Contributions of Saxony-Anhalt to the German energy transformation

Energy efficiency network at chemistry site Bitterfeld-Wolfen helps with the achievement of climate protection targets and saves on costs


“Better is the enemy of good”, as the German saying goes. On the search for improvement, companies at the old-established Central German chemical site of Bitterfeld-Wolfen have joined together, in order to boost energy reserves together with their energy supplier envia THERM GmbH and the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF from Saxony-Anhalt’s state capital Magdeburg: The energy efficiency network has existed for a good year now. It points out, for example, the advantages of energy stores. Simulation calculations have shown that these can already pay off within one year.

Energy efficiency as a contribution to the German energy transformation

The founding of such networks is provided for in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, adopted by the German government in 2014 “We, as envia THERM, decided very swiftly to found an energy efficiency network at our home site in the Bitterfeld-Wolfen Chemical Park. The increase of energy efficiency in all sectors of consumption is a decisive factor for the achievement of climate protection targets and a successful implementation of the energy transformation. We, as an energy supplier, are aware of this task and responsibility and want to actively push forward the transformation and help to shape it”, explains Sebastian Seidel, account manager at envia THERM GmbH and responsible for the coordination of the network’s activities.

Admittedly, interest from the companies was non-committal at first, and some persuasion was necessary. “They all already have their energy management systems”, says Dr. Matthias Gohla. He is the responsible project manager at the Fraunhofer Institute in Magdeburg. With Fraunhofer IFF, envia THERM has found a technically expert and reliable partner which, with its application-oriented scientific work, can tap efficiency reserves for which the network members simply lack the resources. “Of course, the companies concentrate on their core business”, emphasises Dr. Gohla. Matthias Gohlas’ core business is energy technology. The network’s members have long since tapped reserves such as the simple replacement of lighting. To find out where in the production processes the same result can be achieved with less energy, or – even better – more output can be produced with the same energy consumption, it is necessary to take a closer look and make more sophisticated changes. And frequently also to make major investments.

Despite the variety of processes at the network participants Akzo Nobel Industrial Chemicals GmbH, Allnex Resins Germany GmbH, Bayer Bitterfeld GmbH, EVIP GmbH, Heraeus Quarzglas GmbH & Co. KG, Island Polymer Industries GmbH, ORGANICA Feinchemie GmbH Wolfen, Trevira GmbH in Guben and envia THERM itself, the “tool kit” of Fraunhofer IFF is applied to all of them in the same way: analysis.

The survey includes, in particular, assessment of the technical building equipment, energy supply to the manufacturing processes and production organisation. Starting points exist at all members. “This way appropriate technological focuses can be identified for the network activities and running times, e.g. industrial heat recovery”, explains Sebastian Seidel.

Innovative industrial cluster

Sometimes general analysis and a concrete need for change come together. “A network member needs more capacity for the disposal of its waste products. Preferably with burning even more gas and thus producing CO2”, reports Dr. Matthias Gohla of one assignment. “Thanks to digital engineering and our simulation tools, we were able to calculate which incinerators are most suitable, and what changes are necessary.”

Simulation calculations also helped another network member to overcome his scepticism towards energy stores. They are helping him to cap expensive consumption peaks, explains Matthias Gohla. Due to this, the procurement costs have been offset in even less than one year.

In parallel with the implementation of individual efficiency measures, the network aims for the permanent optimisation of existing supply and production processes in the companies. As well as the reduction of energy usage costs, options for generating additional income are also pointed out to the network’s members in a targeted way. “The use of flexible industrial production plants for grid stabilisation is becoming increasingly important in the context of the energy transformation. This is another area in which the companies can benefit from the enviaM Group’s many years of experience in the field of marketing flexible and fixed power output”, says Matthias Kunath, Managing Director of envia THERM GmbH. Interlinking these processes, with cross-energy-source logging and forecasting of consumers and generators in the framework of a management system in real time, and controlling them to optimise costs is one of the solution approaches pursued by the Fraunhofer IFF together with envia THERM.

Ultimately, everyone benefits from a strengthening of the Bitterfeld-Wolfen site through the exchange of knowledge. Using energy rationally and increasing the related productivity in the companies strengthens the creation of value at business locations, such as here in the chemistry park, and makes a decisive contribution towards a high-performing and innovative industrial cluster that is fit for the future.

author: Renate Wähnelt


From 3 to 9 September 2017, in Singapore, Germany Trade & Invest will be informing readers about the cluster SMAB (Sondermaschinen und Anlagenbau / Special-Purpose Machine and Plant Engineering) from the Eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt.

At an investor event together with the Investment and Marketing Company Saxony-Anhalt, companies and research institutions will be pointing out the special opportunities that Singaporean companies will find if they settle in Saxony-Anhalt. The region is regarded as the source of top engineering work, including, for example, solutions for energy-efficient industrial production.

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