Generating bioenergy in a rural setting: Minister of Economic Affairs Sven Schulze recognizes the IGPA Altmark Industrial and Commercial Park as the 13th Center of Excellence in Saxony-Anhalt

Saxony-Anhalt has a new Center of Excellence.

Sven Schulze, Minister of Economic Affairs, Tourism, Agriculture and Forestry in Saxony-Anhalt announced that the IGPA Altmark Industrial and Commercial Park in Arneburg (in the Stendal district) was the 13th Center of Excellence in Saxony-Anhalt. “Over recent months, the businesses and other players at the site have put a great deal of hard work into meeting the criteria to become a Center of Excellence and have genuinely earned the award of the seal of quality,” said the minister. Until now the northern part of the map showing the Centers of Excellence in Saxony-Anhalt has been empty. This has now changed with the announcement that the IGPA is to become the 13th Center of Excellence. “Mercer Stendal, with its state-of-the-art pulp mill, is one of the site’s global players and also an integral part of the local green energy system. Mercer Stendal generates bioenergy from solid biomass. The source of the energy is biogenic carbon in the wood, which cannot be used to produce bioproducts. This means that the company supplies the electricity and the heating needed for its energy-intensive production process itself,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Sven Schulze to the audience of company representatives. He highlighted the future potential of the site.

“For 33 years, I have been involved with the development of the IGPA. I believe that the recognition of the site as a Center of Excellence is an important step towards the growth of this business center in the north of our region,” said Lothar Riedinger, Mayor of Arneburg.  “I am proud of what has been achieved here and of the constant growth of the site. We are demonstrating on a daily basis that innovation and tradition can work together,” said René Schernikau, Mayor of the group of municipalities.

District Administrator Patrick Puhlmann expressed his gratitude for the recognition of the work that had taken place in the Stendal district: “The award of Center of Excellence status is the result of many people’s work over recent decades. The fact that Sven Schulze came to Arneburg in person to make the announcement is a positive sign from the regional government. This gives us the opportunity to work even more closely together with the Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt, the municipalities, the district authority and Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences,” he said.

“I am certain that our marketing campaign for the location has helped to attract the attention of German and global companies to the IGPA Altmark Industrial and Commercial Park. This Center of Excellence is in a particularly strong position with regard to the energy solutions of the future. Renewable energies and climate neutrality are key advantages for the location against the background of global competition,” said Dr. Robert Franke, Managing Director of the Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt (IMG).

The agenda for the day included a tour of the site with a particular focus on the work of the companies already based there and on the large areas still available for development. A visit to the plant of Arneburger Maschinen- und Stahlbau Group, a medium-sized company, demonstrated the expertise of businesses based at the IGPA. What is now the AMS Arneburger Maschinen und Stahlbau GmbH was formed in 1996 by several of the partners in AIG Altmark Industrie AG. The company began with around 20 employees who worked in the former workshop of the abandoned, unfinished nuclear power plant. It now employs more than 150 people and is one of the largest businesses and apprenticeship employers in the area. The production facilities in Arneburg cover an area of 18,000 square meters. The company has an extensive range of technical equipment and a highly qualified workforce. In addition, the plant can produce components weighing up to 50 metric tons, with plans to increase this to 100 metric tons in the future.


The IGPA Altmark Industrial and Commercial Park is 740 hectares in size. From the 1970s onwards, the largest nuclear power plant in the German Democratic Republic with an output of 4,000 megawatts was built at the site, which is around 15 kilometers north of the town of Stendal on the western bank of the River Elbe. However, the power station was never connected to the grid. In 2004, Zellstoff Stendal GmbH (now Mercer Stendal GmbH) constructed one of the world’s most modern pulp mills on the site. It now produces up to 740,000 metric tons of pulp per year. Mercer also operates the largest biomass power plant in Germany on the Arneburg site, together with a modern extraction facility for turpentine and tall oil. In the fall of 2006, Delipapier GmbH, a subsidiary of the Italian paper company Sofidel, moved to the location and started production of tissue paper. In addition, in 2012 Weltec began constructing a biomethane refinery (a biogas plant with biogas processing), which has been feeding around 700 cubic meters of processed biomethane per hour into the gas network since May 2013. The 25 companies at the site employ around 1,200 people.

Facts and figures

  • Total area of 740 hectares
  • 156 hectares available for development, with 116 hectares of this not yet built on
  • Around 39,000 square meters of production and warehouse buildings
  • Offices covering an area of around 5,800 square meters
  • 25 companies
  • A total of 1,200 people working at the site.

You can find more information here.