Dublin District Heating Project (DDHP)

22.06.10

Dublin City Council is planning to install Ireland’s largest District Heating (DH) network in the city, initially fuelled by waste. The Waste to Energy facility (WTE) is set to deliver heating to thousands of homes and businesses across the city while diverting up to 600,000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year.

The realisation of a DH system for the city, using waste as fuel, will reduce the overall primary and final energy consumption of Dublin, provide the advantages of greater security of supply than the conventional heating systems currently used in Dublin and lower costs for energy production. Ultimately it will provide considerable flexibility in fuel supply as it is expected that other heat sources will connect in the future.

RPS has been advising Dublin City Council on the DDHP since 2003. RPS Senior Design Engineers Isidore McCormack and Ciaran Miller – both University College Dublin graduates, have been working closely with the Council for a number of years on the project. The District Heating network planned for Dublin City is based on best international District Heating experience. The network will be modern, highly efficient and designed to give individual customers value for money and full control of their heating and carbon footprint contribution.

The network is currently at conceptual design stage, but some initial pipe-work has already been installed to support the system, which will incorporate 3.5km of pipes in its first phase.

As essential services are being installed in the Liffey Services Tunnel, crossing underneath the River Liffey, DH pipes are also being put in place – to ensure that the potential customers in the Dockland regeneration areas north of the River Liffey can be linked with the heat generation facilities in the south of the city. RPS are supervising the Liffey Services Tunnel DH installation, and the installation of DH piping at the newly constructed Spencer Dock mixed-use development on the north quays of the River Liffey, where eleven blocks are joined by a network of pre-insulated DH piping. The newly constructed ISO14001 accredited Conference Centre Dublin (CCD) is also enabled for connection to the new DH network.

Perhaps the most crucial factor in ensuring the benefits of DHC (District Heating and Cooling) are realised to their full potential is the establishment of a consistent and effective framework of legislation guiding cities and countries worldwide. RPS is currently contributing to Euroheat & Power’s Ecoheat4EU project which is funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, and which aims to promote and support the use of good legislative mechanisms to establish this framework in Europe. RPS is gathering, assessing and disseminating DHC data in Ireland for the project, which also targets the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania and the Czech Republic.

Despite the current lull in the construction industry, DH remains a vital component for Dublin’s long-term energy future. The sustainable success of DH as an energy option is clearly demonstrated in Copenhagen which has operated a DH system for almost 100 years. Copenhagen’s DH network was further improved following the 1970s energy-crisis, backed by the development of a comprehensive heat management framework, and the city’s network now serves about half a million people in the city, and contributes, with recycling, to diverting 97% of the city’s waste from landfill.

In the UK, significant emission reduction have been achieved already with recent DH networks such as Birmingham City achieving a combined annual emission reductions of 11,600t of carbon dioxide per annum with its  District Heating System.

Ireland's National Climate Change Strategy 2007 – 2012 aims to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 17 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent in the period 2008-2012 through a balanced mix of energy sustainability projects and energy efficiency measures.