Architecture

Former Nazi bunker transformed into green energy power plant

The Energy Bunker was originally constructed in 1943 to serve as a Nazi anti-aircraft bunker during WWII (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
The Energy Bunker was originally constructed in 1943 to serve as a Nazi anti-aircraft bunker during WWII (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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The Hamburg-based "Energy Bunker" now contains a green power plant that has already begun producing energy (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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The Hamburg-based "Energy Bunker" now contains a green power plant that has already begun producing energy (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
When operating at full capacity it will provide up to 3,000 homes with heating, and another 1,000 households with electricity (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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When operating at full capacity it will provide up to 3,000 homes with heating, and another 1,000 households with electricity (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
Energy Bunker also contains a war memorial, cafe and visitors center (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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Energy Bunker also contains a war memorial, cafe and visitors center (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
Plans to transform the building into a green energy hub first gained momentum in 2006, with the renovation commencing in 2011 (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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Plans to transform the building into a green energy hub first gained momentum in 2006, with the renovation commencing in 2011 (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
The project was funded by both the the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Hamburg Climate Protection Concept (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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The project was funded by both the the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Hamburg Climate Protection Concept (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
The Energy Bunker is equipped with several large-scale sustainable technologies (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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The Energy Bunker is equipped with several large-scale sustainable technologies (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
Energy Bunker also contains a war memorial, cafe and visitors center (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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Energy Bunker also contains a war memorial, cafe and visitors center (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
The Energy Bunker was originally constructed in 1943 to serve as a Nazi anti-aircraft bunker during WWII (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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The Energy Bunker was originally constructed in 1943 to serve as a Nazi anti-aircraft bunker during WWII (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
Energy Bunker also contains a war memorial, cafe and visitors center (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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Energy Bunker also contains a war memorial, cafe and visitors center (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
Energy Bunker also contains a war memorial, cafe and visitors center (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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Energy Bunker also contains a war memorial, cafe and visitors center (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
The Energy Bunker is equipped with several large-scale sustainable technologies (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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The Energy Bunker is equipped with several large-scale sustainable technologies (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
When operating at full capacity it will provide up to 3,000 homes with heating, and another 1,000 households with electricity (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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When operating at full capacity it will provide up to 3,000 homes with heating, and another 1,000 households with electricity (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
The Energy Bunker was originally constructed in 1943 to serve as a Nazi anti-aircraft bunker during WWII (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
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The Energy Bunker was originally constructed in 1943 to serve as a Nazi anti-aircraft bunker during WWII (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)

Energy and utilities company Hamburg Energie has joined forces with IBA Hamburg to transform a former Nazi anti-aircraft flak bunker into a green energy power plant. The Hamburg-based "Energy Bunker" has already begun producing energy for the local community, but once running at full capacity will provide up to 3,000 homes with heating, and another 1,000 homes with electricity.

Originally constructed in 1943 to serve as an anti-aircraft bunker, complete with gun turrets, the 42 m (137 ft) -high building also sheltered local people from Allied bombing raids during WWII. Though the British Army made an attempt to demolish the building on the war's close, blowing up its massively thick walls was deemed too dangerous to nearby buildings. The British ultimately settled on destroying much of the interior, and the bunker remained in this neglected state for over 60 years.

Plans to transform the building into a green energy hub first arose in 2006, with the renovation proper commencing in 2011, following extensive safety tests. The total cost of the project came to €26.7 million (roughly US$36.5 million) and was funded by both the the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Hamburg Climate Protection Concept.

The Hamburg-based "Energy Bunker" now contains a green power plant that has already begun producing energy (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)
The Hamburg-based "Energy Bunker" now contains a green power plant that has already begun producing energy (Photo: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein)

The Energy Bunker is outfitted with several sustainable technologies. The main feature is a 2 million liter (528,000 US gallon) water reservoir that acts as a large heat store and plugs into the existing Reiherstieg district heating network. The reservoir itself is heated by several methods: a biomass power plant and wood chip burning unit which feed into a large boiler, a solar thermal array installed on the roof of the bunker, and waste heat produced by a nearby industrial plant.

A large photovoltaic system is installed on the south-facing facade of the building to produce electricity, and the wood chip burning unit is also used to produce electricity. A peak-load boiler and large battery array ensure that the energy output is kept steady at all times.

In addition to the production of green energy, Energy Bunker also contains a war memorial, cafe, and visitors center, where people can learn more about the building's history.

Source: IBA Hamburg

15 comments
exodous
I wonder if they left all the historical markings. I guess the Nazi's made all sorts of structures that retain them but still. . .
Jon A.
If they could only extract energy using Godwin's Law! :)
Slowburn
Godwin could not win arguments without hobbling his opponents.
Slowburn
With the energy required to gather the wood chips I really don't see the burner as being greener than pipe delivered fuels like oil and natural gas.
Ramon Verhoeven
@slowburn, Amazed by your comment, you must be deep in oil business and global warming denial. Wood chips are either left overs form wood production or thinning wood from the forest, both realized in a nearly closed CO2 process. Indeed transport might adds some negative points to it. Comparing with oil and natural gas, transported around the globe, only adding CO2 into the atmosphere, that's peanuts.
lwesson
exodous: I rather doubt any historical markings survived the sanctified scrubbing that has been done already, and continues to be done. Oh, maybe, "Achtung! Wash hands here!" or "Achtung! Throw garbage here!" survived. To be safe, one can dwell to the heart's content on say, the Roman conquest of Gaul... or "I don't do history often, but when I do, The Peloponnesian Wars, are not Greek to me. Stay safe my friends."
StWils
Anyone interested in doing this kind of work should also look into adding phase change salt heat storage. Phase Change Salts are capable of storing a far larger amount of energy per unit volume than water and they absolutely will not "wear out", are cheap, stable, and relatively non-toxic. Water would still be the best & cheapest heat transfer media for initial heat gain and also for transporting the heat gained to storage and users. It is practical to produce domestic water & space heating as well as process heat flows. Phase Change Salt heat storage can compactly store enough heat to span most any cold & cloudy period to get to the next sunny heat gain period and at a price that fossil fuels can never compete with.
Anders Knoll
Ya, nice thing, thou not realy overwhelming. Esthetically questionable and technicaly nothing realy new. Still: For sure much better than just keeping that rotten concrete block.
Slowburn
@ Ramon Verhoeven Wood is being harvested in in the USofA to fuel electrical generation plants in Europe so clearly the transportation is significant. Besides leaving the wood chips on the forest floor in highly beneficial. In many places gathering wood is forbidden because the wood on the ground provides the nutrients for the growing trees.
Ramon Verhoeven
@slowburn, partly wright but: I think you have a typical example of wrong economics. Are the US not capable to use their woodchips in making elektricity? Or might oil/gas be cheaper because of subsidies (read tax breaks/investment subsidies) for big oil ? If the real costs of coal/oil/gas would have to be paid, including the pollution factor, I think the US would use more of the woodchips. Europe has a carbon tax system that pushes to more greener energy and away from oil. Time for the US to get into this direction and take their responsibility towards global warming. Do you suggest bringing woodchips back into the forest, you cant be serious ? Here we leave a sufficient amount of woodchips/trees and dead trees/meterial behind in the forest. Woodchips/sawdust from industry is definitely not needed for that.
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