World’s largest chemical producer ‘convinced’ on merits of combined heat and power

Date: 20 April 2018

BASF, the world’s largest chemical producer has put its faith in combined heat and power plants (CHP), as a means of efficiently serving its facilities energy needs.

The company has been using CHP to heat and power its facilities for over 20 years and Dr. Claus Beckmann, Head of Energy & Climate Policy, BASF told Decentralized Energy they intend to increase their reliance on the technology. “Our production needs heat and electricity 24/365 and CHP is the most efficient way to serve this demand,” says Beckmann in an understated way, as comparisons with European emissions trading benchmarks show that BASF’s greenhouse gas-intensive chemical plants operate at above-average efficiency.

Gas and steam turbines in the company’s CHP plants provide more than 70% of the electricity demand of the BASF Group. Compared with separate methods of generating steam and electricity, the company saved 12.7 million MWh of fossil fuels and prevented 2.6 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions in 2017.

The company’s headquarters at Ludwigshafen, southwestern Germany hosts the Verbund system, which supplies three CHP units. “Our Verbund System connects all production units of our site re-using heat from exothermic reactions totalling up to 50% of the total heat demand of the site. CHP production of heat (two thirds) and electricity (one third) shows an energy utilization ratio of ~90%.

In the past the company’s heat and power strategy was facilitated by support schemes for CHP, and Beckmann is in no doubt about its wider relevance to society. “Discussions are ongoing on how CHP plants fit to the specific needs of the German energy Transition (Energiewende) with an increasing portion of volatile feed in of renewable electricity installations, such as wind and solar. We are convinced that CHP will be a building block of industrial production even in a world with very high renewable based energy supply.”