Skadi Menne

Photovoltaics as part of our sustainability strategy

Sustainability is a key priority for Klasmann-Deilmann, and the company is continuously working on improving its carbon footprint. The photovoltaic installation on the roof of one of the production buildings in Groß Hesepe contributes to this goal. In the past year, it generated more than 136,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. This is sufficient to supply around 40 homes with power and reduces CO2 emissions by more than 80 tonnes.

The company’s own photovoltaic system, which is a further component of Klasmann-Deilmann’s strategy for greater sustainability, was installed in 2010. Assuming standard test conditions – i.e. a solar-cell temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, light intensity (irradiance) of 1,000 watts per square metre and an air mass 1.5 standard sunlight spectrum – it has a rated output of 135 kilowatts. Last year, the installation fed exactly 136,518 kilowatt hours of electrical energy into the public power grid: a considerable increase year-on-year due to the higher number of sun hours in 2015. The system delivered around 135,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in 2014 and, as Christian Nienhusmeier of the Technology & Procurement division comments, “Even that was quite a lot at these latitudes.”

With sustainability in mind, the substrate producer also runs short-rotation forestry plantations and enables its trainees to attend the Climate Pilot seminar. Since 2011, Klasmann-Deilmann has published an annual Sustainability Report. At the end of last year, the firm launched the world’s biggest peat moss (Sphagnum) farming project. In Sedelsberg, Klasmann-Deilmann’s first woodchip heating system has been providing heat since early 2013. Other such facilities are in use in Lithuania and Latvia, and a fourth is to be added during the construction of a new administrative building at company headquarters in Groß Hesepe, which is due for completion in 2017.

All Klasmann-Deilmann sites are systematically assessed for energy consumption on a regular basis, as Energy Technology project leader Nienhusmeier affirms. “Building technology, gas, oil, heating, compressed air, lighting – everything is put under the microscope and is, as far as possible, optimised.”

Scope for energy saving is also being investigated in the production process. Even before it was required to do so by law, Klasmann-Deilmann employed more efficient motors in machinery and trained operators in energy-efficient use. “We always keep our eyes open and ears tuned: as soon as a new technology is fully developed and we can see potential for improvement, we move to implementation,” says Nienhusmeier. And, with a glance at the photovoltaic installation, he adds: “Let’s wait and see how sunny 2016 proves to be!”