In May, Veolia officially opened two new waste wood projects in Lower Saxony. It officially commissioned a processing plant in Lengede with a capacity up to 245,000 tonnes a year of waste wood from the nearby region. This facility will supply a new waste wood-fired power plant in Braunschweig, around 20 km away, which was commissioned earlier in the month by a Veolia joint venture called BS Energy.
The new waste wood processing plant is equipped with a dust extraction and filter system as well as "one of the modest modern fire extinguishing systems in the recycling sector”, according to Veolia. The proximity to the Braunschweig biomass power plant would mean short transport distances, the company noted.
BS Energy’s new combined heat and power (CHP) plant which will use the waste wood as fuel, along with a new gas turbine CHP plant, will replace an existing coal-fired CHP facility. The biomass plant has a capacity of 20 MW of electricity and 60 MW of district heating. It can incinerate up to 184,000 tonnes a year of waste wood, primarily from the categories A III and A IV under German legislation (wood coated with halogenated organic compounds such as PVC, for instance, and wood treated with preservatives or containing other hazardous chemicals).
The decision to build the two CHP plants was made in winter 2018 and at the time, the company said the investment volume would be around €220m. Since September 2018, Veolia has been the majority shareholder in BS Energy with a stake of 50.1 per cent. The City of Braunschweig holds 25.1 per cent and the municipal power utility network Thüga holds the remaining 24.8 per cent.
Waste wood power plant will provide baseload energy
The biomass CHP plant will provide baseload energy, while the new gas turbine plant can be additionally ramped up during colder weather or when there are fluctuations in the electricity grid. Due to the energy crisis, the existing coal-fired power plant will remain available during the 2023 and 2024 heating seasons. BS Energy says it is thus taking a major step towards decarbonising heat and electricity production in Braunschweig and will be phasing out coal-based energy generation in the foreseeable future.
"The modernised power plant concept in Braunschweig is a very good example of the ecological transformation we are pursuing at Veolia,” said Matthias Harms, CEO of Veolia Germany. He described BS Energy as an "important part of Veolia’s activities in Germany”. With its overarching collaboration between the Veolia business areas of energy and waste management, it is a "good model that can serve as an example for further projects”, he added.
At the official opening of the wood processing facility in Lengede, Mr Harms commented: "These two plants are an ideal example of how Veolia is implementing the ecological transformation together with the City of Braunschweig and Thüga, and thus advancing climate protection.”