German consortium plans to build world’s largest heat pump


From pv magazine Global

German chemical producer Basf and Germany-based storage specialist Man Energy have unveiled a plan to build a large-scale, high-temperature heat pump at Basf’s Ludwigshafen site, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region.

The two companies said in a joint statement that they are currently conducting a feasibility study for the project, which is the world’s largest heat pump ever planned to date.

“The planned large-scale heat pump will enable production of steam using electricity from renewable energy, tapping waste heat from the cooling water system at BASF as a source of thermal energy,” the statement reads. “The residual heat in the water will be processed using compression to produce steam that will be fed into the site’s steam network.”

According to Basf, its industrial site in Ludwigshafen has an annual steam demand of 20 million MT. “By integrating the planned heat pump into the site’s production infrastructure, up to 150 metric tons of steam can be produced per hour, equivalent to a thermal output of 120 megawatts,” the company said. “At the same time, it would make the cooling water system more efficient and less dependent on climate and weather conditions.”

Basf utilises steam at the site to dry products, heat up reactors, and distilling. Currently, this demand is covered by heat coming from different production facilities located at the site, as well as gas and steam power plants.

The project is aimed at helping the two companies in gaining experience in the use of industrial-scale heat pumps and to assess the applicability of similar projects at other sites. “The feasibility study’s findings with regard to the economic viability, efficiency and competitiveness of the technology will form the basis for the subsequent decision-making process for the construction of the heat pump,” the two companies said, adding that the first results should be available by the end of this year.

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