18 May 2017
The building sector is responsible for about 40% of the total energy demand and 33% of the CO2 emissions. Until 2050 the building sector should become CO2 free by renewable energy sources. The European Technology Platform on renewable heating and cooling uses the technology panels solar thermal, biomass, geothermal and the cross-cutting technologies district heating and cooling, energy storage, electric compression and thermally driven heat pumps and hybrid systems; in the meantime heat pump became an additional technology panel.
In the case solar heating and cooling, heating is possible with solar thermal energy alone, cooling can only be realized using thermally driven heat pumps like absorption, adsorption or DEC units; however, in the small capacity range PV combined with compression systems is presently the better choice. Biomass can be used directly for heating, however, cooling is only possible with thermally driven heat or compression systems driven by electricity from biomass power plants. The majority of geothermal systems are shallow systems, they require heat pumps to rise the temperature to a level required for heating. Heat pumps can do both heating and cooling using renewable sources. Other advantages are: they can use electricity from fluctuating sources like wind and PV, in combination with stores they can enable the operation electric and thermal smart grids; they will act as the main heat generation system for future DHC systems, using natural sources as well as heat recovered from industry, and they will be the key technology for CO2 free heating and cooling in smart cities.