Earlier The Daily Difference emails have talked about utilizing waste heat but this recent article from The Guardian shows how by connecting a lot of climate-friendly equipment or techniques - like heat pumps or district energy systems - we can take this to the next level.
The article says that “A report published this week by the global engineering company Danfoss estimated that in the EU alone, excess heat was equal to 2,860 TWh a year, almost the same as the EU’s total energy demand for heat and hot water”.
Surprisingly, there are vast differences between what most of us likely think of as progressive and forward thinking companies in their efficient use of this waste heat. For example, in “the Netherlands – there is virtually no district heating even though there is almost twice the amount of waste heat compared to the heat demand. Denmark is the same size but has towards 60% percent district heating with only one third of the population. The use of waste heat is certainly not connected to technical differences. While the physical laws are the same, the political will and traditions are very different.”
After reading articles like this it is impossible not to notice heat billowing out of homes from dryer venting or from office buildings from rooftop vents. On cold days in certain cities you might even see steam coming out of manhole covers in the road. How much fossil fuel could be left in the ground if we could find a way to capture and use this excess heat rather than just wasting it?