LIFE4HeatRecovery network 1: SO WHAT Project

LIFE4HeatRecovery is not the only project financed by the European Union that analyses the topics of low-temperature district heating and cooling networks, renewable energy and waste heat recovery.

Thanks to the Horizon2020 and LIFE Programmes many ideas and solutions are studied and applied in the field.

We would like to present you the Horizon2020 Project SO WHAT, coordinated by RINA.


SO WHAT main objective is to develop and demonstrate an integrated software which will support industries and energy utilities in selecting, simulating and comparing alternative Waste Heat and Waste Cold (WH/C) exploitation technologies that could cost-effectively balance the local forecasted H&C demand also via renewable energy sources (RES) integration.

The SO WHAT integrated tool will be designed to support industries, and energy utilities in:

  1. Auditing the industrial process to understand where WH/WC could be valorised
  2. Mapping the potential of locally available RES sources to be integrated with WH/WC potential
  3. Mapping the local forecasted demand for heating and cooling
  4. Define and simulate alternative cost-effective scenarios based on WH/WC technologies also leveraging RES introduction
  5. Evaluate the impacts (in terms of energetic, economic and environmental KPIs) that the adoption of the new scenarios will generate against the current situation (i.e., baseline) both at industrial and local level
  6. Promoting innovative contractual arrangements and financing models to guarantee economically viable solutions and less risky investments.

To do so, SO WHAT will capitalize already existing tool and knowledge from previous research experiences.

The SO WHAT concept


The SO WHAT integrated tool will be designed to support industries, and energy utilities in auditing and mapping their energy processes.


SO WHAT will ensure a maximum prediction error in energy recovery estimate and CBA results between 5% and 10%.

SO WHAT will reduce the cost and time related to Energy Audits, and thus WH/C recovery projects, up to 0.4 €/m2 and 3-5 day/audit (number of visits reduction)

SO WHAT will progressively increase the number of new project on industrial WH/C recovery, resulting in 27,705 accumulated projects by 2030.

SO WHAT will reach at least 36 industrial sites, including 24 SPIRE industries, 4 industrial parks, 12 public authorities, including 16 energy agencies, 12 DHC operators (energy companies), 24 associations and 4 RTO by 2021.

SO WHAT is expected to trigger the creation of around 2,815 new jobs between 2023 and 2030.