Read Part 1 here.

Recycling heat is not only an overlooked measure in the current energy crisis, but also the next frontier of the green transition. As we conclude this series, it’s time to step into the future with concrete recommendations that meet the needs of the moment.

Many countries and cities are ripe to take advantage of the energy wasted in their backyard. Not least those with an energy demand intensity, a district energy system, and large sources of excess heat. In a time of exploding energy prices, gas shortages, and climate crisis, it would be a policy failure of immense proportion if decision makers across the continent fail to take advantage of excess heat. Adding to this, the role of excess heat in the future energy system will only grow. The technology for using low temperature excess heat is maturing and, in the future energy system, excess heat sources such as Power to X facilities will grow significantly. 

It is crucial that decision makers are aware of this potential when conducting urban planning and designing the financial and regulatory framework for the future energy market. With that in mind, we present the following policy recommendations.


In general, excess heat must be considered as an energy resource instead of waste to be disposed of. Today, there are a number of market barriers that prevent market players from leveraging the potential of reusing excess heat. Regulation can remove these barriers, for instance by supporting an equal treatment of waste heat and renewable energy sources used in heat networks. Regulation can also push for greater use of excess energy by making it mandatory for entities such as data centers or industries to make a plan for exploiting the excess heat.

In general, mandatory heat planning will enable cities across Europe to assess the potential and make the best use of locally available resources. For instance, in Denmark, municipalities were asked to map existing heat demand, the existing heat supply method and the amounts of energy used. They also estimated future demand and supply possibilities. Based on this information, overall energy plans were prepared to show the priority of heat supply options in any given area and identify locations for future heat supply units and networks. Depending on the existing energy system, energy planning can both reveal small-scale potential (such as forming the right incentives for heat recovery or the potential of co-generation of heating and electricity) or it can reveal the potential of larger-scale opportunities such as the rollout of district heating.

It is crucial that the scope of the heat planning is wide and detailed, and also includes potential future sources of excess heat, such as Power to X facilities. 


To further improve energy efficiency by using wasted energy, it is essential to remove both financial and legislative barriers. The current design of the energy market is, in many places, a barrier to sector integration technologies. It either hinders the participation of sector integration technologies in specific markets, or it fails to internalize all positive and negative externalities of respectively low- and carbon-intensive technologies. 

It is crucial that tax legislation is in favor of using surplus heat and that appropriate network tariff structures should be considered. Additionally, administrative barriers need to be removed to incentivize users to connect to district heating networks, which will also encourage district heating utilities to boost their efficiency.


More systematic use of excess heat is, at its core, an exercise that spans sectors and stakeholders. Partnerships between local authorities, energy suppliers and energy sources such as supermarkets, data centers, wastewater facilities, and industries can help to maximize excess heat’s full potential. 

Danfoss engineers solutions that increase machine productivity, reduce emissions, lower energy consumption, and enable electrification. Our solutions are used in such areas as refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, power conversion, motor control, industrial machinery, automotive, marine, and off- and on-highway equipment. We also provide solutions for renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, as well as district-energy infrastructure for cities. Our innovative engineering dates back to 1933. Danfoss is family-owned, employing more than 42,000 people, serving customers in more than 100 countries through a global footprint of ninety-five factories. For more information, visit

Did you enjoy this article?
Subscribe to the FREE Digital Edition of Modern Pumping Today Magazine!

Previous articleA Different Way to Drastically Reduce Friction
Next articleXYLEM: Series e-SVI Immersible Multistage Pump