Home District Energy News HOFOR Plans to Spend Billions on Heat Pumps

HOFOR Plans to Spend Billions on Heat Pumps

by Linda Bertelsen
HOFOR's demonstration heat pump in Sydhavnen has provided experience using seawater and wastewater as heat sources. Photo: HOFOR.

In the future, homes in Copenhagen will increasingly be heated by collective, electric heat pumps, aiming to reduce the reliance on biomass and fossil fuels.

Photo above: HOFOR’s demonstration heat pump in Sydhavnen has provided experience using seawater and wastewater as heat sources. Photo: HOFOR.

The district heating in Copenhagen is already 85 percent CO2-neutral, but sustainable heating will receive an additional boost over the next ten years. HOFOR plans to establish collective electric heat pumps that use green power from wind turbines and harness the temperature of surplus heat, seawater, and wastewater, for example, to create the district heating that Copenhagen residents receive in their radiators.

  • When heat is electrified in this way, it provides greater flexibility in the entire energy system. We can use the green power when it’s available and turn it off again when it’s too expensive, says Gorm K. Elikofer, Director of Energy at HOFOR.

This comes because HOFOR’s combined heat and power plant generated the city’s heat by burning coal just a few years ago. Still, today, the utility company exclusively uses documented sustainable biomass as fuel at Amagerværket.

Goodbye to fossil fuels

The up to ten heat pumps will be spread across Copenhagen by 2033. Together, they will have a production capacity of up to 300 MW of heat.

  • Copenhageners can look forward to their heating becoming greener. Fossil fuels, which we use when it’s coldest, will fill less of the city’s heating supply as the heat pumps are phased in, and the already high supply security will increase even more. Moreover, and perhaps just as importantly, the heat pumps will significantly contribute to Copenhagen’s plans to become climate-positive by 2035, says Gorm Elikofer.

Another derived effect of establishing large heat pumps is the dependence on biomass in Copenhagen’s heating supply will gradually decrease.

Requires increased electricity production

According to Gorm Elikofer, the price of the heat delivered to customers in the future will not become more expensive due to the significant investment in heat pumps. However, it requires that there is enough electricity available, and the electricity must be produced with wind and solar energy to ensure as sustainable heat production as possible.

  • We can’t do it alone. Actors in the electricity sector must contribute to a strengthened energy infrastructure to ensure sufficiently high production of greener electricity, asserts Gorm Elikofer.

Billion-dollar investment on the way

HOFOR has been working on three smaller heat pump projects totaling ten MW for several years to gather knowledge and ensure the technology is in place. In the fall of 2024, another smaller heat pump will be inaugurated in Tietgensgade, but several new heat pumps are on a much larger scale.

Two of them – in Yderste Nordhavn and Renseanlæg Lynetten – will together be able to produce up to 200 MW, and it is estimated that it will cost approximately 2 billion DKK to build them. The planning for the first of these two huge heat pumps will already commence in 2024.

This article is translated from the Danish District Heating Association’s website