After implimenting its innovative energy solution, the Lower Austrian municipality of Kirchschlag is a leading role model for many other regions in the country. With a CHP cascade from Spanner Re² and two biomass boilers, the municipality generates electricity and heat from regional wood chips,supplying hundreds of households with CO2-neutral energy.
Kirchschlag municipality’s goal was to find a climate- and environmentally friendly energy solution, where the added value remains in the region. They decided on the domestic and renewble resource of wood as their future energy source. In order to make the best possible use of this fuel, the community leaders opted for a technology that can generate both electricity and heat from wood chips.
New heating plant generates 6,000 MWh of heat and 2,700 MWh of electricity annually from wood
During 2020, five wood-fired power plants from the Lower Bavarian company Spanner Re² have been in operation in a combined heat and power plant built especially for the project. The total output of the plant is 340 kilowatts of electcicity and 615 kilowatts of heat. The proven Re² plants produce parallel electricity and heat according to the principle of combined heat and power (CHP). A thermochemical process is used to produce a particularly clean wood gas from the wood chips, which is converted into electricity in a downstream combined heat and power unit (CHP).
The modular design of the plants guarantees maximum operational safety. This is because the multiple plants also supply energy during maintenance work. In addition, the output range can be adjusted according to demand. The municipality of Kirchschlag has integrated two 400-kilowatt woodchip heating systems into the new energy concept. Approximately 6,000 MWh of heat and 2,700 MWh of electricity are generated annually in the municipal combined heat and power plant. Around 2,750 tons of wood chips, are exclusively purchased from regional suppliers within a radius of 30 kilometers, are used as fuel. This has enbled he city municipality to supply up to 675 households with green electricity and 250 households with CO2-neutral heat. The heat is provided via a district heating network with a length of more than 3,400 meters of pipeline.
Municipality of Kirschlag takes on a pioneering role for energy independent future by communities
"The project in Kirchschlag is exemplary for sustainable energy production", reports Bernhard Seiler, project manager at Spanner Re² in 2020. "Our plants work decentralised and supply CO2-neutral energy - and that, adapted to the demand. We are pleased that we were able to contribute our many years of know-how and our mature technology to this highly interesting project", Seiler continues. With the new energy concept, Kirchschlag is taking on a pioneering role that will serve as a model for the whole of Austria. The municipality has invested more than three million euros in the project. Deputy Mayor Karl Kager explains the decision to put the energy supply of the municipality on an environmentally and climate-friendly footing as follows: "The future lives on how we shape the present".
In 2023, the Kirchschlag heating power plant will be expanded to include the 6th wood-fired power plant from Re²
Since the five wood-fired power plants were commissioned in 2020, the availability of the plants has averaged 93 percent. This significantly exceeded the Kirchschlag municipality's 85 percent target. In 2023, the municipality expanded its biomass cogeneration plant with a sixth Re² system to a total CHP output of over 400 kWel and more than 860 kWth. See report.
Tecnical data of biomass power plants:
- Plant: 5 biomass power plants, type "HKA 70" since 2020 / expanded to 6th power plant in 2023
- Performance: 408 kWel, 864 kWth
- Start-up: 2020 / 2023
- Fuel: Wood chips from regional suppliers