Bio-local heating Seefeld: Energy from biomass
If you take the main road to Seefeld, you will pass an inconspicuous green building on the way: the Bio-Ortswärme Seefeld. Here, heat and sustainable green electricity are generated from regional biomass for numerous households and businesses in the region. Managing director and energy specialist Dipl. Ing. Andreas Glatzl lets us take a look behind the scenes of the environmentally friendly local heat.
It is a warm and sunny autumn day in Seefeld as chief engineer Andreas Glatzl welcomes us to the courtyard of the sixteen-meter-high combustion plant. Twenty impressive years of experience with renewable energies, fourteen of them as managing director of Ortswärme Seefeld – the man burns with heart and soul for the environment. Just as he introduces us to the huge weather-protected outdoor storage areas, a heavy container truck rolls into the docking bay, bringing fresh biomass for the boilers. We are briefly amazed like little children as the transporter piles tons of wood chips into fragrant mountains of wood, then we follow the production chain inside.
Here burns the eternal hellfire of Seefeld – but completely sinless, emphasizes Mr. Glatzl with a grin and points to the highly complex exhaust filter technology. After fourfold filtration, no visible smoke comes out of the chimney, because even the waste heat from the exhaust gases is still utilized here. Through a small hatch, the inferno blazes towards us at a good 800 degrees, and we vacillate between goosebumps and sweat. With the waste heat from the impressive combustion chamber, the thermal oil plant (uses special oil as a heat transfer medium) generates a total of 6,500 kilowatts of thermal energy from biomass. This then reaches the end users in the village via a kilometer-long, specially insulated pipeline system. With the largest density of Wellness enterprises in the alpine area naturally comes together in the region some at heat requirement, calculates the managing director descriptively. Today, almost all of the large local businesses use the environmentally friendly thermal energy from Bio-Ortswärme Seefeld, and the heating plant has also been producing green electricity since 2017 – for a good 1,100 households throughout Seefeld.
The company remains competitive both in terms of price and energy supply, because the advantages of the local biofuel plant are passed on directly to the end customers with short delivery routes and efficient control systems. Initially, of course, this required some convincing, recalls chief engineer Andreas Glatzl of the initial founding phase. With Mayor Werner Frießer, Edi Hiltpolt and Markus Gapp, the joint vision of a sustainable energy solution for Seefeld emerged at the beginning of 2006. "At that time, there was the idea of a small wood chip heating system for the new Sports and Congress Center (SKZ), but we went home with the vision of creating something bigger," the managing director recalls. "The aim was to combine ecology and economy on the sunny plateau in a sensible and sustainable district economy – future-proof and expandable."
In addition to heat from biomass, the heating plant also supplies green electricity from small hydropower plants and photovoltaic systems. And where some biomass accumulates privately (during tree and gardening work, for example), Ortswärme Seefeld sends a free collection service and then feeds the furnaces on the main road with it again.
Think big for business.
The most important thing for the end customers is, of course, safety and service comfort – this is also a top priority at the Bio-Wärmewerk Seefeld, explains chief technician Glatzl in the control room of the heating system. Someone is always on standby here, around the clock, including holidays, of course. As a result, there has not been a single unplanned malfunction in the 14 years of operation, which is something to be proud of. What's more, the high-tech system is fully automated and remotely monitored, so the technicians can check all processes securely in encrypted form and in real time, even while on the road.
However, the fact that environmentally friendly energy management is now almost a matter of course in Seefeld is what pleases the sustainability expert most of all. That's why he likes to climb up on the small flat roof of the plant, look far over Seefeld and also look back a bit: "Nothing is as strong as an idea whose time has come," Glatzl grins.