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The waste incineration plant, Müllverbrennung Kiel GmbH & Co. KG, had a cause for celebration in October. It was presented with the ‘Umweltpreis der Wirtschaft’ (an environmental business award) by StFG, an association promoting education, business and culture in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. This highly coveted award was handed over to the company during a ceremony held in Kiel Castle on 10 October.
This year’s environmental prize was awarded to Müllverbrennung Kiel GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between the City of Kiel and REMONDIS GmbH und Co. KG, in recognition of the safe and environmentally sound processes it uses to dispose of around 140,000 tonnes of household and commercial waste each year and of the reliable services it provides the approx. 500,000 local inhabitants. Presented for the very first time in 1984, this award reflects just how important the subject of environmental protection is for companies located in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. “MVK’s focus is always on finding effective and innovative ways to protect the environment,” explained Dr Frank Ehlers, managing director of MVK. Uli Wachholz, chairman of StFG (Studien- und Fördergesellschaft der Schleswig-holsteinischen Wirtschaft) handed over the bronze plaque, designed and made by Georg Engst, and the certificate during the awards ceremony at Kiel Castle.
The energy generated by the waste incineration processes covers 20% of the district heat needed in Kiel and supplies electricity to around 10,000 households
MVK uses residual waste to produce valuable reusable materials such as IBA, metals, gypsum and acids as well as to generate district heat and electricity – and achieves extremely high energy efficiency levels (72%). The waste incineration plant in Kiel is, therefore, one of the waste-to-energy plants in Germany with the lowest emission levels. “Indeed, 50% of MVK is effectively a biomass-fired plant,” commented Dr Frank Ehlers. All this means that MVK is making an important contribution towards helping Kiel reach its environmental targets: the energy generated by the waste incineration processes covers 20% of the district heat needed in Kiel and supplies electricity to around 10,000 households – with more than half of this being carbon-neutral.
“We have succeeded in achieving MVK’s comparatively high energy efficiency levels by continuously developing and improving the plant,” the managing director of MVK continued. The company has invested around 2 million euros in new technology over the last few years. Since it was commissioned, gas consumption has been reduced by 8,500 MWh/year, the equivalent of the annual amount of heat required by 500 households. “We have, therefore, substituted natural gas, a fossil fuel, with energy from residual materials. This is clearly helping to improve the city’s carbon footprint,” commented Dr Frank Ehlers.
Presented with the environmental business prize for the state of Schleswig-Holstein: MVK Managing Director, Dr Frank Ehlers (centre), accepting the prize together with Wolfgang Steen (REMONDIS Nord), Lord Mayor of Kiel Dr Ulf Kämpfer, Sabine Schirdewahn, Plant Manager of Eigenbetrieb-Beteiligungen (owned by the City of Kiel), and Rüdiger Karschau, Chairman of MVK’s Supervisory Board
Both household and commercial waste contain substances that may pose a risk to the environment. The furnace is, therefore, operated at a very high temperature to ensure all pollutants are destroyed. The six-step flue gas cleaning system then removes any remaining environmentally hazardous substances. “MVK helps reduce the volumes of contaminants, removing organic pollutants and heavy metals,” Dr Ehlers stressed, pointing out a further important aspect of how the thermal treatment of waste can actively help to curb global warming. If the waste in Kiel were to be sent to landfill, as was the case in the past, then the materials would generate methane, a greenhouse gas that has a huge impact on our climate. This can be avoided by thermally treating waste. The by-products from this treatment can also be reused in a variety of ways – IBA for building roads, metals for recycling, gypsum for the construction industry and filter dust for back-filling mines – ensuring that the household and commercial waste generated in and around Kiel is recycled to protect the environment.
In its latest video, MV Kiel presents both its business and its award-winning measures to protect the environment (German only)