District heating networks deliver heat from single or multiple energy sources to a number of buildings. Heat can come from a wide range of sources including low carbon sources such as recovered heat from industrial processes, renewable technologies such as heat pumps, biomass, solar thermal, and hydrogen, from Combined Heat & Power using traditional fossil fuels, Energy from Waste, anaerobic digestion or woodfuel, and from thermal storage heated by renewable technologies such as wind.
Designing a district heating network requires an understanding of the overall heat demand and patterns of use. Integrated heat networks with a mix of domestic, industrial and public sector heat loads can balance heat loads and increase the energy efficiency of the whole system. Understanding the type of heat use is also critical – households may only require low temperature hot water systems while the high temperatures industrial processes may require steam generation.
In urban areas, long-term strategic planning (Go to Resources-Planning) is critical to allow for continued expansion of the heat network, to avoid individual “island” developments that are unable to connect to the wider network. Depending on the type of technology a range of different support may be available (Go to Resources-Finance).
Please check out these pages for regular updates on issues such as District Heating design guidance and standards guidance. To find out more about the support available for the development of your district heating project and available technologies, please contact us.