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Blockchain Technology is Becoming Essential For District Heating Management

Blockchain Technology is Becoming Essential For District Heating Management

Date: June 24th 2020

Author: Peter Palčec

Category: En.vision

Topic: Electricity , RES and EE , Energy policy , New technologies , Heating

“A lot of the different megatrends currently happening are connected with district heating, such as urbanisation, electrification, climate change, food supply and digitalisation. District energy can be a very sustainable approach to mitigating climate change and improving efficiency by providing optimisation solutions and optimal temperature control. District energy is connected to a lot of other sectors. Additionally, sources that provide energy for district heating are becoming very decentralised and are also striving to become fully decarbonised. Many of these sources are also renewable energy sources (RES). Managing these sources and district heating systems at the same time can be very challenging and blockchain technology can provide the necessary solutions,” said Saša Kojić, Senior Director for Business Unit Stations at Danfoss District Energy, in a webinar organised by Danfoss and Blockchain Think Tank Slovenia.

daljinska energetika naslovna
According to Kojić, "blockchain shows a lot of potential for the management of decentralised district energy sources, while also providing security and transparency. However, a lot of challenges need to be addressed, such as what kind of regulatory framework is needed, not only for the implementation of blockchain technology in the energy sector. In addition, regulations on the integration of energy across district systems are also needed, such as for power-to-heat and power-to-cooling."

Mateja Panjan, Customer Relations Manager at Danfoss District Energy, explained that in February this year a Blockchain Hackathon was held. “Last year Danfoss Trata Slovenia and Blockchain Think Tank Slovenia came to an agreement to collaborate on a joint project with the aim of identifying blockchain companies and projects in the wider region that are developing technological solutions within the energy industry. Five selected teams from Slovenia, Serbia, Germany, Portugal and Croatia were invited. Danfoss assigned district energy experts to the blockchain teams and, as a result, mutual learning was accomplished for both parties involved. We at Danfoss District Energy made a prediction that by 2024 we will be out of business if we cannot provide a solution for utility networks that need to be able to reuse and sell surplus heat. We need to explore opportunities within trading platforms across energy sectors with Danfoss District Energy. Platforms should use blockchain technology in some way and have the possibility of supporting the trading of heating, cooling, power and gas at city or municipality levels,” mentioned Panjan.

Klemen Zajc from the company Netis pointed out that today the use of blockchain technology is optional, however, the technology will become invaluable in the future. “With the decentralisation of the energy system that is happening, the secure and private exchange of data among all energy system stakeholders will be very important,” stressed Zajc.

Milan Jungič, Senior Business Development Manager at Danfoss District Energy, pointed out that when talking about district energy and the energy sector, a huge decentralisation process can be seen happening with a lot renewable energy sources and waste heat sources being added to the system. “Systems have a problem with flexibility due to RES. There is a great need for sector coupling and cross-sector flexibility. A lot of initiatives are currently taking place, such as how to include an increasing number of waste heat sources into district energy systems and how to allow third-party access to the system. All those initiatives could be a driver or a support for blockchain-driven solutions in district heating. This could provide a lot of flexibility to power grids if they are connected to district energy systems,” underlined Jungič.

Waste heat could provide heating and cooling for the whole of Europe


“By harnessing waste heat provided by different commercial businesses and putting them into a district energy network, enough heat and cooling energy could be provided for all of the residents in Europe. Blockchain technology could support and provide the necessary solutions to this challenge. On the other hand, surpluses of electricity from RES could be provided for heating. When talking about surplus electricity, if a system is able to covert electricity to hot water energy, the storage of this energy is a lot cheaper than, for example, in a battery,” explained Jungič.

According to Kojić, district energy has the ability to adapt to the surplus of energy that is coming from the power market. “When we talk about district energy, not only are we talking about heating but also about cooling and the use of heat pumps. Although the necessary technologies already exist, a lot of incentives and support from the state are needed,” commented Kojić.   



This article is available also in Slovene.


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