With its climate plan, Hamburg has set itself some very ambitious goals.

Indeed, by 2030, the city wants to have halved its CO2 emissions compared to 1990. By 2050, it wants to have reduced them by 80 per cent. As a long-standing partner of the city, Vattenfall is at Hamburg’s side in this regard.

In future, heat and electricity need to be generated, stored and consumed more intelligently. This calls for a clever, inter-sector energy system. Vattenfall has already launched numerous projects to this end, and implemented individualised supply solutions for customers and residential areas.

Find out more about Vattenfall’s efforts in relation to sustainable urban development.

Battery projects

CO2-free electricity from the wind and sun is not always available. To ensure that we can adapt wind and solar-generated energy to meet demand, we need electricity storage options.

A second life for batteries

With “Second Life”- a cooperative project between BMW Group and Vattenfall, Vattenfall is developing and testing means of recycling electric vehicle batteries to use them for storing electricity generated by wind and solar power. Vattenfall have implemented a similar project together with BMW and Bosch in the port of Hamburg. Here, used batteries from electric vehicles were interconnected and transformed into an electricity accumulator.


battery modules

from more than


electric vehicles

Battery power stabilising the power grid

This storage facility, comprising 2,600 battery modules from more than 100 electric vehicles, has a storage capacity of 2,800 kilowatt hours (kWh). The stored energy is marketed by Vattenfall on the primary regulation energy market, and contributes to keeping the power grid stable and avoiding network congestion. This is essential in order not to have to switch off wind farms in northern Germany even when there is high wind, but rather to then use all of that wind energy to produce climate-friendly power.

BMW power for Alexia

To implement further larger-scale storage projects, Vattenfall and BMW Group have entered into a contract for the supply of 1,000 BMW batteries. The new lithium-ion batteries each have a capacity of 33 kWh and, with a BMW battery management system, do not require modification for use in the Vattenfall project. The first accumulator made of these batteries has been built at the Princess Alexia wind farm close to Amsterdam.

Windpark Curslack running at full tilt

Together with its partners HAW and Nordex, Vattenfall is developing a storage power plant out of lithium ion batteries at Windpark Curslack. Among other things, the facility is being used to test out how combining wind farms and batteries can optimise the facility’s electricity delivery, and how this can be adjusted to requirements.
In doing so, Vattenfall is making an important contribution towards alleviating the burden on power grids in northern Germany, and bringing climate-friendly power supply another step forwards.

The changing energy landscape in northern Germany

At the site of a future wind farm in the Bergedorf district of Hamburg, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) and the company Nordex have constructed a so-called control power plant using batteries. The purpose of the system, which is part of the project Norddeutsche Energiewende NEW 4.0, is to secure energy supplies at such a time when energy is generated exclusively from renewable energies. The accumulator will also facilitate the more efficient use of the existing grid structure.



District heating in Hamburg

Environmentally friendly thanks to cogeneration

840 km

of district heating network

A first in Germany

1893 marked the first time that electricity and heat were simultaneously generated in a Hamburg thermal power station. The first customer to avail of this energy was Hamburg’s city hall. Today, Vattenfall supplies around 480,000 customers in the Hanseatic city with district heating. Hamburg’s district heating network is 840 kilometres in length. If you count both the flow and return flow pipes, its length almost doubles.

utilization of fuel energy

Optimum use of fuels

Vattenfall’s Hamburg energy generating plants work together as a large network. This enables them to use various different fuels for heat generation. District heating is generated in thermal power stations and delivered to buildings in the form of hot water. The corresponding generation process produces both heat and electricity. So-called cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), facilitates the optimum exploitation of the fuels used. This is because the heat created through electricity generation is not simply released into the atmosphere unused, but rather stored and distributed to homes, businesses and industries. As a result, around 90 per cent of the fuel energy is utilised.

fuel savings

Diverse areas of application

Cogeneration leads to fuel savings of up to 30 per cent compared with single generation procedures. It is therefore a more resource-friendly and, as such, climate-friendly means of producing power. 90 per cent of Hamburg’s district heating is produced through cogeneration. Cogeneration energy is used across many areas, and can be found in district heating and cooling, as well as in the decentralised supply of power via cogeneration units.

Heat for Hamburg – Shaping the future together



Home Energy Management

An intelligent energy system for the home

A pioneering pilot project

Vattenfall is conducting a pilot project on home energy management in Berlin and Hamburg. In collaboration with the Korean electronics corporation LG, Vattenfall is working on a project to enable people access the consumption data relating to their own home-based power generation and storage systems.

An app for a better overview

The focus of the project is on the intelligent, comfortable use of self-generated electricity from PV systems. Owners of photovoltaic systems will be able to monitor their own generation and consumption. They will also be informed about the best times to store, sell and use their electricity.



Neue Mitte Altona

A new Hamburg quarter

A new city quarter

Mitte Altona is Hamburg’s second largest urban development project after the HafenCity. The transfer of Altona train station to another site paved the way for the creation of this new quarter, which is set to comprise 3,600 apartments. Among the requirements stipulated by the city for the development concept was a sustainable heat supply and uniform heat prices for the entire development area. Moreover, 50 per cent of heat was to come from regenerative energy production and CO2 emissions were to remain below 120 kilogrammes per megawatt hour generated.

Photograph: / M. Friedel / FHH

Natural warmth for Altona

Vattenfall Wärme Hamburg was awarded the contract and will in future be supplying 60 per cent of the heat required as natural heat. Some of this heat will come from the cogeneration unit in Borsigstraße. This cogeneration unit generates heat and electricity from biomethane. This biomethane comes from the biogas and composting plant in Bützberg, where it is generated from organic waste. A further proportion of the heat will be produced by the biomass derived at the waste incineration plant in Borsigstraße. This biomass, in turn, is produced using regionally sourced waste wood.

The district heating system will provide for the rest

The remaining 40 per cent of the heat required will be supplied to the quarter’s future residents as classic district heating. The main district heating suppliers are the thermal power stations in Wedel and Tiefstack, the Hafencity thermal power plant, and the waste incineration plants District heating is largely produced through cogeneration (90.4 percent); currently, 14 percent of it is derived from renewable sources.



An energy cellar in Ottensen

On the corner of Bahrenfelder Straße and Zeißstraße in Hamburg’s Ottensen quarter, Vattenfall has fitted a residential and office building with an innovative energy cellar equipped with cutting-edge technology.

Photograph: Markus Altmann

The energy cellar takes care of everything

The new cellar features a combination of boiler, cogeneration unit, heat pump and electric heating cartridge, and it is the interplay between the individual components that makes the energy cellar so special. The heat pump is controlled by the ambient air. That is to say, it only operates when the cogeneration unit or other components produce waste heat and the cogeneration unit supplies electricity. In this way, the residual energy can be optimally exploited and recycled.

Energy cellar components: Two drinking water containers with different temperature levels

Oskar, the heat manager

The cellar is also equipped with power-to-heat technology, through which electricity is converted into heat. An inbuilt Oskar stratified tank facilitates optimum heat management. Two drinking water containers with different temperature levels for decoupled drinking water treatment. While one container supplies hot water for commercial customers, the other supplies the neighbouring residential spaces. This considerably reduces storage losses and generation costs.



Green heat

The municipal biogas and composting plant in Bützberg in north-eastern Hamburg generates biomethane and high-quality compost from organic waste.


Turning compost into heat and electricity

The biomethane created is of similar quality to natural gas. It is used in the cogeneration plant at Borsigstraße to generate electricity and heat. The green energy is then delivered directly to customers. 1.1 million cubic metres of biomethane generate 5.15 gigawatt hours of green heat and 4.44 gigawatt hours of electricity per year.


cubic meters of hot water is stored

Zero losses

The heat accumulator located at the same site makes generating electricity and heat even more flexible. It stores heat energy in the form of 5,000 cubic metres of hot water, which it can then release at later dates for district heating purposes. This means that electricity and heat can still be produced in combination even at times when homes have no heating needs. It also ensures that the heat supply remains reliable even when electricity is not being produced.

Hamburg’s youngest waste utilisation plant

Another example for the generation of energy from waste is the Rugenberger Damm waste utilisation plant. Commissioned in 1999, it is Hamburg’s youngest waste utilisation plant. Today, the plant supplies an industrial client with process steam and could in future partially replace the hot water supply provided by the thermal power station in Wedel. Indeed, the most popular concept for replacing the Wedel power station involves equipping the waste utilisation plant in Hamburg-Altenwerder with a new district heating manifold to enable it to, in future, supply the west of Hamburg with heat.



Norddeutsche Energiewende 4.0

Around sixty partners from the business, science and political worlds have come together to form the consortium “Norddeutsche Energiewende (NEW) 4.0”

100 % renewable energy

NEW 4.0 is part of a subsidy programme launched in 2015 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs. The NEW 4.0 alliance seeks to achieve the following: to power the region, comprising the large energy consumption centre of Hamburg and the important producer of wind energy Schleswig-Holstein, based exclusively on renewable energy by the year 2035. It aims to do all of this in as cost-effective, environmentally friendly and socially sound manner as possible.

New power-to-heat plant

NEW 4.0 is looking to set up a new power-to-heat plant close to the Hamburg Messe conference centre. Whenever excess wind and solar energy is available, this plant will turn the corresponding electricity into heat, creating more environmentally-friendly energy.

Fit for the future

As a first step, the electric boiler in Hamburg’s Karolinenviertel needs to be made fit for the future. The boiler will not only serve to generate heat at short notice when demand is especially high; it will in future also be able to transform wind energy into heat. This reduces the use of fossil fuels and, as a result, the emission of CO2 gas.



Decentralised energy supply

New residential development at Tarpenbeker Ufer

Heat generated at home

At Tarpenbeker Ufer, between Eppendorf and Niendorf, Otto Wulff Unternehmensgruppe is constructing 750 apartments on ten residential construction sites to be completed by 2022. Some of these will be publicly subsidised rental apartments, some privately financed rental apartments, and some owner-occupied apartments. The complex is also to include a daycare facility for children. Vattenfall will be responsible for heating the complex in future.



with a total of 3,400 kW connected load

One cogeneration unit per construction site

From mid-2018, the residential development’s heat supply will come from by ten cogeneration units, which will be backed up by gas condensing boilers on very cold days. Every construction site will have its own cogeneration unit. The units will be installed separately for each construction site. The size of the units will depend on the size of the buildings They will have a connected load of between 160 kW and 400 kW. The connected load for the entire complex will amount to 3,400 kW.

Structure of a cogeneration unit



Smart heat

A pilot project in Hamburg-Dulsberg

A smart system

Intelligent energy control systems for buildings not only make things more comfortable for their users, they also facilitate smarter energy consumption. For example, they stop rooms from being unnecessarily heated when nobody is home. In order establish how best they can be implemented, we joined forces with our partners at Hansa Baugenossenschaft and RieCon and renovated two buildings in Hamburg-Dulsberg, equipping them with the very latest energy technology.

Smart vs normal

One building has additionally been equipped with a smart home system. This intelligent system comprises a control unit in the form of a tablet, as well as automatic heating valves and various sensors, and enables residents to control their heating quickly and easily. If the window if opened, for example, then the heating will switch itself off.

Aims of the test

The aim of the test was to find out how a modern building control system can help to save energy. By facilitating a direct comparison between the buildings, the test was able to show how effectively a heating control system can reduce energy consumption. The insights gained through the test will now be used to further develop other such systems.



Solar thermal energy

Generating heat based on solar energy in the HafenCity quarter

On Hamburg’s rooftops

In Hamburg’s Kaiserkai area, solar energy is being used to create heat. 1,800 square metres of collector surface on HafenCity rooftops generate warm water and, being fuel-free, emit no CO2 whatsoever.

This solar thermal system is the largest of its kind in Hamburg, and covers 40 per cent of its host buildings’ warm water needs.

How a thermal solar power plant works

The solar collectors contain either a special carrier fluid (mix of water and antifreeze) or air. The fluid or air is heated by the sun’s rays and then conducted into a warm water accumulator by means of a circulation pump. The carrier fluid or air then releases its heat into the drinking water in the accumulator via a heat exchanger, and is then conducted back to the collector in a cooled down state.

Perfect unison

If the sun is not shining, or is too weak, the accumulator is heated by a second heating coil powered by an alternative energy source. In the case of the HafenCity, this source is environmentally friendly district heating. Solar thermal plants can be combined with other heating devices. The pellet boiler is an especially popular combination device due to its CO2 neutrality. Pellet boilers generate their heat based on prefabricated wood pellets.



District cooling

A central cold water system for the City Nord quarter

An efficient solution

Office air conditioning consumes a considerable amount of energy. And because the cooling and conditioning of air is so energy intensive, having an individual air conditioning system for each office is an extremely inefficient option. Central solutions make much more sense.

Recooling plants, in the background, the City Nord district, photograph: Vattenfall

Cool air for offices

Vattenfall operates a central cold water plant in Hamburg’s City Nord commercial district. The plant supplies the surrounding office buildings with cold water, which is then used by the buildings for air conditioning. With this efficient supply of refrigerated air, Vattenfall enables workers in the City Nord to keep a cool head ,even on hot days. The individual building operators, in turn, save in terms of the investments, space and maintenance that individual cooling systems would require.



Hydrogen station

The HafenCity hydrogen station provides fuel to the fleet of modern HVV (Hamburg public transport company) buses. These buses are among the ways Vattenfall is contributing toward achieving Hamburg’s climate objectives.

Steam as opposed to CO2

The buses emit only steam and no CO2. Launched in 2012, the station is one of Europe's largest and most efficient hydrogen stations. It has the capacity to supply around 20 public transport buses and a number of cars per day. Because the fuel is gaseous and the refuelling process performed under high pressure, it only takes three minutes to refuel a tank.

On of the world’s first hydrogen stations

The HafenCity hydrogen station is among the first in the world to offer this refuelling process. The electricity to generate the hydrogen derives exclusively from renewable energy sources. The system therefore serves as a renewable energy store that effectively connects the electricity and mobility sectors.