The Global District Energy Climate Awards
VEKS and Høje Taastrup District Heating received international recognition for a joint heat storage system that optimizes district heating throughout the greater Copenhagen system.
In connection with the Euroheat & Power conference in Brussels on November 14th and 15th, an award ceremony also took place: “Global District Energy Climate Awards reward the most innovative state-of-the-art district heating and cooling projects worldwide.” The recipients in the “Sector Integration” category are VEKS and Høje Taastrup District Heating.
The two companies have jointly established a groundbreaking heat storage system containing 70 million liters of hot water.
The motivation for the award states that international experts under the International Energy Agency (IEA) recognize VEKS and Høje Taastrup District Heating’s heat storage for its “outstanding demonstration of local initiative in district heating development and thereby contributing to minimizing climate change.”
In his acceptance speech at the ceremony in Brussels, Morten Stobbe, VEKS’ director, said: “We are humble but certainly also proud to receive this prestigious award. It is a significant recognition of our pioneering work in thermal heat storage and district heating. Our project has accelerated the development and the way district heating is stored and distributed, and it is an honor to be the first in the world to implement heat storage on such a large scale as in our greater Copenhagen system.”
A new business model
During the award ceremony, Astrid Birnbaum, director of Høje Taastrup District Heating, emphasized the unique collaborative model behind the heat storage: “The project has not only introduced new technology and innovation. It has also created a new business model where heat producers, district heating companies, and waste energy facilities jointly optimize heat production. We all contribute to the green transition, not least because we use fewer fossil fuels for peak loads in local boilers.”
The project originated four years ago from a visionary idea. The first step was the purchase of land in Taastrup. In February 2023, the heat storage system went into commercial operation! The heat storage is jointly owned by VEKS and Høje Taastrup District Heating.
For the benefit of the entire Copenhagen area
The storage has an annual operational benefit of at least 8 million Danish kroner, benefiting the entire greater Copenhagen district heating system.
In connection with the award ceremony, Morten Stobbe expressed hope that the project could inspire others to establish similar heat storage systems. It is a simple and effective step that simultaneously reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and supports a more sustainable future.
The storage is a hole dug in the ground lined with a plastic liner and with an insulating cover. The purpose of heat storage is to store district heating when it is cheap to produce – conversely, the heat from the storage is utilized when it is expensive to produce. The new storage will, therefore, benefit the overall electricity and heat production in the entire metropolitan area and, thus, the green transition. Practically, the storage is charged with heat produced at large combined heat and power plants and waste energy facilities via the transmission network and releases the heat (discharge) to the local district heating network in Høje Taastrup.
The heat storage consists of 70,000 m3 of hot water with a capacity of 30 MW. The annual energy content is estimated at 3,300 MWh. The storage adds significant value to the district heating systems throughout the metropolitan area. The investment is expected to have a simple payback period of approximately 10 years or less – with a technical lifespan of at least 20 years.