Research database

HEAT IN THE PIPE - The evolution of gas networks in decarbonized scenarios for the heating sector

24 months (2017 - 2019)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
Corporate-funded and donor-funded research
Funding body:
FONDAZIONE (Compagnia di San Paolo)
Project identification number:
Metti in rete la tua idea di ricerca


The heating sector accounts for about 50% of global final energy consumption and one third of the global energy related carbon dioxide emissions. The share of renewable sources is less than 20% with biomass combustion playing a key role. In Europe, the heating sector accounts for 13% of oil consumption and 59% of total EU gas consumption. Decarbonizing the heating sector is a key challenge that Europe needs to face to achieve 2050 sustainable energy goals. The overall objective of this proposal is the assessment of the evolution of gas networks in decarbonized scenarios for the heating sector through a modelling approach. Our research aims at studying the evolution and the role that the gas grid will have in the transition toward more sustainable energy. The gas grid (with its capillary transmission and distribution networks across Europe) could become either an essential tool for the transition or a gradually obsolete asset depending on the routes that the energy transition will follow. A massive penetration of variable RES (wind and solar) with the electrification of the heating and mobility sectors could lead to a drastic reduction of gas usage (Electricity-driven scenario). On the hand, the higher penetration of renewable energy carries like hydrogen (for either renewable "power to gas" or decarbonized NG) and biomethane could gradually substitute fossil gas in the gas network thus making the grid greener, but avoiding its obsolescence (Gas-driven scenario). Finally, district heating solutions may promote the role of hot water as thermal energy carrier switching gas usage from low to medium pressure networks (District-heating scenario). At the end of this project, it will be possible to understand under which conditions the different scenarios will develop. A quantitative assessment will be carried out concerning with the primary energy savings and CO2 emissions savings. Finally, the levelized cost of heat, as delivered to the end user, will be assessed.

People involved





PoliTo total cost: € 124,800.00
PoliTo contribution: € 124,800.00