Sustainable fuel choices lead to 31% smaller carbon footprint

Adven has systematically lowered the emissions of its plants since 2012. What is the secret behind its success, and what is in store for the future?

Climate change is a real and global issue. General concern about global warming affects all industries and continues to grow as awareness of the matter increases.

Adven has succeeded in systematically lowering the emissions of its plants since 2012. Carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 were 31% smaller in relation to energy sold (MWh) compared to the baseline situation in 2012.

Emissions volumes are tracked according to energy sold (MWh), since the plant base changes and the volume of energy produced varies annually. This means that despite annual changes in production, the figures are comparable.

Biofuels for plants and geoenergy for large properties

Continuous improvements in fuel efficiency are important, but fuel choices can also lead to major steps forward.

The substantial emissions cuts achieved by Adven between 2012 and 2016 were realised by converting plants from fossil fuels to biofuels, and by offering geoenergy and hybrid solutions for suitable sites.

Adven’s fuel conversions are naturally carried out according to the plants’ technical requirements and contractual terms.

“All new investments and changes made to plants are always geared towards switching to lower-emission fuels. The carbon footprint is continuously shrinking as we move away from oil and replace fossil fuels with wood-based fuels,” says Adven’s environmental expert, Katja Baumgartner.

Adven’s new plants are now designed right from the start to be energy efficient.

“Adven’s concept designers have a range of means for improving energy efficiency, for example by making use of waste heat flows. New geoenergy solutions for large properties, as well as more traditional flue gas heat recovery, are also actively used to reduce the carbon footprint,” lists Baumgartner.

Competitive advantage from innovative solutions

Concerns about climate change are also affecting political decisions, in the form of legislation and subsidies.

“The legislation is the same for everyone. Competitiveness arises from doing things in a new and innovative way. The framework conditions are unambiguous, but they can be met in a number of ways,” Baumgartner points out.

Few companies offer the kind of services that Adven does, i.e. taking care of the investments required for the entire plant, as well as running the plant.

“We are also responsible for developing the plant, improving energy efficiency, lowering emissions and meeting the regulatory requirements,” Baumgartner adds.

Adven’s experts continuously monitor the latest developments in technologies and solutions. In the end, this expertise and cutting-edge approach work to the customer’s advantage.

“The more controlled the changes are, the greater the resulting benefits will be. Adven has very cost-effective ways of implementing the required changes,” Baumgartner stresses.

Utilising waste-derived fuels calls for new expertise

Efforts to reduce the carbon footprint continue at Adven through proven measures. New ways of improving the energy efficiency of both customers’ processes and Adven’s own plants are also being developed.

“Adven is utilizing waste-derived fuels, and trials have already been launched. Waste or by-products are generated in many of our customers’ processes, and these can potentially be used as fuels,” says Baumgartner.

Waste material is, however, slightly more complicated to use than traditional fuels, which means its introduction requires a new kind of expertise. With Adven’s experts, the right means have been found and the trials look promising.

“In some of our customers’ plant processes, plant origin products were produced as a by-product. If there is no use for it, at Adven’s plant it could be used as a fuel,” says Baumgartner.

As another example, in paper industry the slurry can be produced from wastewater treatment process, which could be used as a fuel in one of Adven’s plants. Thanks to Adven’s special expertise, utilisation of the slurry appears to be a success, and the next trial combustions are planned.

“Forwarding waste streams is costly. In terms of energy efficiency, it’s also better to make use of the energy content of the waste by combusting it instead of disposing of it,” Baumgartner concludes.