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Conclusion, outlook

The research project was able to offer a new approach for converting the largest German steam network from steam to hot water. This is based on the principle of continuing to use existing steam and condensate pipes: the steam pipes are used as hot water flow pipes, while the condensate pipes are used for the hot water return system. In contrast, previous steam network conversions were based on the principle of replacing the steam network with a hot water network. This method requires considerable investment and is practically impossible to carry out in inner city areas for construction and transport-related reasons. Thanks to the successful conversion, many other steam networks are now being investigated to see if they are suitable for using this new method. It is already being used in Salzburg (Austria). Since the first conversion phase in 2005, the experience gained there has also been positive.
Nevertheless, there are still aspects that need to be solved in practice. For example, as with all steam networks it is important to estimate the importance of direct steam users. This is because experience has shown that direct steam customers often require special solutions and/or can dispense with steam in favour of alternatives.
The efficient use of energy at low temperature levels will become increasingly important in the future in order to be able to achieve climate protection goals by reducing CO2. Steam networks are unsuitable for achieving these goals, so the pressure to convert will continue to increase with all steam networks that are still in operation. In addition, the conversion of steam networks can offer new dynamism for expanding district heating systems as a whole.
The results of the Munich pilot project have been presented in several specialist workshops and to other steam network operators. This has developed into a regular exchange of experience. 100 companies in Germany could enjoy possible spin-off effects. In addition, these could also have an impact on other companies in the international context, particularly in France and eastern Europe.

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Stadtwerke München GmbH