Germany is building a large tower near the Spree river in Berlin, which will functionally resemble a large thermos when completed.
The tower was unveiled by German power provider Vattenfall on June 30th, 2022, which stands at 45 meters (147.6 feet) tall and can hold up to 56 million liters (14.8 million gallons) of hot water. Effectively acting as a large battery, the giant tank receives excess electricity from the grid produced by renewable energy sources like wind and solar. This energy is used to heat the water to almost boiling temperatures.
The facility will cost 50 million euros ($52 million) to complete and will have a thermal capacity of 200 Megawatts (MW). Its insulation will allow it to keep water hot for up to 13 hours and helps smooth out fluctuations in power availability from renewable energy sources during the day as the Sun disappears or wind levels drop. The giant thermos will be Europe's largest heat storage facility, larger even than an upcoming one planned for the Netherlands.
"It's a huge thermos that helps us to store the heat when we don't need it, 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. Where we are standing we can take in this electricity," said Tanja Wielgoss, who heads the Sweden-based company's heat unit in Germany.
"Due to its geographic location the Berlin region is even more dependent on Russian fossil fuels than other parts of Germany. 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]," said Bettina Jarasch, Berlin's top climate official, told The Associated Press.
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