Increasing energy end-use efficiency and using more renewable energy are key factors in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Grid-based supply systems for heating (and cooling) play a crucial role in this. These can reduce the consumption of fossil fuels by using industrial waste heat and renewable energy sources such as solar thermal power.

The Technology Collaboration Programme on District Heating and Cooling (DHC TCP) is concerned with the design, performance, and operation of generation and distribution systems as well as consumer installations. Various research, development, and demonstration projects are conducted in the context of the DHC TCP. In addition, the TCP is the patron of the "International Symposium on District Heating and Cooling". The conference, which takes place every two years at different venues, presents the latest research findings to international experts. The 2021 conference was held as a hybrid event in Nottingham (UK) and online. The TCP is also a sponsor of the international "DHC+ Student Awards" and has thus been supporting young scientists in the field of piped heating and cooling for many years.

Experts in the programme work on research topics such as the design, performance, and operation of heating and cooling networks. This work spans the entire process from the generation and distribution of heating or cooling to the delivery to the end customer. Combined heat and power (CHP) plants are of great relevance to the technologies used, in part because of the growing importance that electricity plays in meeting global energy demand. One benefit is that the heat that is produced by electricity generation through CHP can be recovered.

The use of industrial waste heat or solar thermal power for heating, and the use of ground water or heat-driven cooling to cool buildings, also play a key role in the DHC technology programme. Energy can be distributed in large-scale grids with either a central generator or multiple decentralized generators, as well as in smaller autonomous power systems.

In order to cut down on greenhouse gases, the IEA’s technology programme recommends first reducing the energy end-use demand. Analyses should then be conducted to determine which of the measures listed above should be considered for use. Efficient use of fossil fuels should not have to be taken into consideration until the stated options have been investigated.

Year of foundation: 1983
Type of financing: Cost-shared (seit 1983) sowie Task-shared (seit 2012)
Member States: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Norway, Sweden, UK, USA

Annex TS7 - Industry-DHC Symbiosis: A systemic approach for highly integrated industrial and thermal energy systems
Annex TS6 - Status Assessment, Ageing, Lifetime Prediction and Asset Management of District Heating (DH) Pipes
Annex TS5 - Integration of Renewable Energy Sources into existing District Heating and Cooling Systems
Annex TS4 - Digitalisation of District Heating: Optimised Operation (and Maintenance) of District Heating and Cooling Schemes via Digital Processes Management
Annex TS3 - Hybrid Energy Networks: District heating and cooling networks in an integrated energy system context
Annex XIII:
(1) Leave 2nd generation behind: cost effective solutions for small-to-large scale DH networks
(2) MEMPHIS 2.0: Advanced algorithm for spatial identification, evaluation of temporary availability and economic assessment of waste heat sources and their local representation
(3) Artificial Intelligence for Forecasting of Heat Production and Heat demand and Fault Detection in District Heating Networks
(4) Cost Benefit study on the building secondary network for improving DH performance
(5) Optimized transition towards low-temperature and low-carbon DH systems (OPTiTRANS)
(6) The district heating business model 2050
(7) CASCADE: A comprehensive toolbox for integrating low-temperature sub-networks in existing district heating networks

Information on all ongoing and completed projects can be found here.