Combination of biomass-fuelled cogeneration station and pellet plant sets standards for energy efficiency and climate protection.

RWE Innogy and German Pellets today officially inaugurated RWE’s biomass-fuelled cogeneration station and the neighbouring pellet plant as part of a site presentation in the Wittgenstein industrial estate. NRW Pellets GmbH is the operator of the pellet plant completed in mid-July. Apart from RWE Innogy Cogen, German Pellets also owns a share of this company. The investment volume of both plants totals approx. € 46 million. Representatives of the Environmental Ministry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Siegen-Wittgenstein district, Zweckverband Region Wittgenstein and of the regional forest industry were among the participants attending the ceremony at Erndtebrück.

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Prof. Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, Chief Executive Officer of RWE Innogy, said: “With the combination of biomass-fuelled cogeneration station and pellet plant, the size of which is probably unique, we are sending a positive signal for energy efficiency and climate protection. We intend to continue developing the natural talent of biomass with its manifold facets swiftly.”

Dr. Heinz Baues, Undersecretary in the Environmental Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia, also emphasized the great importance of biomass for the future: “Climate protection is a key concern of the new state government. I therefore welcome the commitment of the district and companies to this project which is efficient in two respects as it combines regional value-added with a benefit in terms of climate, energy and industrial policy.”

The combined operation of biomass-fuelled cogeneration station and pellet plant results in a “dual green effect”: The annual CO2 savings in the biomass cogeneration station amount to approx. 48,000 tons versus the average German power plant mix. More CO2 savings potential in the order of over 100,000 tons results from the use of the wood pellets in residential households.

Paul Breuer, county governor of the Siegen-Wittgenstein district, expects the project to provide a strong impetus for the economic power of the region: “As one of the most densely forested districts in Germany and a strong industrial location, we have the opportunity to gain a lead of competence as an innovative region for energy production from the regrowing resource of wood. The forest wealth of Siegen-Wittgenstein and southern Westphalia is an important and strong factor benefitting the region in all its dimensions: As recreational area, as natural and economic basis for people’s livelihoods. The new plants now keep the value-added from wood residuals in the region.”

According to Peter H. Leibold, Managing Director of German Pellets GmbH, prospects are bright for the pellet market in North Rhine-Westphalia. “Erndtebrück is an ideal site for the production of pellets. Siegen-Wittgenstein is the most densely wooded district in Germany. In the future, we will supply the growing markets from here, especially in the urban agglomerations on Rhine and Ruhr. We intend to present the two plants to the population of the region on an “open day” in mid-September. We are already looking forward to that.“

The biomass-fuelled cogeneration station has fed electricity into the grid since early 2010, and since the start of pellet production, both plants have been operating in combination. In this mode, the biomass-fuelled cogeneration station supplies the heat required for the production of the pellets. The combined heat-and-power station has a thermal capacity of 30 megawatts and an electric output of 5 megawatts. The combined production of heat and power results in a relatively high energy efficiency with a fuel utilisation of up to 70 percent. The pellet plant has a production capacity of 120,000 tons of quality pellets per year. Approx. 220,000 tons of round wood residuals and sawmill wood leftovers from the region are used as feedstock.

Source: RWE Innogy

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