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Kassel consortium around Klaus Vajen receives Hessian State Prize

High recognition for special achievements in the energy transition: The Kassel-based solar thermal specialist Enertracting, the regional energy supplier EAM and the University of Kassel (Department of Solar and Plant Engineering) have been awarded the 2018 Hessian State Prize for Innovative Energy Solutions for a system to reduce carbon dioxide emissions during the operation of gas pressure control systems.

Image: Nina Skripietz
Award Winners.

They received the award on Tuesday evening (Nov. 20) in Kassel in the energy efficiency category. Under the name "E3", the three winners have been pooling their specific expertise as a consortium since 2009 and working together to develop solutions to increase efficiency in the German natural gas supply network and reduceCO2 emissions. "The Hessian State Prize is valuable recognition for our work, the success of which is the result of a very good combination of science and business," emphasizes solar expert Prof. Dr. Klaus Vajen, head of the Solar and Plant Technology Department at the University of Kassel. The award also highlights the importance of the Hessian research funding program LOEWE, which supported the team in its research activities in the early years.

50 percentCO2 reduction

"With the 'E3 formulation', we have succeeded in reducingCO2 emissions by at least 50 percent in the EAM gas pressure regulating stations considered so far," reports Roland Heinzen, Managing Director of Enertracting. Gas pressure regulating stations are important interfaces in the natural gas network, where the pressure of the gas from the long-distance pipeline, which is highly compressed at up to 100 bar, is reduced to a few millibars for onward transmission to end customers. A lot of thermal energy is required for this pressure reduction. Heinzen: "There are 5,000 plants of this type in Germany alone, and on average they each have as much heat demand as a small village with 300 inhabitants. There's an enormous savings potential there, which we can realize through an intelligent mix of energy conservation, solar thermal, heat pump, combined heat and power, and other elements, each adapted to the plant."

"Heat turnaround" with citizen participation

The E3 team has already successfully demonstrated its modular system at three large EAM control plants, where it replaced most of the heat demand with the use of renewable heat generators. "For our largest project to date at a plant in Ostheim/Malsfeld, we implemented the financing together with Bürger Energie Kassel & Söhre eG," emphasizes EAM Managing Director Thomas Weber. "In this way, North Hessian citizens are involved in the heat turnaround and also benefit financially."

The three North Hessian partners are now commissioned by natural gas network operators from all over Germany to plan and implement energy solutions for gas pressure control systems.

In addition to the "E3" consortium, other prize winners received awards. All of them receive prize money of 5,000 euros each,  in the special categories of pupils and students 2,500 euros each.

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