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  • Dear Readers!

    At the beginning of December, delegates from 195 UN member states and the EU travelled to Paris to try and find a compromise to curb global warming – a compromise which all countries should then honour. Their primary goal has been to find a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol which ends in 2020. They had not reached the end of their deliberations when this magazine went to print but one thing has become very clear: the significance of the recycling industry as a means to preventing climate change continues to be underestimated. And yet there are so many excellent examples that demonstrate how sending waste for materials recycling not only protects our environment and conserves our dwindling supplies of natural resources but also helps to curb global warming. REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant in Lünen reduces emissions of CO2 equivalents by almost half a million tonnes every year by recycling waste and producing regenerative energy. And this is just one plant in REMONDIS’ network of approx. 500 facilities. If the whole world were to use the full potential of the raw materials and energy hidden in waste, then recycling would put an end to global warming. Logically, Klima Expo.NRW has accepted three more of REMONDIS’ areas of expertise onto its list of qualified projects following the nomination of its biogas plant in Coesfeld at the beginning of the year. These and other recycling plants and projects will help to spread the message that recycling has a long list of advantages and is one of the best ways to counteract climate change.  

    Recycled paper is one of these raw materials that can help curb global warming: it can be used as a substitute for paper made from virgin fibres and so help reduce the need to fell our trees. The following figures clearly demonstrate that sustainable forest management is not at the top of every country’s list. We are currently losing around 13 million hectares or 130,000km² of forest every single year. That is the equivalent to a forest the size of England being cut down every year. Forests are an effective way of preventing climate change as each and every tree absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. Paper recycling helps protect our forests and probably has the biggest impact on the carbon footprint of our informed society which still turns to paper formats as their main source of information despite the presence of the Internet. REMONDIS provides the paper industry with huge supplies of high quality recycled paper, helping the sector to become more sustainable.

    Sustainability, however, starts before recycling is actually needed. The European Waste Framework Directive puts re-use in second place after waste prevention and ahead of materials recycling. It is, therefore, a logical decision for Daimler, REMONDIS and a number of other partners to set up the world’s largest second use battery storage unit made from used lithium-ion batteries at the Lippe Plant. The batteries, which will come from the growing number of electric cars, still have 90 % of their storage capacity after they can no longer be used in the vehicles – more than enough to help stabilise the grid as more and more electricity is provided by fluctuating regenerative energy sources. After approx.10 years use in this battery storage unit, the batteries can then be sent for efficient materials recycling – perfectly closing the life cycle of this product.

    We would like to thank all our friends, partners and employees for their goodwill and loyalty throughout the past year and wish them a very happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year. 

    Yours

    Max Koettgen

Perfect planning and implementation

  • It truly was a masterly logistical and technological performance. Everything had to be just right – from the water level of the River Elbe, to the strength of the wind at the Lippe Plant when the boiler was replaced via the roof of the power station, 40 metres above the ground. 42 trucks had to be deployed from Munich just to transport the special crane needed for this task. The fact that everything ran so smoothly can, above all, be put down to the meticulous planning work and extensive experience of all those involved.

A 100-tonne challenge

Having been used for 35 years, a section of the heat recovery boiler at REMONDIS’ fluidised-bed combustion plant had to be replaced. To be able to do this, all membrane walls and a total of three heat exchanger bundles were removed and replaced during the scheduled inspection of the plant that took place between 24 September and 12 October 2015. What sounds so simple is, in fact, pretty much like carrying out open-heart surgery on an industrial facility involving weights exceeding 100 tonnes.

The replacement boiler was transported to Lünen via the River Elbe, the Mittelland Canal, the Dortmund-Ems Canal and the Datteln-Hamm Canal.

The transport of the replacement boiler was itself a logistical feat. The first stage of the route was by road when the boiler was transported from the manufacturer’s plant in Hohenthurm to Aken an der Elbe in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It was then taken by ship on the River Elbe, whose water level had to be just right to enable the 100-tonne boiler to be transported. Gradually it made its way along the canals via Magdeburg to Lünen where it was loaded onto a special vehicle. Around two hours were needed to travel the short distance – just 3 kilometres – between the harbour in Lünen and the Lippe Plant.

Length of shutdown period kept to a minimum

A feasibility study had already been carried out beforehand to work out how the special 650-tonne crane could be best set up at the construction site. Once the complicated preliminary planning process had been completed, a concept was then drawn up over the winter months of 2014/15 to establish how exactly the boiler should be removed and replaced. The decision was made to assemble as much of the boiler as possible beforehand rather than assemble it on site as the power plant has such a narrow structure. By doing so, the turnaround period would be much shorter and the power plant would be up and running and able to accept waste from its customers for thermal treatment much faster. Moreover, far less natural gas would be needed. The auxiliary boilers run on natural gas are used to produce process steam as long as the power plant is shut down as it supplies the companies at the Lippe Plant with steam 24/7, 365 days a year.

60 operatives at work every day

One of the striking features of the power plant is its flue gas arch that acts as the afterburner. This first had to be taken down so that the old boiler could be extracted from the plant and replaced with a new preassembled boiler.

Every day, up to 60 operatives carried out their tasks to ensure that the boiler was replaced within just 15 working days. All the connecting pipes first had to be disconnected and then welded back on again after the new boiler was in place. Doosan Babcock Hohenthurm, an old established company from Landsberg near Halle in Saxony-Anhalt, had been given the task of drawing up a concept that ensured as much of the boiler could be pre-assembled as possible and then installed in the plant in as short a time as possible.
 
The cranes began their work on Wednesday, 30 September. The installation of the new boiler was completed just 4 days later at 10pm on the Day of German Unity. With a total of ca. 14,000 metres of piping, several thousand welded joints and weighing approx. 100 tonnes, this boiler truly is the heart of the power plant’s steam production system. Here’s to the next 35 years!

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