A new building is being added to the power facilities at the Technical University of Darmstadt/Germany. It will house a complex air conditioning system and a highly efficient small-scale combined heat and power unit (CHP). The foundation stone was laid in a ceremony which took place on 12th May 2017 (Image 1). TU Darmstadt is currently supplied with heat, air conditioning and power under a long-term contracting agreement with project company ENTEGA STEAG Wärme GmbH, which was concluded last year. Important elements of the agreement include expansion of the TU Darmstadt power networks, modernisation of the existing CHP unit and setup of a new technical building directly on the Lichtwiese campus.
Covering an area of roughly 600 m2 and at 11 m tall, the new building will be completed by 2018 and fitted with two “centrepieces” – a small-scale CHP unit with an electrical output of approximately 3 MW and a modern air conditioning system. For the air conditioning, an absorption refrigeration machine (refrigerating capacity 1 MW) must first be installed, which makes it possible to generate cool air using thermal energy from the CHP unit in a particularly environmentally friendly manner. In future, this air will then be fed into the roughly 3 km long closed circuit network currently being constructed on the Lichtwiese campus, and will cool facilities such as the Lichtenberg supercomputer and the technical laboratory infrastructure in the Chemistry department. Another step in the future development of the Lichtwiese campus is planned to take place at a later stage, and will involve installing a second absorption refrigeration machine, this time with a capacity of 2 MW.
ENTEGA STEAG Wärme GmbH, based in Darmstadt, was founded to finance, expand and operate all the power facilities, and is investing around 14 m € in the heating and air conditioning infrastructure over the course of this year and the next. The total sum of investment stands at 17 m € .
“This construction project is another milestone in the ecological and economically responsible expansion of the university’s infrastructure,” said TU President Prof. Hans Jürgen Prömel. “The new power facilities will make a considerable contribution to securing a long-term, future-proof and viable energy supply for TU Darmstadt and many more properties in the district.” Prömel added that the university’s project is directly supporting the federal state’s climate protection goals (“CO2-neutral state administration”). According to him, the new power facilities will ultimately be “superbly incorporated into the ‘Energy-efficient Licht-wiese campus’ project – an interdisciplinary project funded by the federal government – as a subject of study.”
The expansion of the power facilities is being accompanied by the connection of the TU Darmstadt district heating grid to that of the Darmstadt Nord district. Thanks to this connection, around 30,000 MWh of heat from the waste-to-energy plant will be fed into the TU grid every year in future. This will enable TU Darmstadt to considerably increase the proportion of thermal energy generated from combined heat and power generation.
“This is a highly significant project both ecologically and strategically,” highlighted Marie-Luise Wolff-Hertwig, Chair of the Management Board at ENTEGA AG. “By connecting the TU and ENTEGA heating grids, we are developing the highly energy-efficient heat supply in Darmstadt a crucial step further. E. g., the Klinikum Darmstadt and local schools will also be connected to the heating grid during the expansion project.”
Thomas Billotet, Member of the Management Board at STEAG New Energies GmbH, said the following when the foundation stone was laid: “The system is tailored to meet the power, heating and air conditioning requirements at TU Darmstadt. We view this project, set up in partnership with ENTEGA, as an example of how our customers faced with complex challenges can rely on the technical expertise and experience of STEAG New Energies, in order to achieve clear economic advantages and actively reduce CO2 emissions at the same time. By doing so, our customers join us in contributing towards the success of the energy transition and climate protection in Germany.”
The Mayor of Darmstadt, Jochen Partsch, explained: “The expansion of power facilities on the Lichtwiese campus is another key milestone on the road to a low-emission, decentralised and climate-neutral energy supply in our city. This is where energy efficiency, climate protection, cost savings and the immediate benefits for the people of Darmstadt go hand in hand. A fantastic project which shows how synergy can be achieved by key stakeholders in our city working closely together.”
In the 160 or so buildings belonging to TU Darmstadt, around 56,000 MWh of electricity, 60,000 MWh of heat and 5,000 MWh of air conditioning were consumed in 2016. Once the entire construction project – the new building and modernisation – is complete, CO2 emissions will drop by approximately 9,600 t/a. (STEAG/Si.)