Berlin’s gigantic thermos tower can heat countless homes this winter
On Thursday, June 30, at Vattenfall’s Reuter power station, Germany unveiled its massive steel tower in Berlin. This enormous thermos tower will serve a similar purpose to a coffee thermos flask this upcoming winter.
Germany is developing this gigantic thermos to heat homes in the winter. The thermos tower is nearly 150 feet tall and it can bear the weight of an astonishing 15 million gallons(56 million liters) of hot water. Once the construction is completed, it will become Europe’s largest heat storage facility.
“It’s a huge thermos that helps us to store the heat when we don’t need it,” said Tanja Wielgoss, who heads utility company Vattenfall’s heat unit in Germany. “And then we can release it when we need to use it.”
“Sometimes you have an abundance of electricity in the grids that you cannot use anymore, and then you need to turn off the wind turbines,” she continued. “Where we are standing we can take in this electricity.”
According to the reports published by Associated Press, this huge thermos can fulfill much of Berlin’s hot water needs in the summer and an extraordinary 10% of the city’s hot water demands in winter. Building this tower cost taxpayers 50 million euros ($52 million), and it will have a thermal capacity of 200 megawatts. According to the developers, this thermos tower can keep water insulated for up to 13 hours.
The water inside the thermos is kept at a near-boiling temperature by electricity from German solar and wind power plants.
“Due to its geographic location, the Berlin region is even more dependent on Russian fossil fuels than other parts of Germany,” Belin’s top climate official, Bettina Jarasch, told AP News. “That’s why we’re really in a hurry here. The war in Ukraine and the energy crisis teach us that we need to be faster. First of all, to become climate neutral, and secondly, to become independent (of energy imports).”
According to the developer of the tower, utility company Vattenfall, even if Russia stops supplying gas due to Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine, this tower will heat homes in Berlin this winter.
Wielgoss is confident that Vattenfall’s customers won’t go cold this winter. “Consumers in Germany are very well protected,” she said. “So they for sure will not suffer any shortages. But of course, we plead with everybody to really start saving energy.”
“Each kilowatt-hour we save is good for the country,” she added
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