Partnership to explore opportunities to reuse excess heat from Warsaw Metro

Danfoss has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Municipality of Warsaw, the Royal Danish Embassy in Poland, Metro Warszawskie, and Rambøll Group to consider using excess heat from the Warsaw Metro System to heat private homes and buildings.
Partnership to explore opportunities to reuse excess heat from Warsaw Metro
Warsaw Metro. Courtesy of Michael Matloka/Unsplash.

The feasibility study of the metro heat recovery system will be carried out using funds from The Export and Investment Fund of Denmark's Green Accelerator Programme and made available to the City of Warsaw.

Warsaw is a member city of the European Commission's Cities Mission, a project aiming to achieve 100 climate-neutral and smart cities in the EU by 2030, and this MoU is an essential step towards achieving that.

His Majesty King Frederik X will be at the signing ceremony at the Naradowy Metro Station in central Warsaw, which is part of the official program of His Majesty the King's visit to Poland. 

Excess heat is the world's largest untapped energy source and can be found throughout any city. Heat is generated every time an engine runs, and only some initiatives currently reuse this wasted energy. Industries, metro systems, supermarkets, data centres, wastewater plants, and hydrogen electrolysis all produce significant amounts of excess heat, which can be captured and reused. 

The accessible excess heat in Warsaw alone can cover the heating demand of at least 275,000 people in Poland - and that does not include further accessible excess heat from industries and data centres. 

“The partnership is a great demonstration of what we can achieve when organisations work together, and the Memorandum of Understanding is an important first step to reuse the vast amounts of excess heat available in Warsaw and beyond” said Adam Jędrzejczak, President, East European Region, Danfoss. “Rather than simply letting heat dissipate into thin air, we are taking active steps to capture and reuse it and paving the way for fully decarbonised heating in cities like Warsaw. And it isn't only in the Warsaw Metro system; there is vast potential in reusing heat from wastewater facilities, industrial clusters, and data centres in major European cities. Excess heat can become a vital source of green energy and help accelerate the transition to renewables. We are honoured that His Majesty, King Frederik X was present for the signing of the Memorandum, and we deeply appreciate that he is using his visit to Poland to promote green solutions that can tackle the challenges of climate change not only in Poland but all around the world.” 

With a population of 1.8 million, Warsaw is by far the largest city in Poland. As such, it also plays an outsized role in ensuring that Poland reaches the goals of the EPP2040, its comprehensive agenda for creating a just transition to a zero-emission energy system. 

In the vast area that makes up Warsaw's district heating system, many potential sources of excess heat are just waiting to be used efficiently. That is the dozens of stations of the city's Metro system. Every year, 62 GWh of heat is wasted from the metro stations. This is the equivalent of the heating demand for the homes of over 14,000 people living in Poland for a year. 

With technologies that already exist today, this heat could be captured and recirculated in the district heating network, helping pave the way to a fully decarbonised heating system in Warsaw. The companies behind the MoU include Danfoss, GEA DK, Bjerg Akitektur, Elogic, and Rambøll Group. 

Warsaw has a developed district heating system with more than 1,800 kilometres of pipes delivering hot water to and from the city's buildings. But while Warsaw's district heating system gives it a head start on energy-efficient heating, there is a near-total reliance on four fossil fuel heat plants to deliver the heat to the district heating system. There is, however, a readily available solution to help address this: utilising excess heat. 

Excess heat is the world's largest untapped source of energy. In the EU and UK alone, there is about 2,860 TWh/y of waste heat accessible, almost corresponding to the EU's total energy demand for heat and hot water in residential and service sector buildings. Using excess heat that would otherwise go to waste makes it possible to cut emissions and lower consumer energy prices.

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