ICE plant in Cologne-Nippes: CO2 neutral pit stop

The new ICE plant in Cologne-Nippes is to be operated as climate-neutral: Ground water cools and heats the building, a photovoltaic system and green electricity supply it with electricity. In addition to this, the new location supports 750 jobs in the region and significantly reduces the previous level of noise. A new pioneer from the Rhineland for KlimaExpo.NRW.

The most state-of-the-art ICE factory in Europe is being built in Cologne-Nippes. The facility at the 23-hectare site will be finished just in time for the launch of the new ICE 4 train in December 2017. The facility makes it possible for all long-distance models to be maintained on-site. Since the beginning of planning, sustainability has been a key objective: Heat and electricity are provided using geothermal and solar energy and the entire operation is carbon-neutral.

Engine for progress:

  • carbon-neutral operation
  • air conditioning based on geothermal energy
  • solar thermal system supports the heating system
  • photovoltaic system covers the electricity requirement
  • participation procedures for residents
  • noise level reduced
  • jobs created and secured
  • mobility is also taken into consideration

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Photo: Deutsche Bahn AG / DBI, Werke & Hochbau

Visualization of the new ICE plant

Ground water cools and heats the building

The building's air conditioning is made possible by geothermal use of the groundwater at a constant temperature of 12.5 degrees Celsius. In summer, the water cools the hall. In the winter, a heat pump increases the groundwater temperature to a comfortable level in order to heat the building. A 180-square metre solar thermal installation supports the heating system and heats the service water.

The energy requirement for the heat pumps is covered by a photovoltaic plant with an installed capacity of 300 kilowatts. If the self-generated electricity is not enough, only green electricity is used. An intelligent building control system helps to save energy: If one of the eight work stations is not in use, the LED lighting is reduced to a minimum. If there is sufficient sunshine in winter, the heating system's heat pumps can be turned off due to the increased performance of the solar thermal installation. This energy system is also transferable to other industrial halls. Inquiries have already been received from other sectors of the economy.

Involved citizens, less noise and 750 jobs on-site

Before the start of construction, DB Fernverkehr organised information events and participation procedures for the residents. This allowed initial concerns to be addressed as quickly as possible. In order to avoid disturbing the peace as best as possible, special tracks were laid on which the trains travel more quietly. The result is that the noise level at the Nippes site will be minimised and even reduced by 10.5 decibels in comparison to the current situation. This corresponds to a halving of the level of noise experienced.

The creation and safeguarding of 400 jobs at DB Fernverkehr and a further 350 jobs at associated cleaning and security companies represents a positive economic aspect emanating from this pioneering project in the middle of Cologne-Nippes.

Photo: DB Fernverkehr AG

"For the construction of the ICE plant in Cologne-Nippes, DB Fernverkehr AG has taken on the task of establishing a site the size of more than 23 football pitches to be completely carbon-neutral. This will set new standards for the construction of workshop premises. More than 30 per cent of the investment cost in the amount of EUR 220 million will be spent on sustainable implementation and environmental considerations."

Dipl.-Ing. Wilfried Brandt, Overall Project Leader for the construction of the new ICE plant in Cologne-Nippes, DB Fernverkehr AG, Infrastructure Plant Area III

Partners and sponsors

  • DB Fernverkehr AG