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District cooling methods must change, experts urge

Experts point out the urgent need for stronger links between the industry and the scientific research community to facilitate the development of new ways of designing and adopting more sustainable and environment friendly systems.

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Sustainability is key to the future of district cooling
Sustainability is key to the future of district cooling

Experts have called for increased investment in scientific research and building of stronger links with new industry trends to transform district cooling methods.

With the industry coming under threat due to stagnation because the high cost of district cooling is being passed on and shouldered mainly by the end-user, global industry experts at the recently concluded 7th edition of the Middle East District Cooling Summit (MEDCS) in Qatar believe that new approaches must be adopted.

They pointed out the urgent need for stronger links between the industry and the scientific research community to facilitate the development of new ways of designing and adopting more sustainable and environment friendly systems.

Experts also encouraged the adoption of ideas and solutions proposed by some researchers regarding the efficient use of water and energy in district cooling. This includes the end in the use of drinking water in district cooling due to the availability of the technology for the use of Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE).

Among the recommendations adopted at the summit was the need for connecting natural gas to central cooling lines through the development of distribution network stations.

Experts also encouraged tri-generation of electricity, heat and cooling as this technology saves up to 75% of primary energy and natural gas; that such technology helps reduce CO² emissions in almost the same proportion.

They agreed to promote the use of clean and renewable energy for power generation in district cooling systems such as planting 'trifolia trees' that produce biodiesel for use in the process of the tri-generation.

They urged district cooling companies to invest at least 20% of their electricity consumption into solar energy and so also improve the quality and quantity of the provision of TSE in order to use it more effectively in cooling stations.

Governments were urged to classify buildings that use mostly clean energy for cooling and refrigeration and encourage them to continue using this approach; also classify buildings who use less non-renewable energy.

They also recommended the creation of a more flexible legal framework to help the development of the industry and protects all parties, including end-user and also encouraged better coordination between the concerned authorities to find a practical framework for the implementation of the infrastructure, including the areas of district cooling.

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