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Huber announces plans for sustainability investment project

The project proposes replacement of its Martinswerk facility lignite power plant with a natural gas-fired co-generation plant to reduce CO2 emissions.
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Photo Credit: Huber Engineered Materials

The Fire Retardant Additives (FRA) division of Huber Engineered Materials (HEM; Atlanta, Ga., U.S.), a portfolio business of J.M. Huber Corporation (Huber; Edison, N.J., U.S.), announced on Sept. 21 that it is preparing a plan for a major sustainability project and substantial investment in a new power plant at its Martinswerk facility in Bergheim, Germany.

The project, says Huber, consists of a proposed replacement of the current lignite power plant with a natural gas-fired co-generation power plant to produce 100% of the required steam (thermal energy) and electricity demand for the production site. According to the company, doing so should result in significant sustainability benefits, including a 40% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a 100% reduction of ash by-products and the elimination of daily lignite truck traffic to the site, which will also decrease traffic and emissions throughout the local community.

Huber notes that the current lignite power plant was built in the 1950s and still reliably products the required steam and electricity for the Bergheim site. Because Germany is phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2038, it is no longer economically viable to make significant investments in the current lignite power plant required to support its long-term operation.

According to Huber the next step would be to collaborate with the Works Council to develop a common strategy for the 32 employees working in the current power plant. The projected start-up of the new power plant is planned to be in 2023.

“This proposed substantial investment would further the company’s commitment to its corporate sustainability goals, including the reduction of CO2 emissions for the entire Huber enterprise by approximately 11% and is aligned with our strategy to strengthen our global halogen-free fire retardant and specialty aluminas business,” says Victor Dean, senior vice president and general manager of FRA.