Posted on November 12, 2015

The 7th edition of the Middle East District Cooling Summit (MEDCS), the highly anticipated annual event for the district cooling industry, came to a close yesterday, 11 November 2015 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Doha. After two days of highly informative presentations from distinguished resource speakers and lively discussions actively participated in by delegates from the region and all over the world, several key recommendations for consideration of key stakeholders within the industry were reached.

With the industry being under threat of stagnation because the high cost of district cooling is being passed on and shouldered mainly by the end-user, industry experts at the Summit called for stronger links between the industry and the scientific research community. This they said would facilitate the development of new ways of designing and adopting more sustainable and environment friendly systems, including finding practical solutions to some technical problems faced by the industry.

Accordingly, industry experts have encouraged the adoption of ideas and solutions proposed by some researchers regarding the efficient use of water and energy in district cooling. This includes the end in the use of drinking water in district cooling due to the availability of the technology for the use of Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE).

Some of the other recommendations drafted by industry experts at the end of the Summit included:

  • Connection of Natural Gas to central cooling lines through the development of distribution network stations
  • Enable and encourage tri-generation of electricity, heat and cooling as this technology saves up to 75% of primary energy and natural gas; that such technology helps reduce CO² emissions in almost the same proportion
  • Promote the use of clean and renewable energy for power generation in district cooling systems such as planting ‘Trifolia trees’ that produce Biodiesel for use in the process of the tri-generation
  • Urge district cooling companies to invest at least 20% of its consumption of electricity in solar energy. With the cost of generating electricity through the use of solar power becoming cheaper than traditional methods, this can be realized through the creation of solar fields away from residential areas
  • Improve the quality and quantity of the provision of TSE in order to use it more effectively in cooling stations
  • Urge government to classify buildings that use mostly clean energy for cooling and refrigeration and encourage them to continue using this approach; also classify buildings who use less non-renewable energy
  • Create a more flexible legal framework to help the development of the industry and protects all parties, including end-user
  • Encourage better coordination between the concerned authorities to find a practical framework for the implementation of the infrastructure, including the areas of district cooling

“District cooling is indeed the way ahead in meeting the steadily increasing requirements for cooling in a region characterized by fast-rising urban centers under extremely hot temperatures especially during summer,” said Deep Banerjee, Senior Conference Producer at Fleming Gulf. “While the implementation of district cooling systems is increasing, some challenges also need to be addressed. These include making such systems even more efficient in terms of energy and water use.

“With this year’s edition clearly being another huge success, we wish to thank the distinguished line-up of speakers who all took time off from their busy and hectic schedules to share their valuable insights on the subject throughout the two days of the Summit,” he added. “We would also like to thank all the delegates, exhibitors, supporters and sponsors, who have made this year’s staging even more meaningful and important.” During the second and last day of the Summit, further in-depth discussions and presentations on energy efficiency and environmental benefits of district cooling systems were conducted.

These included a presentation from the Qatar Green Building Council on ‘Green Solutions for District Cooling’; ‘Water Conservation in District Cooling Plants’ by Vivek Apte, Regional Project Director of Johnson Controls Middle East, an ‘Exclusive TSE Session by Dr. Ghazi El Sherif, Environmental Expert of the Quality, Safety & Environment Department of the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) of Qatar; and another presentation on ‘Sustainable Power Generation & District Cooling Projects’ by George Kenich, Guest Lecturer at Harvard University in the U.S.A..

There were two panel sessions moderated by Mr. Nezar: one on the topic of ‘Which water? Treated Sewage Water or Seawater for Cooling?’ and the other which was a Wrap-up District Cooling Panel on ‘Smart Power Generation & Energy Efficiency’. There were also presentations from Roberto Bertelli, Sales Director of AB Italy on ‘Modular Tri-generation for District Cooling’ and from Dr. Eng. Abdel Hakim Hassabou, Research Scientist, Solar Energy at the Qatar Energy & Energy Research Institute (QEERI) on ‘Geothermal Principles for District Cooling – Updates and Future Considerations’.