Industrial Waste Heat Utilization and Municipal Network Planning – A Key Event to Accelerate the Heat Transition

Yesterday, the Northern German Real Lab (NRL) hosted a seminal event under the theme "Industrial Waste Heat Utilization and Municipal Network Planning: Obstacles and Drivers for the Heat Transition." This "Transformation Lab" brought together leading experts, stakeholders, and interested parties to address the challenges and opportunities of the heat transition, with a special focus on the efficient use of industrial waste heat.

Key Insights and Discussions

The event was marked by its interactive Transformation Labs, which served as a central exchange space. Here, participants delved deeply into the issues to better understand the perspectives of experts and users. Through a systemic analytical model, supported by a comprehensive stakeholder survey, crucial influencing factors were identified, ranging from regulation and infrastructure to acceptance, availability, and storage technologies.

Participants focused on three main areas, selected via the interactive platform Slido: Economics/Supply & Demand, Infrastructure & Logistics, and Major Projects, with a special emphasis on the overarching theme of regulation and permits.

Economics: Challenges and Opportunities

Discussions around economics illuminated both obstacles—such as costs for connections and deep construction—and driving forces like building density and new business models for heating networks. Acceptance emerged as a critical factor directly influencing economics.

Infrastructure and Logistics: Overcoming Barriers

In infrastructure and logistics, space requirements, lack of network connections, and the required expertise were identified as significant barriers. However, the promotion of renewable energies and efficiency through proven technologies were highlighted as positive aspects.

Major Projects: Vision and Risk Management

Major projects were characterized by challenges like high investment sums and long lead times. However, the discussions also showed that the visibility of a vision and the celebration of successes are essential factors for minimizing risks and validating technology.

Additional Professional Insights

To advance the acceptance and economics of the heat transition, innovative solutions such as digital platforms for transparency and engagement, as well as innovative financing models, need to be brought more to the forefront. Creating transparency through real-time data and enabling direct investments through citizen energy cooperatives can both increase acceptance and reduce costs.

The "Transformation Lab" of the Northern German Real Lab has once again highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative approaches to overcoming the challenges of the heat transition.


Thanks to NRL for that great event.

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