Oct 18, 2013

'Energy Bunker' debuts in Germany

3 min
The German city of Hamburg recently launched its “Energy Bunker.” Located in the district of Wilhelmsburg, t...

The German city of Hamburg recently launched its “Energy Bunker.” Located in the district of Wilhelmsburg, the former air raid bunker has been transformed into an Energy Bunker as part of the 2013 International Building Exhibition Hamburg (IBA).

This massive building, which had been derelict for several decades, now hosts a regenerative power plant supplying the surrounding area with green energy. The project is part of the “Renewable Wilhelmsburg” climate protection scheme, which aims to provide the 50,000 Wilhelmsburg residents with CO2-neutral electricity by 2025 and with climate-neutral heating by 2050.

The surrounding neighborhood's household energy is generated by an efficient combination of energy sources: besides solar energy and biogas, the bunker also uses wood chips and waste heat from a nearby industrial plant, supplying heating energy to local households.

The project's most innovative feature is its large-scale buffer storage facility with its two million litre capacity that integrates different eco-friendly heat and power units. The Energy Bunker also feeds the renewable power generated by its solar panels into Hamburg's electricity grid, thereby supplying 3,000 households with heat and 1,000 households with electricity.

Erected in 1943 as an air raid bunker, the original building protected thousands of people from Allied air raids. Four years later, the British Army destroyed the bunker's interior by means of a controlled detonation. All that was left was the outer shell with its almost three meter thick walls. For almost 60 years, the building served as a war memorial and any further utilization of the premises was restricted to a few adjacent areas.  

The Energy Bunker is an integral part of the “Renewable Wilhelmsburg” climate protection scheme for Europe's largest river island with almost 50,000 residents. By the year 2050, Wilhelmsburg will be transformed into a climate-neutral district. The basis for this is provided within the framework of the International Building Exhibition (IBA), currently taking place in Hamburg. With its dedicated energy projects, the IBA is setting the groundwork for meeting Wilhelmsburg's total energy and heating requirements in a climate-neutral way by 2025 and 2050, respectively.

Another landmark project of the climate protection scheme is the “Energy Hill,” a former toxic landfill site that has been transformed into a renewable energy hill that, using solar energy and wind power, supplies 4,000 households with electricity.

Other pioneering projects include the “Energy Network Wilhelmsburg Central,” which integrates energy-generating facilities from various buildings into one large “virtual” power plant, and the BIQ House, which is setting new standards as the world's first building to have a bioreactor façade. Microalgae are cultivated in the glass elements that make up the BIQ House's “bio skin.” The house is part of the IBA “Building Exhibition within the Building Exhibition” project, which gives us a glimpse into urban life in the future. 

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May 18, 2021

Toyota unveils electric van and Volvo opens fuel cell lab

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Toyota's Proace Electric medium-duty panel van is being launched across Europe as Volvo opens its first fuel cell test lab

Toyota is launching its first zero emission battery electric vehicle, the Proace Electric medium-duty panel van, across Europe.

The model, which offers a choice of 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion batteries with range of up to 205 miles, is being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

At present, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs, including battery electric vehicles) account for only a fraction – around 1.8 per cent – of new light commercial van sales in the UK, but a number of factors are accelerating demand for practical alternatives to vans with conventional internal combustion engines.

Low and zero emission zones are coming into force to reduce local pollution and improve air quality in urban centres, at the same time as rapid growth in ecommerce is generating more day-to-day delivery traffic.

Meanwhile the opening of Volvo's first dedicated fuel cell test lab in Volvo Group, marks a significant milestone in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.

Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. The process is completely emission-free, with water vapour being the only by-product.

Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides another vital tool in its work to reach targets.

"The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing," he said.

The Fuel Cell Test Lab is a demonstration of the same dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the recent launch of cell centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond. Both form a key part of the Group’s overall ambition to be 100% fossil free by 2040.

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