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    ACOR farmers' cooperative to produce heat and electricity in a biomass cogeneration plant unique in Spain


    June 20, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      The project, which will involve an estimated investment of 70 million euros, will involve the construction of a biomass cogeneration plant in Olmedo (Valladolid), which will start in the first half of 2023. The plant - reports ENSO - will be built on ACOR's land "and will enable the cooperative to accelerate the decarbonization process of its industrial activity, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80%". The facility will produce renewable energy, in the form of steam and electricity, through the combustion of locally sourced agricultural and forestry biomass. ENSO will design the biomass power plant to generate 346,000 tons of steam and more than 45,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually. According to the engineering firm's estimates, the plant will support "more than 30 direct jobs and more than 60 indirect first-level jobs". According to ENSO, the agreement signed with the ACOR Cooperative "represents a milestone at national level within the models of energy service companies with renewable energy sources". The investment, which will be carried out in the town of Olmedo (Valladolid), will amount to around 70 million euros, with the collaboration of the regional government of Castilla y León, through the public company Somacyl, attached to the Regional Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Planning.

      The key numbers

      The project, the largest to date in terms of cogeneration with biomass for industrial use by ENSO, will begin in the first quarter of 2023 and is expected to be completed in the last quarter of the same year. The estimated output - more than 346,000 tons of steam and more than 45,000 MWhe - will cover, according to ENSO, "almost all" of the thermal and electrical needs of ACOR, which produces and refines sugar in Olmedo, and will avoid the emission of 60,000 tons of CO2 per year (the factory, the largest in Spain, has a processing capacity of 2,000 tons per day of beet sugar or 1,000 tons per day of raw cane). ENSO estimates that the plant will consume approximately 90,000 tons of biomass per year, with which it will generate almost 300,000 megawatt-hours of thermal energy per year and the aforementioned more than 45,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year.

      ENSO highlights the uniqueness of its installation

      "This is the first biomass cogeneration plant for the production of electrical energy and useful heat, in the form of superheated steam, by an ESCO (Energy Services Company) for a large industrial company through the use and management of biomass. All biomass used in the project will be certified under the SURE certification scheme, in accordance with Directive (EU) 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, where ENSO was the second company nationwide to be certified."

      ENSO goes through other of its "outstanding projects"

      Prior to the present agreement, ENSO signed with García Carrión, for the facilities that the latter has in Villanueva de los Castillejos (Huelva), a new project for the supply of thermal energy for its industrial process. This project, also under ESCO modality, will cover 100% of the thermal demand of García Carrión's industrial process through the use of biomass, decarbonizing the industrial process and avoiding the use of natural gas consumed to date. This facility is expected to consume around 10,000 tons of biomass per year.

      On the other hand, ENSO presents as its "reference asset" the biomass power plant (of seventeen electric megawatts, 17 MWhe) in the Soria town of Garray, "an example of world innovation in this sector by incorporating, through a collaboration agreement with Carburos Metálicos, the first totally renewable CO2 production plant for supplying this gas to different industrial consumers". ENSO explains that this is possible thanks to the fact that both the CO2 and the steam and electricity used in the process come from 100% renewable energies.

      ENSO's business plans

      ENSO has proposed to lead the energy transition of the Spanish industrial fabric "through the substitution of fossil fuels by biofuels. Thus, as the Group explains, it manages the use of the biomass of the environment in each project and offers energy services to companies in different sectors, as well as supplying energy to industrial customers whose objective is to replace their consumption of fossil fuels (for example, natural gas) with a renewable source (biomass).

      In addition, ENSO was the second company in Spain to be certified under the voluntary SURE scheme to corroborate that all the biomass it uses in its facilities complies with the EU Directive 2018/2001 on sustainability and renewable energy. "This shows -they emphasize from the company- that the biomass that ENSO uses to generate useful heat and electricity in its processes is 100% sustainable and meets all the sustainability criteria of the European Union, and this confers, also, that such CO2 emission reductions can be validated and computed at national level".

      ENSO explains its circular economy

      "ENSO offers the substitution of fossil fuels by biomass generated as a by-product in forestry management and agricultural production for electricity generation, with a special focus on industrial processes. Among the company's numerous developments is the Bioelectrica de Garray plant, which has been recognized by the LIFE program as a European innovation project in circular economy."

      Elías Hernández, ENSO's executive director: "with respect to the generation of energy through biomass, in Spain we only take advantage at present of less than 30% of the potential we have, as opposed to other countries in the euro zone, where it reaches 70%. For this reason, at ENSO, we want to contribute to a greater awareness of the use of agricultural and forestry residues in Spain".

      ENSO's executive director emphasizes on the other hand that "the end customer does not invest, but takes a long-term contract for the purchase of the steam that we generate. We carry out 100% of the investment, 100% of the biomass supply, guaranteeing the certification of its sustainability, the logistics, we take care of the construction and start-up of the service, the maintenance, and even the financing and permits".

      Participation of the Junta de Castilla y León

      The Junta de Castilla y León, through the public company Somacyl, participates with ENSO in this biomass cogeneration project of the ACOR cooperative. In this legislature, the Junta-Somacyl says it plans to invest 133 million euros "in the development of biomass and other complementary renewables, which will make it possible to create 140 kilometers of new heat networks which will supply 30,000 homes and 350 public buildings".

      Protagonists

      ENSO (Energy Environment and Sustainability) is a group which, within the renewable energy sector, specializes in biomass, and is engaged in the development, promotion, design, construction and operation of electric and thermal generation plants. As part of its strategy of vertical integration in the biomass sector, the ENSO group is present throughout the value chain, including the supply of biomass. ENSO, some of whose subsidiaries have more than 20 years of experience in the sector, belongs to Tikehau Capital' s energy transition fund since May 2020.

      ACOR is a cooperative formed by 4,500 farmer-members in Castilla y León founded in 1962. It is present in the production and marketing of sugar, edible oils and animal feed products. Its sugar factory located in Olmedo, Valladolid, is the largest and most modern in Spain.

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