High-efficiency cogeneration plant

Wincor Nixdorf is making great efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We have been operating an energy-efficient cogeneration plant with combined heat and power (CHP) since as early as 1983. This plant provides electricity, heat, and air-conditioning for our German production site in Paderborn.

The new plant that was refurbished in the 2013/2014 financial year is able to achieve overall efficiency levels in excess of 80%, compared to the 35-40% generally associated with conventional coal or gas-generated power. Our CHP plant is rated as very efficient (according to Directive 2012/27/EU) and supplies our production site in Paderborn with around 60% of its energy requirements.

Delivery of the new CHP generators in 2013 (photo)

Delivery of the new CHP generators in 2013

Along with generating electricity, the plant also provides 20 million kWh of heat, which is used as process heat to heat the buildings in winter, as process cooling, and to air-condition our premises during the summer months by means of an absorption cooling system.

However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to operate CHP generators for legal and economic reasons. Following the Renewable Energy Act, operators now have to pay a levy on electricity that is not for own consumption. The Act states that the operator and the consumer must be one and the same. It also requires proof of a direct spatial link between generation and consumption. The power may not be transmitted via a public grid and it must be possible to prove that generation and consumption occur simultaneously.

As the operator of the CHP is Wincor Nixdorf International (WNI) only electricity that is used by WNI is exempt from the levy under the Renewable Energy Act. If the other eleven companies that are based in Paderborn use the electricity that is generated by the CHP, they have to pay the levy. The complexity of measuring and calculating separate amounts of electricity means that it is not economically viable. Therefore, the CHP is currently only producing electricity to meet the needs of WNI, so it is not being fully utilized and is operating below capacity in economic and environmental terms.

Wincor Nixdorf also actively participates in the electricity balancing market. This means that our CHP is switched on or off according to external demand from the energy industry. In this way we contribute to maintaining grid voltage in Germany at a constant level of 50 Hz, thus helping to ensure that the power supply is secure and available.