TechStories made by stoba: RespONEsability – on the way to CO2-neutral production

CO2-neutral production – no easy undertaking for a production facility that, like stoba, operates with up to 7,000 kW of electricity per hour at peak times. At the same time, it is precisely this high energy requirement that makes industry responsible for using more environmentally friendly ways of generating energy. The issues ofCO2 emissions and energy generation are not only an increasing financial burden – customers, suppliers and society are now also demanding that their business partners act in an environmentally conscious manner and make an active contribution to climate protection. Based on these developments, stoba is now working on precisely this in a joint project with Siemens – and could thus not only have achieved the step towardsCO2 neutrality by 2030, but also supply charging stations for electric vehicles through its own sustainable energy generation. The corresponding concept was developed jointly, and stoba is relying on Siemens’ expertise and experience to implementit. The joint project was launched back in 2019 – ideas were developed on what the path to emission-free production could look like. The result: the generation and use of electricity in particular and the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energies offer great potential. Now, at the beginning of 2022, the first of two project steps is already being implemented, with work initially focusing on a more flexible power supply. In particular, the way in which energy resources are accessed is changing, explains Christian Vockel, head of the department responsible for energy and environmental management: “We have two company-owned power plants that run on natural gas and until recently generated electricity and hot water under continuous load. We now try to only activate them in a very targeted manner, i.e. whenever there is a short-term increase in energy demand.” This process, known as “peak shaving”, means that the previous natural gas consumption at the site can be reduced by around 50 percent in a short space of time. In addition, a battery storage system will be installed in which up to 500kW can be temporarily stored. “This will enable us to balance out our consumption peaks even better,” says Arne Bihler from Energy and Environmental Management. Another important role is played by a new control system that can track current developments on the energy market and react to them. For example, if there is too much energy at the site, it is fed into the general power grid – if there is too little, electricity is supplied that is not needed elsewhere. In addition, electricity consumption can be reduced in the event of bottlenecks by switching off individual systems at short notice. In this way, stoba helps to keep the entire grid in balance.

Independence through the sun of southern Germany

The second part of the project focuses on switching to sustainable energy generation. To this end, the installation of photovoltaic systems on the company premises is planned, which will not only generate energy for production, but also for a charging station infrastructure for electric vehicles. Solar energy could generate around 1.5 megawatts of electricity by the end of the project. “We want to combine established technologies such as photovoltaic systems with new approaches such as the intelligent management system. This holistic approach creates a framework for environmentally conscious management that suits us and our environment,” says Arne Bihler. Christian Peschke, Managing Director of stoba Precision Technology in Backnang, adds: “With this project, we are not only taking a decisive step towards climate protection. We also want to use the project to offer our employees and people in the surrounding area added value in the future, for example with charging stations.” The first stage of the project is due to be completed in the middle of next year. Ideally, implementation of the second project step can then begin. According to the current plan, the project should be fully completed by 2030 at the latest, because: “Of course, we won’t realize such a changeover overnight. And not on our own,” says Christian Peschke. “This makes it all the more important that we start now, have a clear goal in mind and have the right partners at our side. Because we are committed to progress – and with progress always comes responsibility. And we accept this responsibility.” Image source: Matthias Heyde/Unsplash

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