Evonik is making energy supply at its German sites significantly less dependent on natural gas. Substitution with alternative energy sources can replace up to 40 percent of Germany's natural gas supply - without significantly curtailing chemical production. In addition to safeguarding its own production, Evonik is thus making a contribution to save natural gas in Germany: The volume of gas being substituted is equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 100,000 households.
The most significant measure is being implemented at Evonik's largest German site in Marl. In the new gas-fired power plant, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will be used instead of natural gas to generate energy. This does not only secure the energy supply and thus continuation of production in Marl. The natural gas volumes released are available to replenish Germany’s natural gas storage facilities. Evonik is being supported in this by bp. The energy company is making an important contribution to the supply of LPG at the Marl site.
The coal-fired power plant in Marl is also making a contribution to securing energy supply. Evonik had originally planned to shut down this power plant this year. Following the change in the legal framework, Evonik will now recruit the necessary personnel, invest in technical maintenance, and secure coal supplies to ensure continued operation beyond this year.
"By substituting natural gas with LPG and continuing to operate the coal-fired power plant, we can completely dispense with natural gas for energy supply at our largest German site in Marl - without any significant curtailments in production," says Christian Kullmann, chairman of Evonik’s executive board. "The energy supply at our European sites is thus largely secured, even in the event of a Russian gas stop."
Evonik procures a total of around 15 terawatt hours (TWh) of natural gas per year worldwide, most of which is used for power and steam generation. Germany accounts for a good third of this. Energy supplies to Evonik sites outside Germany, for example, in Antwerp (Belgium), are largely independent of gas supplies from Russia. In Germany, on the other hand, a loss of Russian gas supplies would seriously jeopardize chemical production.
This risk is now being significantly reduced. LPG is a liquefied gas mainly comprising butane, unlike natural gas or LNG, which mainly comprises methane. LPG is a by-product of Evonik’s production network for C4 derivatives (Performance Intermediates) in Marl. It can also be procured on the market. Through the integrated network with the bp refinery in Gelsenkirchen (Germany), Evonik and bp can use their existing production, logistics and infrastructure to ensure an adequate supply of LPG in Marl. “Saving gas is an important and pressing issue for us all in Germany in the present situation. Therefore, we are happy to support Evonik through collaboration between the bp location in Gelsenkirchen and Evonik’s site in Marl in order to realize the planned substitution of natural gas by LPG,” says Wolfgang Langhoff, chairman of the board of BP Europa SE.
The flexibility of being able to use both natural gas and LPG in Evonik’s new gas-fired power plant is now proving an advantage as well. The use of LPG is currently being successfully tested in close cooperation with the builder, Siemens Energy.
Evonik has also identified measures for the substitution of natural gas at its other German sites, such as Steinau, Essen, Krefeld, Lülsdorf and Wesseling. Here, natural gas is to be partially replaced by fuel oil. Corresponding investments have already been initiated.