Reducing emissions from district-heating schemes in North Jutland

An innovative, co-operative project which aims to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in district-heating systems is expected to deliver significant environmental benefits.

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The FleksEnergi project aims to use sustainable energy sources for district heating schemes The FleksEnergi project aims to use sustainable energy sources for district heating schemes

The technology behind district-heating schemes was largely pioneered in Denmark and such schemes are now widely used in Danish towns and cities to pump relatively cheap heat and power from a boiler plant to households and businesses. As with wind farm technology, Denmark’s technological expertise in this area is increasingly being sold around the world.

While the fuel source for some of Denmark’s district heating systems is the burning of domestic and industrial waste, the majority of Danish systems currently use fossil fuels as their main or only fuel source.

The FleksEnergi project, a co-operative project between three municipalities in North Jutland (Aalborg, Rebild and Jammerbugt), has, since March 2009, been researching alternative fuel sources for district-heating schemes with the aim of phasing out the use of coal and gas and replacing them with sustainable energy sources such as wind, sun, biomass, process heat and geo-thermal sources.

Developing new technologies

Following tests into the use of multiple energy sources, five of North Jutland’s 39 district-heating plants (Brønderslev, Jammerbugt, Thisted, Mors and Aalborg) have so far diversified their fuel sources to include green sources. Project manager Jonas Kromann said that he hoped that many more plants in North Jutland will have diversified their fuel sources before the project comes to an end in December 2013.

“The creation of a network and co-operation between the different stakeholders - companies, district-heating plants, consulting engineers, local authorities - in the sector is an important instrument for achieving the main objectives of the project,” Mr Kromann said.

These objectives include the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, an improvement in supply reliability, the optimised production and distribution of heat and the development of new workplaces.

Encouraging research and know-how

In addition to cutting emissions, the project is expected to create growth for the district-heating sector in the region and encourage scientific research into new technologies. In the long-term, it is hoped that the expertise gained will boost the reputation of North Jutland as a centre of excellence and know-how in the field of district-heating.

In addition to the contribution from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, the remaining project finance comes from Aalborg Samarbejdet, the five design projects and Aalborg University.

Total and EU funding

The “FleksEnergi” project had a total budget of EUR 1 569 034 of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 784 517 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. The project was funded through the Operational Programme “Innovation and Knowledge”.

Draft date