IEA DHC Annex TS7: Industry-DHC Symbiosis - A systemic approach for highly integrated industrial and thermal energy systems

Renewable and excess heat sources are currently representing nearly a third of the energy supply used in the DHC sector. Excess heat has the potential to further grow to become an important part of the energy puzzle. Up to 25% of district heating could be covered by industrial excess heat and more than 10 % of the EU's total energy demand for heating and hot water could be covered by heat from data centres, metro stations, service sector buildings, and waste-water treatment plants.

Short Description

The objectives of the IEA DHC Annex TS7 include the following:

  1. analyzing best practice examples in different countries in order to find practical solutions.
  2. A state-of-the-art overview of integration options and concepts for industry in DHC networks, providing insight into methodology and synergy potentials.
  3. an assessment of different transformation strategies to support implementation, especially as decarbonization options, is presented.
  4. this leads to a presentation of future-proof business models that can overcome current barriers and provide the driving force for optimal implementation.

The subtasks are presented below:

Best-practice Examples: There are already a large number of heat networks that are connected to industry. In most cases, industrial waste heat is fed into district heating networks. In view of ambitious climate targets and decarbonization measures, waste heat will become an increasingly important part of the energy system.

Transformation Strategies: Waste heat has a special importance in transformation strategies for decarbonization due to its more efficient energy use. Here, existing tools and methods for identifying waste heat potential are compiled and analyses of the role of waste heat in energy systems are reviewed.

Integration options and concepts: The overall objective here is to analyze integration concepts and options for industrial energy systems and district heating and cooling networks.

Future-proof business models: Due to the increasing importance of decarbonization of industrial operations, new business models and cases are emerging. Best practice examples of the symbiosis between industry and waste heat utilization are presented here.

Guidebook & Dissemination: The focus here is on the collection and dissemination of information on ongoing and completed work. This includes the establishment of an information platform and the organization of seminars and workshops.

Expected results

The main objective of IEA DHC Annex TS7 is to provide a guide to promote opportunities and address challenges for DHC networks in integrating with industry - both as sources and sinks. This guide will highlight the relevant outcomes of the different subtasks, thus providing a holistic understanding of all aspects leading to a much better information on the integration of DHC networks into industry


Austria (Operating Agent), Denmark, Germany, Italy

Contact Address

Project leader

Christian Schützhofer
Senior Expert Advisor
Center for Energy
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
Giefinggasse 6, 1210 Vienna
M +43 664 88964913
F +43 50550-6390