Thermaflex at SusTEM 2017

Christian Engel, Business Development - District Heating & Cooling for PBPSA member company Thermaflex will present a paper at the forthcoming SusTEM 2017 conference to be held between 28th June and 30th June, 2017 in Alkmaar, The Netherlands.

The conference subject: "4th generation district heating solutions – the enabler for integrating low temperature energy sources into a community heating system – examples of successful applications"

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SusTEM 2017

SusTEM 2017 (Sustainable Thermal Energy Management) is organised by the Thermal Energy Challenge Network led by Professor Tony Roskilly, jointly with the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). The scope of SusTEM 2017 will cover industrial waste heat utilisation; renewable heating and cooling systems; building energy performance; control, modelling and optimisation; thermal networks; energy efficiency; economics and policy challenges. In addition to oral presentations and a poster exhibition, the committee is planning a site visit to the ECN facility in Petten.

Thermaflex Conference Submission

The following full-length manuscript submission has been accepted for oral presentation by Christian Engel based on the outcome of peer review:

"4th generation district heating solutions – the enabler for integrating low temperature energy sources into a community heating system – examples of successful applications"

– by Christian Engel, Marcel Jongen, Michelle Torres and Christian Broks.


Practical solutions based on 35 years district energy experience paving the way for 4DH systems.

The inspiration for the paper to be presented has been derived from discussions about the huge opportunities from District Energy, described in the Heat Roadmap Europe as being an essential solution for cities to achieve COP21 and EU targets for 2050.

The co-author (Christian Engel) has been supporting and promoting 4DH for 4 years as a speaker in national and international conferences. He is involved in Horizon 2020 projects (H-DisNet) as well as expert groups, like UNEP District Energy in Cities (UNEP-DES), who are supporting cities around the globe in the planning and implementation of district energy solutions. Based on practical experience with district energy projects over the past 35 years, the paper covers some key findings and solutions to pave the way for 4DH systems.

Since the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the signing of the agreements to ensure they enter into force by November 2016, the world has a common target to keep global warming below 2°C or even better below 1.5°C. We no longer have the time to rely on others to solve this challenge. Everyone must contribute to reduce CO2 emissions, in a way that is ecologically sustainable, aiming for a natural balance with the absorption of the remaining CO2 by plants and the oceans.

Decarbonizing heating and cooling, particularly in urban areas is key for the success of this initiative. District energy has been proclaimed by UNEP DES and IEA as the most efficient and resourceful path for cities to achieve these goals. Multiple stakeholders, such as municipalities, end users, designers, installers and utility companies, play an important role in this transition towards fossil fuel free heating and cooling. District energy ensures that 70% or more of the heating/cooling bills remain within the same region hence stimulating and conserving local economic wealth.

Determined Governments and Municipalities, committed to the COP21 objectives, have started to develop ambitious plans to become fossil fuel free in the heating sector by 2050. It is now time to develop and implement totally sustainable heating and cooling solutions for generations to come. In Europe currently 60 million people are connected to district heating (DH) and according to Heat Roadmap Europe in the coming 30 years another 150 million people will also be connected, increasing the share of DH in the heating market from 12% to 50% in cities.

The main challenges are the implementation of DH networks in existing urban structures with already extensive infrastructure in the ground, the capturing of sustainable low energy sources and the demand for affordable heating and cooling for the end user. Best practice examples and innovations demonstrate ways how to realize this massive growth for district heating.

The Thermaflex paper is based on practical experience showing the successful development and implementation of district energy and defines the main drivers, technology and design for the integration of low temperature sources, such as excess heat and renewables channeled into district heating systems. Projects from Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria will enable conference attendees to understand the potential barriers as well as solutions that have been used to overcome such obstacles. The best practices outlined in the paper were realized by Thermaflex; a partner in several national and European Horizon 2020 projects, like H-DisNet, related to low temperature district heating and cooling, helping to combine scientific work with practical applications and stakeholder know-how.

4DH enables the most efficient integration of renewables and surplus heat sources in a low temperature network, for a sustainable community.

The paper will describe both project experience and innovative solutions to overcome common challenges, like conservative engineers, demand for higher temperatures, reduced heat density with low energy houses, end consumer involvement, just to name a few. The solution that has worked best deals with a multiple stakeholder involvement as well as a 4th Generation District Heating (4DH) solutions approach applied from the very beginning into the project planning process. 4DH enables the most efficient integration of renewables and surplus heat sources in a low temperature network, for a sustainable community.

Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands

As the largest energy research institute in the Netherlands, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) carries out research into new technologies for energy efficiency, heat technology and process technology. ECN’s research in energy efficiency focusses on two areas:

1. Using heat technology to reduce energy costs
ECN develops technologies and services for heat pumps, heat integration and storage. These technologies enable end users to utilise less energy by reducing heat demand and producing heat more efficiently, which lead to lower energy costs and reduced carbon emissions.

2. Using process technology to improve operating processes ECN develops processes to separate gases and liquids efficiently and energy-efficiently.

The conference field trip scheduled on the 30th of June 2017 will allow participants to visit various lab facilities in the area of thermal energy.

Thermal Challenge Network – SusTEM 2017 Conference


Thermaflex is a member of PBPSA.

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