World War II Bunker Now a Green Energy Bunker Utilizing Solar Thermal and Biomass

HAMBURG ENERGIE and IBA Hamburg Unveil Plaques at the Energy Bunker

From a war memorial to a green power plant: the “Energy Bunker” in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg, created by HAMBURG ENERGIE and the International Building Exhibition IBA Hamburg, is the first project of its kind in the world.  Since October 2012,  the “Energy Bunker” has been supplying heat energy to the residential buildings in the surrounding area. Six months ago it opened to visitors and has become a major attraction. The development of this remarkable joint project is now complete and is being celebrated with an opening ceremony and the unveiling of two plaques.

energy bunker

From the 1 year event in Hamburg, 14 October 2013 –

“Today we are here to mark a project that encapsulates the philosophy of the IBA Hamburg more than any other,” said IBA Director Uli Hellweg.

“After standing empty for more than sixty years, followed by a seven-year project development and construction phase, this war monument has been transformed into a sign of the dawn of a climate-friendly future. Not only does it produce clean energy to supply the district, but also demonstrates how local resources can be used to produce and store heat. With its viewing platform, permanent exhibition, and café, the ‘Energy Bunker’ also makes an appealing visitor attraction. Almost 100,000 people have visited the ‘Energy Bunker’ so far.”

Dr Michael Beckereit, Director of HAMBURG ENERGIE, said,

“The ‘Energy Bunker’ has been supplying heat energy since October 2012, and since March 2013 it has also been providing electricity. Its performance and network are gradually being extended. By the final stage of expansion we will be supplying 3,000 households with heat from the Bunker and generating over 2.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.”

At the heart of the project is a 2 million litre water reservoir that acts as a large heat buffer inside the “Energy Bunkerenergy bunker 2”, and serves as the centre of a local heating network for the Reiherstieg district. The reservoir is fed by the heat from a biomass thermal power plant and a wood burning unit, as well as a solar thermal system on the roof. This is supplemented by the waste heat from a nearby industrial plant. By bringing these different sources of energy together in an effective way, the “Energy Bunker” is able to supply the adjacent “Global Neighbourhood” with heat, and in future will be capable of providing heat to most of the Reiherstieg district. At the same time it feeds into the public grid “green” electricity from the thermal power station and the photovoltaic unit fitted to the south façade.

History of the Energy Bunker

The 42 metre high flak bunker on Neuhöfer Strasse was built during World War II. After the end of the war this concrete behemoth could not be blown up without endangering nearby tenements, so the British Army restricted itself to destroying the interior. On the outside, however, the bunker remained more or less intact. From then on, the ruin stood in the middle of the residential area, largely unused and in danger of collapsing. In 2006 the conceptual planning for converting the building into an “Energy Bunker” began, and 2010 saw the first static tests carried out. Safety, restoration, and conversion tasks on the bunker could only begin in 2011. The total cost of the work amounted to € 26.7 million. As a flagship project, it was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Hamburg Climate Protection Concept.

The clients are the IBA Hamburg (restoration and expansion of the building) and HAMBURG ENERGY (energy supply). As part of a joint opening ceremony Uli Hellweg and Dr Michael Beckereit have now unveiled the IBA plaque and the ERDF sign.

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