"We turn heat into cold"
Photo: Espen Eichhöfer/OSTKREUZ
The Ruhrgebiet was once the industrial heart of Germany, home to hundreds of coal mines and the centre of steel and iron production. As one of the largest industrial areas in Europe, today it is more diverse, innovative and cleaner than ever before. But the cities in this region are looking for ways to further reduce their levels of air pollution and make their inner cities more liveable. This results in interesting concepts, such as in the Port of Dortmund. In the innovation centre, ‘Cleanport’, companies are settling down and trying, for example, to implement sustainable energy concepts. Two companies based there want to use the waste heat from soot production for the deep-freezing of food.
Siegfried Moritz is Chief Financial Officer of Deutsche Gasrußwerke GmbH (DGW) and has always had an eye for finance as well as the environment. It is not surprising then, that he not only wants to use all resources sparingly but also wants to make his own contribution to climate change. We wanted to know how this project started.
Mr. Moritz, how did this project come about?
"We are Deutsche Gasrußwerke GmbH and produce carbon black at our site in Dortmund, which is used in the rubber industry, for example to produce tyres. This process generates large amounts of excess energy, more specifically heat. Since 2004, this has been traded in parts either on the energy exchange or sold to municipal utilities, but we thought there was still further potential to use the waste heat. Coupled with this, the City of Dortmund plans to revitalize the port with an innovation centre and win innovative, climate-friendly companies. We were looking for a solution to make use of the waste heat and for a company that was prepared to use this recycled energy and to expand into the open space next to our location."
How exactly does the solution work?
"At the heart of our project is an energy centre with heat recovery, which converts surplus energy into useful energy. With the Coldstore Group, we have found a company that wants to benefit from low-cost, recycled energy and as part of this cooperation, will set up a location with deep-freeze storage directly next to us, which will also bring additional jobs to the region. A 5,000-tonne freezer with a freezing capacity of 300 tonnes will be built in 24 hours, and we will use our surplus heat to freeze the food you will later find in the frozen food department of your supermarket."
What is so special about this solution for you?
"Everyone involved has advantages. Energy efficiency and CO₂ savings contribute to the further positive development of our company. Together with E.ON as a partner from the energy industry, the City of Dortmund and the company Coldstore, we have developed a concept that successfully combines economic efficiency and sustainability. E.ON has brought the original idea of transforming our industrial waste heat into usable refrigeration into an innovative, technical concept and to adapt it to the specific needs of the coldstore industry. We also protect the environment. This is really a win-win for everyone."