Main content:


Energy-efficient Duisburg – Development strategy for district heating

EnEff:Wärme - Forschung für energieeffiziente Wärme- und Kältenetze

Duisburg Inland Port with a view of the Town Hall: 120,000 tonnes of CO2 have already been saved each year as a result of a diverse range of activities – predominately thanks to the use of combined heat and power generation.

© Duisburger Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH

Settlement summary

Project status Projektstatus: Phase 1Concept
Location of local community 47053 Duisburg, Nordrhein-Westfalen
Settlement in figures 233 km², 490,000 inhabitants
Developer, organizer Stadtwerke Duisburg AG
Network operator Stadtwerke Duisburg Netzgesellschaft mbH
Generation CHP and cogeneration plants
Heating system Heating networks. The aim of the investigation is to identify areas for possibly expanding, converting or even reducing grid-bound heat supplies.
Network length 300 km
Heat customer, cooling energy customer Buildings in Duisburg
Project themes

Project description

As a result of structural changes, the City of Duisburg has lost more than 20% of its inhabitants during the last 30 years. The city is therefore attempting to actively shape these changes. The Stadtwerke Duisburg AG municipal utility company is also involved in this shaping process. The intention is to adapt the grid-bound energy infrastructure to the city’s development and simultaneously optimise it in order to be able to meet future requirements regarding economic efficiency, sustainability, supply security and energy efficiency.

The community

The CO2 emissions in Duisburg are still almost exclusively determined by the industrial sector. The emissions that occur within the urban area are caused by transport, small heating systems and the municipal utility plants. The City of Duisburg has therefore committed itself to reducing CO2 emissions in numerous ways. In 2009 Duisburg concluded a dual climate protection concept and in 2011 the city won the European Energy Award in silver. 


The “Energy-efficient Duisburg – a model for supplying urban areas with resource-saving and climate-friendly heating” project is based on a previously produced heating market analysis. The aim is to encourage integrated planning for generating, distributing and consuming heat in large cities undergoing structural change. The focus is on optimising the grid-bound energy infrastructure. The strategic planning horizon is therefore correspondingly long term (until 2050). The EnEff:Wärme project is running parallel to an urban development process that will ultimately lead to a new version of the land use plan for Duisburg. The project will run for one and a half years and is due to be completed in June 2013. 

  • The project is divided into five stages:
  • Preparation of a long-term framework for the urban development, energy demand and supplies until 2050.
  • Computer-based modelling of future scenarios in order to compare supply alternatives. The POLIS modelling tool is being used which enables both cost and emission reductions to be optimised.
  • Based on the scenarios, a concept for future-capable heat generation will be developed.
  • A design for a future district heating network will then be developed. This design will be checked with a hydraulic simulation. If necessary, unalterable grid restrictions will be incorporated in the model.
  • In the last stage, specific development approaches for the grid conversion and expansion will be drawn up. The individual development stages will be prioritised. The development approaches with the prioritised individual projects will then form the "Energy-efficient Duisburg" model project.

The City of Duisburg’s energy system with the generation, distribution and requirements will be depicted with a modelling tool (POLIS) and various future scenarios will be optimised in terms of the economic feasibility and emissions. Based on the results, a future generator structure and a design for a target district heating network will be developed. The grid design will be tested using a hydraulic simulation.

Results and goal

The concept is intended to enable the Duisburg municipal utility company to react flexibly to future environmental changes and remain functional. The aim of the integrated planning is to exploit efficiency-related potential in both ecological and economic terms. The project is intended to act as a flagship for other cities undergoing post-industrial structural changes. 


The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is funding 40% of the concept development as part of its EnEff-Wärme programme.

Energy characteristics

before potential after unit
Heating density 4,90     MWh/Einwohner

Additional information:

GEF Ingenieur AG
Network operator, energy service provider
Stadtwerke Duisburg AG