Danish utility DIN Forsyning has commissioned CO2 (R744) heat pump technology from German manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions that will go into operation in April 2023 at the Port of Esbjerg, Denmark, as part of a decarbonization project.

The massive 50MW MAN solution, which consists of two Electro-Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) CO2 heat pump systems, will use renewable energy from nearby wind farms, and extract the heat from sea water.

It is the largest seawater-based heat pump solution in Denmark, according to DIN Forsyning, and the largest CO2 heat pump solution in the world, according to MAN. MAN calls the use of CO2 as the refrigerant in the system “key.”

The MAN solution will replace a coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) station at the Port of Esbjerg, supplying approximately 235,000MWh of heat annually to around 100,000 people in a district heating network.

The coal-fired plant currently provides around half of the city of Esberg’s heating requirements. The plant will be closed down when the heat pump is in operation in April 2023.

“Esbjerg has very ambitious goals to become carbon neutral by 2030, and the new heat pump will be an important element in achieving this,” said Esbjerg’s Mayor Jesper Frost Rasmussen.

Turnkey solution

The new heat pump solution which will be delivered as a turnkey solution, includes heat exchangers, piping for the CO2 and seawater cycles, water pumps and the electrical infrastructure.

The system will be driven by two hermetic HOFIM oil-free compressors with integrated expanders. The compressors are developed and manufactured by MAN in Switzerland. The absence of an oil system and a dry gas seal system, together with the use of a high-speed motor and active magnetic bearings “results in an emission-free compression system with a small footprint,” MAN said.

“The deployment of the ETES heat pump systems from MAN Energy Solutions will help us to ensure an environmentally friendly and economically efficient heat-supply for the inhabitants of the city of Esbjerg,” said Anders Linde, chairman of the Board of DIN Forsyning. “By decarbonizing the heat supply, we are taking into account Denmark’s goal of phasing out coal while ensuring the environmental preservation of Denmark’s Wadden Sea, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” Linde added.

“Esbjerg has very ambitious goals to become carbon neutral by 2030, and the new heat pump will be an important element in achieving this,”

Mayor Jesper Frost Rasmussen, Esbjerg

The ETES technology used by MAN allows for exploitation of excess power from renewable energy sources, which “will have a beneficial effect on the efficiency of power production from wind and solar energy, and will further reduce the need for fossil power plants,” MAN said on its website.

In addition to the increased efficiency, “the operational flexibility of the heat-pump solution makes it possible to generate electrical balancing power in the short term, and therefore to maintain balance on the grid,” MAN explained.

“The transition to a carbon-neutral world is at the core of all the actions we take today,” said Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions. “This is why we are very proud to play a major role in the pioneering Esbjerg project as the provider of an innovative technology solution.”

“The ETES heat-pump system is a climate-neutral alternative to traditional, large-scale heat supplies and will significantly drive the decarbonization of the heating sector,” Lauber added.

DIN Forsyning, which services southwestern Denmark, provides several utilities, including district heating and drinking water. The company also trades in waste, water and recycling. The commissioning of the heat pump solution is part of DIN Forsyning’s 2030 environmental strategy, which aims for 100% fossil free heat production. 

In addition to the new heat pump, DIN Forsyning has also commissioned a new biomass boiler plant with flue gas condensation, to help it achieve its goal. The biomass boiler plant will have a capacity of 60MW and is to be delivered by Finnish manufacturer KPA Unicon Oy in 2023, and will operate alongside the heat pump.

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