District Cooling Market Research

District Cooling (DC) is the centralized production and distribution of cooling energy. The output of one plant can meet cooling-demands of dozens of buildings. It’s important because centralized production of cooling energy is:

  • More environmentally friendly
  • More cost-effective
  • A price competitive alternative
  • Reliable and convenient for the customer
  • Space efficient

District Cooling Systems (DCS)

  • Distributes thermal energy in the form of chilled water from a central source to buildings through underground pipes.
  • Three primary components:
    • Central plant
    • Distribution network
    • Consumer system
  • District Cooling Systems may include:
    • Cooling equipment
    • Power generation
    • Thermal storage

Market Potential

A possible chain of events ….

  • Increased use of fossil fuels (e.g. electricity production)
  • Then, an increase in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Then, Global warming
  • Then, a need for new systems

Market Potential Issues

  • GCC Urbanization Patterns
    • Significant Real Estate development
    • High demand for air conditioning
  • Climate
    • Hot and Humid
    • Permanent need for cooling
    • Need for stable and reliable solution
  • Energy Considerations
    • Power constraints/shortages
    • Need for energy efficient solutions

Key Technologies in District Cooling

  • Reciprocating Engines
    • All types of power generation (small portable Gensets to larger industrial engines)
    • Spark ignition engines use natural gas as preferred fuel
    • Can be set up to run on propane or gasoline
  • Gas Turbines
    • Established technology in many sizes (kilowatts to megawatts)
    • Produce high-quality heat to generate steam for on-site use
    • Can burn natural gas, petroleum fuels, or have a dual-fuel configuration
  • Steam Turbines
    • Convert steam energy into shaft power
    • Capacity can range from fractional horsepower to several hundred MW
    • Does not directly convert a fuel to electric energy (requires a source of high-pressure steam)
  • Micro Turbines
    • Very small combustion turbines
    • Offered in a size range of 30kW to 250 kW
    • In the early stages of market entry
  • Fuel Cells
    • Produce power electrochemically, similar to a battery
    • Use hydrogen fuel that is delivered to a cathode and oxygen in air that is delivered to a node
    • Modular and capable of application in small commercial or residential markets
    • Also operates at high temperatures in larger sized systems
  • Absorption Chillers
    • Commercialized thermally activated technology
    • The most common working fluids are water/NH3 and LiBr/water
    • Can be divided into single-effect, double-effect, or triple-effect
    • Novel, environmentally friendly, and effective way of using low-grade heat sources
    • Four phases:
      • Heating-pressurization
      • Isobaric condensation
      • Cooling-depressurization
      • Isobaric adsorption
  • Desiccant dehumidifiers
    • Can work in concert with sorption chillers or conventional air-conditioning systems
    • Two types:
      • Solid desiccant dehumidifiers
      • Liquid desiccant dehumidifiers
  • Thermal energy storage (TES)
    • Stores heat from cooling loads during high load or ‘on-peak’ periods
    • Then, removes heat from storage and rejects it to the ambient environment during low-load or ‘off-peak’ periods
    • Can use latent heat storage or sensible heat storage


About District Cooling Market Research

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