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Koehler to convert Greiz CHP plant from lignite to fine wood fraction

Germany-headed paper and energy group Koehler Holding SE & Co. KG (Koehler Group) has announced that it is to convert its combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the Koehler Paper site in Greiz from pulverized lignite to fine wood fraction fuel. The CHP plant will start operating with the new fuel in June 2022.

Koehler Holding SE & Co. KG (Koehler Group) will convert its combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the Koehler Paper site in Greiz, Germany from pulverized lignite to fine wood fraction fuel (photo courtesy Koehler Group).

The art of paper-making has been going on in Greiz for more than 400 years. The former Euler paper-site, which was acquired by the Koehler Group in 1998, produces premium quality paper exclusively from recycled fibre.

In addition to paper recycling, the Koehler Paper Greiz plant also uses advanced color technology that enables high-grade recycled paper with an unparalleled range of colors to be produced. Products made in Greiz bear the ‘Blue Angel’ ecolabel as a result.

Replace lignite and reduce emissions

As large volumes of energy are needed for paper processing and drying, the company started up its own combined heat and power plant (CHP) in 2010. It has a rated thermal input of 16.7 MW and generates up to 19 tonnes of steam according to demand, as well as electricity to supply the production plant.

Seven employees ensure that the CHP plant runs seamlessly around the clock.

Pulverized lignite has been used as fuel until now. The plant’s conversion from lignite to a fine wood fraction as the fuel is part of the Group’s climate strategy and an “important contribution” to keeping Koehler’s promise of producing more energy from renewable sources by 2030 than is required for its paper production operations.

Switching from lignite to fine wood fraction will allow us to save more than 24 000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions per year at the Greiz plant, said Udo Hollbach, Managing Director of Koehler Paper Greiz.

By converting the CHP plant, Koehler is also meeting the amended regulations brought about by the Fuel Emissions Trading Act and stricter emission requirements in general, particularly concerning sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from fuel.

Fine wood fraction instead of pulverized lignite significantly reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) and SOx emissions. Estimated to cost EUR 6.5 million, the plant conversion process has been given extensive support from colleagues at Koehler Renewable Energy, a part of the Koehler Group.

Koehler Renewable Energy has already implemented numerous design, build, and/or own, and operate projects in the fields of biomass cogeneration plants, wind power, photovoltaics, and hydropower.

Construction start

A sieved fine wood fraction from wood processing plants will be used as the new fuel. The heat value of the fine wood fraction is approximately 14 MJ/kg, compared with 21 MJ/kg for pulverized lignite.

During the project phase, two combustion tests were carried out that produced positive results for developing the new technique. A stable flame pattern and excellent combustion were achieved, alongside lower SOx emissions.

Structural and engineering measures need to be taken and extra silos purchased so the new fuel can be used in the existing combined heat and power (CHP) plant. In total, this will save 24 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year at the Greiz site.

Another benefit is that the plant will operate well below nighttime noise limits despite the additional plant construction.

The structural changes at the power plant and the additional plant engineering required are set to start in October 2021 and will be completed by May 2022 with the plant expected to start operating with the new, sustainable fuel in June 2022.

By replacing fossil fuels, Koehler is proactively playing its part in reducing global warming, said Kai Furler, CEO of Koehler Group.

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