by Linda Bertelsen
aquatherm - State of the pipe

For the last 50 years, district heating (DH) piping networks have been transporting steam and high-temperature water around our cities. For this job, steel pipes have been the best choice, and therefore this has been the preferred solution.

Member Company Profile by aquatherm

But now, the 4th generation low-temperature system is the preferred solution whenever possible. As a result, engineering houses and energy companies experience an entirely new way of designing piping networks using modern plastic pipes in polypropylene (PP-R) combined with the traditional PU foam and HDPE jacket pipe.

The fiberglass-reinforced PP-R pipes can easily withstand the required temperatures and pressures for the 4th generation DH systems.

Advantages of modern piping systems

There are several advantages to using PP-R piping versus steel. One of the first interesting properties to notice for the installation company is that the entire piping system is 100 % self-compensating. This means we do not need any expansion loop, anchor points, or foam pads. Other advantages are:

  • Significant weight reduction enabling above ground jointing
  • Enormous flexibility of the pipes
  • Fast and reliable welding
  • Lower depth is needed in the trench

For the DH company, modern materials create several benefits compared to steel. Among these is, of course, the lower installation costs for the installation company but also:

  • Environmentally-friendly production and recycling – less than 50 % CO2 emissions compared to steel pipes
  • No corrosion possible
  • Less pumping power needed due to the smooth inner surface of the PP-R pipes
  • Better insulation value of the PP-R pipes compared to steel

These benefits lead to improved high-quality piping networks with increased safety by installation and significantly lower lifetime CO2 emissions.

What do the customers say

In Gateshead, Northeast of England, the Council has made a very innovative DH project capturing more than 85% of the waste energy.

The Gateshead District Heating Network is not only innovative, but it has also provided a lot of comparative data as steel pipework was chosen for the initial system, whereas the extension was installed with PP-R pipes from aquatherm.

Using pipework rather than steel, Gateshead Council made an estimated cost saving of around £400 per metre. This is based solely on the design and installation and is not inclusive of cost savings from when the system went live.

The contractor Balfour Beatty stated that the installation was significantly faster and easier than steel.

Manual handling was less of an issue due to the low weight of aquatherm PP-R pipes, and the installer was able to use gangs of just 1 or 2.

As Balfour Beatty stated: “Innovation is vital in bringing cost-effective solutions to new and growing markets. “

aquatherm is moving fast forward in the district heating business

aquatherm GmbH is the world-leading manufacturer of PP-R pipes for plant construction and building services. The company is producing approx. 32 million metre PP-R pipes per year and 38 million PP-R fittings.

Ten years ago, the company started a new production of insulated PP-R piping systems combined with the well-known PUR foam and HDPE jacket pipes.

These insulated pipe solutions have been sold worldwide in 82 countries, given experience and references from many heating and cooling projects.

Today aquatherm is moving fast forward in the DH market because of the perfect fit with the 4th generation low-temperature systems worldwide.

From the factories in Germany loads of pipes are being delivered fast to all international customers. International technicians are ready to advise planners and customers from the headquarters in Attendorn, close to Cologne and Düsseldorf.

aquatherm is a family-owned company with approx. 600 employees.

For further information, please contact: Jakob Jespersen, Jakob.jespersen@aquatherm.de