energy transformation otherwise wasted.

Energy is money. Wasted energy is money wasted. With the district heating, the energy waste in the inefficient energy conversion processes can reduce. District heating can make sustainable energy economically sustainable!

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