Asnæs Power Station can now supply green district heating to Kalundborg and green process heat to Novo Nordisk and Novozymes. His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Denmark inaugurated the new wood chip-fired power unit, marking the phase out of coal at the same time.

Following more than three years’ intensive work on the conversion, Asnæs Power Station was ready to be inaugurated by HRH The Crown Prince on Friday. The power station can now supply heat and power without using fossil fuels, instead using sustainable wood chips.

“The Crown Prince’s visit marks the completion of an extensive conversion process. Asnæs Power Station has been given a new and greener life, which will benefit Kalundborg residents and businesses and contribute to Denmark’s green transformation,” says Morten Buchgreitz, Executive Vice President and CEO of Markets & Bioenergy in Ørsted.

A joint agreement in 2017 ensured that Asnæs Power Station can now supply green energy to Novo Nordisk, Novozymes, and district heating customers in Kalundborg.

“I’m very pleased that we’ve now commissioned Asnæs Power Station’s new wood chip-fired unit. The future belongs to sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, and biomass. Therefore, we’ll be phasing out coal at all our power stations by 2023, and the decision about Asnæs Power Station, which was made together with our customers, is an important step on the way,” says Morten Buchgreitz.

The 20-year steam and district heating contract involved the construction of a new wood chip-fired plant, which is connected to the power station’s existing installations and systems. This will enable Asnæs Power Station to supply steam, district heating, and power produced using sustainable wood chips. Consequently, Kalundborg is retaining the advantages of the symbiosis between power station production, steam supply, and district heating.

“To Kalundborg Forsyning, it’s important that we contribute to the development of Kalundborg as a sustainable and green industrial municipality. The collaboration in the Kalundborg Symbiosis plays a major role. In future, it’s absolutely crucial that the district heating in Kalundborg is based on sustainable energy, and that we can continuously provide a stable heat supply at a competitive price,” says Hans-Martin Friis Møller, CEO of Kalundborg Forsyning.

800,000 tonnes reduction in carbon emissions
The conversion from coal to wood chips at Asnæs Power Station will result in an annual reduction in carbon emissions of around 800,000 tonnes. This corresponds to the annual carbon emissions from more than 400,000 cars and thus contributes significantly to Denmark’s green conversion.

The conversion also marks a significant change in Novo Nordisk’s largest production unit in Kalundborg.

“Today’s inauguration marks an important milestone for Novo Nordisk, as we now only have sustainable energy sources at our production facility in Kalundborg. This applies to both power, heat, and steam. Novo Nordisk has set a target of zero carbon emissions from our global operations and transportation by 2030 at the latest. This target is part of an ambitious environmental strategy, ‘Circular for Zero’, which is to make Novo Nordisk a company with zero environmental impact. Among other things, the strategy entails that Novo Nordisk will continue to reduce its environmental footprint from its production. The conversion of Asnæs Power Station where coal is substituted with sustainable biomass will contribute to this goal,” says Henrik Wulff, Executive Vice President of Product Supply, Quality & IT at Novo Nordisk.

In addition to Denmark, Novozymes also has production in e.g. the US, China, and Brazil, and the company’s biological solutions helped its customers achieve a reduction in carbon emissions amounting to 87 million tonnes in 2019. This is the equivalent of removing approx 36 million cars from the roads. Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President of Research, Innovation & Supply at Novozymes, says:

“It’s a great day for Kalundborg and for Denmark as a whole. With one joint project, we’ve decommissioned a large coal-fired power station, phased out fossil fuels, and established a power station fuelled by biomass instead. For many years, Novozymes has invested heavily in reducing the environmental impact from our production. Among other things, we get power from wind turbines, and we’ve established a biogas production using our waste water. With the conversion of Asnæs Power Station completed, all our power, heat, and steam for our large production in Kalundborg comes from renewable sources.”

The wood chips for Asnæs Power Station will primarily come from by-products, such as branches, twigs, and thinning wood, and all suppliers must ensure that the wood chips come from sustainable forestry where the forests are replanted, and biodiversity is protected.