Recapturing excess heat could power most of Europe, say experts

(The Guardian, 23 Feb 2023) Preventing heat waste largely being ignored as solution to energy crisis, say environmental campaigners.

Excess heat produced across Europe could almost power the entire region but preventing this waste is largely being ignored as a solution to the energy crisis, say environmental experts.

“The global energy crisis is a wakeup call to stop wasting energy,” said Toby Morgan, senior manager for the built environment at Climate Group, an environmental not-for-profit. “Now, more than ever, we need to make better use of the energy we already produce, we simply can’t afford to let it literally escape out the window. Energy efficiency improvements, like capturing and recycling excess heat, are absolutely critical to lower fossil fuel demand and lower bills.”

A report published this week by the global engineering company Danfoss estimated that in the EU alone, excess heat was equal to 2,860 TWh a year, almost the same as the EU’s total energy demand for heat and hot water.

Surplus heat is released into the air from a wide range of sources, including supermarkets, transport networks, data centres and commercial buildings. Much of this can be captured and used via existing heat recovery technologies, such as heat pumps, plus more efficient air conditioners and manufacturing machinery according to the authors of the report. Other solutions include improved urban planning and district energy systems based on networks of renewable energy supplies for both heating and cooling.

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The Guardian, 23 Feb 2023: Recapturing excess heat could power most of Europe, say experts