The power-to-heat plant next to the Hundertwasser incinerator, Source: Wien Energie

Vienna prevents renewable energy waste with heat conversion plant

Vienna prevents renewable energy waste with heat conversion plant

The new site was built by the Hundertwasser waste incineration plant and is now an organic part of the complex

Yesterday, authorities at Wien Energie, Vienna’s public energy provider, announced the launch of a new power-to-heat conversion plant on the Hundertwasser incinerator. The plant is supposed to convert renewable energy into heat for the district heating system and prevent blackouts during the winter.

According to a statement by the energy provider, the new plant will also help strengthen the city’s energy system as a whole and build towards a total gas exit by 2040. This is because it will help prevent energy waste, a persistent issue for renewables.

Wasting less energy

There is one huge problem with renewable energy, which has no scalable and concrete solution – we are talking about energy waste. This is because, for one, renewable energy generation is very weather dependent and, two, peak energy production usually comes around midday, when energy consumption is at its lowest.

This is a problem for every energy provider when working with big renewable capacities and Wien Energie is no exception. This is why, when there is a peak in production, they need to carefully manage the grid to prevent energy overflow and underflow, both of which can lead to problems for consumers, including blackouts.

The power-to-heat plant aims to remedy this issue, by using excess renewable energy to produce heat for district heating. According to an official statement by the company, the plant will work like a massive kettle, boiling water to 155 degrees Celsius.

The plant has two heaters, that are capable of generating 5 megawatts and, as the company puts it, this will happen with minimal loss of efficiency. Additionally, it will make for a more stable energy supply for the citizens of Vienna.

Hundertwasser's legacy

The Hundertwasser waste incineration plant is a unique energy infrastructure landmark in Vienna. It was built by local architect and eco-activist Friedensreich Hundertwasser in the 1970s after the city council convinced him that incinerating waste was the best and most sustainable option.

Instead of putting it in a landfill, the plant uses the waste to generate district heating. Additionally, it has a distinct and quirky design, making it one of Vienna’s must-see architectural landmarks.

The power-to-heat plant, built in the same location, takes a lot of notes from the original ecologically minded design. For one, Wien Energie managed to construct it in a similar style, by working with the Hundertwasser Foundation.

Furthermore, the building was made using recycled concrete, a process which uses waste material from demolished buildings. Moreover, it has a roof garden with flowerbeds where employees can plant vegetables for their own use.



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