Progroup is expanding its site in Sandersdorf-Brehna to create a zero-waste site. A state-of-the-art waste-to-energy plant is being built right next door to the PM3 paper factory. It will supply the factory with the process heat it requires as well as electricity.
“Our aim is to have zero reliance on fossil fuels and be fully carbon-neutral by 2045,” explains Maximilian Heindl, CEO, Progroup. “The new power plant will take us a significant step closer to achieving this goal.”
The new, state-of-the-art building will thermally utilise waste materials that are produced in the paper factory and from the private and commercial recycling process in the region – and produce enough energy to cater for the needs of around 50,000 family homes. The power plant will thus provide all the steam that the site needs as well as a third of its electricity requirement.
“This really is clean energy in the truest sense of the word”, says Heindl. “This is because firstly Progroup will save around 80,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. And secondly the power plant will meet the high emissions protection standards.”
With this new building, Progroup is consistently adding the next component of its sustainability strategy at the site. Since August 2020, the site has been home to PM3. An integrated circulating water treatment plant reduces the amount of fresh water that is used by 80% compared to conventional plants. During the water treatment process, recovered paper impurities are biologically degraded and converted into biogas. This alone means that the factory already consumes ten per cent fewer fossil resources.
“As a family company, we have an obligation to the generations to come. This is why with our papers and corrugated board sheets we not only manufacture eco-friendly, recyclable products, but in their production – including generating energy – we employ efficient solutions that conserve resources,” says Heindl.
Construction work on the new waste-to-energy plant in Sandersdorf-Brehna began in March. It is set to start operating at the end of 2025. It will be the company’s second power plant. Progroup has already successfully been embracing the zero-waste concept – paper machine with an affiliated power plant – at its site in Eisenhüttenstadt.