Underground energy fuels district cooling network in Munich, Germany

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THE CITY of Munich utility, Stadtwerke Muenchen, is using geothermal energy to generate cooling with absorption chillers at their new heat plant.

So far the city has three cooling centres but with increasing demand, the company is now investing 80 million euros (around 88 million USD) in construction of both generation and necessary network connections.

Helge-Uve Braun, Technical Director at Stadtwerke Muenchen, commented on the project: “We generate the district cooling centrally and distribute it to the customers via pipes.

“Renewable energies make a significant contribution to refrigeration. This significantly reduces the CO2 burden.

“In addition, individual air conditioning systems in the buildings and their waste heat on site.

“The district cooling counteracts the summer heat bell over the city centre and the overall warming of Munich.”

The company already provides climate-friendly district cooling to more than 60 hotels, office buildings and department stores in the city.

In addition, a connection of about 60 properties through its M district cooling network is being planned.

The current inner city network is about 12 kilometres long and grows continuously.

So far the the cooling capacity is fuelled by three district cooling centres, utilising the natural energy of underground water streams fully in the winter and is supported by compression chillers in the summertime.

Utilising the naturally cold water stream allows energy savings compared to traditional cooling technology by ‘around 70 percent.’

At its Heizkraftwerk Sued plant, Stadtwerke Muenchen is producing district heating in a combined heat and power generation set-up.

Mr Braun continued: “Our natural gas-powered turbines generate electricity in the southern Combined Heat and Power plant, and the hot waste heat is converted into district heating.

“Up to 90 percent of the energy from natural gas is used in this way – Combined Heat and Power is one of the most effective and climate-friendly conventional production methods.

“In addition Stadtwerke Muenchen is currently modernising the turbine systems, which means an even better energy yield is possible. ”

For the 2021 heating season, heat generation will be supported by Germany’s largest geothermal plant to date, which is being built by Stadtwerke Muenchen.

The plant will provide clean geothermal district heating to more than 80,000 residents of the city of Munich.

The existing heat from geothermal energy and co-generation will also be used for district cooling in absorption chillers and via the newly created transport line to customers along the route and downtown Munich.

The story was first reported by Think Geoenergy from Stadtwerke Muenchen’s original German press release.