Our Factory in Billund, Denmark, Has Recently Shifted From Natural Gas to District Heating

December 11– 2023.

Our factory in Billund, Denmark, has recently shifted from natural gas to district heating as its heating source, a crucial step to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and emissions. This conversion is critical, getting us considerably closer to our 50% emission reduction goal by 2030.

The building was previously heated using a natural gas-fueled Stoker boiler, which also supplied heat to a soap water tank for our pretreatment and a drying oven in the painting department. With this change, we will almost cease natural gas consumption within our factory, except for one oven line, which will continue running on an independent gas unit.

While the central heating source will be connected to the Billund district heating, an electric cartridge will replace the pretreatment and painting department supply. This change will equally represent an improvement, as we currently purchase and hedge 100% of our electricity consumption with certificates from offshore wind farms.

District heating in Billund has a 93,3% share of renewable energy. The fuel mix is mainly based on incineration of straw (47%) and wood chips (36%), combined with electricity (13%) and natural gas (4%). This shift will bring meaningful environmental benefits, drastically decreasing fossil fuel consumption and replacing it with cleaner energy.

Our 2022 total CO2 emissions were 283.048kg CO2, of which 200.502kg CO2 was generated by natural gas consumption. Around 84% of this (167.946kg CO2) corresponds to building and water heating––the fraction to be replaced by district heating. At a renewable energy share of 93,3%, we estimate an overall 55,3% CO2 reduction, equal to 156.693kg CO2.

On top of reducing emissions, this project will also bring financial gains. Billund District Heating is a non-profit cooperative whose purpose is to deliver a stable and cheap supply to its cooperative members. As a member of district heating, we immediately become a shareholder of the heating plant, which means the organization is not trying to make money from our heating bill; instead, they charge to cover costs and no more.

This project is an excellent example of how environmental gains have a direct return on investment. While shifting to district heating will drastically decrease our dependency on fossil fuels and help us reduce emissions, it will also lower our costs and yield financial gains for our company. Case studies like this demonstrate how environmental improvements often meet economic interests and will encourage companies to transition into a more sustainable and profitable business model.

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