GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 302-1, GRI 302-4

The chemical industry is one of the most energy-intensive sectors. In Germany alone, it uses around 20 percent of all the electricity consumed by industry. Wacker Chemie AG consumes 4,103 GWh of electricity in Germany, representing approximately 0.8 percent of the country’s electricity consumption. WACKER’s German production sites accounted for 71 percent (2015: 78 percent) of groupwide electricity needs. WACKER is continually improving the energy efficiency of its processes. This enables us to remain globally competitive while at the same time contributing to climate protection.

Many chemical reactions generate heat that can be put to use in other production processes. We have been using integrated heat-recovery systems in Burghausen and Nünchritz for years and are continually improving them. In this way, we can reduce the amount of (natural gas) consumed by our power plants.

To enhance energy efficiency and reduce specific energy consumption per unit of net production output, the Executive Board has defined energy targets for WACKER Germany. Our original goal was to reduce weighted specific energy consumption by one-third between 2007 and 2022, but we had already achieved that by 2014. We have now set a goal of reducing specific energy consumption to half of the 2007 level by the year 2022.

Energy Efficiency

One way in which Burghausen generates electricity is by using hydroelectric power. Our Norwegian site, Holla, also generates its electricity mainly from water power.

Our primary source of energy, though, is climate-friendly natural gas. At Burghausen, our largest site, we produce steam and electricity using a cogeneration system. The highly efficient operates at more than 80-percent fuel efficiency, which is significantly higher than that of conventional power plants generating electricity and heat separately.

In 2016, we implemented energy-efficiency measures to further reduce specific energy consumption. The Group’s power plants – the hydroelectric and CHP plants in Burghausen and the cogeneration plant in Nünchritz – produced around 1,416 GWh of electricity in 2016 (2015: 1,451 GWh). This means that WACKER uses environmentally friendly processes to cover roughly 25 percent of its total electricity needs itself. Groupwide, emissions from captive power plants subject to emissions trading rules and from -metal production in Holla (Norway) totaled about 1.0 million metric tons in 2016 (2015: 1.1 million metric tons).

WACKER is subject to the regulations of the EU emissions trading system because of its CHP plants at the Burghausen and Nünchritz sites. We have covered shortfalls since 2014 by buying allowances for facilities subject to emissions trading.

WACKER will continue its efforts to improve its energy efficiency. By setting quantifiable environmental targets, we intend to lower the environmental impact of our production activities.

Saving Energy with WOS

In the period under review, we again improved our energy efficiency with the help of projects that form part of our (Wacker Operating System) program.

  • At the Nünchritz site, we optimized the control technology of the hydrogen plant and thus lowered natural-gas consumption by around 15 percent.
  • We enhanced the production processes in Burghausen and Nünchritz and thus significantly reduced steam consumption over the past two years.
  • At the Cologne site, we are saving energy in production through process improvements in the supply.
  • WACKER Greater China pursued over 160 WOS projects in the reporting period. This resulted in a drop in the Nanjing site’s specific energy consumption by 5.5 percent in 2016, for example.

Electricity Supply

Electricity Supply (pie chart)

1 Outside Germany, we purchase electricity from third parties based on the local standard energy mix
2 Burghausen
3 Coal, lignite, oil, gas; modified calculation method: since 2014, data has been in line with Germany’s energy mix; source: BDEW (German Association of Energy and Water Industries); status as of Nov. 2015, for the year 2014
4 Hydro, wind, solar power; modified calculation method: since 2014, data in line with Germany’s energy mix; source: BDEW (German Association of Energy and Water Industries)

Energy Consumption























Coal, charcoal and wood; used as reducing agents at the silicon-metal plant in Holla, Norway


Steam, district heating






Electricity consumption







Heat consumption







Primary energy use (total)







Of which







Natural gas







Solid fuels1







Heat (supplied by third parties)2







Fuel oil












Hydroelectric Power

The Burghausen site has been supplied with electricity from Wacker Chemie AG’s “Alzwerke” hydroelectric facility for almost a century. Average annual production is currently at 265 GWh.

From 1922 to 2016, this power station generated 23,246 GWh of electricity. The Alz canal between Hirten on the Alz river and Burghausen on the Salzach river made it possible to harness the water – which plunges 63 meters into the turbines – for a hydroelectric power plant on the banks of the Salzach. The electricity generated by the Alzwerke plant was the key prerequisite for the chemical industry to settle in Burghausen.

Over the past decades, the hydroelectric facility has continuously increased its energy yield and annual availability. As well as for electricity supply, the water is used as cooling and process water at the Burghausen site. In 2016, we cleaned up and repaired the roughly 17-kilometer Alz canal. We reported on this major project in the WACKER WISSENSFORUM (knowledge forum; German-language version only) and in the online construction site diary (German-language version only), for example. This major investment in the mid-double-digit million-euro range shows that WACKER has undertaken a long-term commitment to produce energy by means of renewable sources.

Primary Energy
Primary energy is obtained from naturally occurring sources such as coal, gas or wind. Secondary energy, in contrast, is derived from primary energy via a transformation process (which often involves energy losses); examples include electricity, heat and hydrogen.
Combined Heat and Power Plant
Combined heat and power (CHP) plants generate both electricity and useful heat. This system can be much more efficient at using the input energy (e.g. fuel oil or natural gas) than are conventional systems with separate facilities. Because primary energy is conserved, CHP plants emit significantly less carbon dioxide than conventional power plants.
Carbon Dioxide
Chemical name: CO2. This gas naturally constitutes 0.04% of air. Carbon dioxide is generated during the combustion of coal, natural gas and other organic substances. As a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, it contributes to global warming. Since the start of industrialization in 1850, its concentration in air has risen from approx. 300 to 390 ppm (parts per million). This value is increasing by around 2 ppm every year. Other greenhouse gases are represented as CO2 equivalents (CO2e) based on their greenhouse effect.
After oxygen, silicon is the most common element on the earth’s crust. In nature, it occurs without exception in the form of compounds, chiefly silicon dioxide and silicates. Silicon is obtained through energy-intensive reaction of quartz sand with carbon and is the most important raw material in the electronics industry.
Substance outputs, noise, vibrations, light, heat or radiation emitted into the environment by an industrial plant.
Wacker Operating System (WOS)
The “Wacker Operating System” (WOS) program bundles, promotes and processes corporate projects for systematic process improvement. It is the basis for a groupwide improvement initiative by WACKER.
Hyperpure polycrystalline silicon from WACKER POLYSILICON is used for manufacturing wafers for the electronics and solar industries. To produce it, metallurgical-grade silicon is converted into liquid trichlorosilane, highly distilled and deposited in hyperpure form at 1,000 °C.
A polymer is a large molecule made up of smaller molecular units (monomers). It contains between 10,000 and 100,000 monomers. Polymers can be long or ball-shaped.
A colorless, slightly sweet-smelling gas that, under normal conditions, is lighter than air. It is needed as a chemical starting product for a great many synthetic materials, including polyethylene and polystyrene. It is used to make products for the household, agricultural and automotive sectors, among others.