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DONG Energy reaches deal to convert Asnæs Power Station to biomass

With a new 20-year energy off-take agreement recently concluded between Novo Nordisk, Novozymes, Kalundborg Forsyning and DONG Energy, a sustainable alternative enabling a complete phase-out of coal has been found for Asnæs Power Station, currently the largest coal-fired power station in Denmark.

Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President at DONG Energy here seen at the AEBIOM European Bioenergy Future conference November 2016.

Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President at DONG Energy here seen at the AEBIOM European Bioenergy Future conference November 2016.

Danish energy utility major DONG Energy A/S has revealed that has recently concluded a new 20-year energy off-take agreement for its coal-fired Asnæs Power Station in Kalundborg, Denmark. Under the new energy supply deal, DONG Energy will supply green energy to Novo Nordisk A/S, a healthcare and pharmaceutical major, Novozymes A/S, an enzyme and microorganism biotechnology major and district heating customers in Kalundborg.

It also means that the energy company can proceed with its previously announced ambition to completely phase out the use of coal by 2023.

I’m very pleased that we now have an agreement regarding Asnæs Power Station. The future belongs to sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass. We’ll therefore be phasing out all use of coal at our power stations by 2023, and the decision, which was made together with our customers, is an important step on the way, said Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President, DONG Energy in a statement.

Significant CO2 reduction

The 20-year steam and district heating supply contract will entail a conversion of Asnæs Power Station and the connection of a new woodchip fired plant to the power station’s existing installations and systems. This will enable the plant to supply steam, district heating and power from sustainable woodchips from the end of 2019. Kalundborg is thereby retaining the advantages of the symbiosis between power station production, steam supply and district heating.

For Kalundborg Forsyning, it’s essential to secure a good, inexpensive supply of district heating for the customers in Kalundborg, while simultaneously contributing to the transition from fossil fuels to a sustainable solution, said Hans-Martin Friis Møller, CEO of Kalundborg Forsyning.

The conversion from coal to woodchip at Asnæs Power Station, Denmark’s largest coal-fired power plant, will result in an annual reduction in fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 800 000 tonnes.

The Asnæs Power Station in Kalundborg, currently Denmark’s largest coal-fired power plant, will be converted to run on biomass (photo courtesy Dong Energy)

The conversion also means that the energy consumption at Novo Nordisk’s largest production unit in Kalundborg will become carbon-neutral, and as a result, the total CO2 emissions from Novo Nordisk’s global production will be reduced by as much as 45 percent.

We’re pleased to have concluded an agreement that will ensure a stable supply of steam and district heating well into the future. It’s important for us that the energy is generated from biomass rather than coal, as this is a far more eco-friendly solution, and the price is competitive. The agreement underpins the industrial symbiosis in Kalundborg and is yet another example of how partnership and dialogue can generate powerful results for the benefit of all parties. At Novo Nordisk, we’ve already converted our power consumption in the vast majority of our production to green power from wind turbines. The transition to green steam and district heating emphasises our focus on having a sustainable production, said Henrik Wulff, Executive Vice President of Product Supply at Novo Nordisk.

“Industrial symbiosis”

There are several recent examples of this “industrial symbiosis” referred to by Wulff. In 2013, Novo Nordisk and Novozymes installed a biogas reactor to convert wastewater from their facilities in Kalundborg to produce electricity and heat. In March this year, DONG Energy and Bigadan announced plans to convert biomass residues from Novozymes’ and Novo Nordisk’s factories to biomethane, which will be fed directly into the Danish natural gas grid.

For many years, Novozymes has also invested in reducing the impact from our own production. We get our power from wind turbines, and we’re currently also making considerable environmental investments, among other things in a new biogas plant. The current project completes the circle, and our entire supply of power, heat and steam in Kalundborg will now come from other sources than coal and oil. The agreement ensures a stable supply of steam for our production at competitive terms, and in this way, the project also helps ensure an efficient production in Kalundborg with good jobs, said Jesper Haugaard, Vice President at Novozymes.For Denmark-headed compatriot Novozymes the agreement is equally significant

Ready by end of 2019

According to DONG Energy, the conversion of Asnæs Power Station will begin in summer 2017, and the power station is expected to be ready for woodchip fired production by the end of 2019. The woodchips will primarily come from by-products, such as logging residues and thinnings, and all suppliers must ensure that the woodchips come from sustainable forestry where the forests are replanted, and biodiversity is protected.

About Asnæs Power Station

Asnæs Power Station currently consists of two units: Unit 2 and Unit 5, both of which are fuelled by coal. Unit 2 was built in 1961 and has a capacity of 142 MWe and a total of 193 MWth district heating and process steam. Unit 5 was built in 1981 and is Denmark’s largest power station unit with a capacity of 640 MWe and 308 MWth district heating and process steam.

Both units operate alternately to generate district heating, process steam and power. A final status for the future of the two units will be determined when the new plant is commissioned. The new woodchip fired plant to be constructed will have a capacity of 25 MWe and a total of 129 MWth district heating and process steam.

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