Assessment of waste and renewable heat recovery in DH through GIS mapping: The national potential in Italy

This work (2021) aims at showing the unexploited potential of waste and renewable heat in Italy through detailed mapping of these sources. The ambition is to highlight the areas with an important heat recovery potential that could be exploited through DH expansion. The recoverable heat sources have been analysed in terms of geographical location, and recovery aspects with a special focus on temperature levels and technological implications for temperature upgrades.
The methodology presented in this work addresses not only the theoretical potential of waste heat and renewable heat use in DH, but also several technical aspects to get a result as closer as possible to the realistic potential at national level.

Two different approaches have been used to map potential heat: one to quantify existing waste heat recovery from industrial processes, waste to energy plants, wastewater treatment plants and one to estimate the energy coming from potential new plants based on biomass, geothermal energy and solar thermal.

Results shows that for a total heat demand for the civil sector of 329 TWh, out of which 114 TWh come out being suitable for a DH connection, the national available waste and renewable heat that could be integrated in DH amounts to 156 TWh. These results show the significant unexpressed potential of waste heat use in Italy and how its mapping is essential to properly estimate the utilization potential.

This work has been commissioned by AIRU, Italian DH association.
Authors: Alice Denarie, Fabrizio Fattori, Giulia Spirito, Samuel Macchi, Vincenzo Francesco Cirillo, Mario Motta (Politecnico di Milano); Urban Persson (Halmstad University)

Keywords: waste heat recovery, renewables, GIS, energy planning, DH potential