Global District Cooling Market: Overview

District cooling is a modern and efficient method to air-condition a network of buildings in cities or campuses. Central cooling plants house large, highly efficient, industrial-grade equipment that produce chilled water for supply to customer buildings through an insulated underground piping network. District cooling systems eliminate the need for chillers, cooling towers, pumps, and other individual systems.

Overall Cost Savings and Energy-efficient Process

  • District cooling offers significant advantages in terms of environment protection, cost, comfort, and operational efficiency over other cooling technologies. District cooling systems provide significant benefits to building owners and municipalities such as elimination of operation of their on-site chillers and reduction in maintenance.
  • Investment in new electricity production and distribution raises the expenditure on energy and thereby, the dependence on natural gas and imported electricity. Focus on substituting imported energies by investing in local heating and cooling infrastructures to reduce the expenditure on energy imports is driving the global district cooling market

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  • District cooling converts electricity into cooling energy efficiently and thereby, reduces the need for new electricity production and distribution systems. Regulatory mechanisms and incentive schemes are other factors expected to drive capacity additions in the global district cooling market in the near future

Lack of Awareness

  • Since district cooling systems are new and not much known yet, attracting customers is challenging, due to lack of awareness about their technological applications, multiple benefits, and savings
  • Most potential customers are not aware of their existing cooling costs, making comparisons between existing cooling services and district cooling services challenging, due to lack of data. Therefore, thorough awareness about applications of the product, reputation of the company, and co-operation with city planning authorities play an important role in growth of the global district cooling market.
  • Nevertheless, lack of integrated infrastructure and planning for land use and absence of knowledge and capacity of structuring projects to attract investments are factors restraining the global district cooling market. Lack of a stable policy framework or clarity on tariff structures for tenants and energy-pricing regimes are other factors restraining the global market.

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Advancements in Technology of District Cooling Results in Operating and Financial Benefits

  • Integration of new technologies and systems, such as advanced plant controls, smart meters, and seawater usage, has gained wider acceptance in recent years. Furthermore, collective collaboration with authorities on regulations, standards, and practices is expected to positively impact the global district cooling market during the forecast period.
  • Active players in the district cooling marketplace can form strong relations with real estate dealers in order to enhance their market position; directly enhance the company’s ability to win contracts; and attract more number of investors
  • Launch of innovative and new products, advancements in technologies such as space saving and usage of treated sludge waste (TSW) heat, and increased promotional activities are anticipated to create new avenues for players operating in the global district cooling market during the forecast period

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Market Developments in Terms of Expansion, Acquisitions, and New Contracts

  • In October 2018, Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower), the world’s largest provider of district cooling services, introduced the world’s first unmanned district cooling plant that uses artificial intelligence at the 20th Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX)–2018. The cooling plant would be located in Jumeirah Village Area, Dubai
  • In May 2018, Dubai Investments PJSC, a leading investments company listed on the Dubai Financial Market, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary and a leading provider of district cooling services i.e. Emirates District Cooling (Emicool) had been awarded a contract for a district cooling plant serving the Expo Village, Dubai South Mall and the new Conference & Exhibition Centre at the Expo site. The district cooling plant, currently undergoing the stage of fast-track construction, would have a capacity of 60,000 tons of refrigeration (TR) and would deliver the first phase of chilled water with effect from May 2019.
  • In April 2018, Empower announced expansion at its district cooling plant in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) at a cost of AED 60 Mn. This expansion is intended to meet the continuously rising demand for district cooling services, which is attributable to growth of Empower’s projects across Dubai.

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