Hundred people gathered in Brescia to debate about the role of digitalisation in District Heating

The very first TEMPO workshop was really successful according to the high rate of attendance on 7 November. The event was organised by A2A and Euroheat & Power | DHC+ with the aim to discuss about the importance and the potential of digitalisation in the future of district heating. The workshop was hosted in the auditorium of the waste-to-energy plant of A2A, one of the biggest and powerful in Europe. The audience was made up of a wide range of stakeholders, from researchers to technicians, from policy makers to general public.

The institutional welcoming sessions of Mr. Lorenzo Spadoni CEO of A2A Calore & Servizi and president of AIRU (Italian Urban Heating Association), Miriam Cominelli from the Brescia City Council and Elisabetta Scotto di Marco from Lombardy Region were dedicated to the role of district heating in the decarbonisation path of European cities and regions, underlining the great potential of growth that DH could have in Italy were the sector is still greatly underestimated. After the policy makers was up to the sector experts to give speeches during the first panel debate dedicated to the Digital Innovation in District Heating, the core matter of the whole initiative. The speakers showcased the best examples in the latest developments of IT applications in the world of heating networks. They remarked how simplicity and smartness are the main features of the smart grids for a new concept of “city” and digitalisation has a key role through the developments of monitoring tools. Anyway, to make the process effective and successful, it is fundamental that these new instruments have to be connected to the existing solutions and technologies. Predictive maintenance is a further solutions to be applied to the DHC networks in order to predict damages and intervene earlier without a constant human overview. Another example is the power plant optimization able to predict the load in the network and adapt the asset accordingly.

Another very interesting takeaway from the first panel debate was that digitalisation could also have a role in fostering private investments in district heating sector. Matteo Pozzi from OPTIT highlighted a smart asset management can be used to improve also investments decision. Planning of DHC networks through precision tools is a way to maximize the ROI against countless options. In other word, digitalisation tools are useful for marketing too and not just for technicians. Christian Johansson from NODA reminded the audience how DH is a cornerstone for smart cities and the latter are a pillar in sustainable energy systems, for this reason digitalisation is fundamental making the systems more robust and resilient to shocks.

The second session was more focusing on TEMPO solution packages and innovations. After an overview of the project expected results from VITO and the presentation of the fault detections system being implemented in the project by AIT, a second panel debate started, dedicated to “barriers and opportunities in “going digital”: what’s the impact for the industry?”. The importance of tailored solutions for local needs was discussed as well as the main hindering factors to digitalisation such as the lack of an effective policy and regulatory frameworks and consolidated business models.

The event concluded with Ilaria Marini from A2A Calore & Servizi presenting the Brescia demo within TEMPO followed by three interesting visits to the waste-to-energy plant, the co-generation plant and the pilot demo site in the city applying TEMPO envisaged solutions.

The next dedicate TEMPO workshop is expected in Germany in spring 2020 focusing in rural district heating. Follow TEMPO on the website and on Twitter.

All the presentations and pictures of the event are freely available here.