The Role of Low Temperature Waste Heat Recovery in Achieving 2050 Goals: A Policy Positioning Paper

Urban waste heat recovery, in which low temperature heat from urban sources is recovered for use in a district heat network, has a great deal of potential in helping to achieve 2050 climate goals. For example, heat from data centres, metro systems, public sector buildings and waste water treatment plants could be used to supply 10% of Europe’s heat demand.

Despite this, at present, urban waste heat recovery is not widespread and is an immature technology. Based on interviews with urban waste heat stakeholders, investors interested in green investments, and experience from demonstrator projects, a number of recommendations are made in this article (2020). It is suggested that policy raising awareness of waste heat recovery, encouraging investment and creating a legal framework should be implemented. It is also recommended that pilot projects should be promoted to help demonstrate technical and economic feasibility. A pilot credit facility is suggested aimed at bridging the gap between potential investors and heat recovery projects.

Authors: Edward Wheatcroft, Henry Wynn (London School of Economics), Kristina Lygnerud (IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute), Giorgio Bonvicini (RINA Consulting S.p.A.) and Daniela Leonte (Tractebel Engineering)

Keywords: district heating and cooling, urban waste heat recovery, data centres, metro systems, low temperature, excess heat