D2GRIDS is an acronym for ‘demand driven grids’. This new Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) project, coordinated by Mijnwater Ltd., aims to upscale 5th generation District Heating and Cooling (5G DHC) grids across Europe. Five pilot sites in Paris-Saclay (FR), Bochum (GE), Brunssum (NL), Glasgow and Nottingham (UK) will develop 5G DHC grids. D2GRIDS’ first kick-off meeting, held in Heerlen, set the stage for three years of intense collaboration among European partners to roll out this proven technology.

Heating and cooling account for 50% of the EU’s total energy consumption, but at present only 19.1% of it is sourced from renewables. This makes heating & cooling an obvious target sector for efforts to increase the share of RES. D2Grids does this by rolling out 5th Generation District Heating and Cooling (5GDHC). 5GDHC is a highly optimised, demand-driven, self-regulating, energy management system for urban areas.

Its key features are:

  • ultra-low temperature grid with decentralized energy plants;
  • closed thermal energy loops ensuring hot and cold exchange within and among buildings;
  • integration of thermal and electricity grids.

By a cloud of decentralized heat pumps, located at end-user accommodation, energy is exchanged on the grid, and flows are induced through customer demands. The concept additionally allows large scale utilization of low temperature waste heat, from data centers, supermarkets, industry, etc. The five partner pilot sites in Paris-Saclay (FR), Bochum (GE), Brunssum (NL), Glasgow and Nottingham (UK) aim to connect ca. 50.000 m2 of dwellings and/or commercial buildings to a 5G DHC grid.

Attracting stakeholders to roll out the technology

Upscaling the technology - boosted by transnational cooperation - enables the consortium to raise the interest of the industry to develop the right products and reduce the costs by 10-20%. EnergyVille/VITO in Belgium is a key project partner for industrializing the 5G DHC concept and to evaluate results. They will guide the implementation of the district heating networks at the different sites from start to finish. In the Parkstad Limburg region Mijnwater cooperates with Weller Social Housing foundation in order to connect thousands of dwellings during their renovation process. 

Moreover, the project will deliver plans to create further similar developments in Parkstad Limburg, North-East France, Luxembourg, Flanders, the Ruhr-area, Scotland and East Midlands (UK). Dedicated education and training programs, will be set up by Open University, a partner in the project bringing in expertise on post-graduate and digital learning. Asper-IM from London will participate by introducing business models and knowledge platforms for the financial markets.