Denmark's largest power station replaces coal with wood pellets

Avedøre Power Station can now use sustainable wood pellets as fuel instead of coal. This is a major step towards Copenhagen's goal of being CO2-neutral by 2025.

Facts about Avedøre Power Station

  • Avedøre Power Station has two units. Unit 1 now uses wood pellets as fuel, but is still able to use coal. Unit 2 is a multi-fuel plant consisting of a main boiler, which primarily uses wood pellets as fuel, a straw-fired boiler and two gas turbines.

  • Avedøre Power Station unit 1 was built in 1990 and used coal as fuel until recently. The unit is now able to produce electricity and heat using only wood pellets. The unit's capacity using biomass is 254MW electricity and 359MWth heat.

  • Avedøre Power Station unit 2 was built in 2002 and was able to use biomass from the outset. The quantity of biomass has gradually been increased over the years. Today, the unit is able to produce electricity and heat exclusively using wood pellets in the main boiler and straw in the bio boiler. The unit's capacity using biomass is 394MW electricity and 497MWth heat.

  • To ensure we only use sustainable wood pellets, DONG Energy only does business with suppliers who comply with the criteria set out in the Danish industry agreement on sustainable wooden biomass. This means that there is continuous reforestation, and that the biodiversity is protected. 

For the past 18 months, Avedøre Power Station has been converting its coal-fired power station unit, and the entire CHP plant is now able to produce electricity and heat based on wood pellets and straw, rather than coal and gas.

"Following the conversion of unit 1 at Avedøre Power Station, we can produce heat for more than 215,000 Danish households in the Greater Copenhagen area without using coal or gas. The conversion is a major contribution to achieving a green district heating system in the Greater Copenhagen area as well as a green electricity system, supplementing solar and wind power," says Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President in DONG Energy.

Important step for Danish capital

The conversion – part of a heat agreement between the Danish energy companies 'Vestegnens Kraftvarmeselskab' (VEKS) and DONG Energy – aims to provide green district heating to VEKS' customers in the Greater Copenhagen area. The change from coal to sustainable wood pellets also contributes significantly to the city's climate targets. Avedøre Power Station expects to reduce its CO2 emissions by about 500,000 tonnes CO2 per year, equivalent to the annual emissions from 255,000 cars.

"Choosing the right levers to curb the ongoing CO2 emissions and thereby global warming is a complex task. However, using biomass at Avedøre Power Station's two units is a huge step towards achieving VEKS' goal of supplying fossil fuel-free district heating in 2025. We’ve made a difference," says Steen Christiansen, Chairman of VEKS.

Coal consumption plummeting

DONG Energy has reduced its coal consumption by 74 per cent since 2006 by using more wind and biomass, and the trend is continuing. Studstrup Power Station, near Aarhus, made the transition from coal in October, and now it's Avedøre Power Station's turn.

"We’re reducing our annual coal consumption at Avedøre Power Station by around 160,000 tonnes. This is very good for the climate and in line with the conversion of our power stations, which has been ongoing for several years," says Thomas Dalsgaard. 

Avedøre Power Station is expected to produce district heating based on biomass to approx 215,000 Danish homes in Copenhagen as well as electricity corresponding to the annual consumption of more than 600,000 Danish households annually.

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