Solar-bioenergy villages in Germany prove successful

Several bioenergy villages with combined biomass and solar heat supply are being realized in Germany. We look at one of them in detail: Hallerndorf in Bavaria.

Since the end of 2016, close cooperation between the village of Hallerndorf in Bavaria and their energy supplier NATURSTROM AG has resulted in 100% renewable heat.

The required heat quantity of 3 million kWh per year is generated by an innovative combination of biomass and solar energy. This ensures efficient capacity utilisation and a reliable supply to the connected households. It also saves nearly a quarter of a million litres of heating oil per year.

Local wood chips power biomass boilers

Three different sizes of modular biomass boilers with an output of 155, 300 and even 550 kW operate in the boiler house. Boilers are added depending on the heat requirement. This ensures that neither too much nor too little heat is available and that heat losses remain low. Franconian wood chips from the region are used. The operating company obtains the wood chips within a radius of 40 kilometres from surrounding municipalities and from the local forest owners’ association.

In the course of construction, NATURSTROM laid empty pipes for the glass barrel extension in addition to the local heat pipes, so that no further civil engineering costs will be incurred in this regard at a later date. Hallerndorf will be able to benefit from this high-performance fiber optic infrastructure in the future.

Bavaria’s largest ground-mounted solar thermal power plant

With an area of 1,304 m² in combination with a local heating network, the solar thermal system realised directly in front of the energy control centre is the largest in Bavaria.

Hallerndorf energy centre
Energy centre with solar thermal system in Hallerndorf. Photo: NATURSTROM AG

In summer, the system makes the most important contribution to Hallerndorf’s heat supply by converting the sun’s energy into heat for hot water and heating. The solar coverage share is 25% of the total hot water and heating demand.

Flexibility through storage

A buffer storage tower with a large capacity of 85 m³ enables flexibility in heat supply. In particular, the heat from the solar thermal system can be temporarily stored and made available in this way, even if the sun is covered by clouds.

PV on boiler house roof

A photovoltaic system with an installed capacity of 26 kWp was installed on the roof of the boiler house. The electricity generated on the roof covers a large part of the power requirements of the energy control centre. Surpluses are fed into the grid, flow into the electricity storage with a storage capacity of 12 kWh or supply electricity for the electric car charging station in the yard of the boiler house.

E-car charging station

The boiler house is located in the valley close to the Kreuzberg mountain; a popular destination for excursions with beer cellars. NATURSTROM therefore thought of something special for the design. The central heating system and solar thermal system is as appealing as possible to passers-by and blends harmoniously into the landscape. The green yard invites visitors to rest and is intended to inspire citizens and visitors for the energy transition. Since April 2017, citizens have been able to recharge their electric cars with green electricity directly at the energy control centre.

Hallerndorf energy centre
The Hallerndorf energy centre blends harmoniously into its surroundings. Photo: NATURSTROM AG

Important recognitions

In October 2018, the Renewable Energies Agency honoured the project with the “Energy Municipality of the Month” award. This followed recognition by the German government in 2017: The German Council for Sustainable Development awarded the title “Sustainability Project 2017” to the local heating project in Hallerndorf.

45 bioenergy stories

For more success stories of the implementation of bioenergy, head over to an initiative from one of DecarbEurope’s partners. Bioenergy Europe has created a website to celebrate European Bioenergy Day. Here, they are releasing 45 stories of the innovative use of bioenergy, starting from 17th November and continuing one per day until the end of the year.

Why 45? Because in 2019, bioenergy will be fuelling Europeans with 45 days of clean energy.

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