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Energy Potential from the "Underground“

Energy from Wastewater for the Heating and Cooling of Buildings

Washing hands, showering, washing laundry, washing dishes, commercial operations – enormous amounts of waste water are produced throughout the day. Wastewater is still considered a “dirty matter” and flows unused into the sewer system. But from this supposedly “dirty” water “clean” energy can easily and efficiently be obtained. The company Rabmer is, with the most modern technologies, specialist in this area and offers individual solutions.

Over 40% of the world’s energy requirements are used exclusively for the heating and cooling of buildings. To date, CO2 critical energy sources have been used almost exclusively for this purpose. The high energetic potential of waste water is still hardly used in Austria. The Upper Austrian family business Rabmer would like to change this now. For some time already, the environmental technology specialist has been dealing with innovative technologies for energy generation from waste water heat and offers a highly efficient and environmentally friendly solution for this problem. Innovative technologies, shorter payback periods and the new Austrian climate and energy strategy are reasons enough to increasingly rely on these technologies in the future. Since wastewater has an almost constant temperature all year round, this potential can be used throughout the whole, regardless of external influences. Such systems are suitable for heating and cooling residential and office buildings, public facilities, hospitals, student dormitories, retirement homes, industrial and commercial facilities, canteen kitchens, sports facilities and bathrooms. In Switzerland, Scandinavia and Germany, heat has been successfully recovered from wastewater for three decades. There are now many reference projects throughout Europe for the successful use of energy from wastewater technologies. The largest project to date was realised in Hungary in 2014. A military hospital in Budapest was equipped with a system with a heating capacity of 3.8 MW and a cooling capacity of 3.2 MW. This corresponds roughly to the heating and cooling requirements of around 400 single-family homes.

Austria is still lagging behind, although calculations show that up to one eighth of all Austrian households could be heated with heat from waste water.

Innovative technologies and individual solutions

Hot waste water can be used on one hand for hot water preparation and on the other hand for heating and cooling buildings and thus for the highly efficiently saving of fossil fuels. The versatile application possibilities start with the use of heat exchangers in showers and end with the use of waste water energy for the complete heating and cooling of building systems, the surplus can even be fed into district heating systems. In order to guarantee the best technological and economic energy generation for each project, the environmental technology specialist Rabmer develops individually adapted concepts based on different products and technologies. Rabmer can also take over the operation of these plants at the customer’s request.

Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, Managing Director of the Rabmer Group, is convinced that: “This environmentally friendly method of energy generation is becoming increasingly important, finally also in our home market (Austria). As a result of the increasingly mature technologies, the payback period has been significantly reduced, which is why more and more customers are interested in this system. We are pleased to be able to implement many energy projects from waste water in the future and thus set a strong signal in the sense of sustainable energy generation”.