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4th Technical Workshop “GeoEnergia a Catalunya”. Decarbonizing the urban heating and cooling sector in Catalonia



Date 28.03.2023


28th of March 2023, 9 am – 2 pm (GMT+1)


EIC HQ. Via Laietana, 39, 5th floor. (Pompeu Fabra Auditorium). Barcelona

Free registration for CEEC members and invited guests.

Attention: limited places for the rest of the attendees, which will be assigned by order of registration (registration fee for nonmembers: 19 €).

5th generation decentralized urban cooling and heating networks with geothermal energy and other renewable sources

The Geothermal Energy Working Group (GTG) of the Catalan Efficient Energy Cluster (CEEC), the Cartographic and Geological Institute of Catalonia (ICGC) and the Catalan Energy Institute (ICAEN) are organizing a new edition of the Technical Workshop "GeoEnergia a Catalonia" with the aim of promoting and generate awareness about the potential of geothermal energy as a high-efficiency energy resource in the new framework of the Energy Transition.

This year 2023, the workshop will focus on the concept of modern 5th generation District Heating and Cooling (5GDHC) networks based on geothermal heat pumps together with other renewable sources (thermal and/or electrical) and will show the potential of their deployment in Catalonia to address the decarbonization of urban environments and meet the 2030-2050 targets. The 5GDHC networks are the most energy-efficient type of district energy systems up to date and have been deployed for years in Europe (Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Switzerland, etc.) and the USA. A paradigm shift is needed in the thermal energy supply in Catalonia, from the present model, which is currently dominated by individual installations comprising fossil fuel fired boilers (mainly natural gas, and to a lower extent LPGs and diesel), towards a mixed model based on collective and shared installations in the form of modern, efficient and intelligent district heating and cooling networks with decentralized production. Within the current climate change context, cooling demand in buildings is expected to increase in the forthcoming years due to progressively higher temperatures and longer summer periods. Likewise, winter heating needs will decline as winters become shorter and the amount of cold days decreases. Under this scenario, energy efficiency will be key to cost containment. In this sense, highly efficient thermal equipment such as electrically driven heat pumps will become increasingly important in district energy systems. This implies moving from a model based on centralized hot water production at 80 – 90 ºC, with a high level of heat losses in its distribution, to a new high-efficiency model where water distribution is carried out at room temperature (10 – 20 ºC) and the production of cooling, heating and DHW is decentralized and with 100% electric systems using water-to-water heat pumps (ground source heat pumps). In this new model, priority is given to heat recovery/exchange between buildings, so simultaneous heating and cooling demands are favored by this type of network. When the network requires a net heating or cooling supply, shallow geothermal energy becomes an ideal energy resource: it is a clean, stable, renewable and available in the subsoil throughout the territory 365 days a year and 24 hours a day.

5GDHC networks supplied by shallow geothermal energy are an innovative model of decentralized heating and cooling production. A common configuration consists of a non-insulated 2-pipe grid where water flows close to ambient temperature (10 – 20°C). The return branch is thermally balanced with the ground thanks to a shared geothermal heat exchanger field. Each user is connected to the network with its own heat pump, exchanging heat according to its needs. The geothermal heat exchanger field can be typically an open loop (groundwater) or a closed loop (borehole heat exchangers) system. Other renewable thermal or electrical sources (e.g. thermal/photovoltaic solar energy) can also be connected.

Technical workshop with International contributions

This year 2023, the Workshop GeoEnergia organised jointly by the GTG-CEEC, ICGC and ICAEN, will be held on Tuesday 28th of March at the Pompeu Fabra Auditorium at the headquarters of the EIC (Catalan Industrial Engineers Association) and will have an in-person format. The workshop will feature 6 high-level international speakers to provide an overview of the application and experience of 5GDHC networks in Europe and their potential in Catalonia. Speakers will include: Marco Wirtz (nPro Energy GmbH, RWTH Aachen University), Søren Skjold (Geodrilling.dk, Termonet DK), Søren Erbs (VIA University, Termonet DK), Lisa Treseder (Kensa Group), Francesco Milani (ARCbcn) and Jesús Teixidor (SUNO Ingeniería de Servicios Energéticos). In addition, there will be a final round table with the participation of representatives from ICAEN, IREC, the Local Energy Agency from Barcelona and INCASÒL, moderated by QUADRIFOLI Ingenieros.

There will be a coffee break for networking and to talk to the speakers. There will be simultaneous translation service English-Catalan-English. Join us!

More information and programme