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University of Bayreuth, Press release No. 137/2021, 06 October 2021

Milestone on our way to a sustainable campus: Go-ahead for innovative combined heat and power system (iKWKS) for more energy efficiency

Combined heat and power (CHP) is playing an important role in the transition to renewable energy. CHP plants are particularly efficient because they generate heat as well as electricity. With the series “CHP on site”, the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy is aiming to provide information on the potential of CHP. After stops in six Bavarian regions, the series ended today, 6 October 2021, at the University of Bayreuth. The highlight was that after two years of construction, Germany’s first iKWKS – innovative CHP system – has started trial operations right here. In total, the iKWKS on the University of Bayreuth campus will prevent the emission of around 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year!

Official start of trial operation by (from left) Dr. Ulrike Wolf (Head of Department at the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs), Jürgen Bayer (Managing Director of Stadtwerke Bayreuth) and Thomas Ebersberger (Mayor of Bayreuth).

The heating and cooling needs of the University of Bayreuth are provided by Stadtwerke Bayreuth. For this purpose, Stadtwerke Bayreuth operates two heating and cooling centres, which feed into two heating networks and one cooling network at different points on the University campus. In order to future-proof energy supply, Stadtwerke successfully placed a bid in 2018 in the first round of tenders for “innovative CHP systems” (iKWKS) under the CHP Act back initiative, and was awarded a contract.

After around two years of construction, the first iKWKS in Germany started trial operation today, 6 October 2021, at the University of Bayreuth, in the presence of representatives of the Bavarian state government. In total, the system will prevent the emission of around 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year!

“This takes us a considerable way down our path to a "Green Campus". We were one of the first universities in Bavaria to adopt a binding sustainability strategy for this purpose. In it, we commit ourselves to clear, verifiable goals for resource conservation and greater energy efficiency, among other things. The University of Bayreuth could not be a more fitting location for the first iKWK system in Bavaria, indeed, in the whole of Germany!”, claims University President Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible in his address.

The project will be advised scientifically by

ZET, the Centre for Energy Technology at the University of Bayreuth, and by
IfE, Institut für Energietechnik at OTH Amberg-Weiden University of Applied Sciences.

The natural gas CHP unit is a central element of the iKWKS, along with the large-scale heat pumps and the electrode boiler. Left: ZET Managing Director Dr Florian Heberle at the official start of trial operation.

In the so-called “innovative KWK system” …

combined heat and power units (CHP), heat pumps and electrical heat generators work together to achieve the greatest possible flexibility in the provision of energy. A new building was constructed for the iKWKS on the Bayreuth University campus, in which a CHP unit of approx. 3.35 MW electrical and 3.3 MW thermal output was installed in conjunction with two air heat pumps, each with a connected load of 180 kW. 

An existing power-to-heat plant with an electrical connected load of 6 MW has been integrated into the iKWKS, which is directly connected to the iKWKS CHP unit.

“Stadtwerke Bayreuth has proven to be an absolutely reliable, constructively involved, and active partner for many years”, states LBD Reinhard Schatke, Head of Central Technology at the University of Bayreuth. “This innovative power and strength of our partner are especially in focus today with this innovative combined heat and power system. Intelligent networking and the operation of highly economical and technical systems save around 5,000 tonnes of CO2 every year compared to our previous supply.”

Die Zentrale des Heiz- und Kältenetzes der Universität Bayreuth, welches durch das iKWKS versorgt wird.

The advantages at a glance

Dr.-Ing. Florian Heberle, ZET Managing Director at the University of Bayreuth, says: “The optimisation and flexibilisation of the technical systems is the focus of the “Intelligent Heating and Cooling Supply of the University of Bayreuth (IKUWU)” research project, in which Stadtwerke Bayreuth is working together with the University of Bayreuth and OTH Amberg-Weiden. 

    Our campus iKWKS plant is an outstanding milestone in building an innovative and sustainable energy supply for the University of Bayreuth. In the form of scientific support from our ZET, current research approaches are being incorporated into the optimisation of operations.”

  • Integration of renewable energy sources in form of a large-scale heat pump into the energy supply of the University of Bayreuth;
  • The first innovative CHP system in all of Germany;

  • IKWKS will lead to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the previous supply structure;
  • Features the integration of a 6 MW electrode boiler with the aim of sector coupling (power-to-heat);
  • Scientific support from ZET, the Centre for Energy Technology at the University of Bayreuth, and IfE, Institut für Energietechnik at OTH Amberg-Weiden, with the aim of optimisation in real operation.

Bavaria’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Hubert Aiwanger sums up: “The combination of particularly efficient CHP technology with renewable energies for heat generation, their joint control, and the linking via heating grids and storage is a complex system, but definitely a Bavarian showcase project with partners from the energy industry and science.”



Dr.-Ing. Florian HeberleManaging Diector, ZET Centre of Energy Technology (ZET)

Phone: 0921 55 6803
Room: TAO 1.00.38


Brigitte Kohlberg

Deputy Press & PR Manager, University Communications

Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-5357

Office: Room 3.11, Building Central University Administration (ZUV)
Universitätsstraße 30, 95447 Bayreuth