GETEC to implement one-of-a-kind power-to-heat project
for SMS in the German city of Hilchenbach

Hilchenbach / Magdeburg, November 22, 2023

GETEC will implement a highly innovative power-to-heat system for SMS group, a global leader in plant and mechanical engineering for the metal industry, at its German site in Hilchenbach. The system will supply the production site with heat. The partners recently signed the relevant contracts. The fully electric energy solu-tion will consist of a one-of-a-kind combination of a large-scale heat pump cas-cade and an electric boiler and will also include the largest air-to-water heat pump system currently available in Germany with a rated output of 4.3 mega-watts (MW). The entire system will help to make a significant contribution to the decarbonization of the site.

Bild vergrößern: Nach der Vertragsunterzeichnung GETEC und SMS
Caption (source: SMS):
After signing of the contract in Hilchenbach (from left: Torsten Münker (SMS), Pierre Hörler (GETEC), Arnd Kienolth (SMS), Tim Lendering (GETEC), Rüdiger Brücher (SMS), Marc Hoffmann (SMS), Henning Kaldewey (GETEC), Daniel Hein (GETEC).

The project allows SMS group to completely eliminate fossil fuels that were previously used to operate the heating network at the site. The measures will also help to almost completely transform the heating network into a greenhouse gas-neutral system. The heat pump cascade will consist of a two-stage system: In the first stage, ambient air energy is extracted using air-to-water heat pumps and temporari-ly stored in a source storage tank. In the second stage, water-to-water heat pumps then transform the energy from the source storage tank to the desired output tem-perature level. The electric boiler itself is used firstly to cover peak loads and as a “temperature booster” to increase the flow temperature when required. It also serves to stabilize the local electricity grid by participating in the balancing energy market. With this and intra-day and day-ahead trading, SMS can generate further added value in the form of additional revenue. Optimization and intermediate stor-age is carried out with the help of a 1,000 m³ stratified storage facility. The entire system is fed with electricity from renewable energy sources and thus makes a sig-nificant contribution to the decarbonization of the site. SMS uses regional renewable energy from local wind turbines.

“The switch to renewable energies and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are in line with SMS’s environmental and social responsibility. It represents a major contribution to our ESG efforts, which focus not only on emissions throughout the entire value chain, but also on the company's internal activities”, says Marc Hoffmann, Head of the SMS site in Hilchenbach.

“This is a flagship project in the industrial application of a fully electric energy solu-tion. We are really looking forward to implementing this innovative project in collaboration with SMS and thus helping to meet our customer’s sustainability re-quirements. The staged process allows us to first make full use of the much more efficient heat pumps, which are cheaper in terms of electricity costs, while the electric boiler, which has higher operating costs by comparison, closes the temperature gap and also generates additional revenue on the electricity market. This is how the energy transition works,” explains Martin Mahlberg, Industry Segment CEO of GETEC Platform Germany.

The system also features a modular design that can be expanded to include additional regenerative system components. The plant is expected to go into operation in April 2025. The project is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection.

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