Hamburg Wasser Keeping Polar Bears Cool

Hamburg Wasser Keeping Polar Bears Cool

In the European Union, heating and cooling of buildings, businesses, and industry consume around half of the energy produced and used. Of this, 84% comes from fossil fuels. Read how Hamburg Wasser is tapping into wastewater and water for heating and cooling purposes.

By Robert C. Brears*

Around 220 housing units of a residential complex of the housing cooperative Eisenbahnbauverein Harburg (EBV) in Hastedtstraße were retrofitted to enable heat from wastewater to warm their water and night storage heaters. In this joint project between Hamburg Wasser and EBV, residual heat from wastewater is captured and an exchanger transfers it to the heating center of the residential district. From there, the heat is transferred to a buffer storage ready for use by the housing units. During peak times, any additional heat required is generated from a modern gas heater.

Meanwhile, in Hamburg’s Stellingen district, Hamburg Wasser makes use of the fact that its groundwater has a constant temperature of around 9 degrees Celsius throughout the year by transferring this natural cold to a cooling system that is connected to the neighboring Arctic Ocean of the Hagenbeck Zoo. This ensures that the polar bears and penguins stay cool in the summer.

The take-out

Capturing the heating and cooling potential of wastewater and water can be part of the solution to reducing reliance on fossil fuels for heating and cooling purposes.

*Robert C. Brears is the author of  Urban Water Security  (Wiley),  The Green Economy and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus  (Palgrave Macmillan),  Natural Resource Management and the Circular Economy   (Palgrave Macmillan),   and  Blue and Green Cities   (Palgrave Macmillan). He is Founder of Our Future WaterMitidaption, and Mark and Focus.

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