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CC Mika Hrsmaki

Probing the systematic use of urban waste heat


The aim of this project was to analyse ways to reach a more efficient and climate-friendly energy supply system in Vienna through the utilisation of waste heat from industrial and commercial sources. For this purpose, waste heat sources were identified and characterised, and the possibility of covering heat demand from surrounding private households with available waste heat was evaluated. In addition, technical and economic implementation concepts were developed for two companies.

Project description

To counteract global warming caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, our energy systems need to be transformed by moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources. This project undertook to estimate waste heat potential by taking a systematic approach while utilising statistical data. Companies from which waste heat is regularly generated in sufficient quantities were identified through a database showing the branch affiliation and size of companies.

Estimates of small-scale waste heat potential were carried out in two steps: 1) analysis of energy consumption of enterprises based on the number of employees and available statistics; and, 2) analysis of proportional waste heat numbers from literature. Demand and distribution of heating energy were also derived from statistical data. This analysis was carried out in close cooperation with municipal institutions and private businesses, which enabled the development of two technical-economic concepts for future implementation.

Main conclusions

  • The results not only provided an overview of industrial and commercial waste heat potentials in Vienna, but enabled the elaboration of implementation concepts for the city.
  • Data centres turned out to be the most promising waste heat sources in urban areas.
  • Future focus should be on reducing the network temperatures of district heating systems to feed in low-temperature waste heat.


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