Danish multi-utility company, Aalborg Forsyning, has commissioned MAN Energy Solutions to supply a turnkey heat-generation system with an overall heating capacity of 132 MW, featuring three MAN heat pumps. Each unit has a capacity of 44 MW, making them the largest heat pump units ever to be installed in a district-heating plant worldwide. Overall, the plant will supply around 550,000 MWh of heat annually and account for almost one-third of the heat production in Aalborg, Denmark’s third-largest municipality.

The district-heating plant’s location on the northern bank of the local Limfjord strait will enable the use of seawater as a heat source. The heat pumps will use electricity from Aalborg Forsyning renewable-energy sources to raise the water’s temperature from a range of 1-15° Celsius up to 98°, which is the temperature used in the district heating network. The heat-pump plant will consequently reduce CO2 emissions by 160,000 tons annually compared to the city’s current, coal-fired power plant that is scheduled for closure in 2028.

Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions, said: “We are very proud to collaborate with Aalborg Forsyning on the city’s transition from coal-based to climate-friendly district heating. In many regards, heat and cold generation has thus far been a blind spot for the energy transition. This major project demonstrates how renewable energy can be harnessed outside of the power grid to heat homes and factory facilities. Going forward, such sector-coupling will be essential to progress in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. I am particularly pleased that MAN Energy Solutions is able to support Aalborg on its way to net-zero. Together, we are setting a powerful example for others to follow.”

Jesper Høstgaard-Jensen, Technical Director at Aalborg Forsyning, stated: “We are very pleased to collaborate with MAN Energy Solutions in the decarbonisation of Aalborg’s heat supply. These seawater heat pumps will play an important role in our transition from coal-based to climate-friendly district heating and we are getting a very flexible, efficient, and climate-friendly solution. We look forward to working closely with MAN Energy Solutions in executing this project.”

The naturally cooled seawater heat-pump plant in Aalborg will be one of the largest of its kind ever used in the world. Project construction is scheduled to start in August 2024 with Aalborg Forsyning taking over the heat-pump system by 2027 after a period of testing and commissioning.

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