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Copenhagen waste-to-energy plant | Downhill downtown | Project | Issue 08 • 06/2015 | Line Pipe Global

Line Pipe Global

Issue 08 • Juni 2015

Copenhagen waste-to-energy plant

Downhill downtown

What is probably the world's most innovative waste incineration plant is currently under construction only three kilometers from Copenhagen's city center. It will be a landmark, ski slope, energy supplier and carbon emissions monument all in one – with steel tubes and MSH sections from Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe.

In 2010, Copenhagen's energy supplier ARC organized a competitive bidding procedure for a new waste-to-energy plant. Packed with the very latest equipment for efficient district heat production, the new facility is scheduled to replace the 40-year-old neighboring plant. The key targets are 25 % higher energy yield, slashed NOx output and several 100,000 metric tons less carbon emissions per year. "Amager Bakke" will be the biggest and most advanced plant of its kind in Denmark. Costing roughly EUR 500 million in total, it is due to go into operation in 2017.

Unanimous verdict for extraordinary project

In cooperation with Berlin's MAN MADE LAND and realities:united, Danish architects Bjarne Ingels Group, or BIG for short, were awarded the contract. The client and jury were unanimously impressed by the design. The plans of the meanwhile internationally operating rising star on the international architecture scene explode the concept of conventional building design. BIG have subjected the notions of building, technology, topography, urban planning, multifunctional use and the public debate on climate policy and carbon emissions to a complete rethink. And the outcome is as multifaceted as the analysis is thorough. The finished complex will be an all-in-one waste incinerator, energy plant, building, sculpture, ski slope, landscape, landmark and monument.


Industrial facility and leisure center complement each other in a totally new way.


High-tech facility and monument

With a height of 100 meters, the new building will be one of Copenhagen's tallest and a new landmark. A panorama restaurant will offer patrons a magnificent 360° view of the Danish capital, the port district and the Öresund strait. The roughly 31,000 m² roof will serve as ski and snowboard slopes of varying degrees of difficulty and, with about 1,500 m of downhill pistes, will be a genuine alternative to the nearest ski resorts several hours' car ride away in southern Sweden. Nor will its use be short-lived, as Copenhagen has a roughly four-month night frost period each year. From a distance, the greened façade will resemble a monolithic, moss-clad rocky ramp. The new waste incinerator will be embedded in a newly created, roughly 16 ha park close to the city center that will offer numerous and wide-ranging leisure opportunities. The outcome will be an energy plant and a leisure facility in a new, unique combination.

We ask how sustainability can improve quality of life and be fun.Bjarke Ingels, architect


Visible monument to an abstract debate

BIG brings the causers of waste to the (provisionally) ultimate destination of their consumer waste. Instead of a conventional lift for skiers, there will be glass elevators in the interior of the facility to transport skiers and snowboarders to the summit and give them a view inside the waste incineration plant. And that's not all. As a feature visible from all over Copenhagen, the facility will puff artificially generated smoke rings into the sky. Each ring will be about 30 m in diameter and 6 m in height and emit half a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. As the rings gradually rise and cool, the water within the gas cloud will condense and make it visible shortly after leaving the facility. This will be the first time that otherwise invisible and abstract CO2 emissions will be made visible to all and sundry. The strategy lends form and magnitude to the abstract debate on emissions and thus creates a new angle on the social and political treatment of the subject of resources and climate change.

Downhill downtown – Alpine skiing comes to the city.


800 t of steel tubes and MSH sections

The elaborate construction project kicked off in 2013 and will continue until 2017. For the load-bearing piste structure of the roughly 31,000 m² sloping roof, Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe supplied roughly 800 tons of HFI-welded steel tubes and MSH sections through Salzgitter Mannesmann Handel GmbH to Züblin Stahlbau GmbH. The company domiciled south of Berlin was in charge, among other things, of execution planning and of the production and assembly of the building's heavy steel structure, prestressed concrete hollow elements, reinforced concrete wall elements and sandwich walls with a fire protection rating as well as the waterproofing and drainage of the roof structure and the supply and assembly of the chimney.

One-off production

"We're of course proud to be participating in such an innovative and exceptional project," says Guido Ludwig, involved in handling for Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe through Salzgitter Mannesmann Handel GmbH in Düsseldorf. The extensive and complex construction project demanded a huge number of different lengths, wall thicknesses and diameters of tubes and MSH sections. "So that we could plan and organize the project better, we divided it into 20 different jobs. Of the total of 711 tubes, numerous sizes were supplied as one-offs," Ludwig recalls. The Siegen and Hamm locations produced tubes in diameters of 219 to 610 mm, wall thicknesses up to 25 mm and lengths up to 18 m. "The huge variation in the sizes and batch sizes made this order a really demanding project in terms of production planning, delivery and logistics, and called for a good deal of flexibility from everyone concerned," Ludwig continues. Mathias Berger, responsible product manager at Salzgitter Mannesmann Stahlhandel, tells the same tale: "Orders placed at short notice and changes in dimensions, lengths and delivery dates are the order of the day and have been a major challenge for us. But we're equipped to deal with them." In addition to tubes and MSH sections, flame-cuts of heavy plate from Ilsenburg were also supplied to the project via Salzgitter Mannesmann Stahlhandel. Good communication between the Salzgitter Group companies has been a key factor throughout. "We can rely on each other at all times," says Berger. He, too, is really enthusiastic about the construction project and the architecture. "It's the combination of functionalism and leisure use that makes the project so spectacular."


The CO2 rings will make carbon emissions visible from a distance.

Start of foundation work for the new facility that, with a height of 100 m, is set to be a new Copenhagen landmark.

Start of foundation work for the new facility that, with a height of 100 m, is set to be a new Copenhagen landmark.

Construction work on the roughly EUR 500 million project is scheduled for completion by 2017.

Construction work on the roughly EUR 500 million project is scheduled for completion by 2017.

Construction work on the roughly EUR 500 million project is scheduled for completion by 2017.

Construction work on the roughly EUR 500 million project is scheduled for completion by 2017.

State of progress in June 2015. The steel structure for the 31,000 m² roof is gradually taking shape.

State of progress in June 2015. The steel structure for the 31,000 m² roof is gradually taking shape.


  Yes is more – BIG, Bjarke Ingels Group

Bjarke Ingels came to architecture by a roundabout route – actually, he wanted to become a comic artist. And maybe it is this interest that explains the boldness of his striking and thoroughly life-affirming designs. What is probably the world's most innovative waste incinerator is currently under construction in Copenhagen – with a ski slope on the roof and smoke rings rendering CO2 emissions visible.

Bjarke Ingels, born in 1974, studied architecture in Copenhagen and Barcelona, gaining his degree in 1998. From 1998 to 2001, he worked at Rem Koolhaas' OMA in Rotterdam. In 2001, he and Julien de Smedt founded PLOT Architects, which attracted international attention right from its early stages. In 2004, PLOT was awarded the Golden Lion at the Architecture Biennial in Venice for the design of a concert hall in Stavanger, Norway, and, in 2005, the firm won its first big competition.

In 2006, Ingels then set up BIG, the Bjarke Ingels Group. Numerous international competition entries and prizes have since been alternating with prestigious awards. The Copenhagen firm now also has branches in New York and Beijing for the realization of specific local projects. In 2009, Ingels published his architecture comic "Yes is more – an archicomic on architectural evolution" for the BIG exhibition of the same name at the Danish Architectural Centre in Copenhagen.

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