District Heating Systems: An Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of the 4GDH

Fourth‐generation district heating networks (4GDH) can play a special role in the efficient and climate‐friendly use of energy. More than 40 experts from academia, industry, and public administration participated in a two‐stage empirical survey resulting in a quantitative assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the 4GDH together with an evaluation of the research needs in this field.
Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, the SWOT‐factors were assessed in terms of their importance. Among the factors that were weighted with the highest relative importance were the ability of 4GDH to serve as a label bundling and stimulating considerations with respect to the further development of district heating systems and the increased value creation within the national economy through the inclusion of local, renewable energy sources. Moreover, the interviewed experts agreed that regulatory frameworks in the context of 4GDH have to be further developed.

Authors: Gerald Schweiger (Graz University of Technology), Fabian Kuttin and Alfred Posch (University of Graz)

Keywords: district heating, 4GDH, SWOT