1. Start
  2. Press
  3. [2024-03-13] Smart business models are the key to large-scale recycling of waste heat
Pressrelease | 2024-03-13
En stad full av människor

Smart business models are the key to large-scale recycling of waste heat

Every year, huge amounts of energy are wasted by not harnessing unused heat flows. As much as a quarter of the EU's heating requirements could be recovered from data centres, industrial plants and other facilities. Now three major EU initiatives are being launched in which IVL's expertise in business models plays a key role.

180320 IVLKristina Lygnerud 180320 IVL 180320 IVLKristina Lygnerud

"Today, we let much of the residual heat that exists go up in smoke – literally. This isn't resource-efficient. If we are to build smart and sustainable cities, this heat must be channelled back into the city's heating and hot water infrastructure”, says Kristina Lygnerud, researcher and project manager at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

In the EU, the industrial sector accounts for more than a quarter of final energy consumption. At the same time, Europe is flooded with waste heat from industrial activities, while solutions such as energy storage, heat conversion and solar energy remain underutilized.

"The technology for residual heat exchange exists. What's slowing down the transition is the lack of systems and structures regarding who owns what and in what way. In order for companies to risk investing, you have to be able to show a viable economic model”, says Kristina Lygnerud.

Huge potential

Previous research by IVL shows that waste heat from data centres, wastewater treatment plants, industrial plants and other facilities could meet a quarter of the EU's heating needs. But to realize the full potential, it is essential to develop sustainable business plans. IVL's knowledge and expertise in this area will now play a key role in three major new projects on industrial waste heat that are being launched within the EU's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme. The projects are:

  • Thunder – concerns waste heat from data centres, with a focus on storage. Total budget: EUR 7.2 million. There are 14 partners from seven countries participating.
  • Uses4Heat – is about waste heat from industrial plants, with a focus on storage. Budget: EUR 9.6 million. Comprises 27 partners from eight countries.
  • Re-Witch – studies waste heat from industrial plants, focusing on conversion to cooling. Budget: EUR 9.5 million. Involves 26 partners from 10 countries.

"All three projects are the result of many years of work in EU projects in the district heating sector. There is a realization that storage solutions and the ability to generate cooling are key to the future competitiveness of district heating systems", says Kristina Lygnerud.

The aim is to show that utilizing waste heat is not only technically feasible but also economically viable, and that it offers a range of benefits for the industrial sector, both in terms of energy savings and reduced climate emissions.

For more information, contact:
Kristina Lygnerud, kristina.lygnerud@ivl.se, tel. +46 (0)10-788 69 27

Read more about the project Re-Witch Opens in new window.

Subscribe to our newsletter