19 Jan 2024, 13:31
Franca Quecke

Waste heat could cover up to 10% of future heat demand in Berlin — report

Clean Energy Wire

The city of Berlin could cover up to ten percent of its future heating demand with waste heat, according to a report by the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (ifeu). The manufacturing industry and the service sector, as well as subway stations and future hydrogen production, could all become relevant sources of waste heat. Even low temperatures of below 25°C can be harnessed for heat demand if the temperatures are raised by heat pumps, the researchers argue. Berlin’s current waste heat potential is just under 1,200 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, but anticipated new data centres and hydrogen production plants could take this to 3,800 GWh by 2045, the experts project. “Assuming that half of this can be used, waste heat could cover around ten percent of Berlin's future heat consumption,” said the ifeu institute’s Sebastian Blömer.

Heating is responsible for around half of Berlin’s CO2 emissions. As waste heat has long only been considered a complementary strategy for the climate-neutral conversion of heating, Germany has largely ignored its potential for the country’s energy transition. However, making better use of waste heat from data centres is part of Germany’s new digitalisation strategy to fight the climate crisis.

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