Public sector innovation makes the clean energy transition happen

Public sector innovation makes the clean energy transition happen

If you’ve ever felt a rush of warm air while waiting for a metro in a city in the middle of winter, you’ll know that cities can generate waste heat. District heating systems that reuse waste heat from sources like nearby industries and urban infrastructure have been around for a few years, but today, energy transition pioneers are working on innovative ways to incorporate new sources of waste heat into urban heating systems, making them much more sustainable.

Winners of last year’s European Union Sustainable Energy Award in the public sector, CELSIUS is a team of experts developing new ideas to put waste heat to use. The team share knowledge and expertise across an EU-wide network of 65 cities stretching from Sweden to Italy. Together, they have come up with a wide range of solutions tailored to city environments, bringing district heating into the sustainable energy era.

Capturing waste heat to warm a district

One solution being developed by the project involves the London Underground’s ventilation shaft. A demonstrator is looking at how waste heat can be captured via the shaft and integrated into the local district heating system.

Meanwhile, in Gothenburg, where around 500 000 tonnes of waste is incinerated each year, CELSIUS experts have developed a system to deliver 30% of waste heat generated by the incinerator to the local district heating network. The system can supply heat and warm water to 150 000 households each year.

Innovation in supply and demand

From the supply side to the demand side, CELSIUS has also come up with innovative ideas. In Sweden, the team has developed a system that can connect a Stena Line ferry, which docks in Gothenburg several times a week, to the local district heating system. The connection means that the ferry no longer needs to use its oil-burning heating systems when in harbour, improving the harbor-side air quality and cutting the ship’s carbon emissions by 62% a year.

CELSIUS has cut Europe’s carbon emissions by almost 100 000 tonnes per year – and the network is still growing.

CELSIUS is also exploring concepts including sustainable ways to cool data centres in Rotterdam. Overall, projects carried out by the CELSIUS cities have cut Europe’s carbon emissions by almost 100 000 tonnes per year – and the network is still growing.

Public Sector @ EUSEW Awards

But CELSIUS is just one example. This year’s EU Sustainable Energy Awards will reveal a raft of new, already successful projects that are helping to put the sustainable energy transition into action in the public sector across the EU. Top sustainable energy actions will be awarded, as well as to Europe's front runner youth leaders, by an expert jury and European citizens on Tuesday, 5 June. Cast your vote for your favourite now.

Smart cities and regional development @EUSEW18

Find out more about the energy transition in cities at the EUSEW policy conference. Register to this year's sessions:

5 June

6 June

7 June

 Consult the #EUSEW18 full programme and click the "register now" button to select your preferred sessions on the registration platform.