Skadi Menne

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.