As a policy maker you must work with many conflicting demands. These include technical constraints, integrating energy plans with other related political policies, time deadlines and societal expectations. It's not easy navigating these.
From a technical perspective, most cities that are trying to develop policies and strategies to decarbonise are all facing similar issues. There needs to be coordinated planning of the energy transition at national, regional and city scales. Coordination of which buildings will be transitioned in which order of priority, with coordination of these associated demands on city electrical networks, flows of financing, people resources, equipment etc.
The constraint which is rapidly becoming critical is time. A good analogy is the famous 'square peg in a round hole' scene from the Apollo 13 movie, where CO2 levels in the spaceship were reaching dangerous levels (sound familiar?). The managers threw a collection of items on the table and staff were told to come up with a solution because time was limited. It's the same situation here on our spaceship (Earth) where we are in space and CO2 levels are reaching dangerous levels. The collection of items we have available are: people, equipment, money, limited energy and limited time. Failure is not an option!
Decarbonisation of the built environment will require a large shift to electrification, but transportation is also shifting to electrification, so you have these competing demands. City electrical supplies and distribution networks are coming under increasing pressure to cope with these electrification shifts and changes in demand. And time keeps ticking away....
But cities have wastewater networks carrying huge amounts of free low grade heat. This heat energy is reliable, predictable, stable and already where it is needed by buildings, and the infrastructure collecting and transporting this heat is already there (the sewer network). In most cities this heat energy is sadly just ignored and flushed away every day. The favorable temperatures of wastewater allow wastewater source heatpumps to operate more efficiently than air source heatpumps, so capturing and recycling wastewater heat allows electrification of more buildings to be achieved using less electricity (so helping manage the growing demands on the electrical infrastructure).
There are also other benefits of wastewater heat recycling heatpumps which are particularly relevant within cities locations. These include:
The amount of thermal energy available within wastewater is enormous.
Typically 20%-35% of total housing energy + up to 40% of low temperature heat used in commercial & industrial sectors gets turned into hot water, which then goes into a city's sewers.
So there are enormous amounts of low carbon heat available in every city's wastewater network.
This energy flows through pipes which are already constructed and they are located in the city (where heating & cooling energy is needed).
But this energy is invisible and tragically normally simply flushed away everyday.
For a sustainable world, we need to stop this energy waste and recycle the heat.
We can help with mapping the heat in wastewater networks. You can already see cities which have had their wastewater networks heatmapped on our global map. These cities are: Christchurch - NZ, Dunedin - NZ, Nelson - NZ and we want more! Click here to have a look. With this information you suddenly have another energy resource available to integrate into your planning policies. With a map, you will know how much heat energy is available and how it is distributed throughout the city. And this heat energy and the collection infrastructure is available today, time is not a constraint to utilize it.
The Water Research Foundation Report 'State of the Science and Issues Related to Heat Recovery from Wastewater' says this about wastewater network heat mapping: "The mapping process is an essential tool for policy makers. It allows the governing community and the developer community to conceptualize the resources available and how to connect them to needs."
We can help with education and training. We have a network of experts in North America, Asia, Europe, Scandinavia and Australasia, who can provide presentations, training courses etc. to:
We can help by providing technical support. Our experts can provide engineering and mapping support with things such as:
As an Energy Policy Planner, you can integrate this energy resource into your plans. You can raise awareness of this energy resource. You can create policies which make it easy for water utilities to give access to the resource and for building owners & designers to utilize it. You can open the doors and build the bridges.