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New heating and cooling solutions using low grade sources of thermal energy
Deadline: Jan 21, 2016  

 Renewable Energy
 Waste Management
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

In their vast majority, heating and cooling demand is supplied using high valued energy sources e.g. electricity and fossil fuel driven appliances. However, there is a wide range of thermal energy sources[[Sources of residual and renewable energy e.g. sewage water, underground resources, solar heat, low grade waste heat, etc.]] which due to their temperature levels are not generally used to deliver useful heating and/or cooling.

On the one hand, the share of low valued energy sources in the supply of useful heat and cooling can be increased if low exergy systems[[In the context of this topic this refers to systems able to deliver useful heating and cooling using low grade energy sources, e.g. sources of heating or cooling at temperature levels close to room temperature for space heating and cooling applications]] are used.

On the other hand, a number of technologies can be used to take advantage of low/moderate temperature resources[[The levels of temperature referred to as low/moderate will depend on the concrete application]], e.g. by upgrading them in order to generate useful heating and cooling and, in some cases, also electricity.


Actions are needed to develop, demonstrate, validate and improve the overall efficiencies of:

  • technologies that are able to use low valued (low-grade) energy sources (residual and renewable sources of thermal energy) in low-exergy heating and cooling systems.
  • technologies that are able to take advantage of very low and low (moderate) temperature resources, e.g. by upgrading them, in order to generate useful heating and cooling[[In here useful heating and cooling can embrace, as relevant to the proposed action, all types of end uses and temperature ranges (e.g. space heating and cooling, how water preparation, supply of industry processes, etc.)]] and if relevant electricity. (e.g. heat pumps able to harvest low-grade heat, heat driven chillers and heat driven combined heat and power cycles). Necessary attention should be paid to improving system reliability and automated operation.

Proposals are expected to address one or both of the two areas mentioned above, as necessary. The activities are expected to be implemented at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4-6 (please see part G of the General Annexes).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

The scope of this topic might change in 2017 to investigate the applicability of low and very low temperature district heating for buildings with high thermal performance. This will depend on the conclusions of the Heating and Cooling Strategy by the end of 2015 and will be subject of a Work Programme revision in 2016.

Expected Impact:

Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below, using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible:

  • Primary energy savings and GHG emission savings triggered by the proposed solutions (compared to best available solution existing today);
  • Increased share of residual and renewable sources of thermal energy in the supply heating and cooling demand;
  • Gains in the overall efficiencies of heating and cooling systems using very low and low (moderate) temperature sources of thermal energy.

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