The Koehler Group is planning to fully convert its power plant at its Oberkirch/Germany location to biomass in the coming years. This change is part of Koehler’s sustainability strategy, which includes the goal of producing more energy from renewable sources than is required for its paper production operations by 2030. Koehler Group CEO Kai Furler is thrilled with the plan: “By switching from bituminous coal to biomass as the primary fuel for our location here in Oberkirch, we will be cutting more than 150,000 metric tons of CO₂ emissions a year.”
The company has had a number of extremely successful projects designed to reduce the energy consumed in its paper production operations for many years now. A few years ago, the company declared that it would be producing more energy from renewable sources than required for its own needs by 2030. This is why the company is now converting its coal-fired power plant at the Oberkirch location to biomass. With its Fuel Emissions Trading Act, the German government made it more difficult to use fossil fuels, which is why Koehler will be implementing its plans for the conversion three years earlier than originally planned.
The change represents an investment of just under 60 million euros (73 million US dollars) for Koehler, and will enable the company to produce the energy it needs for its paper production operations in the future with wood chips, green waste, and mill residue. This means that the fuel will be CO₂-neutral, as well as a renewable raw material obtained from the region. This material will be delivered by truck using bypass B 28.
The plans to convert the power plant to use a renewable raw material started all the way back in 2018. Needless to say, this conversion cannot be carried out overnight, as it will require extensive technical modifications.
In the Paris Agreement from 2015, 190 parties, including the European Union, committed themselves to taking measures to keep global warming significantly under 2 °C. Private companies were called on to contribute to emission reductions within this context. Kai Furler says: “With the conversion away from fossil fuels, Koehler is proactively playing its part in reducing global warming.” For Oberkirch, this means a significantly reduced impact from CO₂ emissions.