Aurubis AG and Wärme Hamburg GmbH to further expand Germany’s largest industrial heat system
Hamburg | Thursday, December 9, 2021
- Aurubis and Wärme Hamburg sign long-term heat supply contract
- Increase in CO2-free industrial heat generation from copper production for an additional 20,000 households in Hamburg
- Reduction of up to 100,000 t of CO2 emissions annually
- CO2-free heat supply to HafenCity East district, successful since 2018, continues
As of the 2024/25 heating period, about 20,000 more households in Hamburg will be supplied with CO2-free industrial heat from a sub-process of Aurubis copper production. This is part of a heat supply contract that the two companies signed. The use of CO2-free industrial heat in the Wärme Hamburg heating network will replace heat that is currently generated from fossil fuels. This can save up to 100,000 t of CO2 emissions annually in Hamburg starting in 2025. The planned heat supply represents the biggest use of industrial heat in Germany.
Following renovations in summer 2024, the heat will be produced in Aurubis’ contact acid plant in Hamburg, a part of copper refining in which sulfuric acid is formed in multiple process steps. This process is an exothermic chemical reaction that generates CO2-free heat at a temperature suitable for carbon-neutral district heating. The technology has been used successfully at the Aurubis plant since 2018 to supply heat to enercity to feed the HafenCity East and Rothenburgsort districts, and is now being expanded significantly. Aurubis also contributes these solutions to the research project Living Lab Northern Germany to enable a knowledge transfer for additional projects of this kind.
Dr. Peter Tschentscher, First Mayor of Hamburg:
Hamburg is a region of the future for the use of innovative technologies and for the energy transition in Germany. The collaboration between Aurubis and Wärme Hamburg is groundbreaking for the industry of the future. By using energy from copper production for the district heating supply, up to 100,000 t of CO2 can be saved annually. The project demonstrates that industry is an important partner of the Senate in implementing the Hamburg Climate Plan, with which we‘re reducing CO2 emissions from year to year.
Jens Kerstan, Senator for the Environment and Energy in Hamburg:
The use of industrial heat plays a key role in CO2 reduction in the heat supply. Now that HafenCity East is already being supplied with CO2-free district heat, the energy transition, which is already taking shape in many places in our city, is taking another big step with this contract between Aurubis and Wärme Hamburg. The interplay between industry and public utility companies in the form of constructive and cooperative solutions is a prime example of our path to a carbon-neutral future.
Michael Beckereit, Managing Director of Wärme Hamburg:
The agreement we have made is a milestone toward achieving Hamburg’s climate targets. However, it’s also a great example of how cooperation between industry and energy suppliers can look and how linking industry and the heating sector can work. We’re therefore building on Hamburg’s strength as an industrial location. Every metropolis has to find a way to decarbonize its heat supply. In Hamburg, this is clearly the heat potential from the basic materials industry.
Roland Harings, CEO of Aurubis AG:
Aurubis is striving to make its metal production carbon-neutral well before 2050. As the most sustainable smelter network in the world, we see ourselves as a forerunner when it comes to solutions for ecologically sustainable business activity to speed up decarbonization across sectors. With the signing of the heat supply contract and the associated investment, we are underlining our ambitious decarbonization targets.
Ulf Gehrckens, Executive Vice President Energy & Climate Affairs of Aurubis AG:
In its size and complexity, the forward-looking Industrial Heat project is unique in Germany. The good collaboration among the partners, governmental authorities, and ministries enables us, an industrial company in the city, to make an important contribution to the climate-friendly heat supply with innovative, tailored solutions like this one.
To facilitate the expansion of the CO2-free industrial heat supply in Hamburg and thus reduce the use of fossil fuels, Aurubis and Wärme Hamburg joined forces with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and found an optimal model for implementation. This includes funding from the ministry for both partners. The renovation measures in the Aurubis plant in Hamburg will be funded through the program Energy and Resource Efficiency in the Economy. Wärme Hamburg is expected to receive subsidies through the program Wärmenetze 4.0 for constructing a thermal storage system and the pipeline connection to the industrial site on the island of Peute. Wärme Hamburg is also receiving funding from the city investment bank IFB. To bring the industrial heat to Hamburg households, Wärme Hamburg uses an existing pipeline of enercity Contracting Nord GmbH in the first section extending to the Elbe River crossing, building its own district heating pipeline to the feed-in point.
The first part of the project started in October 2018: since then, Aurubis has delivered CO2-free heat from its plant in Peute to the energy service provider enercity Contracting Nord GmbH through a newly constructed pipeline more than 3.7 km long, which supplies the heat to HafenCity East. This first stage of the Aurubis industrial heat supply saves about 20,000 t of CO2 emissions annually.
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