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Kraftringen mulls doubling CHP capacity with new investment

Swedish municipal energy utility Kraftringen Energi AB (Kraftringen) has recently revealed plans that could see the company invest approximately SEK 2-2.5 billion (≈ EUR 193-241.25 million) in a new combined heat and power (CHP) unit at its existing biomass-fired CHP plant in Örtofta.

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Kraftringen's Örtofta biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant
Commissioned in 2014, Kraftringen’s SEK 1.8  billion Örtofta biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant is one of the largest in southern Sweden. On an annual basis, the plant uses 310 000 tonnes of woody biomass to supply 500 GWh of district heat to Lund, Lomma och Eslöv, and 220 GWh of electricity to the grid (photo courtesy Christina Fröjd, Kraftringen).

According to a statement, the new unit would mean a doubling of energy production capacity at the plant – 40- 45 MW of electricity – which roughly corresponds to the current power needs in Lomma and Hörby municipalities on a cold winter day.

The motives for the decision are twofold: the need to replace older production units, and the ambition to add new additional dispatchable and flexible production capacity. It is ultimately about Kraftringen contributing to a more robust and sustainable energy system in Skåne, said Karl Branzén, Chairman of the Board of Kraftringen.

Final investment decisions by Kraftringen’s owner municipalities are expected to be made in 2024, and the new plant could be operational in 2028.

Örtoftaverket is today one of the most important production facilities in southern Sweden. The facility is also the main reason why Kraftringen has reduced its climate emissions by 94 percent. Now it’s time to take the next step on this journey and invest in additional cogeneration production, said Lena Emilsson, Second Deputy Chairman of the Board of Kraftringen.

District heating plays an important role

District heating plays an important role in the energy system and relieves the electricity grid so that electricity can be used where it is most useful: not for heating but to drive electrification, for example for the development of sustainable transport.

With an expansion of our cogeneration, we get a plannable source of both heat and electricity, something that is important not least in our region, where unplanned energy in the form of solar and wind thus gets a stable renewable complement. Kraftringen’s vision is Energy for future generations, and with this investment, we want to show that we live as we learn, said Sezgin Kadir, President, and CEO of Kraftringen.

The district heating system also enables the reuse of heat from industries and other plants as part of a circular use of energy.

Today, this is done, for example, by Kraftringen using recovered heat from, for example, the MAX IV research facility in Lund and, in the future, also from the European Spallation Source (ESS) new neutron facility that is being built outside of Lund.

With the positive experiences from Örtoftaverket, it is now time for us to take the next step and expand the facility. In this way, we can take care of some of society’s residual flows and contribute to climate change. The new facility gives us future-proof production and opens up opportunities for several new solutions for further reduced environmental impact. For example, we are looking at exciting new technologies such as our own production of pyrolysis oil and carbon dioxide capture, ended Fredrik Fackler, Business Area Manager Heating & Cooling at Kraftringen.

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