Report – ENVR206B – District Heating

SWEDEN – Independent from coal and oil in heating its buildings.

What is District Heating? District heating – as the name implies comes from a central plant which can use advanced methods to run on many different fuels to heat household, schools, industries and other premises. (
District heating (less commonly called teleheating) is a system for distributing heat generated in a centralized location for residential and commercial heating requirements such as space heating and water heating. The heat is often obtained from acogeneration plant burning fossil fuels but increasingly biomass, although heat-only boiler stations, geothermal heating andcentral solar heating are also used, as well as nuclear power.  District heating plants can provide higher efficiencies and better pollution control than localized boilers. (Wikipedia).
60years ago district heating was introduced in Sweden and has since its start reduced the CO2 emissions with 20%. Despite this remarkable progress, it has the greatest savings ahead, with better technology making it even more cost-effective and increasing science will aid in even more CO2 reductions. Sweden have decreased its oil dependence from 81% in 1981 to about 6-7% in 2006 (  90% of the energy in Swedish district heating system are usually produced with renewable sources. The remaining 10 % are only used when the weather is really cold
and there is a very high energy demand. Because of the law forbidding landfill, waste is commonly used as a fuel.
(Picture source:
Real life Examples The two small towns of Bromölla and Sölvesborg in southeastern Sweden were previously heated with oil. Today they are fed with heat from ‘Stora Ensos’ mass and paper mill in Nymölla.
About 99% of all larger buildings in the two towns (apartments, schools etc) plus about 500 villas are heated with district heating from the mill.
The total amount of district heating that is sold in Bromölla and Sölvesborg are about 80GWh (or about 5000 villas). This corresponds to about 5-8% of the mills total energy consumption! That energy corresponds to about 8100m3 oil/yr or 20.000CO2/yr.
About 96-98% of all district heating bought from the mill is based on biofuels. Using this type of waste-heat is climate-smart, you litterally build away the need for fossil energy, but that’s not the only gain in this process. We do it without adding any new emissions
to the atmosphere due to using waste heat that otherwise would have just got pumped into the ocean. (Pers. comm. Anders Olsson, Enmitek AB 2009).

Leave a Reply