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Energy and carbon emissions

Sugar production is an energy-intensive process. Beet expenses aside, energy is our highest cost. We therefore have a long-standing commitment to reduce our energy consumption. We achieve this by continuously improving the effectiveness of the sugar production processes and by investing in new innovative energy-saving projects.

Steam dryers

Drying pulp process in Nordzucker production plants is performed by 55% in modern steam dryers.

Energy to a steam dryer is supplied as steam at a pressure of e.g. 16 bar direct from the boilers. The feed steam is returned as a pure condensate and used as feed water in the boilers.

All the energy supplied to the dryer is leaving as steam, and used as energy supply for the first evaporator effect. The steam leaving the dryer is actually the water evaporated from the beet pulp. By using this steam in the first evaporator effect, a full energy recovery is achieved, and air pollution from dust and smell is fully avoided.

In 2012/13, we installed a steam dryer in Nakskov (Denmark). A similar steam dryer has been installed in Örtofta (Sweden) during the sugar production campaign in 2014.

Other energy-saving initiatives

Other examples of recent energy-saving projects include the sixth-effect evaporation station in Säkylä (Finland). Sugar juice is concentrated in a multi-effect evaporator. Water evaporated as steam in the first effect is used for heating the next evaporator effect. The more effects the evaporation process has, the more energy efficient the process is. The sixth-effect in Säkylä has saved us about 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

In Poland, we expanded the evaporation system to include a sixth effect and invested in a new heat exchanger, which together contributed to savings of around 6,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Impact

Since 2010, energy consumption has decreased from index 100% (2010 = 100%) to index 80%. The last couple of years have been extraordinary. There have been a large reduction in sugar production, and a few hard years with either drought or too much rain.

Energy impacts

In 2016, new ambitious energy and emission reduction targets for 2020 have been implemented. Our 2020 aim is to reduce our energy consumption by 10% per tonne sugar (ww) compared to 2014 (50% compared to 1990) and to reduce our CO2 emission by 10% per tonne sugar (ww) compared to 2014 (68% compared to 1990

The installation of the steam dryer in Nakskov saves us 160 tonnes of coal daily and reduces our CO2 emission by 50,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The yearly estimated savings for the steam dryer in Örtofta (Sweden) is calculated to be about 130 GWh and we expect it to reduce our CO2 emissions by 27,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Carbon impacts

In 2016, new ambitious energy and emission reduction targets for 2020 have been implemented. Our 2020 aim is to reduce our energy consumption by 10% per tonne sugar (ww) compared to 2014 and to reduce our CO2 emission by 10% per tonne sugar (ww) compared to 2014.

The target requires us to reduce our CO2 emissions to 359 kg of CO2 per tonne sugar. By 2018 emissions were as high as 396 kg CO2 per tonne sugar produced. A reduction of 9% in the following years will allow our target of CO2 emissions reduction to be met in 2020.

* We define total CO2 emissions as a combination of CO2 from direct sources (combustion in our own power plants) and CO2 from indirect sources (bought electricity, bought heat and steam).