10 April 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The market of district energy (DE), including district heating and district cooling, is seeing "large growth in many countries in Europe in the last five years", according to BSRIA's research.
The study by BSRIA, which is owned by the Building Services Research and Information Association, also states that this includes "a significant growth in China".
The six European DE markets researched by BSRIA in 2018 have a district heating and cooling (DHC) total installed capacity of slightly less than 250,000 MWth [megawatts thermal - refers to the input energy required] and China alone has 750,000 MWth.
The seven researched countries are projected to grow this capacity by almost 5 per cent by 2030. Compared with district heating, district cooling will remain "rather small" in these markets.
The main drivers are that construction players embrace DE for their competitive advantage and financial benefits. If there is sufficient demand and the projected income makes a project profitable, then the provider will take the necessary steps to create or upgrade a network.
Socrates Christidis, research manager of heating and renewables at BSRIA's world market intelligence division, said: "Closely related to the progress of DE networks and the growing popularity of communal heating systems is the growth of central transfer stations and heat interface units.
"Central transfer stations, also called heat substations, heavy-duty stations or simply 'substations', are used to connect larger buildings or sub-networks to a heat network. They are usually located at the connection of the main heat network to large buildings.
"HIUs (heat interface units, also called flat stations) extract heat from district heating networks to feed individual buildings and dwellings. How they perform is central to the overall efficiency of the heat network in a district heating scheme. Overall, there is a healthy growth for HIUs on a pan-European basis of 6-7 per cent."
The BSRIA District Energy study can be found here.