The likelihood of reducing or completely stopping the supply of Russian gas pushes German cities to look for alternative ways to heat homes. In Berlin, the Swedish utility company is constructing a giant tower in an industrial area near the shores of the Spree River, which should partially provide residents of the city with heat and hot water.

The height of the tower reaches 45 meters, it accommodates up to 56 million liters of hot water, which should help to heat Berlin’s homes this winter.

Although centralized heating systems operating on coal, gas, or waste have existed for more than a century, most of them have not been intended to store a significant amount of heat. Instead, they burn as much fossil fuel as needed to ensure heat supply.

On the contrary, the new Vattenfall installation will keep the water brought to the temperature of almost boiling, using electricity from solar and wind power plants throughout Germany. The object in fact acts as a giant battery, although instead of accumulating electricity it accumulates heat.

The $50 million object will have 200 megawatts thermal capacity which is enough to meet most of Berlin’s needs in hot water in summer and about 10% of what is required in winter. A huge isolated tank can store water for up to 13 hours, helping to overcome short periods when there is no wind or sun.

Despite the fact that after the completion of construction at the end of this year, it will be the largest heat-accumulation installation in Europe, the Netherlands is already planning to build even a bigger one.