D2Grids, rolling out 5th generation district heating and cooling

Project Summary

Increasing the share of renewable energy by accelerating the roll-out of demand-driven smart grids delivering low temperature heating and cooling to NWE cities

The D2GRIDS project aims to develop 5th generation urban heating and cooling networks (5G DHC) in Europe. They will allow to anticipate the needs or sources of fatal heat, cold or renewable electricity in their vicinity. Similarly, local collective self-consumption logic will be optimized by broadly integrating heating and cooling needs, storage capacities or associated thermal or electrical flexibility.

The objective is to maximize the share of renewable energies in these local energy loops, through an industrialization of the approach, a standardized technological model, and a clarification of the business model to strengthen the interest of these projects for third party investors.

The project involves the implementation of 5 demonstrators in Paris-Saclay (FR), Bochum (GE), Brunssum (NL), Glasgow and Plymouth (UK). D2Grids will also prepare similar developments in Parkstad Limburg, North-East France, Flanders, the Ruhr region, Scotland and the East Midlands (United Kingdom). Dedicated education and training programmes will be set up by Open University, a partner in the project, providing expertise in post-graduate and digital learning.

The project has been extended following the 2nd Interreg NWE capitalisation call. In this context, the project benefits from new funding and a new working group composed of 7 partners of the initial consortium as well as 4 new partners.  The D2Grids consortium is now in charge of working on a better integration of electrical uses and local renewable electricity production capacities, in order to improve the decarbonisation of 5GDHC networks.

Know more about D2GRIDS and 5GDHC on the website!

Are you interested to learn more about 5th generation district heating and cooling (5GDHC)?

The D2Grids project is providing such opportunity. Open Universiteit, together with other D2Grids partners (BRGM, VITO, Greenflex, Mijnwater, ASPER), has developed a course on 5GDHC.

The first module of the course is already online !

The first module of 5GDHC (5th generation for heating and cooling grids) course focuses on providing general information about 5GDHC. In this module you will learn about 5GDHC principles, key performance indicators, advantages and disadvantages of the technology, differences of 5GDHC from other generations of district heating (and cooling), environmental aspects and possibilities of upgrading existing heating and cooling networks.

The 5GDHC course offers theoretical video lectures spiced up with real examples from the project pilot sites. For enthusiastic and advanced learners, the course provides additional reading materials, developed within the project. The course participants can accomplish assignments to check their understanding of the materials and ask questions to experts.

The course is currently available in the English language. In the coming year, the course will also be available in French, Dutch and German.

The second module is also online!

This course will take you through the main 5GDHC components, including the sources, thermal storages, drilling aspects, heat pumps, pipes and smart controllers that can be used in 5GDHC.

The 5GDHC course offers theoretical video lectures illustrated by real examples from the project’s pilot sites. It also provides additional reading materials for those who would like to expand their knowledge and learn more about project developments.

Why should you take this course?

The 5GDHC course offers the opportunity to gain exclusive knowledge and experience about 5GDHC from experts involved in implementing innovative district heating and cooling. 

This course is ideal for those who would like:

  • to expand their knowledge about 5GDHC;
  • to learn what technologies are used in 5GDHC;
  • to know how to start implementing 5GDHC;

The course is aimed at participants from industries, technology suppliers, small and medium-sized enterprises and actors on the energy market, but other participants are also welcomed to attend the course.

Some basic knowledge of the district heating concept is required.

How and where to take this course?

The 5GDHC course is free of charge!

The access to the course is provided upon registration.

You can follow the course at any time and at your own pace.

Register for the course!


Both modules are also available in French, German and Dutch!

                                 To find out how to launch a 5GDHC grid, project in your territory, click on "Starting your project"! 

Subscribe to D2GRIDS newsletter!

The D2Grids quarterly newsletter is open to all people (industrial stakeholders, project developers, public authorities...) interested in D2GRIDS outputs and news . Its goal is to ensure knowledge exchange and interaction among key actors.


Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Mijnwater Energy B.V. Spoorplein 45
6411 NZ
f.drummen@mijnwater.com www.mijnwater.com
Name Contact Name Email Country
Asper Investment Management Ltd Olivier Delpon de Vaux olivier.delpondevaux@asper-im.com United Kingdom
Clyde Gateway Developments Ltd Hugh Moore Hugh.moore@clydegateway.com United Kingdom
Open University Anna Bronzes anna.bronzes@ou.nl Netherlands
ECOTRANSFAIRE Bernard Lahure blahure@ecotransfaire.eu Luxembourg
French Geological Survey Virginie Hamm v.hamm@brgm.fr France
GreenFlex Rémi Soulisse rsoulisse@greenflex.com France
Construction21 France Paul Capgras paul.capgras@construction21.fr France
Vito Gert Moermans gert.moermans@vito.be Belgium
FUW GmbH Frank Peper Frank.peper@stadtwerke-bochum.de Germany
Plymouth City Council Jonathan Selman jonathan.selman@plymouth.gov.uk United Kingdom
EPA Paris-Saclay Nicolas Eyraud contact@oin-paris-saclay.fr France
Seqens Lucas Lazzarini lucas.lazzarini@seqens.fr France
LLC & Associés - Avocats Justine Bain-Thouverez justine.bain-thouverez@llc-avocats.com France
Scottish Water Horizons Ruth McNeil ruth.mcneil@scottishwater.co.uk United Kingdom
Nottingham City Council Neil Han neil.han@nottinghamcity.gov.uk United Kingdom
Energipark Réiden S.a. Paul Kauten paul.kauten@energiepark.lu Luxembourg

D2Grids releases a quarterly newsletter providing news and expert insight on 5G district heating and cooling. 

Fill in the contact form below to receive it directly into your mailbox!



Bonus newsletter: last but not least!

Newsletter #12 Let's meet on April 19th!

Newsletter #11: Key milestones achieved for D2Grids project!

Newsletter #10: Time to review the first half of the year for the D2Grids project!

Newsletter #9: 2022, a key step to go forward in rolling out 5GDHC!

Newsletter #8: Conference and workshop, feedbacks and achievements in 5GDHC sector

Newsletter #7 - 2nd capitalisation call, COP26 and new partners to welcome ! (jul. 2021)

Newsletter # 6 - 5 principles of 5th generation DHC, news from Nottingham, interview of Dr Franck Peper (feb. 2021)

Newsletter #5 - A new 5GHDC platform, 5 pilot sites, blockchain and district heating and cooling in Europe (nov. 2020)

Newsletter #4 - 5th generation DHC in video, geothermal energy in Bochum, COVID-19 challenges in the district energy sector (aug. 2020)

Newsletter #3 - District heating and cooling webinars, 5GDHC in Brunssum, Interseasonal heat storage (may 2020)

Newsletter #2 - District heating and cooling in Bochum, Green Solutions Awards, a new market survey, and much more ! (feb.2020)

Newsletter #1 - Deploying 5th generation district heating and cooling across North-West EuropeSeptember 2019 (sep.2019)

Find here public outputs and tools of the projects

Tutorial to incorporate renewable electricity into DHC

Report on investment opportunities in District Heating and Cooling - August 2021

Procurement for 5GDHC guidelines - June 2021

Transnational Roll-Out Strategy - April 2020

Market survey on available components - December 2019

Blockchain and smart contract State of the art on the energy market - September 2019

Tutorial to incorporate renewable electricity into heating and cooling grids!

District heating and cooling grids are key to tackle energy transition, being 69% green on average. To improve this percentage, electricity required by the DHC grid must be considered. Do it with this guide below which helps you understand how local and renewable electricity can be incorporated into innovative grids.

Infography and 4-pages guide

Brunssum's 5GDHC network digs deep for sustainable heating and cooling!

As part of the D2Grids project, which has been promoting 5th generation for heating and cooling grids since 2018, we spoke to data analysis expert Jibbe Bertholet about the deployment of this concept at the Brunssum pilot site in the Netherlands.

Read the interview!

Level up your knowledge: 5GDHC serious game is out!

The equipment you need to play the serious game on 5th generation district heating and cooling grids is now available! Discover this interactive role-playing game featuring a hypothetical scenario in which a district heating company organizes a meeting to deploy a fifth-generation district heating and cooling network (5GDHC) in different European cities. 


A look back at the day dedicated to heating and cooling grids: a key to decarbonise cities! 

The day of 19 April 2023, dedicated to heating and cooling grids and co-organised by
Construction21, ADEME, Fedene, FNCCR, Euroheat & Power and the European D2Grids
project, highlightedtheir latest innovations in decarbonisation on the French, European
and global energy scene!
The event included a number of announcements. 
You can watch all the video replays of this conference!

Flexibility, key to the Paris-Saclay heating and cooling grid!

As one of the five pilot sites of the D2Grids project, Paris Saclay aims to enhance its energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For that purpose, the 5GDHC Paris-Saclay grid is one of the keys.

Read the article and watch the replay!

How heating and cooling grids in Europe help strengthening the EU environmental strategy?

On April 19, the day dedicated to heating and cooling networks was held, and the morning was focused on D2Grids project. Frans Drummen and Eloi Piel opened the D2Grids conference with a keynote speech discussing the EU's role in the energy transition and the potential for DHC in the future.

Read the article and watch the replay!

5GDHC in practice: recovering heat from abandoned mines

Bochum and Heerlen are two cities using abandoned coal mines to implement fifth-generation district heating and cooling grids (5GDHC) in their regions.

Read the article and watch the replay!

5GDHC in practice: thermal energy from the sea and wastewater

Jonathan Selman, low carbon officer at Plymouth City Council, and Hugh Moore, project manager at Clyde Gateway, presented their cities' pioneering approaches to fifth generation heating and cooling grids during D2Grids final conference on April 19th, 2023.

Read the article and watch the replay!

5GDHC follower regions: a great potential for 5GDHC!

In the quest to decarbonise the heating and cooling sector and increase the utiliszation of renewable energy sources, the market transformation potential of 5th generation district heating and cooling (5GDHC) in follower regions has been showcased during the recent D2Grids final conference held on April 19th, 2023.

Watch the replay!

Survey of 53 fifth generation district heating and cooling grids (5GDHC) in Germany

This article presents a survey conducted among utility companies and engineering offices in Germany to collect data on 53 fifth-generation district heating and cooling grids. 

Read the article!

Experiences with low-temperature district heating and cooling in the Netherlands

In this article, we describe the ambitions, considerations, and choices of five Dutch project teams working within the national Natural Gas-Free District pilot Programme (PAW) to realise low temperature district heating. In doing so, we link to the principles of 5th generation district heating as developed in the D2Grids project.

Read the article!

Assessing district heating and cooling grids efficiency with KPIs

The D2Grids project developed a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess the readiness of 5th generation district heating and cooling (5GDHC) grids.

Read the article and watch the replay!

Getting involved in 5th generation district heating and cooling grids: the toolbox!

The D2Grids project has put together a toolkit to help understand everything about heating and cooling grids, in particular the fifth generation, and to support their deployment in European cities. The toolkit includes websites, e-learning, an industrial alliance, and an interactive 3D map.

Read the article and watch the replay!

Know-it-all about the 5th generation of district heating and cooling grids! 

Meet us on 19 April in Centrale Supélec’s engineering school on Paris-Saclay campus on the occasion of D2Grids closure event to learn more about the outputs of this innovative energy system and all the prerequisites, knowledge, and know-how of this essential solution at a time of energy transition.

Know more about this event!

How to decarbonise heating and cooling on a European and global scale?

Representing 50% of the energy consumption of industry and buildings, the heating and cooling sector must undergo a profound transformation to be decarbonised. Local low-temperature energy loops are key to this transformation. They emit 54% less carbon than natural gas and 64% less than fuel oil.

To find out all about these low-carbon solutions, meet us on 19 April from 09:00am at the CentraleSupélec engineering school on the Paris-Saclay campus. A day of debates, round tables and visits co-organised by the European D2Grids project, Construction21, Fedene, Ademe, the FNCCR and Euroheat & Power.

Know more and register for this event!

Second module about training for industries!

Open University presents the 2nd module of its online course, which focuses on the technological aspect of 5GDHC. The course covers the main components of 5GDHC, with theoretical video lectures and real-life examples from the project's pilot sites. This module is ideal for people who want to explore the technology in more detail and find out more about this innovative, sustainable and exciting project.

Read the article!

Throwback to the webinar: "Renewable electricity and innovative heating networks to decarbonise European cities!"

Wednesday, November 02, 2022, was held the webinar co-organised by Celsius Initiative and D2Grids, whose objective was to explore the possible synergies between renewable electricity and innovative district heating and cooling grids.

Read the article!

Clyde Gateway Welcomes Durham University’s GEMS Project

Clyde Gateway, D2Grids project partner, is supporting the GEMS project.
The project which will use the UKGEOS Glasgow observatory next to the Clyde Gateway 5GDHC grid, has been chosen to be a laboratory and inspirational example to develop geothermal energy through Scotland.

Read the article!

Legislative proposal in UK: an opportunity for 5GDHC?

The United Kingdom is introducing an Energy Security Bill, setting up potential development areas for heat networks within the territory. The aim is to supply these areas with heat and cold in a cost-effective and carbon-free way: innovative heat networks and especially 5GDHC will be able to take advantage of this opportunity! The D2Grids pilot site in Plymouth is setting an example for future developments.

Read the article!

Future role and potential of near-surface geothermal energy in Germany determined!

Learn how geothermal near-surface energy can be exploited in Germany! Thanks to a local study in North Rhine-Westphalia, a precise methodology was implemented to assess this potential for the entire country, which led to a national roadmap!

Read the article!

The 5th generation district heating and cooling grid inaugurated in Genk!

Since the beginning of September, two new infrastructure projects of the EnergyVille research collaboration have officially been inaugurated: CollecThor and THOREAQ. Both projects are part of the Open Thor Living Lab and form an important steppingstone for innovative research into 5GDHC technologies and new construction techniques.

Read the article!

5GDHC course is already here!

Are you interested in learning more about 5GDHC?
Open University, partner of the D2Grids project, offers you a complete course on how these grids work, the opportunities they represent, and key indicators to assess a heat grid! The first module is already online and open for registration.

Read the article!

Collective self-consumption photovoltaics to supply the Paris-Saclay heating and cooling grid

A new source of renewable energy to supply 5GDHC grid in Paris-Saclay!
In this interview, Mawya Rahal and Lucas Lazzarini present the unique collaboration between the social housing company Seqens and the heating and cooling grid of the EPA Paris-Saclay. This operation consists in producing photovoltaic electricity in collective self-consumption to offer renewable energy to the grid.

Read the article! 

Renewable electricity in 5GDHC, an innovative way to decarbonise European cities!

What is the future and potential for district heating grids in Europe? Mathilde Henry, Energy project manager at Greenflex, answered the question.
D2Grids project decided to innovate by diversifying sources of supply of renewable electricity to 5GDHC. Learn more about it and the reasons why it was decided to work on this topic.

Read the article!

5th generation heat networks: 5 key performance indicators to evaluate the performance of your system

In September 21, partners of the European project D2GRIDS gathered for a three-day sprint session. The objective? Determine a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to quantify the core principles of 5GDHC. These KPIs will help get a better understanding of how current energy networks perform. In this article, you will discover how the 5 principles of 5th generation district heating and cooling can be assessed with concrete indicators.

Read the article!

Look back on the day dedicated to the 5th generation local energy loops during Paris-Saclay Spring!

As a pilot site for the D2Grids project, the EPA Paris-Saclay is home to a 5th generation heating and cooling network that benefits a number of players on the southern Paris area of Paris Saclay. It was on this site, and particularly at the Ecole Polytechnique, that the D2Grids project partners met on May 12. The aim was to offer the public a day around the 5GDHC networks on the occasion of the "Paris-Saclay Spring" event.

(Re)live this day!

Both boreholes for tapping mine water at the Bochum pilot site successfully drilled !

Stadtwerke Bochum, FUW GmbH and Fraunhofer IEF have tapped mine water at the MARK 51°7 site in Bochum with two boreholes. This site is one of the 5 pilot sites of the European D2GRIDS project, which aims to promote 5th generation for District Heating and Cooling grids. After the first borehole with a depth of about 340 metres was successfully drilled in February, the second borehole, which reaches a depth of about 820 metres, has now been completed.

Read the article!

New innovative demonstrator on one of the D2GRIDS pilot sites

As part of the European D2Grids project, which is part of the Interreg North West Europe program, the first advanced thermal demand management demonstrator has been deployed on the EPA Paris-Saclay 5th generation heating and cooling grid, one of the project's five pilot sites.

Read the article

Seqens, the social housing company involved in the energy transition joins the D2Grids adventure!

In response to the 2ND Interreg NWE capitalisation call, Seqens has joined the new consortium of the D2GRIDS project dedicated to better integrate electrical uses and local renewable energy production capacities. The arrival of this new partner allows the D2Grids project to go further, by producing electricity to benefit several consumers locally.

Watch the video!

Look back on the D2Grids conference: "on the road to 5GDHC"

The European D2GRIDS project, which aims to develop 5th GENERATION LOCAL ENERGY GRIDS organised a conference on the occasion of COP26. It took place in Glasgow and was available online. The goal was to showcase the results in developing the concept and pilot site achievements.

Read the article

D2Grids project extension: strengthening synergies between electrical uses, heating & cooling to better decarbonise our territories

The European D2GRIDS project, which aims to develop 5th generation local energy loops, has been extended following the 2nd Interreg NWE capitalisation call. In this context, the project benefits from new funding and a new working group composed of 7 partners of the initial consortium as well as 4 new partners.  The D2Grids consortium will thus be in charge of working on a better integration of electrical uses and local renewable electricity production capacities, in order to improve the decarbonisation of 5GDHC networks.

Read the article

The 5 principles of 5th generation district heating and cooling

In Europe, heating and cooling represent 50% of the total energy consumption for buildings and the industry. 5th generation district heating and cooling (5GDHC), a highly optimised, low-temperature grid, is a promising solution to decarbonise our building stock. The D2Grids project aims at accelerating the roll-out of 5GDHC grids in Europe, through an industrialisation of the system, the creation of solid business plans, and the development of 5 pilot sites.  The D2Grids project team has recently reached an important deliverable, which is the definition of the generic technology model of 5GDHC. To ensure a flexible and resilient energy network to meet current and future needs, a 5th generation heating and cooling system (5GDHC) is established on the following five principles. This article will help you understand the 5 main aspects of a 5GDHC grid.

Read the article


FUW GmbH (in cooperation with Stadtwerke Bochum Holding GmbH) intends to set up an innovative, highly efficient and environmentally friendly 5th generation heating and cooling supply on the « Mark 51°7 » site. The “Mark 51°7” site is located in Bochum Laer. It is the area of the former plant of the automobile manufacturer Opel with a total area of 68 ha. After the end of automobile production in 2014, the area is available for subsequent use. In the north-western area of “Mark 51°7” is the former “Dannenbaum” coal mine, which was in operation until 1958. An essential part of the energy supply concept on “Mark 51°7” is the use of mine water as a heat source to cover a large part of the heating and cooling demand of the customers located on the site. For this purpose, the geothermal heat and cold stored in the mine water of the former « Dannenbaum » coal mine is used.

The heat and cold from the two geothermal wells is coupled out to an intermediate circuit via heat exchangers and transported mainly to the so-called “Energy Center East” (EZO) (supply of 23 customers) as well as two smaller decentral heating and cooling centers (same design as EZO), each for one customer. Within the “Energy Center East”, a heat pump system raises the temperature level of the mine water for the downstream low-temperature heating grid and lowers it for the downstream cooling grid. The consumers connected to these two grids receive heat for space heating and cold for space cooling. Since mainly office buildings will be built in this area of the site, the respective temperature levels are sufficient. The heat pump system is designed for the base load supply. The peak load for heat supply is provided via the upstream 3rd generation district heating grid, while the peak load for cold supply is generated by compression chillers, which are also located in/on the “Energy Center East”.


                                                                  Blueprints and technical data


The pilot customer Faiveley is connected to the thermal mine water network via a substation with a local heat pump. This thermal network will be expanded later, with further substations (heating and cooling centre with heat pumps) to follow. The network is set up in such a way that the heating and cooling capacities can be made available to different customers at different temperatures.


The network will be set up in such a way that it will be possible to exchange heat and cold requirements between customers in the future expansion with several substations and connected secondary subnetworks. The net flows are balanced by short-term decentralized storage of the substations and by the heat source and low-grade thermal source of the mine water reservoir. The latter also serves as long-term (seasonal) centralized large-scale storage.


The low-grade thermal source of the mine water reservoir covers a large part of the heating and cooling requirements. Short-term peaks in demand are partially offset by short-term decentralized storage.

Bochum pilot site video!



 In Brunssum, Mijnwater B.V. is building a circular energy system for the residential complexes of the Weller B.V. housing corporation. Thanks to the heating and cooling network of Mijnwater, the connected houses are not only heated without natural gas, but also cooled. The new energy cellars in Brunssum supply three residential districts Tarcisius, Oude Egge, and Pastor Savelbergstraat with a total of 200 homes with sustainable energy. The double energy cellar is fed from a heat and cold storage (CHP), and then also exchanges energy between the various complexes.



                                                                                               Blueprints and technical data


For Mijnwater, the novel and challenging activity is to start developing separate island solutions, that should later become part of two separate clusters of a new Brunssum heating and cooling network.


Thermal storage will be provided from an aquifer doublet at the Tarcisius site, and one at Noorderkroon. This is enough to enable energy exchange between different points in time, but not quite enough to guarantee all peak demand, and regeneration of the aquifer source. Hence the temporary deployment of air-source heatpump installations.


The island solutions being built are naturally demand-driven, as they must serve the local area. The Thermal Energy Plant at Tarcisius will serve 200 dwellings, in three clusters, in local neighbourhood. The grid connections to the dwellings will separately deliver heating and cooling, using a 4-pipe system for the local area.

Brunssum pilot site in video!

Watch the video


Clyde Gateway is Scotland’s biggest and most ambitious regeneration programme. It is a partnership between Glasgow City Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Enterprise, backed by funding and direct support from the Scottish Government. It is an important regeneration zone of Glasgow and is transforming into an area comprising a mix of uses including residential, commercial, retail, leisure and educational buildings.


A passive heat recovery system will be installed on the Delmarnock Waste Water Treatment Work (WWTW) effluents, enabling this wasted heat source as the main energy balancing source of th 5GDHC network.

The DHN Energy center on the site includes a gas-fired CHP which provides heat to the WWTW. The pilot site scheme assumes the inclusion of a heat recovery arrangement to capture waste heat from the CHP to supply the 5GDHC.


Thermal storage is included and can provide benefits to the 5GDHC network, it will allow the network to better share the energy between the buildings by allowing the ability to store any excess of cold or heat energy within the system.

                                                                                               Blueprints and technical data

Glasgow pilot site video!

Watch the video!


 EPA Paris-Saclay, the Land Planning Public Authority for the Paris-Saclay urban area, is in charge of the development of one of a world class technology and innovation cluster. It believes that such an urban development must be in advance with respect to environmental issues, using the most innovative technologies to fulfill its high energetic and environmental objectives, in line with the COP21 global and national objectives. Its energetic strategy reflects this ambition.

Paris Saclay District Heating and Cooling network which is one of the most innovative DHC grids in Europe, is the cornerstone of this energy strategy. 




Carrying thermal energy from the Energy Centre to the decentralized plant (“SSTI”), and allowing heat and cold exchanges between building clusters.


Connecting decentralized heat and cold plants to local customers. These heat and cold plants (“SSTI”), located in the basement of major buildings of the urban campus, host the heat pumps supplying simultaneaous heat and cold.


Two 700-meter-deep wells into the Albien aquifer are necessary : One pumping geothermal wate,r the other returning it back to the Albien aquifer after extracting its heat. The Albien aquifer is a eep 30°C-water field located under the Paris region. It dates back to -145 millions year.

Take a look at the case-study!

Read the case-study

                                                                                               Blueprints and technical data

Paris-Saclay pilot site video!

Watch the video!


Plymouth City Council (PCC) has declared a Climate Emergency and committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, ahead of the national legally binding targets of 2050. The City Council has a Climate Emergency Action Plan and Corporate Carbon Reduction Plan. It is actively working to reduce its own carbon footprint across its portfolio and working with other partners across the city, on a range of areas particularly with heat grids.

Building on the work completed through the preceding HeatNet Interreg NWE project, 5GDHC has great potential for scaling-up and rolling out in the city centre area, both in new developments and existing buildings, with a mix of heating and cooling loads.


The D2Grids pilot is building on the initial work completed through the HeatNet NWE project. It allowed the city to map out heating and cooling loads, identify opportunities for renewable heat sources and develop the concept design of a 5GDHC network. Involvement in HeatNet also resulted in the delivery of infrastructure in Millbay, but also in drilling test wells into the principal aquifer in the underlying limestone within this area.


In one cluster (Civic Centre), as well as serving public buildings, the pilot aims to expand the heat network infrastructure to supply a range of public buildings, including 144 residential units, a commercial area and a theatre with low carbon heat (that can transition to zero).

In another, at Millbay the proposals would supply social residential dwellings (147 units), a hotel, office block and events arena with zero carbon heating & cooling, delivering high levels of comfort at a competitive price.


Renewable energy (alongside waste heat) will be derived from a combination of ground source, marine water and air source using heat pumps (decentralised and centralised).


Plymouth pilot site video!

Watch the video!

                                                               Steps of development of a 5G project:

                                                How to launch a DHC network project in your territory?

1 – Initiation:

A district heating and/or cooling project can be identified in different ways:

  • A territorial transition plan aims to enhance energy efficiency, to increase the share of renewable/waste energy or to reduce the energy bill of households. The local authority is seeking to develop a district heating network.
    Example:  if a local authority has a Climate and Energy Plan that aims to increase the share of renewable energy to 50% for heating on its territory: An effective action would be to deploy a heating network in one of the municipalities with a high rate of renewable energy.
  • A source of renewable/waste energy has been identified on the territory. This free source of energy can be valorised through a district heating network.
    Example: An industrial company has a surplus of low temperature heat (30°C) and does not know how to use it onsite.
  • A new need for heat/cold on a territory (new district, new hospital…)
    Example: A new district is built and seeks to be supplied with a renewable and competitive energy. This new network can also supply other buildings or districts.

Then, to help better define the scope of the project, an opportunity study can be conducted to determine several outputs:

  • Who will be the project owner/project manager?
  • What will be the scope of the project?
  • Which type of sources are available?
  • What would be the energy density of the project?

To secure its project and reduce the risk related to the investment, the project owner will seek for energy intensive customers, like hospital, schools, swimming pools or industrials.

2 – Feasibility study:

If the potential identified is considered as enough, the project owner can decide to continue the studies with a feasibility phase. This study aims at determining several elements :

  • Energy balance (estimation of energy needs, selection of local energy sources, definition of scenarios)
  • Choice and sizing of installations (production, distribution, delivery stations, thermal storage)
  • Economic assessment (investment, subsidies, estimated costs and revenues)
  • Environmental and social impact (ENR&R rate, CO2 impact, stimulation of the local economy)
  • Expected planning

The designer evaluations must be based on knowledge on the potential demand, on the local resources (geothermal, biomass…). To rapidly deploy 5GDHC, this new technology must be considered from the early stage of the project.

3 – Consultation:

Governance mode:

As local authorities are the owners of the roads in a city, they are the key player in DHC networks. Different modes of governance exist, the local authority can:

  • Delegate to a private company the construction and operation of the DHC. In this case the investment is made by the private company.
  • Delegate only the operation of the network to a private operator.
  • Ensure the construction and operation of the network

Funding is a major issue in DHC (District Heating and Cooling). Investors are reasonably not confident enough in projects which economic viability has not been demonstrated yet. The decision making of financing is generally based on risks evaluations. Furthermore, 5G technology is more expansive than usual grids (low temperatures, electrical/thermal coupling…).

The investment in the network can be made either by the private developer or by the municipality or by both, depending on the contracting scheme.

4 – Design phase:

The design phase includes all the studies to be performed before project construction starts. These studies can be conducted either by the project owner (private developer or local authority) or can be outsourced to a dedicated company through a call for tenders.

This phase includes:

  • Plans and documents for the design and implementation of the installations,
  • Technical specifications of equipment and works,
  • Installation drawings for energy sources, substations, piping, instrumentation, electricity, and civil engineering,
  • Functional analysis and regulation rules,
  • Plans and technical documents related to any application for authorization and permit (including building permit and application) and any declaration and certificate for the project.

5 – Construction:

In general, the project owner (private developer or local authority) designates an entity in charge of the implementation of the network after a call for tenders. This entity will separate the construction work into different lots and organize call for tenders to select one or several companies for each lot.

Each company will then conduct detailed study on their respective lots and will oversee the execution of the works.

The entity in charge of the implementation will follow the execution of the work of each lot.

After the commissioning and acceptance of the work, the network is ready to operate.

6 – Operation:

The grid can be operated either by the local authority or by a private operator.

The network is in charge to supply heat and cold to every customer connected. A DHC is demand driven. To allow a better amortization of the investment on the infrastructures, the grid operator will seek to connect new costumers all along the duration of the grid.

The operator will also oversee the maintenance of the grid, substation, and production units.

As 5GDHC is a distributed power generation, supply, demand, and payment procedures could be disrupted by new technologies. Consumers could have to be more active, new business models must be identified and new players will probably appear.


Development Toolkit

This section gathers all the useful tools for working on 5G project:

1 – Start a projet with the Kick Start Tool

A quick questionnaire to provide information about your project and get back to you.

2 – Plan district energy systems

One possible tool is nPro developed by nPro Energy GmbH.
With it you can simulate districts with heating and cooling networks, renewable energies, hydrogen technologies, heat pumps and seasonal storages.

3 – Calculate the CO2 impact of a project

This simple calculation model is designed to calculate the direct and biogenic GHG emissions of 5G networks.
It may be used freely by clicking here for the tool and right here for the description.

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