New Use For An Old Tower

I have written about Germany’s Flak Towers previously and I recently came across this article from Der Spiegel discussing how the city of Hamburg is putting one of their derelict Flak Towers to new use.


At times during World War II, up to 30,000 people would cram into Hamburg’s Wilhelmsburg bunker to take shelter from Allied bombs. The enormous flak tower built during Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich was nothing if not sturdy. Indeed, it was so robust that it even survived post-war attempts to blast the block to the ground with dynamite.

For decades thereafter, the bulky eyesore stood derelict. But now, city planners are propelling it into the 21st century, turning it into a flagship renewable energy project.

The revamp of the appropriately renamed “energy bunker” is well underway. Yellow diggers have smashed through its two-meter thick walls, opening up one of the building’s facades. Scheduled to be finished in early 2013, the hollowed-out core will ultimately contain a biomass heating plant. Solar panels will cover the roof and the south wall, and it will contain a storage tank to pump hot water to nearby houses. The bunker is to supply 3,000 households with their energy needs.

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In the future the derelict bunker should look something like this. With a biomass heating plant, solar panels, and a water storage tank, it will provide energy for thousands of local households.

[Image courtesy of Der Spiegel.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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