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SWISS KRONO Receives 2019 Energy Efficiency Award of the State of Brandenburg

  • Kategorie: Industry news, General

25. June 2019 | Special projects praised for energy efficiency and sustainability

The Energy Efficiency Awards of the German state of Brandenburg were presented for the fourth time on May 24, 2019. This year, seven communities and 14 firms entered the contest. Jörg Steinbach, the state’s Minister of Economy and Energy, took advantage of the 21st Brandenburg Energy Conference in Cottbus to honour the winners of the Entrepreneurship Award, the Community Award, and the Special Award. SWISS KRONO TEX GmbH & Co. KG based in Heiligengrabe received the first of these.

Each year, SWISS KRONO produces about 450,000 m3 of OSB boards and 580,000 m3 of MDF and HDF boards. This operation is extremely energy-intensive, consuming some 250 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electric power and around 1,500 GWh of heat. Although the lion’s share of this is generated using biomass (mostly production scrap), SWISS KRONO set itself the goal of efficiently taking advantage of an even larger share of the available energy by means of an innovative approach for using waste heat.

Enterpreneurship Award for an Innovative System for Using Waste Heat

An innovative system was developed to utilise waste heat from a biomass heating plant for drying the strands of the OSB boards, which is an energy-intensive process. Instead of simply releasing unused heat into the surroundings, the heat is now compressed to increase its temperature sufficiently for pre-drying the OSB strands.

For this purpose, a natural gas-powered cogeneration plant was installed to generate electricity for driving heat pumps. The waste heat given off by the cogeneration plant is quite hot and can also be fed into the heat network. This has not only improved the energy efficiency of the overall system, but also significantly shortened the drying process. In all, the system saves about 311 GWh of primary energy and eliminates some 6,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Energy Conference: No Energy Revolution Without Sector Coupling

The theme of this year’s energy conference was “The Importance of Sector Coupling for the Energy Revolution”. Sector coupling involves efficiently using electricity from renewable energy sources for heating, transport and industry. It is an approach for taking excess power and not only storing it, but also supplying it via the power grid for other uses.

“The Energy Revolution isn’t only about electricity. It’s important to interconnect all of the sectors in which energy is generated, moved or consumed in order to make the best possible use of it in every case. Above all, in order to solve the problems of the electric power market, we need to integrate heating and transport. Coupling all three of these sectors isn’t a universal solution to the described problems, but it is a major step towards managing and meeting the associated challenges. Without sector coupling, no genuine energy revolution is conceivable,” said Minister Steinbach.

Synergies: Cooperation of Science and the Economy

Within the scope of its activities to study energy efficiency and sustainability, the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg works with local firms to devise innovative solutions for driving the Energy Revolution. These include SWISS KRONO TEX GmbH & Co. KG, which consistently strives to foster sustainability and projects to protect the environment, independently of business considerations. The idea which has now received the Entrepreneurship Award was born about three years ago.

In addition, the Community Award went to the town of Niederer Fläming for its project entitled “Campus of the Generations”, and Stadtwerke Neuruppin GmbH, a municipal utility, won the Special Award with its cross-sectoral and CO2-neutral “WoMeNa” Residential Area Neuruppin.

From left to right: Prof. Katharina Löwe (chair of the jury), Tino Wolter (energy purchaser of SWISS KRONO TEX GmbH & Co. KG), Economy and Energy Minister Jörg Steinbach, and Julian Büche (managing director of the Berlin/Brandenburg chapter of the German Association of Municipal Enterprises - VKU) (Photograph courtesy of Landesportal Brandenburg 2019 // Sebastian Rau)

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