Germany: SPIE is supporting an energy infrastructure for fossil-free brick production

Published on 05 December 2023

Ratingen, 05 December 2023 – SPIE, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, is supporting a brick factory that is gradually switching the energy supply for its energy-intensive kiln heating from natural gas to green hydrogen. The green hydrogen will be produced in a 10-megawatt (MW) electrolyser that is largely fed by the renewable energy produced by the company onsite thanks to photovoltaic systems and wind turbines. SPIE is designing and implementing the loop line and the feed-in options for the energy produced by the photovoltaic systems. Work began in August 2022 and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.

Supporting industry decarbonation

In the fight against climate change, industry decarbonation is a major, but complex step. The concept of "green factory" is gaining popularity. The aim of a “green factory” is to balance industrial production with environmental preservation, promoting a more eco-friendly and sustainable approach to manufacturing. One important pillar of a green factory is to power the production process with fossil-free energy, using renewables. However, this concept is difficult to roll out because of insufficient energy supply capacity and the volatility of renewables. But in this project, the concept is being achieved step by step: SPIE's customer began generating its own renewable energy several years ago; now, the areas available for photovoltaic systems and wind turbines are being massively expanded in order to switch production to green hydrogen in the future using the company's own 10-megawatt electrolyser. The hydrogen is used here as a storage medium to ensure the necessary continuous security of supply for production.

Long-established expertise and innovative strength

SPIE is designing and implementing the customer’s energy infrastructure which permits the electricity generated by the photovoltaic systems to be fed into the electrolyser. The team led by Axel Beckkötter from SPIE Osmo, a unit of the Building Technology & Automation division of SPIE Deutschland & Zentraleuropa, is currently planning and installing a 10 MW plant loop line, seven new feed-in points for the new photovoltaic systems and five new transformer stations. "This project is providing us with the opportunity to combine our many years of expertise in energy infrastructure with our innovative strength," says project manager Axel Beckkötter. Klaus Eismann, Managing Director of SPIE Osmo, adds: "We at SPIE have also set high sustainability objectives. It makes us particularly proud to be able to support such an ambitious pioneering project."

The current project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024. From that point onwards, hydrogen will be introduced into the production process gradually, until it completely replaces natural gas.