Oilfield & Energies

Solvay and Veolia launch energy transition project "Dombasle Énergie"

Solvay and Veolia are launching the construction of an industrial energy transition project, “Dombasle Énergie”, which aims to replace coal with refuse-derived fuel (RDF) for the production of clean and competitive energy for the historical Dombasle-sur-Meurthe plant. The project will ensure the plant’s competitiveness and reduce CO2 emissions by 50%.

The project consists of replacing three coal-fired boilers with a boiler room equipped with two furnaces running on RDF, produced from waste that cannot be recycled, allowing to halve the carbon footprint of the industrial activity and stop importing 200,000 tons of coal annually. The Dombasle-sur-Meurthe site will have a cogeneration unit that uses 350,000 ton of RDF per year, supplied by Veolia as of 2024.

The new facility, to be built by Solvay and operated by Veolia, will have a capacity of 181 megawatts (MW) thermal power and 17.5 MW electrical power, which will be reused for the industrial process. The project will require an investment of €225 million and is scheduled to come on stream in 2024.

A first in France, Dombasle Énergie will create a circular economy virtuous loop and in particular:

  • Cut the site’s environmental footprint (reduction of current CO2 emissions by approximately 50% or 240,000 tonnes of CO2 per year);
  • Stop the use of fossil fuels by replacing coal imported from abroad with RDF produced in France, primarily from the Grand Est region and neighboring regions;
  • Create a new outlet for waste that was initially non-recyclable and which will be transformed into green energy;
  • Reduce water usage by 7%.

“A pioneer of industrial ecology, Veolia is once again positioning itself as a major partner for the industry players to help them achieve their carbon emission reduction targets”, said Antoine Frérot, chairman and CEO of Veolia. “We are glad to take part in this project with a partner like Solvay and contribute to the decarbonisation of industry as part of the ecological transformation approach.”

“Our sustainable development roadmap, Solvay One Planet, aims in particular at carbon neutrality by 2050. To actively contribute to the emergence of a low-carbon society, we need to transform our plants to put in place sustainable and competitive alternative energies. This requires finding partnerships between private and public actors,” says Ilham Kadri, CEO of Solvay. “We are delighted to partner with Veolia on this project which will enable us to move away from coal in our second soda ash plant, after Rheinberg in Germany.”

“Veolia’s objective is to develop a real industrial sector of the energy recovery of non-recyclable waste materials. Transformed into solid recovered fuels, this waste makes it possible to produce energy and heat to replace fossil resources. Dombasle Énergie aims to replace coal with RDF to supply the Solvay plant with clean energy in a circular economy and industrial decarbonization approach”, explained Anne Le Guennec, general manager – recycling and waste valorization, Veolia France.

“This major project secures the future of our historic site and confirms Solvay’s determination to transform the European soda ash industry, to make it more sustainable and competitive, and better serve our customers in the long term,” stressed Philippe Kehren, president of Solvay Soda Ash & Derivatives. “It is driven by the same momentum as the green energy transition project developed at our Rheinberg, Germany site.”

This conversion of the plant offers a real advantage in the context of volatile fossil fuel prices and the taxes imposed by European regulations on the use of coal. This gain in competitiveness allows the site to be sustained and the employment pool to be preserved with 1,000 direct and indirect jobs.

This project has benefited from the support of the Grand Est region and ADEME.