Geerd Smidt

Wood­chip-fired hea­ting plants gene­ra­te cli­ma­te-friend­ly heat

Sus­taina­bi­li­ty at Klasmann-Deilmann

Wood­chip-fired hea­ting plants gene­ra­te heat in a cli­ma­te-friend­ly man­ner, wood being a rene­wa­ble resour­ce. Alt­hough car­bon dioxi­de (CO2) is pro­du­ced when wood­chips are com­bus­ted, the only CO2 released is that which was pre­vious­ly bound during wood growth. Even if the emis­si­ons resul­ting from wood har­vest and trans­port are inclu­ded, the quan­ti­ty of green­house gases given off is a mere frac­tion of that which enters the atmo­s­phe­re when oil and gas are bur­ned. For com­pa­ra­ti­ve pur­po­ses: 35 grams of CO2 per kilo­watt hour (kWh) are emit­ted when wood­chips are used for ener­gy, whe­re­as the bur­ning of hea­ting oil pro­du­ces 303 grams. Hea­ting plants fired by wood­chips form part of Klasmann-Deilmann’s com­mit­ment to sus­tainab­le, cli­ma­te-friend­ly operations.

Whe­re­ver it is pos­si­ble and eco­no­mi­c­al, we replace fos­sil ener­gy with other sources,” says Chris­ti­an Nien­hus­mei­er (Pro­ject Mana­ger, Power Engi­nee­ring at Klasmann-Deilmann). “For examp­le, we have now – apart from minu­te quan­ti­ties – total­ly banis­hed hea­ting oil from our sites.” At Sedels­berg in the Clop­pen­burg district, a modern wood­chip-fired hea­ting plant has been ope­ra­ting sin­ce ear­ly 2013. This faci­li­ty on the pre­mi­ses of our pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny Klasmann-Deilmann Pro­duk­ti­ons­ge­sell­schaft Nord has a rated heat out­put (i.e. the maxi­mum achiev­a­ble heat deli­very whe­re ope­ra­ti­on is con­ti­nuous) of 440 kW: about for­ty times hig­her than with a nor­mal domestic-hea­ting sys­tem. All the needs for radia­tors and water hea­ting for all of the plant’s five buil­dings – the fac­to­ry, lab, staff faci­li­ties buil­ding, admi­nis­tra­ti­ve buil­ding and mecha­nics work­shop – are sup­plied in their ent­i­re­ty by the bio­mass hea­ting plant. The ent­i­re site is thus self-sufficient.


With this hea­ting plant, our average con­sump­ti­on is 600,000 kWh per annum com­pa­red with about 1 mil­li­on kWh befo­re. This 40% ener­gy saving is achie­ved by intel­li­gent com­bus­ti­on and con­trol engi­nee­ring tech­no­lo­gy. The sys­tem com­plies with the very latest stan­dards,” Nien­hus­mei­er says. And the wood­chips are pro­du­ced in-house. Some of the wood is from the tri­al short-rota­ti­on fores­try (SRF) plan­ta­ti­on sites only about 65 kilo­me­tres away in Gees­te. Addi­tio­nal wood sui­ta­ble as fuel when chip­ped is obtai­ned during main­ten­an­ce of peat extrac­tion are­as and waysides.

Apart from the faci­li­ty in Sedels­berg, Klasmann-Deilmann has two fur­ther wood­chip-fired hea­ting plants on its own sites. One is in Zilais­kalns, Lat­via, whe­re it has been pro­vi­ding heat for the work­shop and office sin­ce 2014, the main source of this mate­ri­al being unde­si­red birch growth on the extrac­tion are­as the­re. The other is in Lau­ke­sa, Lit­hua­nia, in which the work­shop and office space have been hea­ted in the same way sin­ce 2015. Fur­ther­mo­re, an out­side com­pa­ny has long been run­ning a lar­ge faci­li­ty on the pro­duc­tion site in Silu­te, Lit­hua­nia, whe­re Klasmann-Deilmann has now loca­ted admi­nis­tra­ti­ve func­tions, a work­shop, two fac­to­ries and a sto­rage faci­li­ty. Most of the fuel for the hea­ting plant is deri­ved from the company’s SRF plan­ta­ti­ons. And the plant pro­vi­des hea­ting not only for the site its­elf but also for an adja­cent village.

Rising pri­ces of fos­sil fuels and inten­si­fied efforts to com­bat cli­ma­te chan­ge sin­ce the ear­ly 1990s have promp­ted the con­ti­nuous moder­ni­sa­ti­on and refi­ne­ment of what is essen­ti­al­ly a very old tech­no­lo­gy. “For the sub­stra­te sec­tor and for indus­try in gene­ral, howe­ver, it is still rather unusu­al that com­pa­nies use wood­chip-fired hea­ting plants of their own,” says Nien­hus­mei­er. Here too, then, Klasmann-Deilmann is lea­ding the way.