Climate-friendly heat generation in Hamburg

From 2025, customers of Hamburg’s district heating are to receive heat from wastewater. This is part of a cooperation agreement that HAMBURG WASSER and Hamburger Energiewerke have recently signed. The two municipal companies have agreed on the construction of an innovative waste water heat pump with an output of 60 megawatts on the grounds of the Hamburg sewage treatment plant at the Dradenau site. 

The use of the low-CO2 waste water heat in the network of the Hamburger Energiewerke displaces heat that is still generated today from fossil fuels. From the moment it goes into operation, 39,000 residential units can be supplied with climate-friendly urban heat and around 66,000 tons of CO2 emissions can be saved. 

“We are implementing the energy transition step by step. The use of waste water heat from the Dradenau sewage treatment plant is one of the core elements of the coal phase-out concept for the Wedel combined heat and power plant. As early as the planning phase, we pointed out that an increase in the heat pump output is possible as additional potential for climate-neutral heat. Thanks to the cooperation agreement between the municipal companies Hamburg Wasser and Hamburger Energiewerke, we can now provide a heat output of 60 instead of 30 megawatts as early as 2025. With this project, Hamburg is a pioneer in Germany for large heat pumps and for the heat transition as a whole.”

Jens Kerstan , Senator for the Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture

Around 450,000 cubic meters of wastewater end up in the Hanseatic city’s sewage treatment plant every day. In the process of environmentally friendly wastewater treatment, energy is also gained in the form of heat. The previously largely unused resource of waste water heat can be utilized with the help of the new large-scale heat pump and the heat potential can be exploited. The existing heat is extracted from the waste water, brought to a higher temperature level and fed into Hamburg’s district heating network.  

The waste water heat pump designed by HAMBURG WASSER is part of a flexible generation network at Energiepark Hafen auf der Dradenau, which is intended to replace the coal-fired power station in Wedel. In addition to the large-scale heat pump, the “Energy Park Port” concept relies on the feeding of climate-neutral waste heat from industrial and waste recycling processes into the district heating network. The proportion of climate-neutral heat will be more than 55 percent.

“Waste water is a valuable resource for us – it contains raw materials, but also chemical energy or energy in the form of heat. With our waste water heat pump system on Dradenau, the heat can be extracted from the water in the immediate vicinity of the sewage treatment plant outlet, so that it can then be fed into the district heating network as useful heat. We are pleased that we are making a contribution to the Hafen Energy Park and that, as a cooperation partner of Hamburger Energiewerke, we can get a project off the ground that supplies the city of Hamburg with regenerative and sustainable heat.”  

Ingo Hannemann, Managing Director of HAMBURG WASSER

“The phasing out of the use of hard coal by 2030 at the latest is our focus in the Hamburg heat transition. By concluding our cooperation agreement with HAMBURG WASSER, we can integrate another local heat source into our district heating network and take the next step towards decarbonizing city heating. In principle, Hamburg as an industrial location offers enormous potential. Together with our partners, we are constantly pursuing the intelligent linking of different sectors, because they represent the key factor in the energy transition.”

Kirsten Fust , Managing Director of Hamburger Energiewerke

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