District heating, a proven method for sustainable energy

As the world wakes up to the urgent need for alternatives to fossil fuels, Sweden’s capital Stockholm already has a fully functioning, climate-friendly energy solution that has been up and running for more than half a century.

The issue of secure and sustainable energy is a global challenge that’s becoming more and more important by the day. But in Stockholm, there is already an established technology that others could also use. Around 90% of the city’s buildings are connected to a district heating network that is one of the largest district heating systems in Europe.

Stockholm’s foresight in choosing district heating is a striking example of prioritizing sustainability and a circular economy. The city reuses or re-circulates resources that would otherwise go to waste and uses it for heating (and also cooling, using a separate technology). This cuts out waste and reduces the impact on the climate, while also benefitting as many people as possible.

Stockholm Exergi heat pump, Atlas Copco turbocompressor

The “beating heart” of the system

Stockholm’s northern latitude means cold weather is a fact of life for much of the year, so the heat pumps must be reliable. Atlas Copco supplies turbo compressors to two of the main heat pumps and they are core parts of the entire system.

“The heat pumps that rely on Atlas Copco’s turbo compressors have the highest reliability and this is extremely important for our production capability. In fact, these compressors have been in production since 1997. That’s a really long time, though of course we change electronic components and do regular parts maintenance. But we foresee a production life of at least 24 more years,” says Per Ljung, Head of Operations at Stockholm Exergi.

Newsletter dicembre 2021

Read the full story in our Industrial Ideas magazine

Read more about how heat pumps enable production for the district heating networks.

Continue reading about Stockholm Exergi’s sustainability journey