Zellstoff Pöls AG: Climate Protection Award 2014 for the project “Bioenergy Aichfeld”

The waste heat generated from the pulp production of Zellstoff Pöls AG for the past 3 years has provided a sustainable, environmentally friendly and regional heat supply for more than 15,000 households in the greater Aichfeld region.On 4th November the project “Bioenergy Aichfeld” (district heating) was awarded the 2014 Austrian Climate Protection Award at the Siemens City in Vienna.
The Austrian Climate Protection Award is awarded by ORF (Austrian TV channel) and the Ministry for a Liveable Austria. In total 255 projects were submitted in 2014, of which only four were able to convince both the jury and the audience. The project "Bioenergy Aichfeld" won the award in in the category "companies".

Sensible use of waste heat

The Zellstoff Pöls AG annually processes approximately 2 million cubic meters of thinning wood and sawn timber into both pulp and paper. Together with the know-how partner "bioenergy - heat services” from Koeflach, an expert for district heating and waste heat recovery systems, a joint venture was formed. The objective was to use the waste heat sensibly, in combination with an existing biomass heating plant and a storage solution with large-district-pressure reservoirs. The result was allowing a sustainable, environmentally friendly and regional heat supply for more than 15,000 households in the greater Aichfeld area. For this purpose the joint venture partners invested € 18 million and laid over 18 km of piping for the district heating project.

Utilize wood to recover material

Federal Minister Andrä Ruprechter and ORF General Director Alexander Wrabetz presented the award to Kurt Maier, CEO of Zellstoff Pöls AG and the two Managing Directors of bioenergy Aichfeld, Manfred Peischler and Jakob Edler. "I am proud of our project, that has reduced our CO2 – emissions by around 32,000 tonnes," said Maier. "The advantage over conventional biomass combustion is that in pulp production, the wood is recycled first, and then the energy recovery takes place with very high efficiency. This enables us to take advantage of the wood value chain optimum". The two Managing Directors of the joint venture, Manfred Peischler and Jakob Edler, emphasized the excellent cooperation with the project partners: "Through our joint know-how we have managed a project with a role-model effect, that can be for implemented in other regions."
The “District Heating” project has enabled an annual saving of 60,000 fm wood and 2 million cubic meters of gas, that otherwise would have been imported.
This project has made a significant contribution towards increased quality of life in Aichfeld.