ABB to help decarbonise district heat supply near UNESCO World Heritage area in Denmark

ABB will supply integrated electrical infrastructure for seawater heat pump to deliver green heat to over 100,000 inhabitants of Danish port city of Esbjerg.

Innovative 50MW heat pump system will use renewable energy from wind farms and extract the heat from seawater (Photo credit: DIN Forsyning).

ABB will be deploying its complete electrical, instrumentation and control (EIC) package, motors and variable speed drives for the powerhouse of the heat pump, which is dubbed the world’s largest seawater heat pump based on CO2 as refrigerant. With Esbjerg facing the UNESCO World Heritage area of the Wadden Sea, the selection of the right pump was essential. The 50MW seawater heat pump system from MAN Energy Solutions, a customer of ABB, converts electrical energy into thermal energy and uses toxicologically-safe CO2 as a refrigerant for the entire system cycle.

Christian Udby Olsen, CEO at DIN Forsyning, commented: “With the cornerstone laid for a flexible and sustainable district heating, our vision is to continue to create quality green alternatives in renewable electricity production.”

As part of their 2030 strategy to pursue a 100% fossil fuel free heat production with zero loss of applied resources, DIN Forsyning has been developing a new hybrid renewable district heat plant to replace heat currently supplied by Esbjerg coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant. For the CHP plant – which produces about half of all district heating for Esbjerg – to be decommissioned in April 2023, DIN Forsyning had to be ready with alternative heat sources for the district heating, which can reduce primary energy consumption by 50% and generate low-carbon energy from heat pumps.

ABB’s technology will contribute to the replacement of the coal-fired plant as the main source of heat for the city of Esbjerg and get closer to the goal of reducing carbon emissions in the city. It will also be deployed to ensure that the entire heating network can be powered from renewables, and distributed to the plant, through connections to the offshore wind turbines in the North Sea. In addition, ABB will supply a medium voltage speed drive, motors, as well as electrical and control solutions to support the high efficiency of the system and the control of this heat pump.

“District heating is an important part of Esbjerg city’s ambition to become a CO2 neutral municipality by 2030,” Olesen explained. “The technology of partners as ABB is instrumental in our ability to revolutionise the future of district heating, which will be based on new green solutions. We believe that this approach will resonate both in Denmark and the rest of the world.”

Per Erik Holsten, head of energy industries for Norther Europe at ABB, continued: “At ABB, we embed sustainability in everything we do to enable energy efficient, low carbon operations and support the development of new and renewable energy models, so this project to transform the global district heating system and provide a greener solution for the residents of Esbjerg is a particularly exciting one for us.”