German power plant turns garbage into electricity and steam

By Peter Garforth, contributing editor

A new waste-to-energy power plant – the largest of its kind in Germany – will generate clean heat and power for one of the biggest chemical and pharmaceutical parks in Europe. Infraserv Höchst, near Frankfurt-am-Main, is one of Europe’s largest industrial parks for the chemical, pharmaceutical and process industries. Scheduled for completion in 2009, the new waste-to-energy power plant at the park will cost more than $400 million and be the biggest single investment in the site’s 140-year history. It will help Infraserv Höchst supply clean power and heat at competitive prices to the 90 companies employing 22,000 in production and R&D facilities at the site.

The plant will produce 70 megawatts of electric power and 250,000 metric tons of steam by incinerating 675,000 metric tons of pre-sorted waste a year, at a relatively high fuel-efficiency level of 90%. Screened and sorted waste is fed into a circulating fluidized bed of red-hot quartz sand to produce an intense heat exchange from which power and steam are generated. It’s one of the largest fluidized bed installations in the world.

Among the many chemical and life science companies with production and R&D facilities at the park are BASF, Bayer, Cargill, Merck and Pfizer. Power and automation supplier ABB was selected by Ebara Corp. of Japan to deliver a complete, totally integrated solution.

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