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Tekniska verken to phase out fossil fuels in heat and power by 2021

In November 2017, the Board of the Swedish energy and waste management utility Tekniska verken i Linköping AB (Tekniska verken) decided that the company will phase out the use of coal and oil in its heat and power production by the 2021 heating season. District heating, district cooling and electricity produced in its combined heat and power (CHP) plant in central Linköping under normal operations during an average year climate-wise should only be fired with recycled and/or biomass fuels.

The coal and oil boilers at Tekniska verken’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant in central Linköping, Sweden are to be retrofitted to run on renewable biofuels (photo courtesy Niklas Virsén).

For Tekniska verken this translates into an estimated investment of SEK 200 million (≈ EUR 20 million) to convert the boilers at the combined heat and power (CHP) plant that are currently fired with coal and fossil oil. The first step is to retrofit the coal boiler to replace coal with renewable biomass, such as residual waste from the forest industry, which will start in spring 2018. The second step is to expand the buffer tank capacity and the third step is to configure the existing oil boilers to run on renewable bio-oil fuels.

We are pleased that the Board has made this decision. This is a major and important step that Tekniska verken now takes, towards a resource-efficient and sustainable society with the least possible climate impact. In the early 1980s almost all electricity and district heating came from oil and coal. Now forty years later, we can finally set a fullstop for this period and get an energy system where we use renewable or recycled fuels, said Anders Jonsson, CEO of Tekniska verken.

Over the years the company has reduced its overall consumption of coal and oil not least through investments in waste-to-energy capacity on the outskirts of the city. The boilers at the CHP in central Linköping have mainly been used for shorter peak periods when it was really cold and, if necessary, backup capacity a few days a year.

Over the years, Tekniska verken has gradually reduced the share of coal and fossil oil, not least due to the large investment in the Lejon boiler (waste-to-energy capacity). With this decision we have now fulfilled the long-term strategy to make 100 percent of the energy production free from coal and fossil oil, which is the result of a long-term environmental work that has made a real difference, said Gösta Gustavsson, Vice Chairman of  Tekniska verken.

Although oil and coal consumption has been low, the climate impact is high, and a transition to other fuels will provide great climate and environmental benefits, which means a lot to reach the city of Linköping’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2025.

This decision will mean reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 35 000 tonnes per year. It’s as much as 30 000 Linköping car drivers emit annually thus a very important step towards the municipality’s achievement of its ambitious climate goals, said Rebecka Hovenberg, Chairman of Tekniska verken.

The decommissioning of coal and fossil oil in the combined heat and power plant will be done step by step as necessary permitting processes allow and will be ready before the heating season in 2021. The decision will not affect the plan to eventually transfer the CHP from the current location, but the relocation will take place at later than planned, and coordinated with railway infrastructure investments planned for the city.

About the CHP in Linköping

Located in central Linköping adjacent to the railway station, the combined heat and power (CHP) plant was commissioned in 1964. The CHP has three different boilers (biomass, coal and oil) with a total installed capacity of 280 MW. The annual production capacity is approximately 250 GWh heat and 75 GWh electricity.

The boilers are fired with biomass, coal, recycled tyres and oil. The main fuel is biomass, but on cold winter days, the coal and oil boilers are also needed. At the CHP, there is also a cooling plant with a capacity of 16 MW, two hot water boilers of 45 MW each and a 20 000 m3 district heating buffer tank.

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