FOCUS EMERGING DH MARKETS
By Philip Heylen, Chairman of the board of ISVAG and Honorary Vice Mayor of the City of Antwerp
Photos: computer animated illustrations
The city of Antwerp, Belgium is located – as the crow flies – 618 kilometers north of Mont Blanc, the highest peak of the Alps. That is rather north of the Alps, indeed. Unlike Copenhagen however, Antwerp has absolutely no tradition of district heating. In fact, not a single town or village in the Flanders region has the experience or knowhow in district heating systems that Denmark has been accumulating over the past hundred years. The good news: the concept of district heating is finally gaining ground in Flanders too. So how come the momentum is building this time, albeit hesitant and a little late?
for the rollout of district heating. The fact that almost every house in our country is connected to the natural gas network and has its own individual heating system, makes the transition to a heat network all the more difficult. District heating dominates as a heating solution for households in Denmark, whereas Flanders is still very dependent on gas and other fossil fuels. Yet the benefits of district heating are most apparent in areas with high density energy demands… like Flanders. All the more reason to advocate sustainable use of surplus heat.
Denmark has over 30,000 kilometers of pipelines for district heating transport and distribution. The region of Flanders has a meagre 50 kilometres of district heating pipelines so far. Along the 64,000 kilometres of public roads in Flanders, more than 500,000 kilometers of cables and pipelines - or 8 meters of cables and pipelines per meter of road – have been buried. This is the logical consequence of the fact that most homes are connected to various utilities such as telephone, electricity, cable TV, water and natural gas. This provides enormous convenience, but at the same time forms an inhibiting factor
* Quoted at a recent district heating event.
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