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Sustainable Urban Planning with Innovative and Low Energy Thermal and Power Generation from Residual and Renewable Sources


EU contribution
Total costs
Funding programme
2- Large scale systems for urban area heating and/or cooling supply


The PITAGORAS project focused on the efficient integration of city districts with industrial parks through smart thermal grids. Technologies and concepts for low and medium temperature waste heat recovery, considering as well integration with renewable energy sources (RES), and heat (and power) supply to cities were developed and demonstrated.

As many of the technologies and concepts considered in the PITAGORAS project are not yet widely regarded as a reliable heating energy source (even they are already proven technologies), the application of these measures often fails even before cost issues are discussed. To change this negative view, best practice projects are essential. The two demonstration plants that were built and monitored as part of this project made a significant contribution towards achieving this goal.


Project demonstration sites


The overall objective of the project was to demonstrate a highly replicable, cost-effective and high energy efficiency large scale energy generation system that allows sustainable urban planning of very low-energy city districts.

The following systems and concepts were developed:

  • Waste heat recovery systems
  • Organic Rankine Cycle for heat and power generation
  • The seasonal thermal energy storage system
  • Solar thermal energy
  • Innovative tools for efficient energy management of the system

The concept of the project was demonstrated at two different European cities: Brescia (Italy) and Graz (Austria).

  • Demonstration plant in Brescia: medium/high temperature waste heat recovery (≈600ºC) from a steel foundry and ORC unit (2.1 MWe) for heat and power generation. It was connected to the existing city district heating network.
  • Demonstration plant in Graz: Large scale solar thermal plant (≈10.000m2) with seasonal thermal energy storage (≈40.000m3). The system also used waste heat from nearby industry and it was connected to the existing city district heating network.

Energy Carriers

  • Waste heat

Energy Systems Types

  • Sustainable Generation
  • Co-generation

Thematic Field

  • Energy System(s) Integration


PITAGORAS_Report of the two demonstration plants


Maider Epelde
Tecnalia Research & Innovation