What is E2District?
E2District is a three year European Commission Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation project formally entitled 'Energy Efficient Optimised District Heating and Cooling'.
The aim of E2District is to develop an innovative cloud based software infrastructure and people behaviour flexibility strategy to manage and support smart energy usage and decision making for sustainable district heating and cooling systems. The project aims to create a replicable model which can be promoted under the EU Horizon 2020 project framework and adapted for other similarly managed industrial or domestic sites - whether local, national, or international - with a view to delivering increased energy efficiencies and measurable cost savings.
District energy systems which pipe steam, and hot or cold water, around a district from a central location are being used in a variety of cities worldwide because of their higher energy efficiency which can significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of cooling and heating. This can result in improved air quality, and, where district systems use renewable power sources, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and energy imports, increasing the resilience of cities to fuel price shocks.
Cork Institute of Technology's campus-wide experimental testbed, in conjunction with two European city district validation sites, is serving as an ideal testbed for demonstrating the advantages of E2District’s software defined heating and cooling infrastructure.
The E2District project is targeting energy cost savings of 30%, indicating that eventual widespread adoption of similar smart district heating and cooling infrastructures could deliver significant efficiencies and reduced costs over the long-term.
As identified by Intelligent Energy Europe, district heating is likely to double its share of the European heat market by 2020 (reaching approximately an 18-20% share) while district cooling will likely grow to satisfy 25% of cooling demands. This expansion will translate into a 2.6% reduction in the entire European primary energy need and a 9.3% reduction of all carbon emissions and, ultimately, will achieve a significant reduction in European energy import dependency.
This vision, however, is not possible through modernisation and expansion alone but requires fundamental technological innovation. Barriers which need to be surmounted include the lack of proper tools, inflexibility of the existing DHC business models, limited customer engagement in the DHC energy market and lack of support for future distributed generation and energy exchange between consumers, producers and DHC.
E2District will address these issues by developing, deploying, validating and demonstrating a novel cloud based District Management and Decision Support framework for next generation DHC systems.