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Hamburg real-world laboratory for the thermal energy transition launches project

Hamburg real-world laboratory for the thermal energy transition launches project
Team of Hamburg Energie responsible for IW3

Two thirds of the energy required by German households is needed for heat supply, i.e. for heating and hot water. Unfortunately, for the most part this energy still comes from fossil sources such as coal. A consortium led by HAMBURG ENERGIE has been formed to change this. Their goal: to establish a virtually CO2-free, decentralised heating supply which does not use any fossil fuels. The project team managed to secure a grant for this from the ‘Real-world laboratories for energy transformation’ programme.

HAMBURG ENERGIE and its partners developed the project “IW3 – Integrierte WärmeWende Wilhelmsburg” (Wilhelmsburg integrated heating transformation) in order to boost the enormous potential of heating supply to protect the climate. “In this initiative we are delivering a groundbreaking concept for the thermal energy transition, based on renewable energies in conjunction with new storage facilities and digital control systems,” explains Michael Prinz, Managing Director of HAMBURG ENERGIE. “With our project we want to play a part in making not only the electricity supply, but also the heating supply in our city climate-friendly.”

EUR 22.5 million for the real-world laboratory for energy transformation in Hamburg

“Hamburg is setting its sights on heating transformation. With ‘IW3 – Wilhelmsburg integrated heating transformation’, Hamburg is demonstrating how a real-world laboratory works in an urban environment,” announced State Secretary Andreas Feicht from the Federal Ministry of Economics as he presented a grant worth 22.5 million euro in mid-August. With this step, the IW3 project has entered the implementation phase.

IW3 is one of 20 winning projects in the BMWi ideas competition “Real-world laboratories for the energy transformation”, announced by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier in the middle of last year. Real-world laboratories are used to implement innovation projects on an industrial scale in order to accelerate the transfer of technologies and solutions for the energy transition to the market.

Important step towards a more climate-friendly city

Jens Kerstan, Senator for the Environment and Energy and Chairman of the Board of HAMBURG ENERGIE: “Our real-world laboratory with geothermal heat has the potential to become a national model for the heating and energy transformation in urban areas. Once again, Hamburg is taking on a pioneering role in innovative energy transition projects. The grant enables research results to be more rapidly transferred into practice, in order to test new technologies and solutions. For Hamburg, this is a further important step towards a more climate-friendly city and fits in splendidly with our climate plan.”

Nathalie Leroy, Managing Director of HAMBURG WASSER Group: “This project is a great example of the cooperation within the HAMBURG WASSER Group. Our subsidiaries HAMBURG ENERGIE and CONSULAQUA are both experts in their fields and are able to call on their extensive expertise for this lighthouse project. Using our combined expertise and conviction, we progress projects within the Group in which security of supply and climate protection go hand-in-hand. IW3 is designed to show how this can work – completely in keeping with Hamburg’s climate protection policy.”

The key elements – geothermal energy, aquifer storage facilities and a heating marketplace

The central component of the IW3 project is regenerative heat supply. As well as existing sources such as solar thermal energy or industrial waste heat, the new concept is based on the use of natural energy from under the ground: geothermal energy To this end, a geothermal plant is being constructed in the Wilhelmsburg port area. Moreover, there are plans for a seasonal storage facility, a so-called aquifer thermal store. A digital heating marketplace will pool all the local energy producers and consumers and thus enable buildings to be supplied on a cost-efficient, climate-friendly basis.

“With the additional integration of cross-sectoral technologies such as heat pumps and power-to-heat systems, plus the use of self-generated renewable electricity, CO2-neutral supply is possible in the long-term view,” says Prinz, summing up the future objective.

Find out more about the project at

About Astrid Dose

Profilbild zu: Astrid Dose

Talking, writing, organising – and having lots of fun! This is what my days at the EEHH Cluster look like. I’ve been responsible for public relations and marketing for the Hamburg industry network since 2011. I studied History and English and have a soft spot for technical issues.