Anniversary: the district heating network in Dombóvár started its second half-century of service

In Hungary, more than 1.5 million people live in about 650 thousand flats heated by district heating in 100 towns. Thanks to the modernisation and the improvement of the district heating systems in the past 20 years, citizens benefit from a more efficient and environmentally friendly heat supply.  District heating systems can produce electricity and heat thanks to the combined electricity and heat production, through which 10% of the used energy can be saved, and the extent of the air pollution can be reduced. Thanks to the different heating control, building insulation, and door and window replacement programs the energy efficiency of individual houses and co-owned apartment buildings has also increased.

District heating systems are especially comfortable, because they provide a stable heat and hot water supply for the households. In addition, district heating is friendly to the environment; homes do not emit polluting substances locally, all the energy is produced by large, regularly maintained and optimized industrial equipment. In the case of district heating systems, the risk of fire and explosion and carbon monoxide poisoning can also be avoided as opposed to open-combustion heating systems.

District heating is certainly not the thing of the past, but that of the future, which can fulfil a city’s energy needs with the help of well-thought-out developments and clean and safe energy.

Dombóvár is a good example of future-proof district heating systems and long-term cooperation. The small town with 18 thousand inhabitants situated in Tolna county went through a considerable development in the 1960s and 70s, when new companies had been established to supply the local railway and started to attract people seeking jobs.  The local municipality, in order to ensure housing for the increased number of inhabitants, started to construct four-storey, concrete apartment blocks with all modern conveniences.

The municipality decided that the heat and hot water supply of these new residential buildings should come from a district heating system. District heating supply started through the first pipeline one year later in 1971. In the following years more new residential buildings were constructed and more people moved in.

In 1982, the district heating company of Dombóvár was attached to the county’s largest district heating company. Soon the heating centre was reconstructed, new pumps equipped with pressure regulation and the boiler room, still functioning, were erected and a 50.5-meter high concrete chimney were added to the centre.

In 1990, the town of Dombóvár took back the district heating supply through the newly established Dombhő Kft. was established. In 1992, mazut was introduced as fuel for producing heat, causing the district heating prices to fall by 50%. In the following years, the capacity of the heat centre continued to increase and the municipality decided to switch fuel again, to natural gas this time. The tender was won by Prometheus, the legal predecessor of Veolia Energia Magyarország Zrt. In 1999, the heating centre was modernised and the distribution pipeline was completely reconstructed.

In 2003, the operator company installed a small power plant with gas engines allowing for a double use of the natural gas’s energy. Another modernisation of the heating centre and replacement of the pipelines were carried out by 2017.

By this time Veolia Energia Magyarország Zrt. had become the operator of the district heating supply system, signing a 25-year concession agreement with the municipality. The new supply company is called Dombóvárhő Kft., providing district heating services for 2 050 households and 10 institutions in the town. The capacity of the heating centre is approximately 20 MW. Heat is  produced by the natural gas-fired heating centre and  a small power plant of gas engine.

Veolia Energia Magyarország Zrt. ordered the modernisation works of several sites in the town the last few years, renewing the pipeline on a length of 530 meters, increasing this way the supply’s safety and the system’s efficiency.

In April every year on the Day of the District Heating organized by the Hungarian Association of District Heating Suppliers there is an open day in Dombóvár, when anyone can visit the heat centre, observe the production of the electric energy as well that of the heat energy, and learn about the safe processes focusing on the sustainability.

Veolia Energia Magyarország Zrt. committed to ensure the cost efficient, environmentally friendly, and safe heat energy supply, is the main actor of the Hungarian energy market with its more than 30-year-old professional experiences.  The group produces heat energy in 25 towns and supplies district heating in 14 towns. Veolia has an outstanding expertise in the fields of water supply, waste management, construction and civil engineering, water technology solutions, and works to ensure that future generations have access to essential resources.