Oilfield & Energies

Solvay to phase out coal for energy use in Rheinberg soda ash plant

Solvay is announcing plans to completely phase out the use of thermal coal at its soda ash plant in Rheinberg, Germany.

After commissioning a first biomass boiler, which will go into operation in May 2021, Solvay is unveiling plans to build a second biomass boiler, which will complete the thermal coal phase-out by 2025 and make Rheinberg the first soda ash plant in the world to be powered primarily by renewable energy. Both biomass boilers use scrap waste wood chips – a mixture of used wood, from industrial residues and demolition – as fuel to produce steam and electricity.

“Solvay is a market leader in soda ash and sodium bicarbonate and with these investments, we will ensure that Rheinberg is producing sustainably and competitively to benefit our customers in the long term and instill pride among our employees,” explains Philippe Kehren, President of Solvay Soda Ash & Derivatives.

These projects will reduce CO2 emissions at the Rheinberg soda ash plant by 65% relative to 2018. Further, the investment will set a new sustainability reference: greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted in Rheinberg will reach levels below plants producing natural trona soda ash.

“This is the first plant to exit coal since we launched our Solvay One Planet roadmap, and the first in our history to switch to biomass. I’m proud that it will establish a new reference as the lowest emitting soda ash plant in the world,”explains Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri. “We are walking the talk and delivering on our commitment to eliminate coal energy wherever possible by 2030. The project will structurally reduce Solvay’s greenhouse gas emissions by 4%, bringing us closer to achieving our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26% by 2030. This is good for the planet and for our long term competitiveness.”