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FUTURA in Trier: First multi-energy infrared system for climate-neutral heating of halls in operation

April 27, 2023
FUTURA Hallenheizung in heller Industriehalle in Trier

The metalworking company "Die Kanter & und Schlosser" heats its new building variably with electricity, hydrogen or gas thanks to the world innovation from KÜBLER in Ludwigshafen.

"Our motto is progress" is the motto of the future-oriented metalworking specialist in Trier. The company has also applied this claim to the new 2,800 square meter hall, where production has been taking place since 2022. From the building insulation to the PV system, from the latest fiber laser technology to nitrogen self-generation, the highest energy efficiency standards are implemented here. One of the most important components: the hall heating. However, the process of getting there has all the hallmarks of an entrepreneurial thriller.

"Initially, we were still thinking about an underfloor heating/heat pump combination to heat the new halls. After all, it is considered energy-efficient and is subsidized by the state," says Christoph Rotsch, Commercial Director at "Die Kanter". However, after consulting with the regional installation partner, it quickly became clear that different technology would have to be used for hall buildings with their huge room dimensions than for living rooms, offices or kindergartens. He therefore contacted KÜBLER, a proven expert in energy-saving infrared heating technology for industrial halls. The decision in favor of the high-efficiency system was made. That was at the end of June.

"We have implemented a whole host of energy efficiency measures in the new hall, from PV to insulation and machine technology. We clearly wanted the same for the heating."

However, the entrepreneur had done the math without the Federal Ministry of Economics. The Ministry was concerned with the future of gas heating systems and their usefulness. "Kanter & Schlosser" withdrew the contract two weeks after it was awarded. "The uncertainty surrounding the gas supply was simply too great for us," says Christoph Rotsch. KÜBLER then surprised everyone with a world first - developed even before the energy crisis. "In my opinion, we produce the most efficient systems for heating halls. And we have now opened up our high-efficiency technologies to the use of renewable energies," says Thomas Kübler, founder and managing partner of the KÜBLER Group. Obviously at exactly the right time.

"When we got to know FUTURA, underfloor heating was off the table."

"Die Kanter & Schlosser" became a pilot project. "We are always breaking new ground ourselves with many of our projects. We are happy to help shape the process at KÜBLER," says Christoph Rotsch. "When we got to know the FUTURA, underfloor heating was off the table."

The pilot in question is a multi-energy infrared system, also known as multivalent. A world first that builds the bridge to a carbon-free future. It is not for nothing that the new technology bears the name FUTURA. The energy-efficient infrared heating system can use renewable energies such as electricity or hydrogen. At the same time, biogas, natural gas or liquid gas can also be used, switching variably between the energy sources. This works both in mono mode and in a mix. Depending on which energy is currently available or particularly cost-effective. "In this way, we ensure security of supply and stabilize the grids," says Kübler. "But above all, our solution is economical."

"We are thus ensuring security of supply and stabilizing the grids. But above all, our solution is economical."

The multivalent system in Trier went into operation just in time for the 2022/2023 heating period: the infrared systems function from the hall ceiling in the same way as the sun, which heats everything that is illuminated - people, machines and the hall floor. This means that the heat comes simultaneously from above, below and from all sides. This heat transfer is energy-efficient with savings of 50 to 70 percent. "With the FUTURA, we heat flexibly in terms of time and location," says Kübler, "because we only cover the heat demand that actually exists. After all, the most efficient heating system is the one that isn't running."

"With FUTURA, we heat flexibly in terms of time and location, because we only cover the heat demand that actually exists. After all, the most efficient heating system is the one that isn't running."

The heating is switched on according to demand when and where heat is required. It is controlled via the CELESTRA control system, which has been expanded with modules such as WinTec for remote control. The E.M.M.A. heat management system was also installed. It provides "Die Kanter & Schlosser" with full real-time transparency of the entire heating process and makes all data available to the management for audits, such as in accordance with DIN EN ISO 50001.

"The best thing for us is that we can now heat with different energies. In future, we will be able to decide flexibly which is the most favorable for us and when."

"We had full confidence in KÜBLER's more than 30 years of experience right from the start," says Rotsch. Now, around three months after commissioning the new system, "Die Kanter & Schlosser" is very satisfied with the decision. "The best thing for us is that we can now heat with different energies. In future, we will be able to decide flexibly which is the most favorable for us and when." With FUTURA, companies are no longer reliant on gas alone. "We currently only heat with electricity. Now in winter, the PV system covers all our costs from around eleven o'clock onwards." In the old building, the heating had previously blown circulating air into the hall. Every time the door was opened, it got really cold and it felt like it took half an eternity to warm up inside again. "We definitely have a completely different heat quality in the hall now. Much more pleasant, much more localized and no more swirling dust. This has also been very well received by the employees."

"We definitely have a completely different heat quality in the hall now."
Rotsch cites the ability to individually heat the various work areas in the hall building or even switch them off when operations are finished as another important advantage. "We have defined four different heating circuits that we can control with the FUTURA system. It saves us a lot of energy if, for example, the metalworking shop stops earlier on Fridays and the heating can be switched off specifically in this area." Wasting energy would be out of the question for the future-oriented company. This is another reason why they are glad to be away from technologies such as underfloor heating, which cannot be controlled according to demand and has to run at night or even at weekends.

"We have already recommended the new FUTURA technology to others and would do so again and again."

The Managing Director of the innovative hall heating company KÜBLER cannot understand the current uncertainty in the market. "We have been providing industry with tried-and-tested solutions that reduce energy consumption and CO2-emissions by up to 70 percent and more." But the current crises have thrown politicians off course to such an extent that urgently needed energy refurbishments are being put on hold because it is not clear what will or will not be permitted in the future. At the same time, renewable energies are not even available across the board and in sufficient quantities for heating processes in industry and commerce," says Thomas Kübler. "What is certain is that heat pump technology is not a real alternative in halls. If only because companies are deprived of any flexibility to reuse hall areas or change machine set-ups in the future." But the heat pump is also not very attractive economically, regardless of whether it is combined with underfloor heating or radiant ceiling panels. "Companies have to reckon with an investment that is three to four times higher than necessary. And this with much poorer usability, but with comparable energy efficiency."

And the conclusion from "Die Kanter & Schlosser"? Christoph Rotsch: "We have already recommended the new FUTURA technology to others and would do so again and again."

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