Energy Storage

Innovative winter maintenance system for public transportation areas using regenerative energy

The winter maintenance system developed is based on a seasonal heat accumulator, which heats public transportation areas in winter using energy stored in the summer. The rail platform operated for testing purposes proved its effectiveness. The new system eliminates the need for de-icing salt, which not only benefits the environment but, when combined with the low temperature fluctuations in the component, increases the usage period of the area.



Public transportation areas such as stops, steps or platforms need to be kept free of snow and ice in the winter to minimise the risk of injury to passengers. As these areas generally cannot be traversed and cleared with machines, or only to a limited extent, winter maintenance normally involves de-icing salt, manual clearing or electric outdoor heaters. However, these options are far from satisfactory in many respects. This is because de-icing salt and the secondary energy, which is often obtained from fossil fuel sources, pollute the environment and thus inhibit sustainable urban and spatial development.

The aim of the project is therefore to develop a winter maintenance system in which solar energy stored seasonally in the ground can be used as a regenerative energy source for resource-conserving heating of public transportation areas. 

To do this, a prototype heated rail platform with three different probes was developed, constructed and tested.


  • The QuaWiDiS® winter maintenance system developed uses the geothermal energy close to the surface as a regenerative energy source, supporting conservation of natural resources.
  • Public transportation areas are heated so that they remain free of ice and snow throughout the winter. This eliminates the increased risk of accidents.
  • Removing the need for de-icing salt and the reduced temperature fluctuations in the component increase the life and usage period of the areas.
  • With an average heating power of around 135 W/m² the plate is kept frost free at around 2.5 °C.
  • The energy required for heating can be reduced by insulation.
  • The maximum mean heat extraction capacity reached at the site is in the range 20 W/m² to 25 W/m². The other two probes reached mean values of 16 - 21 W/m² and 14 - 19 W/m² respectively.
  • The cooling capacity varies between 270 and 400 W/m² depending on the probe.

More Project Informations

Project title:  Verbundprojekt: QuaWiDiS - Entwicklung eines neuen, qualifizierten Winterdienstsystems für Personenverkehrsflächen durch die Nutzung regenerativer Energien

Project number:  19W3027A, 19W3027B, 19W3027C

Project period:  2003 - 2006

Project region:  Germany (Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate)

Project contact:

Herr Dipl.-Ing. Steinbach

Herr Prof. Dr.-Ing. Katzenbach

+49 (0)6151 / 16 - 2149

+49 (0)6151 / 16 - 6683

Herr Bolk

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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)