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Green heating: a vision becomes reality

With its 2040 district heating vision, SWM will realise further substantial improvements in the already excellent climate and resource track record of district heating. Due to the unique nature of Munich‘s location and that of the region, geothermal energy will play a key role in this context: there is virtually no other region in Germany where the geological conditions are as favourable as they are here.

The use of geothermal energy is not dependent on the time of day, weather or climate and is free of carbon dioxide emissions. As far as anyone can judge, this energy source is inexhaustible. SWM can draw on extensive experience in the tapping of geothermal energy: it already has three plants and is planning another.

Its renewable energies expansion campaign and 2040 district heating vision will theoretically enable SWM to fulfil the electricity and district heating requirements of Bavaria‘s state capital with an energy system based virtually entirely on renewable energies.

Munich‘s district heating offers great benefits

Realisation of the heating turnaround involves many steps, for both technological and economic reasons. During the transitional period, SWM will continue to rely on environmentally benign combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plants, e. g. in its ”Heizkraftwerk Nord” and ”Heizkraftwerk Süd” power stations. Apart from renewable energies, CHP is the most eco-friendly energy Generation process: waste heat from electricity generation is fed into the city‘s district heating system rather than being discharged unused into the atmosphere.

The use of waste heat from electricity generation in district heating provides the Munich heating market with some four Billion kilowatt hours of eco-friendly heating energy. Around 450 Million litres of heating oil would be required to produce the same amount of heat energy with oil-powered household heating systems. The highly efficient CHP process reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 1 million tonnes. This figure is roughly equivalent to total annual passenger-car emissions in Munich.

Munich is sitting on a treasure: 2040 vision

North/South cross-section of the foothills of the Bavarian Alps

With its 2040 district heating vision, SWM will realise further substantial improvements in the already excellent climate and resource track record of district heating. Due to the unique nature of Munich‘s location and that of the region, geothermal energy will play a key role in this context: there is virtually no other region in Germany where the geological conditions are as favourable as they are here.

A geothermal energy source is hot thermal water drawn out of easily permeable limestone layers in what is known as the Malm aquifer, a geological stratum found in wide parts of the region. Munich is located right on top of a huge reservoir of natural energy source: hot-water accumulations with temperatures ranging from 80 °C to 100 °C are located below the surface of the earth at a depth of 2,000 metres (northern city limits) to 3,000 metres (southern city limits). The heat from these geothermal sources is ideally suited for use in heating. This involves pumping the hot water to the surface and channelling it through heat exchangers where its energy is extracted. The cooled water is then fed back into the deep-lying reservoir. The geothermal power cycle thus does not impact on the eco-system.

Once geothermal energy sources have been fully tapped, two further ”green fuels” offer additional potential for generating renewable district heating, depending on the then existing demand for heating, technical developments and availability: biogas and, ultimately, wind gas1. A further contribution can be made by the renewable (biogenic) portion of residual waste.

In the realisation of its vision aiming at ”100 percent district heating from renewable energies”, SWM will benefit from the fact that energy demand for heating purposes will gradually decline over time due to energy-saving and energy-efficiency measures such as building renovations, while warm-water requirements will remain relatively constant.

If you wish to find out more about energy generation by SWM, please contact us.

Phone: 0800 796 796 0 *
Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
E-Mail: customer-service@swm.de
* toll-free within Germany

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