Located not far from Germany’s North Sea coast is one of Europe’s largest paper factories – the Papier- und Kartonfabrik Varel (PKV). It emits 280,000t of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, largely from burning fossil gas to produce the steam needed for manufacturing.
But PKV has committed to achieving climate neutrality and is taking steps to reduce that carbon footprint. In late 2019, the company installed a power-to-heat (PTH) module, which operates much like an immersion heater, producing steam from green electricity generated by the numerous wind turbines along the nearby coastline.
The PTH module was supplied by the Norwegian company Parat, which developed the technology for Scandinavia’s many hydropower plants. “The Norwegians had proven technology and the expertise to set up a PTH of an industrially viable scale of 20MW, which is very large by German standards,” says PKV’s managing director Dettmar Fischer. “The know-how needed to achieve climate neutrality can only be gained by leaving behind the stage of pilot projects and entering the stage of such large-scale demonstrators.” He adds that the PTH module feeds data into the area’s Enera project, which was funded as part of the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’s SINTEG initiative. It supports attempts to generate electricity exclusively from renewable energy sources in large-scale test regions.
SINTEG is one of the many programs associated with Germany’s goal of achieving greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050 without reducing its international competitiveness.