Powering Homes in Denmark with Surplus Heat

Meet the team behind this innovation. From left to right: Peter Sorensen, Steen Blenstrup, Bo Hoeg Olesen, Jorgen C. Kock and Henry Beck Hansen


DuPont Nutrition & Health in Grindsted, Denmark was screening possible energy saving projects for its site when it discovered a major potential win-win. During the production phase at the Grindsted plant, surplus heat was wasted in cooling towers. The energy team decided to make better use of this surplus heat by distributing it to the Grindsted Electricity and Heating Plant (GEV). GEV delivers heat and electricity to private households and other buildings in Grindsted where it is used for water and space heating during winter. District heating is common in most cities in Denmark as they are densely populated with little sprawl. This makes it possible to produce heat efficiently at combined heat and power plants and subsequently supply this to customers through a network of insulated pipes. The result of the project was an estimated heat energy supply to GEV of 12,627 megawatt hours (MWh), which is enough to power 900 homes in the community. This generated savings of 1,200,000 normal cubic meters (Nm3) in natural gas in GEV and 195 MWh electricity at the Grindsted plant.

In terms of carbon footprint, this is equivalent to a reduction of 2,700 tons (MT) of carbon dioxide at GEV and 70 tons carbon dioxide at the Grindsted site. The case shows that it is possible to find win-wins for both the economy and the environment. Furthermore, it is an example of industrial symbiosis where a by-product, initially perceived as waste, in one company can be turned into a valuable resource input for another company.