The General and the Specifics: Heating and Cooling Strategies in Smart Energy Systems

Publikation: Ph.d.-afhandling

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In energy transition, strategies for heating and cooling are neglected compared to electricity and other sectors. Yet, such strategies are much needed to present concrete visions and alternatives for a more sustainable and renewable future of heating and cooling. Without them, we risk failing to realise the many opportunities for increased sustainability that heating and cooling presents, on both a local and a global scale.
This PhD thesis investigates which general elements are part of the design of heating and cooling strategies, and which are necessarily specific to the local situation. The analysis is based on the review of two 100% renewable energy strategies, the development of 14 Heat Roadmap strategies for Europe, a Heat Roadmap for Chile, and collaboration with the UN Environment District Energy in Cities Initiative to explore heating and cooling infrastructures in developing and emerging economies.
Strategies are intended to present visions in support of dialogue and decisions on the direction of transitions. In this PhD, strategies for heating and cooling are rooted in scenario design and energy system analysis. They take their conceptual point of departure in the “Smart Energy System” concept and actively include exploring the development of district energy as an enabling infrastructure that supports decarbonisation and sustainability in heating and cooling.
Combined, the studies in this PhD show that by designing heating and cooling strategies for various countries, it is possible to identify general and specific aspects. The comparative approach discusses heating and cooling strategies in terms of identifying strategic design objectives, determining design criteria, and using functional design approaches and functional design principles.
Specific reasons exist at local level that drive the need for heating and cooling strategies. These can be very particular, such as the desire to prevent air pollution from heating stoves in Chile, or phasing out natural gas use in the Netherlands. Even more universal challenges like decarbonisation, sustainable resource management and poverty reduction also play out differently at the local level. This is why strategic design objectives and criteria for heating and cooling strategies must capture the specific socio-political context to reflect and respond to local differences.
Generally, there are some good, functional approaches and principles towards addressing heating and cooling in varied contexts. Integration of the energy system, thermal grids in cities, and a focus on energy efficiency emerge as good general solutions to many problems. Smart use of storage, excess and renewable heat, and exploring cogeneration and large-scale heat pumps is also commonly valuable. While many technical solutions and mechanisms for improving the heating and cooling sector are common – and have been successfully implemented in some countries – they must be implemented in a way that addresses the specific local problems.
  • Lund, Henrik, Hovedvejleder
  • Thellufsen, Jakob Zinck, Bivejleder
ISBN'er, elektronisk978-87-7573-738-3
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

PhD supervisor:
Prof. Henrik Lund, Aalborg University

Assistant PhD supervisor:
Associate Prof. Jakob Zinck Thellufsen, Aalborg University


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