So What project

Software for waste heat and cold technologies. An integrated tool to support industries, energy utilities and municipalities for the exploitation of Waste Heat and Waste Cold.

So What

Horizon 2020 - European Union funding for Research and Innovation

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 847097

Project Summary

The amount of heat wasted by industries in the form of hot water or flue gases is sufficient to cover 100% of EU’s heating needs, but the potential of waste heat and cold (WH/C) is still unlocked due to a number of technical and non-technical barriers.

SO WHAT has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to promote WH/C recovery and Renewable Energy Sources integration at industrial scale tackling all these challenges.

Dates - June 2019 – November 2022

Sponsor - Horizon 2020

Consortium - 7 countries, 21 partners, 11 demonstration sites

EU Contribution - €3,397,497

Overall Budget - €4,195,357


The main objective of the SO WHAT project is to develop and demonstrate at Technology Readiness Level 8 (TRL8) 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 forecast H&C demand and also via renewable energy sources integration.

The project tool will support the identification of WH/C sources and mapping of the potential of locally accessible renewable energy sources to integrate with WH/C. It will enable the user to map and evaluate the local expected demand for heating and cooling, integrating the surrounding community in the simulations to identify additional recovery options.

SO WHAT will assess the impacts of the alternative technologies and promote innovative contractual agreements and financing models to deliver economically viable solutions.

SO WHAT will capitalise already existing tools and knowledge from previous research experiences and the expertise of 11 industrial validation sites from different sectors that will be involved in the project to validate the tool and provide relevant insights for its development The Materials Processing Institute will validate the tool using its own Normanton Steel Plant and examples from the wider steel industry.


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

  • Auditing the industrial process to understand where WH/WC could be valorised
  • Mapping the potential of locally available RES sources to be integrated with WH/WC potential
  • Mapping the local forecasted demand for heating and cooling
  • Defining and simulating alternative cost-effective scenarios based on WH/WC technologies also leveraging TES introduction
  • Evaluating 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
  • Promoting innovative contractual arrangements and financing models to guarantee economically viable solutions and less risky investments