Innovation in the Heating Market: Heating Networks 4.0

From the 3rd of July, the funding for fuel-cell heating systems in Germany will be expanded, and small and medium-sized enterprises, contractors and municipalities will be able to apply for it in non-residential buildings. Furthermore, the new funding programme ‘Pilot Project Heating Networks 4.0’ will provide new stimulus for more innovative concepts in renewables more generally.

The aim of the programme is to make the technology for fuel-cell heating systems more attractive. Funding for the installation of fuel-cell heating systems began in August 2016 for private residential buildings, but this is now being expanded to small and medium-sized enterprises, contractors and municipalities for non-residential buildings.

“We have given a further boost to the technology launch by expanding the grant programme for fuel cells. The new rules for the commercial sector will play an important role in making this highly efficient and forward-looking technology widely available on the market,” said Rainer Baake, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The funding programme covers stationary fuel-cell heating systems in new and existing residential buildings which have a power output of between 0.25 and 5.0 kW. The level of funding that is provided is based on the installation’s power output. Applications for funding can still be submitted to KfW under its “Energy-efficient construction and modernisation – fuel-cell grant” programme.

Heating networks 4.0

Fourth generation heating networks are characterised by high shares of renewables, efficient use of waste heat and a considerably lower temperature level compared with traditional heating networks. This minimises losses, enhances efficiency and facilitates the transition towards the use of renewable energy in the fields of local and district heating. By combining the use of heat pumps and seasonal large-scale heat accumulators, these systems can create additional flexibility for the electricity market and offer the opportunity of supplying buildings which are hard to insulate with high shares of low-carbon heat.

“By launching funding for 4th generation heating networks, we are promoting systems that correspond to what we want the future heating infrastucture to look like in the context of the energy transition. In view of the very long investment cycles in this area, this is particularly important when it comes to reaching our 2050 energy-policy targets,” said Secretary Baake.

Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI).

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