District heating systems (DHSs) which utilize excess heat play an important role in energy infrastructure in many European countries. In contrast to Europe, the DHS is not common and excess heat is not reused effectively in Japan. Almost all the DHSs in Japan were designed as first-generation district heating (1GDH) systems or 2GDH systems. No 4GDH systems have been introduced in Japan. The present study designs a 4GDH system utilizing excess heat from a wide area of Northern Japan and evaluates its feasibility. First, available heat amounts from two excess heat resources were calculated: waste incineration plants and thermal power plants. Second, heat demand from both residential and commercial sectors was estimated using a 1 km mesh, and a heat load curve was created for each mesh based on load curve data. Third, the DHS was designed with excess heat plants as a supply-side heat resource, and spatial information of the demand side made use of the geographical information system (GIS). Further analysis was conducted on selected DHSs in three cities in order to evaluate those systems’ feasibility based on energy efficiency, CO2 emissions, and economic aspects. The result shows that 70.5 PJ of heat can be supplied by DHS in Northern Japan, replacing imported fossil fuels such as petroleum and LPG with regional excess heat. The designed DHS could supply heat with equivalent costs compared to European countries.
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