ThermaFLEX wins Energy Globe Austria

The lead project ThermaFLEX of the “Vorzeigeregion Energie – Green Energy Lab” was awarded the sustainability prize Energy Globe Austria in the category “Fire”.
Joachim Kelz (center) and Ingo Leusbrock (right) from AEE Intec are happy about the victory of the project "ThermaFLEX" at the Energy Globe Austria in the category "Fire" -c- Green Energy Lab

45,000 tons of CO2 saved per year

Decarbonizing district heating, i.e. operating independently of coal, oil and natural gas, is a huge lever for greenhouse gas reduction in the fight against climate change. The large-scale research project ThermaFLEX is testing the flexible district heating network of tomorrow by integrating local, sustainable heat sources and was awarded the Energy Globe Austria in the “Fire” category for this project.

45,000 tons of CO2 saved per year

ThermaFLEX demonstrates with concrete solutions how the existing heat pipeline infrastructure can be efficiently used and expanded to integrate sustainable, local heat sources into the supply. Based on ten large-scale demonstration projects, 28 partners in Styria, Vienna and Salzburg proved that large-scale technical implementations are also possible in a relatively short time. When all the demonstrators have been realized, this will result in direct annual CO2 savings of around 45,000 tons. The solutions developed can also be transferred to other heating networks. In this way, the research work carried out contributes to making the entire district heating sector more flexible – a basic prerequisite for the increased use of sustainable heat sources, the phase-out of fossil fuels and the reduction of the “carbon footprint”.

“To accelerate the energy transition even further, we also need innovative solutions. There is great potential in the heating sector in particular. ThermaFLEX is one of the largest projects of the ‘Vorzeigeregion Energie’ from the Climate and Energy Fund. And it is the largest innovation project in the Austrian district heating sector to date,” explains Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler.

Project lead from Green Tech Valley with AAE INTEC

The ThermaFLEX project is worth around 4.6 million euros, is funded by the Climate and Energy Fund and is being carried out as part of the “Green Energy Lab” research initiative as part of the Austrian innovation offensive “Vorzeigeregion Energie”. Innovations are being researched in the Green Energy Lab. These are tested in practice and thus quickly developed to market maturity. Mathias Schaffer, chairman and spokesman of the board of the Green Energy Lab, is correspondingly pleased about the award: “We at the Green Energy Lab are very proud that our flagship project ThermaFLEX has been awarded the Energy Globe Austria 2023. It is one of the most successful flagship projects in our portfolio. In addition to ThermaFLEX, we are currently managing 50 other renewable energy projects with an investment volume of more than 150 million euros.”


Project manager Joachim Kelz from AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC) is also visibly pleased: “Climate-friendly and sustainable solutions in district heating are the basis for an intelligent heat supply of the future.” ThermaFLEX has provided many important results and insights for this. “In addition to the large-scale implementations that have already taken place in seven Austrian district heating networks, the necessary elements and solutions as well as the knowledge base for a broad roll-out are available far beyond our project. These can now be further developed and applied in numerous national or even international heating networks.” ThermaFLEX is thus making a valuable contribution to the decarbonization of the heating sector, which is responsible for around half of total energy consumption in the EU.


Veronika Pranger
Green Tech Valley Cluster
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