Thermal energy

Thermal energy is defined in simple terms as energy derived from heat.

Thermal energy sector, which includes also public service of centralized heat supply, has a higher share of 50% in energy consumption of Romania, also the greatest contribution to energy losses.

Among the main sources used in our country for the production of thermal energy we mention:

    • Fossil fuels: coal, oil, natural gas;

    • Alternative sources: cogeneration, biomass, solar, geothermal energy;

In Romania in particular, but globally the main source of heat are fossil fuels that are used for years on a large scale. As it’s the case with electricity, global issues are also reflected in terms of heat through diminishing natural resources and environmental issues.

Regarding the structure of fuel used for heat production, hydrocarbons have the largest share, 60% of fuel used, coal having an intake of over 25% on average.

The share of unconventional energy resources in heat production is below 1%.

Structure of resources used to produce thermal energy [toe], 2008-2013

Energy resources 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
UM thousand toe thousand toe thousand toe thousand toe thousand toe thousand toe
Coal 651,18 591,00 640,87 700,40 647,26 619,53
Biomass 27,46 28,90 44,96 74,51 67,33 63,31
Liquid Hydrocarbons 189,60 238,57 258,93 288,41 194,55 179,83
Gaseous Hydrocarbons 1.692,89 1.500,63 1.490,17 1.443,83 1,367,72 1.242,49
Other fuels 1,05 0,28 0,28 0,33 0,25 0,38
Unconventional sources 1,66 0,66 0,88 2,75 3,33 3,93
Total 2.563,83 2.360,03 2.436,08 2.510,21 2.280,43 2.109,48

Heat supply service is achieved via specific technical infrastructure on public or private local public authority or association of community development. Nationally, there is a significant amount of thermal and cogeneration power plants and heat distribution network related, under the operation of companies that provide heat supply for heating and cooling of administrative, commercial or residential buildings.

In the context of thermal energy produced from renewable energy sources, we include: biomass, solar, geothermal energy.

 

Biomass

Power plants based on biomass energy production using agricultural residues, domestic and industrial combustion systems can be combined with oil or gas by converting biomass into combustible gas that can substitute natural gas combustion.These types of energy sources are known as biofuels and simply include household organic residues.

Chlorophyll present in plants absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide and water from the soil through the process of photosynthesis. The same power is given to the animals when they eat plants. This is considered to be a renewable energy source because carbon dioxide and water contained in plants and animals are released back into the atmosphere when burned. So to get more energy from biomass is needed to raise more animals and crops.

 

Solar energy

Solar energy is the heat that stores light from the sun to create heat. This energy is based on heating and solar thermal panels. The basic operation model of the solar heating systems incorporates a means to absorb the solar radiation by different technological systems. Depending on the capture and distribution of solar energy technologies in the field can be active or passive.

In application, the heat thus obtained can be used for space heating and cooling using solar architecture, potable water supply by distillation and disinfection, lighting, hot water production, cooking with solar energy, electricity and heat from high temperature used for industrial purposes.

 

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is energy from the earth, from hot rocks present within the earth. It occurs due to fission of radioactive materials in the earth’s core and some places become very hot inside the earth.

To valorify geothermal energy, two holes are dug deep into the ground and cold water is pumped through the first pipe and the steam escapes through the second pipe, it helps to generate electricity. The holes drilled for geothermal energy give fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the conventional method of burning fossil fuels. Thus if used in a larger scale and more efficient geothermal energy production reduce global warming.

Based on national statistics in the following table we show actual consumption for different types of users in the period 2008-2013:

Indicator 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
UM thousand toe thousand toe thousand toe thousand toe thousand toe thousand toe
Residential 1.206,01 1.182,16 1.134,74 1.120,53 959,52 904,84
Industry 323,49 237,57 282,64 291,39 278,67 258,66
Services 235,17 193,91 214,08 225,14 234,27 223,15
Agriculture 14,18 21,69 18,04 23,98 30,34 26,99
Transportation 16,34 13,69 4,84 1,68 2,25 2,03
Total 1.795.19 1.649,03 1.654,34 1.662,72 1.505,05 1.415,67