Municipalities and Commercial Enterprises Save with Wood Pellets
More and more schools, hospitals, sports halls and commercial enterprises are using pellets for heating. Depending on the size of the system, operators are saving several thousands of euros in fuel costs each year. The 11th Pellets Industry Forum and Interpellets 2011 provide information to local authorities and commercial enterprises wanting to switch to pellets heating systems.
From May, municipalities in Germany are obliged to cover part of their heating and cooling demands with renewable energy in both new public buildings as well as existing ones that are subject to major renovation work because they are expected to set an example for developing renewable energy. This is according to the amendment of the German Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEWärmeG) that came into force on May 1, 2011. "According to scientific research, 2,470 public buildings each year will have to invest in renewable energy to fulfill their exemplary role. The provisions affect around 190,000 public buildings in total," says Martin Eggstein, head of the environment policy, sustainability and climate protection department at the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg.
Many German municipalities and commercial enterprises already invested in renewable energy some time ago by installing a pellets heating system. This trend is on the up because as well as wanting to help the environment and lower their CO2 emissions, pellets plant operators can also make huge saving on fuel costs. The German Pellet Institute (DEPI) in Berlin calculated that a school with an annual energy demand of 200 megawatt hours (MWh) can for example save up to 7,000 euros on heating costs by using wood pellets as opposed to oil. For a commercial enterprise with an energy demand of 2.2 gigawatt hours (GWh) this figure rises to an amazing 58,000 euros per year. "A pellets heating system combines effective climate protection with cost savings and is therefore worthwhile on two counts. We expect a further increase in demand particular from energy-intensive industries," explains Martin Bentele, CEO of the German Wood Fuel and Pellet Association (DEPV) in Berlin. The pharmaceutical firm Pfizer is a shining example for companies in the energy-intensive sector. It began operating a 3.8 megawatt (MW) plant in Freiburg less than two years ago and can now save up to 650,000 euros in heating costs each year.
In any event, large pellet plants exhibit greater economies of scale in investment costs than small pellets boilers. Typical investment costs per installed kilowatt of nominal thermal power significantly decline as the pellets heating system increases in size. Large pellets heating systems therefore pay for themselves faster than smaller systems. Energy service contractors have also recognized how cost effective these systems are and now rank among the top consumers of large pellets boilers alongside municipalities. By using contractors, poorer municipalities do not have to come up with the large amount of money needed for the initial investment. The contractor installs and operates the pellets heating system and the municipalities pay for the heating provided.
Regardless of who installs a plant, however, it is essential to consider professional planning in terms of the required boiler output and storage size, for example. Interpellets 2011 provides support in this area for visitors from municipalities, commercial enterprises, building services planners and experts from the plumbing and HVAC sectors. The exhibition taking place from October 5–7 in Stuttgart is for the first time hosting a "Biomass Heating Advisory Forum" to offer independent, neutral and free advice on actual projects. This advice can relate to design enquiries, problems arising from planned projects or general information on high-output biomass heating systems. If you are interested, you can book a consultation session in advance with a qualified planer or energy consultant. Throughout the exhibition, there will be many experienced experts and professionals from the field of biomass energy on hand for individual appointments. Each consultation session lasts around an hour and appointments can be made online from the end of August at www.interpellets.de.
On Wednesday, October 5, the 11th Pellets Industry Forum is offering a series of presentations on commercial and municipal use of pellets that deal for example with storage room safety and the use of pellets to generate electricity and steam. You can download the entire program at www.pelletsforum.de.