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Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz to trial high-temperature heat pump

GERMANY: Siemens Energy and German energy provider Vattenfall Wärme Berlin AG have signed an agreement to demonstrate and trial a new large-scale, high-temperature heat pump in Berlin. 

Under the Qwark³ (Quartiers-Wärme-Kraft-Kälte-Kopplung or coupling of district heating, power and cooling) project, they will test the use of the technology for the first time at Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz. The scheme will use waste heat and electricity from renewables, and feed it into Berlin’s district heating network. 

The project is funded by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy as part of its 7th Energy Research Programme: The aim of the pilot project is to establish robust claims regarding the technical and economic potential of generating heat using large-scale and high-temperature heat pumps.

A high-temperature heat pump of similar configuration is to be integrated into the refrigeration plant operated by Vattenfall at Potsdamer Platz

The cooling plant on Potsdamer Platz has been supplying cooling power to some 12,000 offices, 1,000 housing units, and numerous cultural facilities in the vicinity since 1997. Unused waste heat was previously ejected into the surrounding air via cooling towers. 

The use of the heat pump will substantially reduce the amount of heat being dissipated into the environment and provide additional heat for the district heating network, amounting to about 55GWh per year, with an estimated annual saving of about 6,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions and 120,000m³ of cooling water.

Siemens Energy’s 8MW high-temperature heat pump will be capable of delivering flow temperatures in the district heating network of between 85°C and about 120°C, depending on ambient conditions. 

“If we want to achieve the transition to a new energy mix in the cities and rely more on the potential of renewables, we need to take an integrated view of heating, cooling, and the electricity supply,” commented Tanja Wielgoss, CEO of Vattenfall Wärme Berlin AG. “That’s the only way we can make the best possible use of the available resources.”

“Decarbonising our heating supply is a key precondition for successfully achieving the objectives of the Paris Accords,” said Siemens Energy executive board member Jochen Eickholt. “Largescale heat pumps can play an important part in the medium to long-term conversion of our heating supply system.”

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