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11. – 15.3.2019 (Monday – Friday), Frankfurt am Main

Double strategy: heating and renewable electricity grow together

German energy consumption could be halved by modernising heating boilers: ISH 2017 presents solutions to reduce energy requirements in the heating market

The German heating market consumes more energy than any other sector. It accounts for 50 percent of the country's end energy consumption. And it is in the heating market that the greatest potential for saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions of any consumer sector is to be found. Just by updating the technology of the 14 million or so obsolete heating units, Germany's energy consumption could be almost halved. This represents a good 15 percent of total German energy consumption. At the same time, it would result in huge potential reductions in CO2 emissions.

ISH 2017 is taking place at a time when European and German policy on the protection of climate and natural resources is setting ambitious goals. CO2  emissions from cars and transport, industry and buildings are to be massively reduced by 2050. The figure for existing buildings is around minus 85 percent.

The members of the German heating industry who are represented by the BDH (Association of the German Heating Industry) is counting on a dual strategy involving energy efficiency and renewable energies. In addition to that is the necessity of a broad mix of energy sources and technologies, if the ambitious targets are to be achieved. The BDH sees an approach that is fundamentally based in market economics, rather than the constraints of regulation, as particularly appropriate in the attempt to successfully protect the climate and our natural resources.

At ISH, the German heating industry will be showcasing solutions to the challenges which arise from these attempts to preserve our climate and protect our resources. The heating industry is massively driven by innovation, invests almost half a billion euros annually in research and development and has devised many commercially viable technical solutions, which provide for an optimal combination of higher efficiency and the use of renewable energies.

Power to Heat

'Power to heat' is all about the increasing use of electricity generated from renewables in the heating market. This can be achieved, either by opting for a single system via a heat pump or by means of hybrid systems that consist of a heat pump and a heat generation unit for peak demand. 'Power to heat', moreover, requires the digitalisation of heating technology and the digitally regulated connection of the heating system to the mains network, in order to take advantage of flexible electricity tariffs.

ISH offers systems that combine roof-mounted photovoltaic installations for personal consumption with a heat pump, battery storage and thermal stores. An 'energy manager' takes care of the integration of the different components digitally. Such systems can, moreover, also partially cover the baseline demand for electricity in the house and charge an electrically powered vehicle outside as well.

Electricity in the heating market

Alongside 'power to heat', electricity generated from renewables can, at times of peak or over supply, be turned into hydrogen by a process of electrolysis. The subsequent methanisation of the hydrogen opens up the possibility of feeding that into the existing gas network. The gas network serves both as a way of transporting the gas to the buildings and as a store. As a result, natural gas becomes greener and serves as a way of storing energy generated at moments of peak supply for times of peak demand in the heating market, on days of what is sometimes called the “cold, dark lull” (minus temperatures, no sun, no wind).  

Another option is offered by the 'power to liquid' concept and biogenetic contributions, also useful as a way to store peak energy for the heating market of the future. As always, wood has an important role to play in the heating market and will have an even more important one to play in the future. It is a fuel raw material that is renewable and CO2 neutral, and will contribute to meeting peak demand.

Ideally, a solar-thermal unit for domestic hot water, and / or support for the heating system, combined with a modern thermal store, ought to be part of any system that links efficiency and renewable energies.

The key trends in efficiency technologies and building services technologies of the future will be showcased at ISH from 14 to 18 March in Frankfurt am Main. Over 2,400 exhibitors, including all the market leaders and leading technological experts from Germany and abroad, will be presenting their new products here, many of them for the first time anywhere in the world. The motto for ISH 2017 is: “Water. Energy. Life”. With its broad range of groundbreaking building services technology, the world's largest industrial exhibition for the combination of water and energy offers solutions for many, many issues relating to current economic policy.

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