District Heating Plant, Ballen-Brundby

Straw bales on conveyor
Straw bales on the con-
veyor belt that feeds the

The district heating plant between the villages Ballen and Brundby runs on shredded straw. It supplies heating to the two villages by means of hot water running through seven kilometers of highly insulated pipes. The consumers own the plant through a cooperative. It is the only heating plant on the island owned entirely by the consumers.


The original plan was to build a district heating system for four villages: Ballen, Brundby, Ørby and Permelille. At a meeting with the citizens of this area in Brundby, a work group of local people was defined. The meeting particularly aimed to define this group of people representing the four villages.

The group asked the energy company NRGi to establish a district heating plant for the four villages. Calculations soon showed that the economy was not sound. The villages Ørby and Permelille were too far away, causing large heat losses in the distribution system. Furthermore, the number of potential district heat consumers was relatively small in these two villages. The group accepted this verdict, and the group was reduced to citizens from Ballen and Brundby. NRGi proposed several plans for the area of Brundby and Ballen, but the potential heat consumers rejected all. In October 2002 NRGi gave up looking for an acceptable economic model for the project, and they withdrew from the planning.

Visualisation of plant
Visualization used during
the project stages before
official approval.

The remaining members of the group and the Samsø Energy Company decided to try one more time. First all potential district heat consumers were asked to say whether or not they were interested in joining the district heating system. The consumers were promised heat prices similar to those in Onsbjerg, the cheapest on the island. The group then decided to work for a cooperative model, whith the consumers owning a straw fired plant. The workgroup held 11 meetings and 2 public metings. They distributed a folder to the villages. Finally they conducted a general assembly meeting which elected six board members from the villages. The six were later supplemented by a seventh board member from the municipality, and the municipality must approve the energy price asked from the consumers.

Plant construction and commissioning.

In operation.


Power rating 1.6 MW
Heat generator 1.6 MW straw boiler (LIN-KA)
Auxiliary generator for reserve and peak load 2.0 MW oil burner
Fuel Straw: 1 500 tons/year, one big-bale weighs 600 kg. Oil: 4 700 liters/year
Storage coverage Straw: 750 tons. Oil: 1.5 days at peak load
Potential heat demand 5 500 MWH/year
Current heat demand (2009) 4 900 MWH/year
Design capacity 80% of the potential heat demand
Current consumer load (2009) 89% of the potential heat demand
Initial consumer load (2005) 57% of the potential heat demand
Heat transmission net 7 km of twin pipes (STAR PIPE)
Buildings one for straw storage + one for the boiler room
CO2 savings (2009) 1 600 tons/year (expected 1 100 tons/year)
Start-up year 2005
Ownership The consumers, through a cooperative with limited liability (amba)
Consumers connected initially (2005) 187
Consumers connected (2009) 258 (161 houses + 82 summer houses + 7 large consumers + 8 properties without buildings)
Consumer's annual subscription fee (2010) 4 050 DKK/year (540 EUR/year), VAT (25% tax) included
Consumer's heat price (2010) 735 DKK/MWH (98 EUR/MWH), VAT (25% tax) included
Price of straw to farmer (2013) 0.69 DKK/kg (0.092 EUR/kg) +/- 10% depending on humidity
Plot and buildings 1.8 million DKK (240 thousand EUR)
Boiler system 2.69 million DKK (359 thousand EUR)
Distribution net + house installations 11.2 million DKK (1 490 thousand EUR)
Consultants + other costs 0.485 million DKK (65 thousand EUR)
Total construction costs (2005) 16.2 mill DKK (2.2 mill EUR)
Subsidies (2005) 2.5 mill DKK (0.33 mill EUR)
Consumer's price of a new connection (2009) 45 000 DKK (6 000 EUR)

Created by jj. Last Modification: Monday 16 December 2013 21:04:16 CET by jj.