Emmi moves to decarbonise

In Switzerland, an energy eco-system is being created over the next few years, after the transport company Galliker, the Emmi dairy group, the industrial gases producer PanGas and the energy supplier Centralschweizerische Kaftwerke (CKW) all signed a joint declaration of intent.

“Together with Emmi, Galliker and PanGas, we want to advance the energy transition and make a significant contribution to decarbonization and diversification of the energy supply with the planned energy ecosystem,” explains Martin Schwab, CEO of CKW.

The four companies plan to invest a total of around CHF200 million (€202.9m) in the production, distribution and use of renewable energies.

At the beginning of the energy ecosystem is a wood-fired power plant operated by CKW for the production of heat and electricity. PanGas will use part of the electricity to produce hydrogen to power Galliker’s fleet of trucks. Galliker has been successfully on Swiss roads with six hydrogen trucks since 2020 and will continue to rely on alternative drive solutions in the future, with the focus on hydrogen from local production. In addition, PanGas recovers green CO2 from the combustion process; for use in the food industry, for example.

With the renewable energy from the wood-fired power plant, Emmi covers part of the thermal energy required at its Dagmersellen production site for the production of cream cheese specialities such as mozzarella or ricotta and milk powder. The project is a milestone on Emmi’s target of net-zero reduction by 2050 and a further step towards reducing internal CO2 emissions by 60 % by 2027. With a view to closing the cycle, Emmi also supplies demineralised water from the production of dairy products for hydrogen production.

“This unique energy ecosystem, designed in cooperation with three regionally anchored national partners, enables more sustainable production of our dairy products and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels,” explains Marc Heim, head of Emmi Switzerland.

When fully expanded, the wood-fired power plant will produce 100 GWh of electricity and 130 GWh of heat. Emmi uses around 50 GWh of the heat. Other possible heat consumers are local industry and heating networks in the surrounding villages. The wood-fired power plant is to be operated with regional forest chips and waste wood as far as possible. This requires up to 200,000 tons of wood per year.

Further planning and approval steps must be carried out before the energy ecosystem can be built. In the current planning, commissioning is not expected until 2027 at the earliest.

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