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Using a city’s excess heat to reduce emissions

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Using a city’s excess heat to reduce emissions

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Wastewater and sewage heat now provides around 70 percent of space heating and hot water for the 43 buildings connected to the grid, with the remaining 30 percent coming from natural gas, although the target is to d ‘End it by 2030. The electricity powering the heat pumps is 97 percent carbon-zero, powered by hydroelectric dams.

“Every time we shower, do the dishes or do the laundry, the water is still hot when it goes down the drain,” said Ashley St. Clair, Vancouver’s senior renewable energy planner.

“It runs under our streets, and we are already recovering it through traditional sewage pipeline infrastructure, and being able to tap into that waste heat is truly the ultimate circular economy. “

The project was commissioned in 2010, just in time to heat the Olympic Village for the 2010 Winter Games, and it was the first large-scale wastewater heat recovery system in North America. It has since grown, with plans to expand further to provide heat to 22 million square feet over the next several decades.

And it can’t happen soon enough: This year alone, Vancouver has seen several episodes of extreme weather, made more likely and more intense due to climate change: thermal domes, forest fires and catastrophic flooding, which recently cut off the city by road and rail from the rest of Canada. Having its own heating and hot water supply was an added benefit of the project, Ms. St. Clair said.

Stockholm, on the other hand, has been using a district heat network since the 1950s, according to Erik Rylander, heat recovery manager for Stockholm Exergi, a heating and cooling company. Much of the city’s heat is already supplied by the incineration of waste and wood waste from Sweden’s vast forestry industry, but data centers are increasingly part of the energy mix, he said. declared.

Since its inception in 2017, Stockholm Data Parks, a collaboration between the city and Exergi, has offered companies different locations to build new data centers and participate in the heat recovery system. Businesses are paid for the heat they supply to the grid.

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