The chemical industry is one of the world’s most energy-intensive sectors. We continually improve the energy efficiency of our processes with a view to remaining globally competitive and contributing to climate protection. When evaluating energy sources, we check on the suitability of renewable energies. They only become a permanent feature of our energy mix if they are competitive. For example, we generate hydroelectric power at our Burghausen site. Our primary source of energy, though, is climate-friendly natural gas. At WACKER’s large Burghausen and Nünchritz sites, steam and electricity are produced in cogeneration systems. These combined heat and power (CHP) plants have more than 80% fuel efficiency, twice as high as that of conventional power-generation plants.
In 2009, WACKER’s electricity consumption rose to 2.7 million MWh (2008: 2.4 million MWh), primarily due to expansion of polysilicon production. The Group’s captive power plants – the hydroelectric and CHP (gas and steam turbine) generating stations in Burghausen and the CHP in Nünchritz – produced 1.5 million MWh. This means that WACKER covered roughly 55% of its total electricity needs. Groupwide, CO2 emissions totaled 969,000 metric tons, of which 83% resulted from captive power plants that are subject to emissions trading rules.
In 2007, WACKER initiated its POWER PLUS energy-efficiency project for Burghausen and Nünchritz. The goal was a 10% reduction in specific energy consumption at the two sites by late 2009 (base year: 2006). In 2009, we extended the program to our Cologne site. Many production operations within the sites managed to reduce their energy consumption. Results varied, though, because of the different capacity utilization rates at individual plants. Compared to 2006, Nünchritz cut its energy consumption per metric ton of siloxane by over 30%. At Burghausen, specific energy consumption rose by 24%. The reasons lie in the product-mix shift toward electricity-intensive polysilicon production and in lower capacity utilization at many chemical-segment and Siltronic facilities. Groupwide, heat consumption remained unchanged at 2.8 TWh (2008: 2.8 TWh).