aha: The mobile heatbox

Heat is produced in many industrial processes, almost as a waste product. But, instead of simply letting this escape, unused, it could be employed somewhere else – where it is needed. The problem that is often encountered is that the heat consumers and the heat producers are not located in the same place. The waste management company from the District of Warendorf (AWG) and the firm Hammelmann Service have developed a mobile thermal storage unit to tackle this issue. Amongst other applications, it is currently being used successfully to heat a swimming pool in Ennigerloh.

The waste heat being used is produced at the waste management centre in Ennigerloh as a “waste product” during the process of converting landfill gas and biogas into electricity. The heat transfer medium used by the project is simple: water. Other mobile thermal storage units use other materials that are difficult to handle and therefore often not economical. By using water as a heat store, the consortium is able to ensure operation is commercially viable.

Engine for progress:

  • each Heatbox delivered saves 340 kg CO2
  • water used as storage medium
  • can be used in all hot-water applications (swimming pools, car washes, industrial kitchens, etc.)
  • financial benefits for heat consumers
  • innovative business model

1 of 5

Photo: aha

A heat container being transported

Simple technology – big impact

The two partner companies found each other more by accident than design. Hammelmann Service has a constant requirement for hot water to clean containers, tanker trucks and silo vehicles transporting goods for the food industry. Initially, a storage unit was deployed to transfer latent heat and then, based on this experience, they developed their own “Heatbox”. The original storage medium, sodium acetate, was switched to water and the complex design was simplified to a stratified storage unit.

Olympic-sized pool in Ennigerloh supplied with mobile heat

The Olympic-sized pool in Ennigerloh has been supplied with heat from the waste management centre since spring 2016. The water is transported at temperatures up to 85 °C using specially insulated containers and delivered to the swimming pool in a 23-m3 storage tank. Heat exchangers are used to warm the water for the showers up to 60 °C, which also prevents the development of legionella. According to demand, two or three containers are needed each week. One container can transport approximately 1,700 kilowatt-hours of heat. Since 2014, the outdoor pool in Ennigerloh and the warehouses of a logistics company have been supplied with heat, and a cleaning firm has received help in producing hot water. Compared with the use of gas, each Heatbox can save around 340 kilogrammes of CO2. Since many more heat consumers could benefit, the potential for this application is huge. It is of particular interest to those users who need hot water all year round. It is commercially viable to transport heat distances of around 20 kilometres since transport costs make up the greater part of the expense. AWG and Hammelmann founded the company aha – AWG und Hammelmann GbR to transport heat by road. As well as supplying mobile heat, the business model of the two companies also includes consultation services and container leasing. This project has opened up a new area of business for Hammelmann Service GmbH & Co. KG (originally a haulage company) and safeguarded existing jobs. The heat consumers also benefit financially as they do not need to buy as much gas.

Photo: aha

“AWG and Hammelmann have developed a mobile solution for the heat resulting from the production process at Ennigerloh’s waste management centre. Thanks to this solution, heat can be used at other locations far from the source without requiring a system of pipes. It’s a simple, but brilliant, idea. Heat, that otherwise dissipates unused, is saved and delivered flexibly to the location where it is needed. This is our concrete contribution to the preservation of resources and the protection of the climate – it is paying off, economically and ecologically.”

Thomas Grundmann, Managing Director AWG

Partners and sponsors

  • aha AWG & Hammelmann GbR
  • Abfallwirtschaftsgesellschaft des Kreises Warendorf mbH & Co. KG
  • Hammelmann Service GmbH & Co. KG