Swimming in the Alps has now become greener than ever. In Innsbruck, the local energy services provider, IKB (Innsbrucker Kommunalbetriebe) recently inaugurated the city’s biggest Power2Heat plant at the public swimming pool Amras in the framework of the Sinfonia Smart City Initiative. The new Power2Heat device transforms excess electricity from renewable sources coming from the grid into heat in the local swimming pool. Acting as a giant kettle, the plant uses the surplus electricity to heat a storage tank containing 80,000 litres of water, and stabilise the electricity grid. The heated water is then used for hot water production, sanitary facilities, and distributed to heat the building.
As explained by Thomas Pühringer, Director at the IKB “The installation of this new Power2Heat system in the swimming pool enables not only the use of renewable energy sources in the facility, but it is also used to balance the excess of renewable energy fed on the grid”. For €700,000 investment – including 30.000€ subsidies from the European project Sinfonia - 250 tonnes of greenhouse gases emissions are now being saved each year in the swimming pool: the equivalent of the yearly energy consumption of 80 families. A natural gas boiler is still left in the building, but it is only used as a backup solution in case not enough surplus electricity or heat is available on the grid and in the storage tank.
Since 2017, the Olympic pool, another public swimming pool managed by the IKB, is already using waste heat from the nearby sewage treatment plant, thanks to an innovative biomass gasification CHP plant. Together with the new Power2Heat system installed in Amras, the IKB will decrease natural gas consumption by one million kWh per year in the city’s public swimming pools, leading to significant savings in terms of heating costs.
This new equipment brings Innsbruck one step closer to becoming the most sustainable city of the Alps. And these efforts are already an inspiration in the neighbourhood: another swimming pool in the city also recently installed a heat pump system to cut its energy consumption.