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District Energy Growth

Connecting Calgary

Central Energy Hub

What is District Energy?

A District Energy System (DES) is designed to supply thermal heat, in the form of hot water, to multiple building locations from a central energy hub through a network of insulated underground pipes. The customer base for most District Energy Systems comprises hotels and other high-density buildings such as commercial, government, institutional, educational, or residential. Buildings connected to a DES do not need boilers or furnaces for heat and domestic hot water.

Calgary District Heating building in downtown Calgary, with the Calgary Tower in the background.

Centralized Thermal Energy Generation

How It Works

01 Thermal Energy Generation

High-efficiency, natural gas combustion and electric boilers produce hot water at the central plant.  Concurrently, a Combined Heat and Power generation engine (CHP) utilizes lost heat to produce electricity and thermal energy. This zero-carbon thermal energy is harvested from the CHP and injected back into the Thermal Distribution System (TDS). Utilizing both boilers and a CHP allows us to generate power and heat simultaneously at very high efficiencies.

District heating process illustration depicting step 1 of the process, Thermal Energy Generation, using boilers.
Boilers

High-efficiency boilers produce a total of 22MWt.

02 Thermal Distribution System

Thermal energy is distributed to customer buildings via 12km of insulated, underground pipes. The TDS is a closed-loop system consisting of insulated, carbon steel pipe and composite pipe which minimizes heat loss and mitigates spillage using a leak detection system.

District heating process illustration depicting step 2 of the process, Thermal Distribution System, where insulated, underground pipes carry hot water to connected buildings.
Underground Piping

Comprised of Schedule 2 carbon steel pipe and composite pipe.

03 Energy Transfer Station

The point of heat transfer between the DES and the customer’s own internal heating system is called an Energy Transfer Station (ETS). The ETS takes the place of traditional boilers and domestic hot water heaters in connected buildings. The basic ETS consists of isolating valves, heat exchangers, actuated control valves, a digital controller, and energy meters.  Each ETS will be designed, installed, monitored, and owned by CDHI.

District heating process illustration depicting step 3 of the process, Energy Transfer Station, the point where energy is transferred to customers.
ETS

The ETS reduces on-site mechanical room footprint by 80-95%.

04 Combined Heat and Power

Our Jenbacher J620 Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit produces 3.3MW of electric energy and 3.3MW of thermal energy. This 20-cylinder unit combusts natural gas which turns a generator to produce electricity. The electricity produced is exported to the grid and consumed by the surrounding community. Waste heat generated from the combustion process is also harvested from the engine and injected into the District Energy System providing increased system efficiency. A CHP increases operational efficiency by only using one energy input (natural gas) to get two usable energy outputs (electricity and heat).

District heating process illustration depicting step 4 of the process, combined heat and power, using a generator.
Generator
Weighing in at over 90,000 lb, our CHP produces 3.3MW
of electrical energy and 3.3MW of thermal energy.

01 Thermal Energy Generation

High-efficiency, natural gas combustion and electric boilers produce hot water at the central plant.  Concurrently, a Combined Heat and Power generation engine (CHP) utilizes lost heat to produce electricity and thermal energy. This zero-carbon thermal energy is harvested from the CHP and injected back into the Thermal Distribution System (TDS). Utilizing both boilers and a CHP allows us to generate power and heat simultaneously at very high efficiencies.

District heating process illustration depicting step 1 of the process, Thermal Energy Generation, using boilers.
Boilers

High-efficiency boilers produce a total of 22MWt.

02 Thermal Distribution System

Thermal energy is distributed to customer buildings via 12km of insulated, underground pipes. The TDS is a closed-loop system consisting of insulated, carbon steel pipe and composite pipe which minimizes heat loss and mitigates spillage using a leak detection system.

District heating process illustration depicting step 2 of the process, Thermal Distribution System, where insulated, underground pipes carry hot water to connected buildings.
Underground Piping

Comprised of Schedule 2 carbon steel pipe and composite pipe.

03 Energy Transfer Station

The point of heat transfer between the DES and the customer’s own internal heating system is called an Energy Transfer Station (ETS). The ETS takes the place of traditional boilers and domestic hot water heaters in connected buildings. The basic ETS consists of isolating valves, heat exchangers, actuated control valves, a digital controller, and energy meters.  Each ETS will be designed, installed, monitored, and owned by CDHI.

District heating process illustration depicting step 3 of the process, Energy Transfer Station, the point where energy is transferred to customers.
ETS

The ETS reduces on-site mechanical room footprint by 80-95%.

04 Combined Heat and Power

Our Jenbacher J620 Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit produces 3.3MW of electric energy and 3.3MW of thermal energy. This 20-cylinder unit combusts natural gas which turns a generator to produce electricity. The electricity produced is exported to the grid and consumed by the surrounding community. Waste heat generated from the combustion process is also harvested from the engine and injected into the District Energy System providing increased system efficiency. A CHP increases operational efficiency by only using one energy input (natural gas) to get two usable energy outputs (electricity and heat).

District heating process illustration depicting step 4 of the process, combined heat and power, using a generator.
Generator
Weighing in at over 90,000 lb, our CHP produces 3.3MW
of electrical energy and 3.3MW of thermal energy.

SAVE MONEY AND SPACE, LOWER CARBON EMISSIONS​

Tried and True Solutions​

With the elimination of a traditional in-building boiler system, up-front capital costs and ongoing maintenance costs are greatly reduced. Reduced operations can result in reduced boiler maintenance costs on existing boilers, which may allow for greater cost savings. Calgary District Heating generates and delivers service on a fixed price base for a long period of time

Save Money and Space, Lower Carbon Emissions

Benefits of District Energy​

Reduced Maintenance Costs

Reduction of On-Site Mechanical Footprint

Simple & Reliable

Lower Carbon Emissions

With the elimination of a traditional in-building boiler system, up-front capital costs and ongoing maintenance costs are greatly reduced. Reduced operations can result in reduced boiler maintenance costs on existing boilers, which may allow for greater cost savings. Calgary District Heating generates and delivers service on a fixed price base for a long period of time.

The elimination of a traditional boiler room setup can amount to an 80-95% reduction in mechanical room footprint in each member building. This decrease frees up premium square footage for penthouses or other space which helps developers increase revenue.

Connecting to our DES helps provide a safe and consistent supply of thermal energy. Built-in system redundancies and temporary boiler connection points at each building location will provide peace of mind to residents and tenants knowing heat will be available when needed.

Centralizing thermal energy production creates economies of scale, typically producing lower carbon emissions than the same buildings with traditional self-generation. Since a DES combusts natural gas to produce heat and electricity, the result is lower emissions compared to coal or other fuels used for generation throughout Alberta.