Heidelberg USA

Heidelberg Officially Opens Cogeneration Plant at Wiesloch-Walldorf Site

Baden-Württemberg's Environment Minister Franz Untersteller and Gerold Linzbach, CEO of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg), officially opened a cogeneration plant at the company's Wiesloch-Walldorf site.

Around 300 guests attended the opening ceremony and were able to take a tour of the plant. They included representatives from political and municipal bodies, the media, the project team, and the Heidelberg management team. The power and heat generated by the new plant will enable Heidelberg to reduce total energy costs at the site by around ten percent.

Linzbach, who took over as Heidelberg CEO on September 1, 2012, underlined the importance of the new plant for Wiesloch-Walldorf and the region as a whole as a contribution to responsible environmental practices. "Ecological and environmental objectives do not need to be mutually exclusive. In the ideal case scenario, as here with our cogeneration plant project, it is possible to combine the two. In this way, Heidelberg is also actively contributing to the energy revolution in Baden-Württemberg," he explained.

Untersteller, who was in the Wiesloch electoral district at the invitation of state parliament member Dr. Kai Schmidt-Eisenlohr, commented: "My visit to Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG today has given me an initial, impressive insight into the company's wide-ranging commitment to the environment and sustainability. We need companies that invest in advanced resource-conserving technology and plants and always take the issue of sustainability seriously. It's the only way to ensure the energy revolution is a success."

Energy requirements at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site

With 36 production halls and office buildings occupying some 860,000 square meters of land, the world's largest printing press factory in Wiesloch-Walldorf requires around 60 gigawatt-hours of power each year. Total annual energy costs at the site are in the low tens of millions of euros. One out of every five euros spent to operate the site goes on heat and power. To optimize energy and resource efficiency at Wiesloch-Walldorf, the company worked with external engineering consultants to devise an advanced energy concept. This revolves around building and operating a cogeneration plant with an electric power output of 2 megawatts that will generate 12 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year. Now that it has been commissioned, the plant can cover around 20 percent of the current electricity requirements by burning natural gas, the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel, as its primary energy source. Measured against the average power generation mix in Germany, this will reduce the amount of CO 2 released into the atmosphere by 3,700 metric tons a year. Energy costs at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site will also be around ten percent lower.

Over 40 percent of local heating requirements met

In addition to electric power, the cogeneration plant's two generators will produce 15 gigawatt-hours of heat each year. Waste heat from the engines and generators will be accommodated in a storage buffer and will meet over 40 percent of the site's total local heating requirements - for heating the halls, for manufacturing processes, and for the hot water in the sanitary facilities.

The plant represents an investment of some EUR 2.4 million and will pay for itself in just two years thanks to its high efficiency levels.

Comprehensive sustainability concept

The new cogeneration plant is part of the comprehensive sustainability concept that Heidelberg has firmly established in its strategic agenda. "Ideally, we would like to avoid resource consumption and the associated CO 2 emissions altogether. The next best thing is to reduce consumption and emissions or - if that is not possible - to compensate accordingly. This approach applies to everything from development and production through to machine operation at the print shops," explained Heidelberg Management Board member Stephan Plenz, whose area of responsibility includes sustainability. The waste recycling rate at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site, for example, is currently 99.2 percent - an impressive figure that is only possible with the full commitment of all staff. Other projects that aim to minimize the company's environmental impact include lead-free soldering, dry processing without cooling lubricants, and the switch to returnable containers for material deliveries.

Wiesloch-Walldorf site

Wiesloch-Walldorf opened in 1957. Covering a total area of 860,000 square meters, including 460,000 square meters of buildings, it is the largest site in the Heidelberg production network. The some 4,700 staff working there are mainly involved in manufacturing small mechanical components and electronics, and assembling presses, platesetters, and die cutters. The site also has shipping and spare parts centers and is home to the company's training center. In addition, Heidelberg uses the Wiesloch-Walldorf facility to manufacture and assemble precision components and sub-assemblies for customers outside the print media industry.

Cogeneration plant

A cogeneration plant is based on the principle of combined heat and power generation for simultaneous provision of electrical energy and heat. Plants of this kind are particularly energy efficient, because they require up to 40 percent less fuel/primary resources than for conventional, separate generation of power and heat. The (waste) heat is normally used directly on site or fed into a local heating grid there. This on-site power generation and usage relieves the pressure on public power grids. 

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