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  • Project for tapping heat from AVA Velsen waste-to-energy plant makes rapid progress

    Pipeline work starting earlier than originally planned / Project ahead of schedule

    Saarbrücken. In summer 2020, STEAG New Energies GmbH and Entsorgungsverband Saar (EVS) launched a joint project: The Velsen waste-to-energy plant (AVA Velsen) is being retrofitted so that in future it will not only generate electricity but also heat that will be fed into the Saar district heating network. Pipeline construction is now about to start.

    Now that all the legal requirements have been satisfied, work will soon begin on laying the more than six-kilometer-long connecting pipeline, which will feed around 170,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of climate-friendly heat into the district heating network every year.

    Project secures district heating in the Saar region for the long term
    By tapping into the heat potential of the Velsen waste-to-energy plant, STEAG is pushing ahead with the company's reorientation towards more resource-conserving and thus more environmentally compatible energy and heat sources. “At the same time, we are making provision for the scenario in which the hard coal fired power plant at the Völklingen-Fenne site is shut down in the foreseeable future as part of the gradual phase-out of coal as mandated by law,” says Thomas Billotet, Chairman of the Board of Management of Saarbrücken-based STEAG New Energies.

    In this respect, the project is an important component of a whole package of measures taken by STEAG to secure the district heating supply in the Saar region in the long term and to make it climate friendly. Only recently, STEAG presented an innovative heating solution at the site of the former Camphausen mine, in which waste heat is recovered from mine water and made usable for the district heating supply.

    Supply of climate-friendly heat from Velsen to start in fall 2022
    Concurrently with the pipeline construction, work will also begin on the turbine in the AVA Velsen plant itself. “Assuming that the project continues to progress as smoothly as it has, it will be possible to tap into the heat generation of the AVA Velsen on schedule by the start of the heating season in the fall of 2022,” says Florian Eder, who is in charge of the project at STEAG New Energies.

    District heating with a clear carbon footprint advantage
    Not only the environment and the climate will benefit from the heat generated in Velsen according to the principle of combined heat and power, but also the customers of STEAG and Fernwärmeverbund Saar (FVS). “Until now, the CO2 emissions from district heating have been around 135 grams per kilowatt hour. This is already significantly less than a gas heating system, which emits just over 200 grams, or an oil heating system with over 260 grams per kilowatt hour. Thanks to the high renewable share of the heat from AVA Velsen, this figure will improve noticeably yet again,” explains Florian Eder.

    Due to the CO2 levy applicable since January 2021, the further cut in CO2 emissions also means that users of climate-friendly district heating will save money.

    EVS: From waste disposal company to resource manager
    “Using the heat generated in waste processing at the AVA Velsen plant not only makes good economic sense, it also brings considerable benefits for the climate and the environment,” says EVS Managing Director Georg Jungmann. “This shows once again that EVS is an important partner in shaping a sustainable circular economy and energy sector,” adds EVS Managing Director Michael Philippi.