Germany - Direct Uses




individual space heating



District heating



bathing and swimming



 geothermal heat pumps





Total thermal installed capacity in MWt


Direct use in TJ/year


Direct use in GWh/year


Capacity factor



Country Update: The most common deep geothermal utilization in the country using thermal water with temperatures over 20°C from wells over 400 m depth are district heating plants or combined heat and power plant (CHP), thermal spas and space heating. District heating systems typically use doublets for the production and injection well, while spas usually use a single well. Three deep borehole heat exchangers are in operation in the country at Arnsberg (Nordrhein-Westphalen) with a total depth of 2,835 m for heating a spa; at Prenzlau (Brandenburg) 2,786 m, used for district heating; and at Heubach (Hessen) providing heat for industry at a depth of 773m. In 2014, the total installed capacity – which includes auxiliary heat sources such as peak load boilers in addition to the geothermal sources – reached about 650 MWt of which the geothermal share is 258.6 MWt. The 19 district heating and combine plants (not including deep borehole heat exchangers) accounted for the largest portion of the total geothermal capacity at about 208 MWt. All together, the installed capacity of the deep geothermal heat uses in the country shows a considerable increased from about 160 MWt in 2010 to 260 MWt in 2014. Heat production by deep geothermal utilization rose from 716 GWh to 925 GWh for the same period. Heat pumps for heating and cooling of residential houses and office buildings are widespread in the country. Common systems are horizontal heat collectors or borehole heat exchangers (brine/water systems), and groundwater systems with extraction and injection well(s) (water/water systems). Direct expansion heat pumps with horizontal collectors and heat pipes used as borehole heat exchangers have their small market niche. The use of foundation piles or other concrete building parts in contact with the ground as heat exchangers (“energy piles”) is increasing in areas with poor subsoil stability. Typical installed capacities of heat pumps used in residential houses are about 10 kW for brine/water and about 14 kW for water/water systems. Heat pump systems in office buildings reach capacities of several 100 kW. The largest heat pump installation in the country is running in an office building in Duisburg and has a heating capacity of over 1.0 MWt. There are 21 large geothermal heat pump systems installed in the country. The total number of heat pumps of all types (including air-source units) reached about 555,000 in 2013 and produced around 7.5 TWh of renewable heat. Brine/water systems are about 85% of those installed. (Weber, et al., 2015).

Taken from: John W. Lund and Tonya L. Boyd
Published in Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2015 Worldwide Review

Total thermal installed capacity in MWt:2,485.4
Direct use in TJ/year12,764.5
Direct use in GWh/year3,546
Capacity factor0.16

Presently, there are 162 geothermal direct-use installations in the country. The installations comprise district heating, space heating in some cases combined with greenhouses and thermal spas. Most of the district heating plants are located in the Northern German Basin, the Molasse Basin in Southern Germany, or along the Upper Rhine Graben. Two geothermal power plants at Neustadt-Glewe and Unterhaching also provide water for district heating.

In addition to these large installations, there are numerous small- and medium-size geothermal heat pump units located throughout the country. Under the prevailing economic and political conditions, multiple or cascaded uses are employed to help improve the economic efficiency of the direct use. For this reason many installations combine district or space heating with greenhouses and thermal spas. No numbers are given for greenhouse heating. Geothermal heat pump installations are difficult to determine, however, estimates from sales statistics indicated that there are 148,000 units operating in 2008 and a 20% increase estimated for 2009 for a total of 178,000 units (13% water-source and 87% ground-coupled).

The capacity and energy use for the various applications are:

1.2 MWt and 2.9 TJ/yr for individual space heating,
209.3 MWt and 1054.4 TJ/yr for district heating;
44.9 MWt and 1,339.2 TJ/yr for bathing and swimming;
2,230 MWt and 10,368 TJ/yr for geothermal heat pumps,

for a country total of 2,485.4 MWt and 12,764.5 TJ/yr. 

Taken from the paper by John W. Lund, Derek H. Freeston, and Tonya L. Boyd: "Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2010 Worldwide Review"; published in Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25-29 April 2010