ThermaFLEX is the focus of the latest Green Energy Lab newsletter



It is necessary to combine different ideas to get the best out of innovation projects. If you are interested in sustainability, single technologies are not target-oriented.

District heating covers about a quarter of Austria’s total heating demand in the private sector. This makes it one of the most important components of the domestic energy supply. Especially in densely populated regions, it will play an even greater role in the future. This is reason enough to focus on the future of district heating in terms of research. The Green Energy Lab project ThermaFLEX is currently tackling this task.

A very comprehensive approach is being deliberately pursued. Technical components such as storage, waste heat utilisation and renewable energy sources, systemic approaches such as coupling with energy space planning, control intelligence and grid temperature reduction as well as non-technical measures (“soft factors”) such as user integration or the development of new business models are being considered. Several demonstration projects will show how district heating can be made sustainable in the future,” says project leader Joachim Kelz from the AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC). We want to develop best-practice examples to provide planners, operators, cities and municipalities with the necessary knowledge.”

We demonstrate how sustainable district heating works.

One way to increase supply efficiency is being implemented by two energy suppliers from Leibnitz as part of a ThermaFLEX demo project: Nahwärme Tillmitsch and Bioenergie Leibnitzerfeld are merging their grids. While one district heating operator draws its energy mainly from waste heat from rendering, the other operates its supply network mainly with biomass. The merger will enable generation and supply to be better adapted to the real consumption of the population in the future.

Less CO2 through optimisation of the waste incineration plant

The approach of sector coupling, i.e. the merging of various previously separate systems, is being pursued by another ThermaFlex demo project. At the Vienna-Spittelau waste incineration plant, it is planned to use the waste heat from the flue gas condensation (latent energy) of the incineration plant as an energy source for a high-temperature heat pump. Taking into account the findings from the evaluation of various operating strategies, a direct feed into the primary district heating network of the City of Vienna is to be made possible. The thermal output of the planned heat pump is around 15 MW.

Sector coupling is something of the order of the day here. Ingo Leusbrock, division manager for the thematic area of cities and grids at AEE INTEC, confirms this: “It is necessary to combine different ideas to get the best possible results. If you are oriented towards sustainability, individual technologies are not effective.

The LINK to the newsletter.