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Last coal fired at Koehler Group’s Oberkirch CHP plant

Last coal fired at Koehler Group’s Oberkirch CHP plant
Shoveling the last coal at the Oberkirch combined heat and power (CHP) plant, Hartmut Felsch (left), Mill Director, Koehler Paper Oberkirch; Theo Maier, Head of the Oberkirch CHP plant; and Josef Hofer, Project Manager, Central Plant Technology division (photo courtesy Koehler Group).

In Germany, paper and energy group Koehler Holding SE & Co. KG (Koehler Group) has fired the last piece of coal at the Group's Oberkirch combined heat and power (CHP) plant. Currently undergoing a conversion and retrofit to operate on biomass instead of hard coal, the final coal was used on June 10, 2024.

The Koehler Oberkirch combined heat and power (CHP) plant is scheduled to be decarbonized by converting the CHP plant from hard coal to biomass.

The large-scale project hit a milestone on June 10, 2024, when after 38 years, the last piece of coal was burned at the Oberkirch CHP plant.

The power plant is now stopped, and extensive overhauling and conversion work for switching over to biomass fuel has been going full speed ahead.

Biomass receiving completed

The Biomass Receiving Area 1 and four new silos have been completed, the material handling equipment and the conveying path from the silos to the power plant are being worked on.

In addition, building services are being installed at Biomass Receiving Area 2. This new material handling equipment will be used to transfer biomass to the boiler inside the power plant in the future.

The new biomass storage silos at the Koehler Oberkirch CHP plant (photo courtesy Koehler Group).

The gas supply system has been completed and the cold reserve has been successfully switched over to dual-fuel burning, the new emergency generator has been put into operation as well.

This ensures that the Koehler Group CHP plant in Oberkirch will continue to be powered until the conversion work at the CHP plant is completed.

The commissioning and testing phase will start in mid-August, and the energy plant should begin to run on biomass starting in October 2024.

Now that the last piece of coal has burned at the plant, over 150,000 tonnes of direct fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will be cut per year at the Oberkirch site by the switch to biomass.

For us, decarbonization of our coal-fired power plant in Oberkirch is another crucial step in our efforts to achieve our climate goals and produce more renewable energy than we need for our paper production operations starting in 2030, said Kai Furler, CEO of Koehler Group.

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