Munich to cut CO2 emissions in half with district heating powered by renewable sources

Date: 18 February 2013


Stadtwerke München, the utility company in Munich, Germany, aims to supply every customer with renewable energy by 2025, reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 and become the first German city to have district heating that relies solely on renewable sources by 2040.


Munich is one of the few cities in the world that has taken global warming by the horns. One of Munich’s new environmental goals is to become the first large German city with a district heating system powered completely by renewable energy.


The new 9-billion Euro investment program is initiated by the municipal utility company Stadtwerke München.


It is an ambitious project, with plans to supply 140,000 apartments with heat and, at the same time, save 300,000 tons of CO2 that would have been generated by conventional heating methods. Danfoss is engaged in a dialogue with Munich about the project.


Setting the standard with renewable energy
One way the city is hoping to turn this vision into reality is by making use of a previously untapped renewable energy source – geothermal.


The city is ideally located in the Bavarian Molasse basin, a huge underground reservoir of hot water with temperatures ranging from 80 to 140 °C roughly 3,000 meters below the surface.


Recent surveys show that the city has the potential for 16 geothermic wells and as a typical geothermal station can supply about 45,000 MWh of heat a year Munich’s quest for a fully sustainable district heating system is clearly not just a pipe dream.


To feed its district heating system, Munich has also started using photovoltaic technology as another energy source. Photovoltaic technology is expected to play an increasing role moving forward.


Munich has already introduced many green initiatives over the past few decades to reduce waste and make better use of its energy infrastructure, including renewables.


For example, Stadtwerke München generates enough renewable electricity to power the city’s metro, trams and 800,000 private households; residents are encouraged to use either bicycles or electric vehicles (solar powered recharging points are found in many car parks); housing developers must adhere to strict ecological criteria and old municipal buildings must be renovated to an energy efficiency standard that is 30% stricter than the German federal standard.


Stadtwerke München works closely with Danfoss in Brussels to help ensure the development of a robust regulatory framework that allows district energy´s role in making the switch to a more sustainable energy model to be fully exploited.


A district heating system to be proud of
Munich also boasts one of the largest and most effective district heating systems in Europe. The network uses over 800 km of insulated pipes to distribute environmentally friendly heat throughout the city, powered by 4 billion kWh of annual waste energy from Munich’s power plants.


It’s a highly efficient system; to put it in perspective, generating the same amount of heat energy using oil-powered household heating systems would require 450 million liters of heating oil, which would release approximately 1.1 million tons of CO2 into the air. This is equivalent to the amount generated by all of Munich’s automobile traffic in a year.


Source: Danfoss