Geothermal project to boost heat transition across Hamburg

Tests of geothermal project in Wilhelmsburg successful - climate-friendly heat for over 6,000 households
31 August 2023
Geothermie-Bohrturm in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg

Tests of a geothermal project in Wilhelmsburg, run by the Hamburger Energiewerke (HEnW), have proven successful. In future, 48-degree Celsius thermal water can be extracted from a depth of over 1,300 metres. The first households in Wilhelmsburg will be supplied with heat from spring 2025. The geothermal plant is expect to supply over 6,000 households with climate-friendly heat in the long term. 

Geothermal energy for more decarbonisation 

"We are doing everything possible to advance the heat transition and achieve our climate targets in Hamburg," said Jens Kerstan, Senator for the Environment. The geothermal project in Wilhelmsburg is another means of generating environment-friendly energy in future. "Geothermal energy is being added to the mix of wind, solar, waste heat from industry and waste recycling. I expect geothermal energy technology to make a greater contribution to decarbonisation measures in Hamburg and the metropolitan region in the long term," Kerstan noted. The local heating networks "Energiebunker" and "Energieverbund Wilhelmsburg-Mitte" are to be merged and expanded by the new geothermal plant creating a large district heating network, managed by HEnW, on the Elbe island.

EUR 22.5 million in federal funds 

Construction of the furnace is due to start next spring. The completed plant will have a geothermal heat output of around six megawatts. Using a heat exchanger, thermal water will be pumped from a depth of over 1,300 metres and fed into the water circuit to supply more than 4,700 households. To increase the thermal energy and the capacity to over 6,000 households, an efficient heat pump system will reach the respective temperature depending on the season. The German Ministry of Economics is putting EUR 22.5 million in funds towards the geothermal project, which is being carried out as part of the real laboratory IW3 to supply the suburb of Wilhelmsburg with CO2-free heat in future.

Future of heat supply in geothermal energy, according to researchers

The geothermal project was facilitated by financial and scientific support,  according to Michael Prinz, HEnW Managing Director of HEnW. He added:  "Research into geothermal energy in Wilhelmsburg has taken us a long way scientifically." said Inga Moeck, Professor of Geothermal Energy at the Georg August University in Göttingen and Head of the Geothermal Energy Department at the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics. The project is being backed by the Geothermie Neubrandenburg GmbH and various research institutions as part of the "Mesotherm" collaborative project . Researchers hope to gain more knowledge of geothermal reservoirs in northern Germany. A geological formation was discovered that could be further developed for medium-depth geothermal energy. Therein lies the future of heat supply in Germany," she noted. 

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