Protection of climate and environment at the Einbeck location
Continuous optimization of operating efficiency
Annual energy consumption arises out of two basic requirements. First, it is determined by the quantity and quality of the seed intended for distribution and then processed in the seed processing plants. And second, energy consumption arises out of the ongoing research and breeding programs for the development of new varieties through the operation of greenhouses, climatic chambers and cooling systems. Both areas need different amounts of electricity, heating and cooling during the year. For this reason, the operating efficiency of the technical equipment and the switch to renewable energy on site is a significant concern to KWS.
Challenges & goals
With its worldwide regulations, the KWS Group is committed to environmental protection. This commitment is always at the forefront within the framework of purchase, distribution and use of resources. All KWS employees are required to use resources in a responsible and efficient manner. This also applies to an efficient production and use of energy. Renewable energies such as biomass, wind, sun and water, are preferred.
Our goal is to increase the operating efficiency in research & breeding and in production, regardless if fossil fuels or renewable energy sources are used.
Further, we would like to continuously increase our use of renewable energy in order to reduce our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions toward climate protection.
Previous activities and first results
Preparation is everything.
For the leading seed company, the refrigeration load in greenhouses and company buildings is constantly increasing. How can today's sustainability requirements be met in a future-proof manner? That was the big question.
The answers came by:
- Analysis of actual demand and future new buildings
- Analysis of the interaction of existing energy use
- IT-supported simulation - development of calculation models: Determination of optimum between combined heat and power plant running times, power demand, power consumption and cooling demand
The success - in reality there are only very small deviations from the simulation: 3,500 MWh less electricity purchased per year
Plant cultivation in “grow bags” saves energy and water
The first sugarbeet plants are cultivated in greenhouses in order to produce the basic seed. The soil must not contain any fungal pathogens or nematodes that could harm seedling growth.
So, a cultivation procedure for sugarbeet plants using “grow bags” was developed, which is now used at many locations. The sugarbeet is planted in bags using sterilized soil rather than sterilizing the greenhouse soil with steam, as was previously done.
Following the new method, 251 gallons of heating oil for mobile steam generation and 19,423 cubic feet of irrigation water are saved over 3,229 square feet of greenhouse space during the growth period, and three tons of greenhouse gas emissions are prevented.
Operating efficiency in greenhouses and climatic chambers
The greenhouse areas, climatic chambers for plant cultivation, and production plants at the Einbeck location are constantly being expanded. Required energy in the form of electricity and heat is generated according to the principle of cogeneration in the cogeneration plants that operate on bio and natural gas.
A new cooling station allowing refrigeration for cooling systems in the greenhouses, offices, and research buildings is currently under construction to support energy-efficient generation and distribution which also satisfies growing energy demands.
Since refrigeration is mainly generated from the heat waste of the cogeneration plants, we will in future save approximately 20% of secondary energy in the form of electricity.
“EnergyScouts” in use - Be a kW/ Saver
The user behavior of our employees in terms of energy use was evaluated in order to create awareness about this topic and point out approaches to save energy within an office environment. The “EnergyScouts” project was initiated with interns from all KWS training professions:
“Identify opportunities to save energy and make proposals for implementation.”
Energy consumption was identified for 2,000 PCs and laptops in both idle state and stand-by mode. By consistently shutting down devices—even during a prolonged absence from the workplace during work hours—significant energy quantities can be saved. As a result, our employees were made aware of the findings and that they should shut down their devices more frequently.
People at KWS
We can save more than 300,000 kWh of energy by shutting down PCs and laptops.