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District Heating/ESCO

Boilers to burn biofuels such as wood chips and pellets tends to be physically larger and more expensive than equivalent gas or oil boilers. This is partly as a result of the physical requirements for a high temperature combustion environment and transporting the solid fuel. As boilers get larger however the disparity with gas and oil boilers becomes comparatively smaller, and so biomass installations becomes more economically attractive, especially for installations of the a high output scale.

District heating makes use of these cost advantages, as well as the administrative benefits of using a single boiler installation to provide heat to a number of buildings. These might be a number of individual houses, blocks of social housing, local council offices, a school, leisure centre etc.

District heating is much more common in some European countries than currently in Ireland/UK. In Denmark for instance district heating provides around 60% of heating. However there are now a number of successful district heating schemes in the Ireland/UK, both using fossil fuels and biomass.

A typical district heating installation consists of a highly insulated "heat main" of flow and return pipes distributing hot water (or steam) past all buildings which might be connected. A junction point allows easy connection to each building, from which hot water can be taken from the main to a heat exchanger (heat substation) within each building. The heating circuit within the building is thus isolated from the heat main. Temperature measurement of the flow and return lines, plus a flow meter (together forming a heat meter), allow the actual heat usage within each building, or even apartment, to be separately measured, and delivered heat billed for accordingly. Remote meter reading by modem, secure web interface or drive-by are all possible, as are remote diagnostics to ensure reliable operation


Energy Supply Company (ESCO). Sells heat to the customer instead of a boiler and/or fuel. The ESCO may install, own and maintain the boiler, or may sub-contract some or all of that work. Heat used by the customer is metered, usually as hot water flow rate and temperature difference between outflow and return. Fully responsible for ensuring continuous operation and suitable quality fuel supply. Particularly well suited to district heating, site or large or multiple buildings.


Brochure District Heating Reference - Smaland