Hamburg launches real laboratory for heating transition

EUR 22.5 million for “Integrated Heating Transition Wilhelmsburg” from German government
03 September 2020
Übergabe Förderbescheid IW3 Energie Projekt

The "Integrated Heating Transition Wilhelmsburg" (IW3) project has received EUR 22.5 million in funds for its goal of decentralised heating, free of CO2 and fossil fuels for existing and new buildings. Led by a consortium including HAW Hamburg, IW3 submitted an application to the German  Ministry of Economics for the "Real Laboratories in the Energy Transition" in 2019 marking the start of the project. 

Thermal water from depths of 3,500 metres

"The Wilhelmsburg district is perfectly suited as a real laboratory for transitioning heating towards a renewable supply," said Peter Lorenzen, co-ordinator of the team at the Competence Center for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency (CC4E) at HAW Hamburg. "Our team has been involved in several heating projects in Wilhelmsburg in recent years and we look forward to bringing our existing expertise to IW3 as well."

A regenerative heating supply is central to the "IW3 - Integrated Heating Transition Wilhelmsburg" project. Geothermal energy is another essential component apart from wind and solar thermal energy. The concept foresees building a geothermal energy plant that brings thermal water from depths of 3.5 kilometres to the surface. The energy is extracted from the water via heat exchangers and fed into a grid, which will be newly built. The cooled water is returned to the source of extraction.  

Seasonal storage and blockchain technology

A neutral supply of CO2 could be generated from cross-sector technologies i.e. heating pumps, power-to-heat systems and self-generated renewable electricity. The plans also foresee building a so-called aquifer storage facility to use surplus heat from summer in winter. CC4E is responsible for a sub-project called "Integrated Heating Market" under which all the local energy producers and consumers come together to supply buildings with more cost-efficient and climate-friendly energy. Blockchain technology would ensure the verification of the heat offered.

GTW Geothermie Wilhelmsburg GmbH, Consulaqua GmbH, HIR Hamburg Institut Research gGmbH and the Christian-Albrechts-University (CAU) in Kiel are also involved in the project.