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    Geothermal energy at Krones Hungary

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    23. October 2023
    2:35 min.

    Lighthouse project: The site Debrecen in Hungary is well on its way to becoming the first net zero plant in the Krones Group.

    According to current planning, the Krones plant in Hungary could have reduced its CO2 emissions in scope 1 and 2 (emissions at a company's own sites) to net zero even before the originally targeted year of 2030. Apart from the fact that green electricity will be generated and sustainably used in the future with the help of an in-house photovoltaic system, this progress is also primarily due to geothermal energy generation, which Hungary has at its disposal thanks to its particularly favourable natural conditions. However, the recovery of the previously unused and considerable waste heat from the compressors used to generate compressed air also significantly increases overall energy efficiency.

    Groundbreaking at last!

    The plant in Debrecen currently operates two gas tanks, each with a capacity of one megawatt, which supply the heating systems of the entire production site. For continued covering of the heating and cooling requirements, a geothermal energy sensor system will be installed. Three heat pumps in which a special fluid mixture circulates serve as energy sources. The heat pump operation results in an increased demand for electricity, which is already covered by 100 percent green electricity. So, because the entire site can be supplied with renewable energy in the future, the gas boilers will become dispensable.

    After an intensive design and planning phase, installation of the solar modules, consisting of more than 2,700 panels of 1 by 2 metres each, began in August. The geothermal sensor system is located directly under the solar panels, so that the area is used twice. A test borehole drilled in advance at a depth of 120 metres already provided the necessary data for the design and dimensioning of the heat pump system. The modelling results showed that 204 sensors placed at a depth of 120 metres are required to supply the planned heating and cooling capacity.

    Planned completion already in 2024

    The heat collected from the ground is conducted from the engine room through two large pipes in the factory halls and then used by a cooling and heating mechanism in the assembly, manufacturing and logistics areas. Both the installation and commissioning of the photovoltaic system and the first phase of the geothermal project are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023 at the latest. The entire project is expected to be successfully completed in 2024, enabling the Debrecen plant to operate fully gas-independent by the end of 2024.

    In addition, real-time metrics as part of the building management system (BMS) will enable digital maintenance and control of the system. According to current calculations, the photovoltaic plant will allow Krones Hungary to generate around 30 to 40 percent of its own electricity requirements. The residual energy will be purchased in the form of green energy. The heating and cooling energy required will be 100 percent covered by the resources generated in-house once the project is completed.

    Heat from the earth

    Geothermal energy – or geothermal heat – is the heat energy stored in the earth's crust and its use for technical purposes. Geothermal energy can be used for heating, cooling and power generation. The near-surface and deep geothermal areas tap different temperature levels.

    23. October 2023
    2:35 min.

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