n Pécs in Hungary, Veolia operates a biomass cogeneration plant that is fueled by local straw waste. The city’s 150,000 residents keep 100% “green” warm!
Comfort for the people of Pécs hasn’t been a question of grasping at straws since 2013 – Hungary’s 5th largest city has a biomass cogeneration plant that produces the majority of its heat and is fueled, among other things, by straw. Operated by Veolia and managed by Pannonpower, this biomass production plant has two units. The first has a capacity of 35 MW, using straw, corn and sunflower waste from surrounding farms. The second unit uses wood chips. In this agricultural region, cereal crop byproducts are thereby recovered and converted into electrical and thermal energy.
From recovered straw to district heating
In Pécs, 31,000 homes and 450 public buildings are heated using 100% renewable and local energy, the fuel for which is collected mostly within 100 km of the city and used within less than 5 days. Transportation and collection of the straw packed in bundles or bales has created 170 permanent jobs. A further 500 seasonal jobs provide supplementary and repeat income for local farmers.
The ash produced from the combustion, makes excellent fertilizer and provides bio-nutrients for the soil. It returns to feed the earth with the potassium, magnesium and phosphorus it contains: nature returning to nature!
Finally, using agricultural by-products to supply the boiler has made it possible to reduce the gas consumption necessary for the operation of the plant to a minimum, thus avoiding the emission of 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The largest straw-based biomass plant in Central Europe
Pécs is the largest biomass site in Central Europe using straw waste. It will help Hungary meet its renewable energy production targets in line with the European Directive. The country has set itself a target of a 14.65% share of renewable energy by 2020. The Pécs plant will provide no less than 6% of the country’s renewable energy.
Hungary is continuing its journey towards renewable energies hand in hand with Veolia, which has just acquired an immense electricity production plant in Szakoly fueled by biomass.