Aplicabilidad del calor residual de centrales térmicas sitas en la UE–28 en redes de calefacción urbana

  1. Enrique Rosales Asensio
Supervised by:
  1. Antonio Colmenar Santos Director

Defence university: UNED. Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

Year of defence: 2016

  1. Jorge Juan Blanes Peiró Chair
  2. Eduardo Collado Fernández Secretary
  3. Domingo Santana Santana Committee member

Type: Thesis


The purpose of this doctoral dissertation is to investigate the possible potential of the joint use of district heating networks and cogeneration in the EU-28, propose measures to remove barriers hindering its widespread implementation, formulate policies for such implementation, and evaluate the economic, energy, and environmental consequences resulting therefrom. To this end, a preliminary assessment of the likely cost and the impact of adopting the widespread use of district heating networks and cogeneration was carried carried out in three cities with different representative climatic conditions of the EU-28. From the results of this assessment, it could be estimated that for all the EU-28 and undertaking the maximum economically feasible implementation, a fuel savings of 95 milliard euros a year and a savings of the required primary energy of 6400 PJ would occur, all through an annual investment of 315 milliard euros. This represents about 15% of the total final energy consumption in the EU-28 in 2013 (46 214,5 PJ). This amount would be even greater if this doctoral dissertation would have considered, apart from conventional thermal plants, nuclear power plants existing in the EU-28. To achieve their full development, companies in charge of exploiting those schemes which jointly use district heating networks and cogeneration should enjoy quasi-governmental powers to create significantly reduced market risks and, therefore, reduced funding costs. It is essential that all economic evaluations of the joint use of district heating networks and cogeneration are carried out using an appropriate discount rate for infrastructural projects (“social” discount rate), which for projects that are located in Western Europe is 3,5% following the recommendations of the European Commission. About 80% of the energy used in homes has as the ultimate goal of providing heat and hot water; this means that there would be potentially 15 000 PJ/year (4100 TWh) to be satisfied through the waste heat from power plants. This amount is less than the residual heat emitted by power plants located in the EU-28, at 19 608 PJ/year, which is mostly sent to cooling towers and not used for heating buildings as it is at too low a temperature (typically 30 ºC for large thermal power plants) to be used economically. Currently, heating is mainly obtained from fossil fuels, which creates economic, environmental, and energy dependency problems. It should be noted that the total cost of imported energy in the EU-28 for the year 2013 was 405,8 billion euros, whereas the exported energy was barely 10 billion euros.