Furthermore, finding a route for the trunk to cross certain parts of the city of Oberhausen proved challenging for several reasons: The planning is constrained by gas pipelines and corresponding, multiple protective zones, the possible touching of a protected habitat and very limited space between a motorway and the adjacent Emscher river. To overcome these constraints, the planning team decided to route the trunk line in buried form through a large tunneling with a length of almost 2 kilometers and a depth of up to 15 meters (varying with the landscape) – a rather elaborate solution. The tunnel will pass under the Emscher river and will run close to the Oberhausen football stadium. In another area of Oberhausen where the new line is to cross a waterway (Rhein-Herne Canal), a pipe bridge with a span width of 72 meters will be constructed.
would unleash a great potential for supply to the people in the state. Consequently, the link between the district heating lines of the Lower Rhine and the Ruhr was enshrined as a political objective and a key project of CHP policy in the 2012 coalition agreement between the governing Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Green Party.
The architectural solution of Atelier Fritschi + Stahl (Düsseldorf) will integrate selected sections of the new line into renatured areas by constructing a balcony- like walkway on top of the pipelines.
Intensive planning effort to optimize route The new district heating line is to run from the existing Ruhr district heating trunk line in the south of Bottrop to the Lower Rhine district heating trunk line in the north of Duisburg. The start of construction is planned for 2017. Individual sections could go into operation as early as 2019. The precise route of the line is still being planned. An initial draft provides for around 60 percent of the line to be laid above ground and around 40 percent to be buried. The line will for the greatest part pass through land owned by public authorities and industrial enterprises. The disruption caused by construction and pipe laying work is to be kept as small as possible by dividing the work into individual sections and technical functions, and by precise planning of the operations. Main roads with heavy traffic, for example, will be crossed by pipes driven underground, so as to avoid any notable inconvenience. In general, where road and pathway crossings are required, the work will be performed just in time. The route of the line and the structures required are being planned in such a way that there will be only minor disruption to existing buildings, facilities and land. Technical challenges to overcome Constructing a new connecting line with an overall length of almost 25 kilometers through a densely populated area like the Ruhr district presents complex technical challenges for the technical project teams. For one, the integration of pipelines into renatured areas has to be considered in order to respect the recreational aspects of said areas. For this, the project company commissioned the Atelier Fritschi + Stahl (Düsseldorf), which developed an architectural design solution for selected segments of the new trunk line. On certain sections, a balcony- like walkway will be erected on top of the pipelines, thus ensuring the best possible integration into the landscape and, at the same time, upgrading the recreational value of these areas.
Schematic map of the Rhine-Ruhr District Heating Trunk Line's planned route and its heat sources.
Apart from optimizing the trunk line’s route, the planning team needed to devise technical solutions to ensure the smooth operation of what will become Europe’s largest interconnected district heating network. For example, amongst other things different operating temperatures of the new and the Lower Rhine trunk line posed the question of whether the trunk lines should be connected by thermal link (i.e. by means of heat exchangers) or by hydraulic link (i.e. directly connecting the pipes). In the end, the decision was made in favor of a hydraulic link since this solution offers higher flexibility and is favorable from an economical point of view. To compensate for the pressure loss along the trunk line, a pressure boosting station will be installed in Duisburg-Walsum. Next to this pressure boosting station, additional pressure maintenance facilities will be realized to complement the existing installations in Herne. These two pressure maintenance facilities are an integral component of the overall pressure maintenance concept, which will ensure constant pressures for the overall system.
Establishing the Ruhr Metropolis as a leading climate conservation area
With projects like the new Rhine-Ruhr District Heating Trunk Line, the Ruhr district is developing step by step into one of the leading climate protection areas in Europe. The industrial region has become highly attractive with its local recreation parks and
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