District heating in Beijing – the best air polution abatement


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The District Heating in Beijing is of interest in a Danish perspective. Beijing was the first city to study and use the experience from the district heating system in Greater Copenhagen.

In 1984, Chief Engineer Zeng Xiang Lin started to study the system. In the years to come, Danish Consultants provided assistance financed by DANIDA.

In 1990, Ramboll among others, elaborated pressure transient analysis of the 14 km DN1100 transmission line from Shijinshan CHP plant, using the SYSTEMRORNET, which was developed for the Copenhagen system.

In 1994, Ramboll was responsible for the air quality component of the World Bank financed Beijing Least Cost Environmental master plan study as sub-consultant to EC California. The study demonstrated that replacing thousands small coal boilers (with black smoke) with district heating based on efficient coal fuelled CHP plants with good combustion and flue-gas cleaning would have a very positive impact on the air quality.

Besides the CO2 emission from heating would be reduced to less than 50 %

In 2004 Ramboll and PA-Consulting California prepared an ADB financed study on Urban Heating Tariffs for the Ministry of Construction. Already at that time the district heating was implemented and there was a ban on coal firing inside the third ring road. Thus, the air pollution from heating was diminished, in due time before the Olympic Game.

Next steps

The next step in the improvement of heating can, like in Copenhagen, be to install desulphurization and gradually to shift to natural gas and renewable energy, first of all waste-to-energy.

In the Beijing Least Cost Environmental Master Plan study the aim was to show how Beijing could maximize the environmental benefit as regards air quality, water, waste water, waste and toxic waste for the available funds.

The air quality component from heating was one of the most important components, due to the severe pollution from poor combustion in small boilers and dust from handling coal.

Ramboll developed the heat planning and emission model in co-operation with the experts from Beijing Environmental protection Bureau and Research Institute, and it was the idea that the Chinese experts should spread the know how to other cities.

Today Beijing serves as an example for other cities in China, not least the new ECO cities, which develop city-wide district heating and cooling is planned from the beginning.

The statistics from the Ministry of Construction show that the district heating sector in China has been growing by 17 %. p.a. during this decade from 1994 to 2004.

Info at Ramboll profile

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