Croatia is preparing its first subsidy program for heat pumps that use seawater for heating and cooling. Professor Neven Duić says the technology could be used throughout the Adriatic coast and for buildings near rivers and lakes.
The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds will issue a public call by the end of the month for using sea temperature to provide heating and cooling, Jutarnji.hr reported. It is the first scheme in Croatia designed specifically for the purpose since it started drawing European Union funds, according to the article.
The draft refers to converting energy from the sea in general, but the only eligible technology this time will be heat pumps that would use seawater for buildings on the coast, the media outlet revealed and added the budget is EUR 1.5 million.
Much of Balkans could be heated
Professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture at the University of Zagreb Neven Duić praised the plan and stressed all the hotels on the Adriatic shore and cities with district heating systems could benefit from such subsidies.
“There is a possibility to install heat pumps in a big part of the coast. Areas near big rivers like the Sava and Danube are also suitable, but the technology can also be implemented next to lakes. Actually, Stockholm has been using municipal wastewater for heating for many years. Groundwater can also be utilized. Palace Hotel Zagreb installed such a system,” he told Balkan Green Energy News.
Using wave or tidal energy as well as seawater heat exchangers is still in the early stages in the European Union, but they are included in the solutions supported through a massive financial package within the European Green Deal. Croatia has a long sea coast, which makes the heating and cooling technology especially beneficial, the ministry said, as quoted by the news website.
Local authorities are eligible for funds for seawater heat pumps
Investment costs could be high, but the pilot project should still be examined, the draft reads. Its content reveals municipalities and cities would be able to apply, among other potential beneficiaries.
Associate Professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture Goran Krajačić suggested the government should define concession terms for using seawater or simplify the environmental assessment procedure for specific cases. But the proposed public call will be very useful in the meantime, he asserted.
Krajačić stressed several such projects were implemented in the 1980s in the country from the Istria peninsula in the north down to Dubrovnik.
As for Dubrovnik, one heating and cooling endeavor with seawater heat pumps was completed less than two years ago.
The government earmarked EUR 1.5 million for scientists and investors, according to the draft public call, where the maximum for an individual project would be 1.3 million or 50%, the report revealed. It added the contracts would have to be signed by May and that the projects have to be implemented by April 2024.