Innovative ways to save energy for town planning

EU project POLYCITY promotes sustainable energy

Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences and its research centre for sustainable energy technology are coordinating the EU project POLYCITY. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum provided support for proposal writing and is as a partner responsible for the financial and administrative project management. Under the POLYCITY project, communities in Germany, Spain and Italy work with small companies for construction and energy as well as research institutes on the use of “green” energy.

The main focus of POLYCITY is to find innovative ways to use renewable energy in energy-efficient buildings in urban areas: in Scharnhauser Park near Stuttgart in Germany, in Cerdanyola del Vallès near Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain, and in Arquata in Turin, Italy. Using real buildings in parallel to scientific research, the project will demonstrate how to reduce consumption of fossil fuels in favor of solar and biomass energy.

The main focus of the research at the former Scharnhauser Park army barracks near Stuttgart are thermal cooling technology for air conditioning buildings in the summer, yearround use of solar energy, combined cooling heating and power (CCHP), and community energy management based on the very latest IT solutions. A combination of jobs, housing estates and parks results in an integrated residential and traffic concept with an emphasis on quality of life and low energy use. The total cost of the project are € 1.5 million. The innovative energy solutions that have been developed include:

  • Solar energy generation The Stadtwerke of Esslingen, the town of Ostfildern and the energy supply company Siedlungswerk GmbH in Stuttgart have built a photovoltaic plant peaking at 37 kW. The largest facility is linked to a wood-based heat and power station with solar panels on both the south-facing wall and the flat roof.

    Biomass power plant A wood chip power plant designed for 6MW output will provide the major energy supply. Every year, the plant supplies 80 per cent of the heating energy and 50 per cent of the electrical power needed for an area where 10,000 people will soon live and work.Local heating network This network spreads for a length of 13 kilometers. POLYCITY also supports hot water accumulators and an adsorption refrigeration plant.Thermal cooling systems As the first plant of its kind in Europe, a lithium- bromide refrigeration machine has been installed. It is powered by the heat generated by the combined woodchip heat and power plant and is entirely produced from biomass.

    At a second site supported by the project in a suburb in the north of Barcelona, a residential area for 50,000 people is being built, complete with an integrated technology park. Research at this site focuses on planning and improving a local heating and cooling network based on innovative technologies. Sustainable energy is supplied by an electric biomass thermal plant with its own hot-water heat recovery system. This is powered by wood refuse. A solar-thermal plant will power the low-temperature adsorption based refrigeration system. At the same time the excessive energy coming from the heating power plant will power hot water for the networks.

    On the third project site the working class neighborhood of Arquata in Turin, which arose at the end of the 19th century, is undergoing a general renewal based on ecological principles. The project is part of a major initiative to promote integrated energy systems powered by a variety of energy sources.


Prof. Dr. Norbert Höptner
Dr. Petra Püchner
Valerie Bahr

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (Stuttgart)

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