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Story 094 – 2011 – Innovation Sustainability

Showering without a bad climate conscience

Warm wastewater is an innovative energy supplier

In households, a large proportion of hot water is used for showering - but with it, large amounts of thermal energy disappear into the drain. To make use of it, innovative, highly thermally conductive tubes from Wieland Thermal Solutions are used by Europe's leading manufacturers of heat exchangers.

Thanks to better insulation and modern heating systems, modern residential buildings require less and less heating energy – a welcome trend, especially in terms of climate protection. However, the consumption of hot water in showers, bathtubs, washbasins and washing machines has remained the same and is even increasing due to increased hygiene requirements. This water, which has an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, ends up in the sewerage system as grey water – and with it the thermal energy it contains. In European households alone, more than 25 million cubic metres of hot water are consumed every day. In new, well-insulated homes, the energy required for this purpose now accounts for the lion's share of total consumption – and yet 75 percent of this thermal energy flows away unused as grey water.

Alarmed by this observation, companies competent in this field have founded the European Association for Wastewater Heat Recovery. With the clear aim of combining and bundling their skills and making use of the energy previously wasted by recovering heat from grey water. With success: Europe is the technological leader in this field; today 70 percent of all patents granted worldwide for energy recovery from grey water are of European origin. In total, around 300 gigawatt hours of thermal energy have been recovered since 2010 – this corresponds to the hot water consumption of 17,000 households and is an important contribution to resource conservation with great future potential.

Wieland Thermal Solutions has been supplying safety tubes and heat exchangers to leading manufacturers of heat recovery units since 2011. In their heat exchangers, the grey water transfers large parts of its energy to the cold water flowing in the opposite direction. Up to 80 per cent heat recovery is possible. Because Wieland's GEWA-safety tubes have numerous unique selling points both in terms of their thermal efficiency and their safety function, Wieland's market share in Europe is over 80 per cent. And it is foreseeable that in view of future climate protection efforts, significant demand will also develop in the USA, Canada and Asia, thus future markets in which Wieland will play a leading role with country-specific solutions.

Wieland's safety tube

Wieland's safety tube is designed in such a way that even in bent condition – for example as a component of heat exchangers – it has an exceptionally high thermal conductivity.

double-walled GEWA tube

The double-walled GEWA tubes ensure the reliable separation of service water and grey water. Any leakage can be easily located through the internal leakage channels.