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DHC networks

FuturENERGY Dec.19 - Jan. 2020

2019 has been positive for ADHAC as regards the development of DHC Networks in Spain. This is due to both the commissioning of these installations within the framework of significant urban renovation projects driven by local entities and supported by the private sector; and to the announcement of new projects currently undergoing their study phase that will be implemented over the coming years… By Ignacio Arenales Saul, Assistant to the Secretary General of ADHAC, the Spanish Association of DHC Networks.



Special report published as a separate issue to the May 2019 edition of FuturENERGY for special distribution at the II International Congress on Energy Engineering, iENER’19, an event celebrated from 26 to 27 June in Madrid, where FuturENERGY had an active presence as media partner. This special report includes various sections focused on: natural gas, renewable gases, energy storage, e-mobility, DHC networks and energy efficiency.

This special report includes the following:

AESA – Energy assessment: CHP, bioenergy, zero emissions and energy efficiency

The new natural gas revolution
Gas engines a key actor in the new energy scenario
New range of gas engines. Up to 50% efficiency, with very low emissions

The optimal role for renewable gas in a decarbonised energy system

Unlocking PV capacity with energy storage
Global battery energy storage market to reach US$13.13bn by 2023

The potential and impact of smart charging electric vehicles on the energy transition
Smart solutions for sustainable mobility
Taking e-mobility to the next level. Charging the electrci vehicle with solar energy

Txomin Enea district heating network: innovation and efficiency in urban planning

What type of energy management does industry need? A key to sustainability, efficiency and cost effectiveness
Predictive maintenance technology for electric motors


FuturENERGY Dec. 18 - Jan. 2019

We concluded last year’s sector analysis with the hope that major district heating and cooling (DHC) projects would be taking place in Spain. One year on, we are pleased to see that several large installations have entered into operation over the course of 2018. One example is the DHC network in Txomin Enea, a new urban development on the banks of the Urumea River, promoted by the San Sebastian City Hall and the Basque Government. This new network, constructed and operated by the joint venture comprising Tecnocontrol Servicios and Ferrovial Servicios, covers at least 85% of its energy demand using biomass, backed up during peak hours and technical stoppages by natural gas. With a 7.4 MW output, 3 km in length and the capacity to supply 1,500 homes, Txomin Enea is positioned as one of the leading networks in the Basque Country…By Ignacio Arenales Saul, Assistant to the Secretary General of ADHAC, the Spanish Association of DHC Networks.

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With 40% of the population living less than 100 km from the coast, the sea offers enormous potential as an energy source, both in France and worldwide. In addition to energy from tides and currents, the ENGIE Group is also developing another innovative area of expertise that contributes to the energy transition: thermal energy from the sea. Marine geothermal energy makes use of the difference in temperature between warmer surface water and the cold water found at greater depths. Although this geothermal power plant system is already a reality in Paris using water from the River Seine, the Group is now developing two entirely new and unique projects using seawater in Marseille and Réunion. The Thassalia project in Marseille was inaugurated on 18 October.

A new solution has been developed in Marseille to take advantage of locally available renewable energy by using the thermal energy held in the Mediterranean Sea. As a partnership between the public sector, the Euroméditerranée Development Agency, local authorities, regional authorities and private enterprises (Constructa, Foncière des Régions and ENGIE), this project is an excellent example of how innovation is driving the energy transition and energy efficiency. It is therefore consistent with plans to turn the Euroméditerranée district into an example of a sustainable city.


The Thassalia marine geothermal project has been designed specifically to meet the needs of Marseille’s Euroméditerranée Eco-City business centre. This is the largest urban regeneration program in Southern Europe and is the first project of its kind to generate central heating, water heating and air conditioning services on such a scale using seawater, a fact that imposes significantly higher technical constraints, especially in terms of corrosion control.

Built at the Marseille-Fos Port, the Thassalia marine geothermal power station is the first in France, and even in Europe, to use the sea’s thermal energy to supply linked buildings in the city of Marseille with power for heating and cooling. The plant covers some 500,000 m² while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% and water consumption by 65%.

Marine geothermal energy makes use of the difference in temperature between warmer surface water and the cold water found at greater depths. Water is pumped from the sea through 1 km-long pipelines to coastal facilities, where heat exchangers and heat pumps are used to meet heating or cooling needs. The heated or cooled water is then pumped to individual buildings.



A 3 km grid will provide energy to the buildings during the construction and renovation of the zone, spanning from the CMA-CGM Tower to Marseille Cathedral. Currently, the connected buildings are the Docks (Constructa), the Calypso and the Hermione (Euromedcenter), and the Golden Tulip. The Constructa towers will soon be connected: the Marseillaise, the Floreal (Euromedcenter), Castel, and the Parc Habité d’Arenc, whose main client will be Nexity.

ENGIE’s innovative solution has been made possible thanks to the expertise of its subsidiaries, ENGIE Cofely as regards thermal aspects, and Climespace for district cooling networks. Every technical element of the power station has been created by the company’s teams; Ineo and Cofely handled electricity, Axima and Cofely covered internal networks, with Axima also providing half of the refrigeration units.

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District heating networks traditionally distribute energy from a centralised generation plant to a specific number of remote customers. As such, today’s networks suffer from: significant heat losses; a high level of unexplored integration potential of different
available energy sources (e.g. renewables and residual heat) into the network; and high installation costs. The FLEXYNETS project aims to develop, demonstrate and deploy a new generation of smart district heating and cooling networks. FLEXYNETS is an H2020 European project coordinated by EURAC, a research institute based in Bolzano-Bozen (Italy). In addition to EURAC, the project involves five further partners from different European countries: Acciona (Spain); zafh.net (Germany), a research centre at the Hochschule für Technik in Stuttgart; Solid Automation (Germany), a specialist in control and monitoring design; PlanEnergi (Denmark), an engineering office specialising in district heating; and Soltigua (Italy), a CSP collector manufacturer.

FLEXYNETS will develop, demonstrate and deploy a new generation of smart DHC networks that reduce energy transportation losses by working at “neutral” temperature levels (15-20°C). Reversible heat pumps will be used to exchange heat with the DHC network on the demand side, providing the necessary cooling and heating for the buildings.

Moreover, the heat normally wasted by the buildings will be fed into the network by the heat pumps (working in “cooling mode”) and recycled by other heat pumps that will produce DHW. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

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Analysis of potential and integration opportunities for DHC networks

The development of concentrated solar power (CSP) technology has received a boost over recent years by the increase in electricity generation plants. Despite this, Spain currently has very few CSP facilities for thermal applications, largely designed to cover the demand for heat in industrial processes or for the temperature control of buildings. However their application for thermal use has a huge development potential in the country given that some regions have a very high availability of direct solar irradiation. The Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE) has undertaken a technical-economic study on the incorporation of CSP into district heating & cooling (DHC) networks, using a reference network situated in Jaén. The results obtained conclude that the incorporation of CSP installations into DHC networks is a viable and attractive alternative that is both technically and economic competitive.

According to the census undertaken by the Spanish Association of DHC Networks (ADHAC), there are currently around 270 DHC networks in Spain with a total combined installed capacity of 1,139 MW for heating and cooling. Out of the existing DHC installations, approximately 30% use renewable energy (mainly biomass) and only one incorporates solar power. This is the DHC network at the Balearic Science and

Technological Innovation Park, ParcBIT. This network is supplied by a CCHP plant that provides electricity, hot and cold water to the technological park as well as to 5 buildings belonging to the Universidad de las Islas Baleares. Hot water is generated by two cogeneration motors of 1,460 kWt and 1,115 kWt each, backed up by a 1,000 kWt biomass boiler, a solar installation with a 900 m2 flat collector and a 2,000 kWt fuel boiler. The hot water is distributed through the network to cover hot water demand and also to feed the absorption chillers (432 kWt and 1,318 kWt respectively) to generate cold water. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

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Catalonia leads the autonomous communities; the tertiary sector is the biggest client

In October 2011 ADHAC, Spain’s District Heating and Cooling Association, in collaboration with the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), started to draw up a census on the existing DHC networks in Spain. The census covered both grids and microgrids and the information gathered comes from internal data provided by ADHAC members, data collated from network operators/owners and publicly available information. The aim of this information is to give a picture of the situation of DHC networks in Spain. Last October at the IDAE offices, ADHAC presented the District Heating and Cooling Networks Census 2015, at which the association set out the main findings of this inventory updated for 2015.

The data from the 2015 Census covers 247 networks surveyed, however a total of 270 have actually been identified. The information show considerable progress compared to previous years: 2012 covered 46 surveyed networks, with 2013 surveying 139, increasing to 202 in 2014.

The 247 surveyed networks cover an area of 7 million m2 or 93,000 homes, representing a total of 310 km of networks and contributing to emissions savings of 156,000 t/year of CO2 and an average saving of 81% in the consumption of fossil fuels. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY November 2015

Three power plants to supply an area of more than 15,000,000 m2

Barcelona, a cosmopolitan and dynamic city, is also the precursor in Spain of a still emerging market: DHC networks. In 2006, an amendment to the Metropolitan General Plan was approved for urban conversion in the neighbourhood of La Marina through a DHC network, intended to reconcile residential use with businesses.

At that time, the L’Hospitalet and Barcelona town councils agreed to extend the service to Plaza Europa, the Gran Vía de L’Hospitalet, the port and the free zone. This agreement has resulted in the construction of a DHC network which, through three plants and a network of pipes, supply heat to customers in the residential, industrial and tertiary sector (hospitals, offices, sports centres, shopping centres, schools etc.).

SAJ Electric