Flexynets Economic Considerations
The FLEXYNETS concept reduces investment costs, since cheap, easy-to-install, plastic pipes can be used to distrib-ute the carrier fluid. Moreover, the integration of multiple heat sources and heat sinks all over the network path in-crements the profitability per unit length of pipe installed. For example, moving from pre-insulated pipes (PE-Xa with surrounding polyurethane foam, presently used for wa-ter up to 95 °C) to standard water pipes in PEX would de-crease the cost of piping – which is of the order of 25-35 % of total DHC installation costs – by almost 80 %. Assuming that pipes costs cover around 50% of the overall pipelines installation, that results in roughly 40% reduction of the up-front cost for the network setup.
Moreover, the scalability of FLEXYNETS solutions – from serving a small cluster of buildings up to an entire city – makes them suitable for single city quarters; they do not require large infrastructural investments and complex polit-ical decisions that involve the entire urban environment. Finally, besides the environmental benefits, the energy savings correspond to lower expenses for energy bills for users. In addition, FLEXYNETS creates a broad range of profit opportunities on a newly setup heating market for heat producers and suppliers and for single customers, increasing their contractual strength
Taking only Spain, Italy and France as examples, and bearing in mind the current prices of gas and electri city, savings in the range of 1.5 B€/y and 4 B€/y can be obtained for heating in the residential and office sector. Between 30 M€/y and 80 M€/y can be saved with respect to the cooling demand.
We must also account for profits related to the sale of heat from waste and Renewable Energy Sources. Actual sale prices of waste heat range between 10 and 40 €/MWh. Assuming frozen prices until 2030 and minimum 50% of waste or renewable heat entering the DHC networks, a
“heat stock market” ranging between 150 and 400 M€/y can be foreseen. These profits are largely shifted from gas providers to the European industry. Furthermore, this will result in new highly qualified jobs.