Project 11: Wupperverband – Implementation of a decentralized heat grid

Planning Realisation Monitoring Evaluation
Wupperverband – Implementation of a decentralized heat grid

Project leaflet

Animation: How works an absorption chiller?

Feasibility study_decentral heatnetwork_Buchenhofen

In the future Europe will have to answer questions about its security of energy supplies, and must begin to discuss the impact of energy needs on climate change and energy supply. The transition from current energy practices to the sustainable use of energy is essential. One possibility to reach this is to improve decentralized energy concepts. It is especially important that this generation of Europeans is aware of these problems and possible solutions.

A possible solution consists in using the surplus of thermal energy generated in combined heat and power plants or sludge incineration plants. In Wuppertal-Buchenhofen we try to transform a WWTP from an energy consumption into an energy production site: Therefore an existing heat grid will be enlarged to connect several residential buildings, our laboratory and an industrial WWTP to the grid.

Main questions to be answered

  • How much thermal energy can a waste water treatment plant provide for the surrounding peripherals?
  • Can the suplus thermal energy of the WWTP be used for cooling operation buildings by an absorption chiller?


  • Development of new decentralized heat grids.
  • More efficient use of the thermal energy in the waste water and in the sludge.
  • Create a self-sustaining waste water treatment plant, at least from a balance standpoint. Also the transition will be      made from an energy consumer to an energy supplier.
  • To integrate the waste water treatment plants, a sludge incinerator and the surrounding peripherals in an energy master plan in order to consume less energy from existing resources and produce effective decentralized energy concepts.
  • Operation results of an absorption chiller.


November 2011 – April 2014

Current work

  • Feasibility study in 2012: Investigation of possibilities for heat distribution on site and in the neighbourhood to warm buildings in winter and to operate cooling systems in summer.
  • Implementation of an absorption chiller for cooling operational building using surplus heat in summer in 2012.
  • Detail planning of the enlargement of the decentralised heat grid in 2012.
  • Implementation of the heat grid in 2013.
  • Compilation of the results in 2014.