Hamburg to power district heating with 60-MW wastewater heat pump

Visualisation: Hamburg plans to build a 60-MW heat pump at the Dradenau wastewater treatment plant. Image by Hamburg Wasser.

September 23 (Renewables Now) - Hamburg is planning to build a 60-MW wastewater heat pump at the Dradenau sewage treatment plant which should start supplying heat to the port city in 2025.

Local municipal companies Hamburg Wasser and Hamburger Energiewerke have signed a cooperation agreement on the project.

The low-carbon wastewater heat will be fed into the network of the municipal electric utility, Hamburger Energiewerke, which currently produces heat from fossil fuels. Once operational, the heat pump will supply 39,000 residential units with climate-friendly heat, avoiding 66,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The large-scale heat pump will help Hamburg exploit the unused potential for heat generation as around 450,000 cubic metres of wastewater end up in the city's sewage treatment plant every day.

The facility is part of the Dradenau energy park which is being built in Hamburg to replace the coal-fired thermal power station Wedel.

The coal phase-out by 2030 at the latest is a key component of Hamburg's heat transition, said Hamburg Energiewerke's managing director Kirsten Fust. The cooperation agreement with Hamburg Wasser will help integrate another local source of heat into the district heating network and take the next step toward its decarbonisation, Fust explained.

The wastewater heat pump represents another step in Hamburg's efforts to decarbonise its district heating. The city is building an 80-MW power-to-heat plant which will use excess wind energy to generate district heating for thousands of households. The plant should be commissioned for the 2022/23 heating season, according to a statement from July.

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