Canadian Packaging

Heidelberg opens cogeneration plant in Germany

Heidelberg's largest printing press site aims to cut energy costs 10 percent and lower its annual CO2 emissions by 3,700 metric tons.


October 22, 2012
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG has officially opened a cogeneration plant at its Wiesloch-Walldorf printing press site in Germany. The plant is a small building located outside the main Heidelberfacility, but in this case, size is everything.

A cogeneration plant uses ‘waste’ heat and power generation to provide electrical energy and heat elsewhere in the plant providing on-site power generation, which saves money and relieves pressure on public power grids. For this plant, the energy savings will be around 10  percent.

With 36 production halls and office buildings occupying some 860,000-square-meters (~9.3-million-square-feet) of land, Heidelberg’s largest printing press factory in Wiesloch-Walldorf requires around 60 gigawatt-hours of power each year.

To optimize energy and resource efficiency at the facility, it was designed as a cogeneration plant developing an electric power output of two megawatts that will generate 12 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year by burning natural gas for its electrical requirements. It is expected that this will reduce the amount of CO2 (Carbon dioxide) released into the atmosphere by 3,700 metric tons (~18,000 pounds) a year.

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, such as heating the halls, for manufacturing processes, and for hot water in the sanitary facilities.

The plant represents an investment of some €2.4 million (CDN $3.1 million) and will provide a ROI (return on investment) in just two years.

“Ideally, we would like to avoid resource consumption and the associated CO2 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,” explains Heidelberg management board member Stephan Plenz, whose area of responsibility includes sustainability, noting that the waste recycling rate at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site is currently 99.2 percent.

Wiesloch-Walldorf opened in 1957 and currently has approximately 4,700 employees mainly involved in the manufacture of small mechanical components and electronics, and assembling presses, plate setters 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 site to manufacture and assemble precision components and sub-assemblies for customers outside the print media industry.

Additional company information can be found at www.heidelberg.com.