Gulf’s ‘stagnating’ district-cooling sector must evolve or die, expert says

George Berbari, chief executive of DC Pro Engineering, says industry has to make use of renewable energy

PHOTO: The district cooling industry “needs to focus on renewable energy”, says George Berbari, chief executive of DC Pro Engineering. Credit: Supplied

The Arabian Gulf’s “stagnating” district-cooling sector has to “evolve or die”, a leading expert in the field has said.

George Berbari, the CEO of DC Pro Engineering, called on local and regional players to take major steps to revitalise the industry.

Berbari told Big Project ME that the district-energy sector in the Gulf has failed to explore newer and more efficient forms of technology, which has led to the industry falling behind other heating, ventilating, and air conditioning applications.

“Today, district energy has stagnated into 10-year old technology, and I’m saying that it’s time to wake up. This is not the place where we have to be, to stagnate with something that’s 10 years old and to not really be substantial. That’s especially true when there are smaller alternative systems that are either as efficient, or more efficient, than district cooling in its current status,” he said.

“So we have to either evolve or die, that’s the message to the district-cooling industry.”

Speaking during a presentation at The 3rd Annual DC (District Cooling) Stakeholders Summit on March 17, Berbari pushed for a synchronisation of district cooling tri-generation with renewable energy sources. He said that this could result in 75% savings in primary energy as compared to electric-powered district cooling.

District-cooling systems already offer a 40 percent saving on power consumption compared to air-cooled systems. This has led to over 5 million tons of district-cooling systems to be installed over the past 15 years in the GCC region.

“Tri-generation in district cooling synchronised with renewable energy has already captured the attention of intellects and has been honoured with awards,” Berbari explained.

“Greater electric-power savings can be achieved by utilizing renewable energy sources, which will help cover modern cities in the coming years. Therefore, the district-cooling industry needs to focus on renewable energy in tri-generation.

“Currently the UAE has committed to have 7 percent of renewable energy by 2020. This is indeed a step in the right direction for tri-generation systems,” he added.


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