Valuation of Novel Waste Heat Sources and a Path Towards Adoption: Preprint

Manuel Lammle, Amy Allen, Gregor Henze, Shanti Pless

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


It is recognized that beneficial electrification of most space heating will be necessary to avert the worst consequences of climate change. Fifth generation district heating and cooling (5GDHC) networks operate at near-ambient temperatures and thus facilitate heating electrification, as well as the use of waste heat sources at a wide range of temperatures. In this paper, we analyze the potential of waste heat to supply the required heat to these networks and describe the business models that could expand the use of these waste heat sources. Showcase single family and commercial districts in the US are discussed to demonstrate emerging technologies, district infrastructure approaches, and third-party thermal utility funding models for these leading 5GDHC networks. As part of this work, heat flow and temperature profiles from five different types of waste heat sources are analyzed. An example district is used to examine the integration potential and to quantify the potential reduction in energy consumption. The results indicate that 5GDHC networks are highly suitable systems for utilizing low to moderate temperature waste heat sources. In the studied district, waste heat can cover a share of up to 66% of the heat supplied to the ambient loop and reduce the overall electricity consumption for heating by up to 51%, depending on the characteristics of the specific power, temperature, and type of waste heat source. Through their moderate operating temperatures and use of waste heat sources combined with third party financed infrastructure, 5GDHC districts have significant potential to reduce carbon emissions associated with space conditioning.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 21 Aug 202226 Aug 2022


Conference2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-83352


  • district energy
  • fifth generation district
  • URBANopt
  • waste heat


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