Sustainable urban planning with innovative and low energy thermal and power generation from residual and renewable sources


  • Storage
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy supply
  • District heating
  • Industrial waste heat
  • Energy concept


  • Research
  • Pilot project


  • Public funds


11/2013 – 10/2017 (4 years)


about 5.02 m. EUR


Within the EU, cities are responsible for about 70 % of the overall primary energy consumption, and this share is expected to increase to 75 % by 2030. There is no doubt that cities represent simultaneously a challenge and an opportunity for climate change policy. The development of low energy solutions for thermal energy supply to cities is one of the main needs nowadays.

One of the sources with the highest potential is the recovery of waste heat. Industries are throwing away large amount of energy. It is said that as an average value, a 40 % of the consumed energy in industries is waste heat.

The PITAGORAS project focuses on the efficient integration of city districts with industrial parks through smart thermal networks. 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 will be 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 fail even before cost issues are discussed. To change this negative view best practice projects are essential. In this context, the demonstration plant that has been built in a steel mill and is currently being monitored is essential.


EU FP7-ENERGY-Smartcities-2012


  • Steinbeis Research Institute Solites
  • S.O.L.I.D. Gesellschaft für Solarinstallation und Design mbH (AT)
  • ACCIONA Infraestructuras SA (ES)
  • BIOS Bioenergiesysteme GmbH (AT)
  • Aermec SpA (IT)
  • CIM-mes Projekt Sp. z o.o. (PL)
  • Forsteel S.r.o. (CZ)
  • Solar.nahwaerme.at Energiecontracting GmbH (AT)
  • O.R.I. Martin – Acciaieria E Ferriera Brescia S.p.a. (IT)
  • City Graz (AT)


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


Within the project, the following systems and concepts will be developed:

  • Waste heat recovery system for electric arc furnaces
  • Organic Rankine Cycle for heat and power generation
  • Seasonal thermal energy storage system
  • Large scale solar thermal energy integration into industrial energy generation system
  • Innovative tools for efficient energy management of the system

The concept of the project is being demonstrated at Brescia (Italy) in a steel mill. Medium/high temperature waste heat (≈ 600 ºC) is recovered from the fumes of an electric arc furnace (EAF). An ORC-unit (2,1 MWe) was installed for power generation in the summer season. In winter season, waste heat (10 MWth) from the fumes of the EAF is supplied to the local district heating network.

A case study was designed to use solar heat for water removal from raw oil at an oil exploration plant in Kremsmünster in Austria. A large scale solar thermal plant (≈10.000 m²) with seasonal thermal energy storage (≈ 4 x 60.000 m³ of oil tanks) are included in the design. The system would also supply solar heat to an existing district heating network of the nearby city.

Solites is integrated in the PITAGORAS project mainly to lead and work in the scientific work package with a focus on solar thermal, seasonal thermal energy storage, overall system development and simulation. In addition, Solites consults the monitoring of the demonstration plant in Brescia and supports dissemination activities.


PITAGORAS develops concepts for the utilization of industrial waste heat and solar heat for the heat and power supply of the industrial system itself and the additional feed-in of heat in district heating networks.

Downloads and links

Dirk Mangold

This project has received funding from

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