Innovation and Networks Executive Agency

H2020 WEDISTRICT energy project talks green at COP25

INEA ceased operations on 31 March 2021. The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) was established on 1 April 2021 to take over its legacy portfolio as well as additional EU funding programmes.

Creation date: December 17, 2019

“We want to demonstrate that it’s possible to have a 100% renewable system,” highlighted Maria Victoria Cambronero an industrial engineer and coordinator of the WEDISTRICT during the UN Climate Conference (COP25).

The WEDISTRICT project is funded by the European Commission and implemented by INEA to integrate different green technologies in district heating systems across Europe. The European Union strives to lead the way in fighting climate change and there is a huge potential in integrating substantial shares of renewable energy generation in district heating and/or cooling systems.

At each of the project’s test sites, different technologies are being trialed to bring decarbonisation best suited to local resources. For example, the Spanish test site in Alcalá will focus on solar energy and biomass boilers, the Polish test site will substitute a current central stated coal based with biomass boilers, the Romanian test site will be powered by a geothermal pump, while in Sweden where district heating powered by renewables already exists, the challenge will be to integrate waste heat from data storage centres into the district heating system, integrating a cogeneration system based on fuel cells.

“This is a very ambitious project, but in my opinion not because of the technologies themselves,” says Maria Cambronero. “Most of them have already been proven – the catch is to adapt them so that they are operating at maximum efficiency and minimal cost. The critical point is the timing, because this project has to finish in less than four years.”

This explains why the European Commission is supporting WEDISTRICT as explained by INEA’s Head of Department for H2020, Alan Haigh, “Our research and innovation projects are aiming to develop and bring closer to the market new technologies, products, processes and services that could mitigate climate change and boost Europe’s energy security while creating new jobs and making the European economy more competitive.”

The expected impact is a reduced dependency of district heating and/or cooling systems on fossil fuels and reduced greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions.

In order for Europe to become a climate-neutral continent by 2050, innovative approaches are now needed to exploit this potential in the different geographical regions of Europe.

“Our goal is to reconcile the economy with our planet, to reconcile the way we produce and the way we consume with our planet and to make it work for our people,” emphasised the European Commission President von der Leyen on the European Green Deal.

MORE INFORMATION

CORDIS project factsheet

WEDISTRICT twitter account

WEDISTRICT LinkedIn account