HOT|COOL NO. 4/2018 - "Emerging District Heating Markets"


Although, in the Hungarian public opinion, DH is often considered an outdated way of heating supply for big housing estates, several considerable projects have recently been realised by exploiting financial resources provided to the DH sector within the framework of the National Energy Strategy, which wears the signs of 4GDH characters. Due to this development, the share of natural gas within the DH mix generated dropped to about 70 %. On top of this, as a result of the great number of EU co-financed projects (in preparation or under way) to use green energy, the installation of at least 200 MW geothermic, 400 MW biomass and 50 MW waste based new heat generating capacities can be expected in the coming years. This means that the share of green energies might exceed 50 % by 2025 (see Figure 3).

Figure 1: Volume and composition of DH production in Hungary (2010-2017) Source: MEKH-MaTáSzSz

As can be seen in Figure 2, featuring the fuel structure for 2017, beside the still high, 71 % share of natural gas that of biomass use adds up to almost 18 %, while waste and geothermal energy represent 4 %-5 %, and the total of all others has only a narrow 3 % share. Nowadays, in the countries with the most developed DH culture, the implementation of 4GDH is in progress, where the prior social motivations are radical reduction of losses, the preference of sustainability and climate protection aspects, organic integration into diverse smart energy systems, a client centered approach based on smart metering as well as smart cost allocation. In these countries, DHC is taken as a means of national and local energy policy and as such, it is harnessed for climate protection and sustainable development.

Figure 3: Fuel structure of DH production (2000-2025) Source: MEKH-MaTáSzSz

In the following, two examples of good practices are presented.

In Miskolc, a decision was made to substitute the natural gas based DH of the previous period for renewable based DH. The process began in 2008 with the utilisation of biogas, emerging in a waste dumpsite, in boilers and gas motors that supply DH. It was taken further, in 2011, with the installation of a 3 MW biomass boiler to supply another DH territory. Finally, this was followed by the delivery of a geothermal project, so far the biggest in Hungary, which through a 10 km long pipeline feeds almost 1 PJ/a of green heat to two major districts since the heating season of 2014/2015 (see Figure 4), and brought forth a fivefold increase of geothermal energy use in Hungary.

Figure 2: Fuel structure of DH production (2017) Source: MEKH-MaTáSzSz

DHC (district heating and cooling) allows for the utilisation of fuels like waste, waste heat and renewables; the use of which, in individual space, heating is difficult or impossible. It abates disturbing effects connected to energy supply, the application of refrigerants with GHG impact, or building necessitation caused by mechanical equipment installed. In addition, DH diminishes health related risks, if we consider the heat island phenomena of settlements, or air pollution.

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