Industrial heat keeps 8000 Hamburg households warm

An innovative decarbonisation pathway and industrial heat project by Aurubis and enercity has been nominated for the EU Sustainable Energy Awards competition.

The potential award-winner is the largest industrial heat supply project in Germany. It involves multi-metal company Aurubis delivering CO2-free heat from its plant on the island of Peute to the energy service provider enercity through a newly constructed pipeline more than 3.7 km long. Destination for the heat is the residential district in Hamburg of HafenCity East.

The heat originates from a sub-process of copper production. A chemical reaction releases heat which is used to heat water to 90°C. The hot water is transported via pipelines through the plant premises to the perimeter and then onward into HafenCity East. The heat volume of 160 million kWh can supply a total of 8,000 four-person households for about a year.

As this heat is produced CO2-free, it prevents more than 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. This is equivalent to the emissions of about 10,000 mid-range cars driving an average of 12,000 kilometres per year. About half of the CO2 reduction results from the replacement of natural gas used to produce steam on the Aurubis plant premises, while the other half is saved by delivering the waste heat to enercity.

This groundbreaking decarbonisation pathway and industrial heat project has been nominated for the EU Sustainable Energy Awards competition organized by DG Energy in cooperation with the Executive Agency for Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). This is an award that recognizes outstanding innovation in energy efficiency and renewables.

The project has already been recognized. It was given the Energy Efficiency Award in the category “Energy Transition 2.0,” organized by the German Energy Agency (dena). And the Hamburg Renewable Energies Cluster honored the project with the German Renewables Award.

View this short 4-minute movie for an overview of this project.

The vast potential of industrial heat

Technical equipment and production processes account for a high level of energy consumption in industry. At the same time, they create energy that is usually released into the surrounding area without being used – this is referred to as waste heat, process heat, or industrial heat.

The annual energy savings potential from using industrial heat is estimated at 125 terawatt hours (TWh) at a process temperature above 60°C. Capturing this energy by recovering and reusing heat reduces the use of energy sources, improves the environmental balance, and helps reduce companies’ day-to-day energy costs.

Calculations by the German Energy Agency (dena) show that throughout Germany, companies could save up to 37 million tonnes of CO2 and roughly € 5 billion in energy costs if industrial heat were used consistently.

The benefits and possible uses of industrial heat

Aurubis in short

Aurubis AG is a leading global provider of non-ferrous metals and the largest copper recycler worldwide. Hamburg is home to the largest Aurubis site, which is also the company’s headquarters. The company was founded there as Norddeutsche Affinerie AG in 1866. Today, it is one of the most modern and environmentally-friendly copper smelters in the world.

Its main area of expertise is the processing and optimal recovery of concentrates and recycling raw materials with complex qualities. Aurubis’ customers include companies in the semis industry; the electrical, electronics, and chemical industries; and suppliers of the renewable energy, construction, and automotive sectors.

2019 Citizens’ Award

It’s also possible to vote for this project in the EU Sustainable Energy Awards’ competition, which recognizes the year’s top sustainable energy projects in the categories of Engagement, Leadership, Innovation and Youth. 12 projects have been selected as finalists and you can help one of them win the Citizens’ Award!

Vote for the Aurubis district heating project here.

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