Goals and vision

Overall goals for the research

The long-term vision for FutureHeat is to contribute to a sustainable heating system. A system with successful companies that take advantage of new technical opportunities and where the societal investments made in district heating and cooling systems are used in the best way. In the third stage of the program, from 2022 to 2024, the focus lies on the three research and development orientations described below.

The third stage will generate results within the three research and development specialisations presented below in both district heating and cooling systems.

1. District heating, cooling, and cogeneration in the emerging energy system

Based on the heating sector's goal of being fossil fuel-free by 2030 and constituting a carbon sink by 2045, this focus will provide district heating companies with guidance before strategically important investment decisions. The results will answer the question of what role different technologies and changes in the environment play for the district heating, the cold, and the future of cogeneration and how the district heating companies can collaborate with other industries to drive development to reach the
environmental and climate goals. Examples of what will be investigated are the issue of sustainability linked to different fuels, integration between energy carriers, and the potential for alternative energy supply such as deep geothermal energy and solar heating in Sweden.

2. Optimisation and improvement of existing systems

The program will provide concrete guidance and useful results for the optimisation and improvement of existing systems. The results will help to (1) develop methods for improved and condition-based maintenance of distribution networks, (2) develop technologies and services for increased flexibility, and (3) identify measures to optimise and lower temperature levels in existing systems and investigate potential heat sources for systems with lower temperatures. The results in this specialisation are expected to be applicable in the industry within 1 - 5 years.

3. New solutions for customers and suppliers

The results must show opportunities with and methods for new customer and supplier solutions. Here, we see that prosumers and special customer solutions with heat/cooling recovery will be important to investigate as well as how an increased sector connection can be achieved in practice. One goal is to develop cooperation with the real estate industry, for example, to jointly develop realistic future scenarios, improve the basis for dimensioning, evaluate various flexibility solutions and gain an increased understanding of district heating and district cooling customers' preferences. The results in this specialisation is expected to be mainly applicable in the industry within 1 - 5 years. The steering group in FutureHeat takes the liberty of describing additional program areas if events in the outside world make new issues interesting to investigate.

The results from FutureHeat will provide a basis for developing district heating and cooling systems and companies' operations. Both by providing compass directions for strategic decisions and by leading to tangible methods and tools for streamlining and developing the existing systems. The results will be reported in the form of seminars, study visits, reports, and handbooks and are also expected to contribute to the basis for standardisation.