Energy transition: Waste wood as a concept for coal phase-out

Reduce CO2 – burn waste wood instead of coal! Our concept study shows how the Bremen-Farge coal-fired power plant in northern Germany can switch to waste wood combustion as early as 2024.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is considered the main cause of climate change. Tractebel is therefore looking for solutions to reduce greenhouse gas. To that end, the coal-fired power plant in Bremen’s Farge district is taking an innovative approach: waste wood is to replace emissions-intensive hard coal as a fuel. By switching to waste wood firing, the operator, ONYX Kraftwerk Farge GmbH & Co. KGaA (formerly ENGIE Kraftwerk Farge GmbH & Co. KGaA), aims to secure the site and jobs. 

Coal-fired power plant finds ways to switch to waste wood

In spring 2020, the Farge power plant commissioned Tractebel to conduct a feasibility study. The experts’ task included investigating whether and how the switch from hard coal as a fossil fuel to waste wood can succeed. Experts from Plant Engineering GmbH supplemented the team in matters of waste wood processing.

Together, the engineers analyzed the fuel concept developed in a preliminary study with regards to its feasibility. They worked out various alternatives and determined the expected efficiency. They also determined the anticipated conversion costs and assisted the operator in coordinating other contractors at the power plant as part of the potential retrofit. In January 2021, they completed the project to the client’s satisfaction.
The coal-fired power plant in the Farge district of Bremen aims to take an innovative approach to reducing CO2. Image: ONYX Farge power plant 

“There is a lot to be said for switching to sustainable fuels. Waste wood in particular, which includes discarded pallets, formwork and plywood, is interesting as an energy source because it has a high biogenic content with relatively low fuel moisture,” says Holger Hasselbach, Tractebel thermal power plant expert and leader of the team that prepared the feasibility study.

The next step is approval planning – a task that the team would also like to take on. “We are happy to support power plant operators in phasing out coal and making our contribution to the energy transition,” says Hasselbach, explaining the company’s commitment.