“The city as an energy storage” InnovationCity Ruhr

Bottrop , Germany Construction and Development, Environment and Resource efficiency, Relations to stakeholders


Innovation City Ruhr is the EU’s largest power-to-heat facility project with innovative CO2-neutral district heating in Bottrop, Germany. It was designed as a model city for industrialized urban regions. Comprehensive energetic renovation measures are meant to reduce the total CO2 emissions in the pilot area by 50 percent by 2020, while at the same time securing the location and improving the quality of life. In a growing city, implementing such an ambitious goal within ten years is unique in this form – both in Germany as well as internationally. InnovationCity’s measures are characterized first and foremost by their holistic approach to urban redevelopment. Many small bottom-up projects are aimed at achieving the climate goals with their contribution. Accordingly, the projects cover a wide range of topics: from energy-efficient building renovation to efficient coverage of residual heat requirements and electromobility and involvement of commercial companies to reduce CO2 emissions in production. 


The city of Bottrop is particularly characterized historically by mining culture. For this reason Bottrop receives international attention through its exemplary concept for climate-friendly urban redevelopment in a previously dominant industrialized region. The solutions developed within InnovationCity Ruhr should be deliberately designed as blueprints for industrial metropolises and regions facing the challenge of the structural Stand change. The InnovationCity Rollout has a demonstrably high energy saving and thus a high CO2 saving potential. The 20 neighborhood concepts are based on a total 950 different measures. This means that specific templates can be used individually for the transfer. 


In the pilot area of Bottrop, a total of around 12,500 existing residential buildings with around 70,000 inhabitants are covered. In the first years of the project, the main focus was the energetic modernization of buildings. Here, coal firing systems, electric heaters and individual oil firing systems were replaced by sustainable building technology and the buildings were envelope optimized in terms of energy. In 2020, the heat requirement are expected to be reduced by 70 percent and the houses will be supplied with highly efficient CHP heat via the district heating network. In addition, the model region will be fully powered by green electricity supplies by 2020. For this purpose, 25 percent of the roof area has already been equipped with PV and further measures to expand large and small wind turbines have been decided for. Furthermore, 100 micro-CHP systems with different technologies were used to stabilize the network with the lowest level power classes installments in households. The systems operated with gas ensure the heat demand and guarantee that part of the electricity requirement is covered by the initiator itself.

Why it works

As previous experience shows, the urban energy transition can only be achieved if the technical feasibility is deliberately brought into line with social needs and economic aspects. In addition, the hierarchy-free, collaborative approach is mentioned as a recipe for success for the catalog of measures. Different levels come together, from the city administration, to social agencies and stakeholders from labor markets to work together on the Implementation. InnovationCity Management GmbH sees itself as an intermediary between the interest groups.