We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Denmark's DONG Energy A/S (to be renamed Ørsted) is phasing out coal completely within the company.

October 16, 2017 8:23 PM

DONG Energy A/S, Denmark's largest supplier of electric power has decided that by 2023, coal will no longer be used as fuel at any of the company's power stations.

Coal Reduction Diagram DongThe company, whose name is an acronym for "Danish Oil and Natural Gas", has already disposed of all its upstream fossil fuel assets. It has decided to make what it calls "the black to green transition" and to underline this transformation is changing its name to Ørsted after the nineteenth century Danish physicist, Hans Christian Ørsted. Better known as Oersted - after whom the unit of magnetic field strength is named - he was the first person to discover the link btween electricity and magnetism. He also identified aluminium as a chemical element.

Since 2006, DONG Energy has reduced its coal consumption by 73 per cent, and by 2023, the use of coal as fuel at its power stations will have stopped completely. Coal will be replaced with sustainable biomass.

Coal is still one of the most commonly used fuels worldwide. Around 40 per cent of the world's electricity is produced from coal, even though coal is the fuel emitting the most CO2. DONG Energy is the first among the large European energy companies to decide to phase out coal for the production of electricity and heating completely.

Since 2006, the company has constructed more production capacity based on offshore wind than any other company in the world. In just one decade, DONG Energy will have gone from the most coal-intensive utility in Europe to being among the greenest energy companies.

Since 2002, DONG Energy has used wood pellets and wood chips as fuel at both Herning Power Station and Avedøre Power Station, and has steadily increased the share of biomass at the two power stations. In 2016, both Studstrup Power Station near Aarhus and Avedøre Power Station near Copenhagen were converted to run 100 per cent on wood pellets and straw, and during the spring of 2017, Skærbæk Power Station near Fredericia will be able to run 100 per cent on wood chips.

DONG Energy is in dialogue with the heating customers in Kalundborg and Esbjerg regarding remaining two coal-fired power stations: Asnæs Power Station and Esbjerg Power Station; concerning their conversion to use wood chips as fuel instead of coal when the existing area heating agreements expire at the end of 2017 and 2019, respectively.

DONG has in the past accounted for 53% of Denmark's total CO2 emissions and its phase out of coal will dramatically reduce that country's total.

In 2023, the company will emit approximately 0.5 million tonnes CO2 annually, primarily from gas-fired boilers to cover peak loads in district heating systems and situations of low electric power from other sources.

Wood pellets and wood chips from sustainable forestry provide considerable CO2 reductions compared to using coal and gas. These fuels primarily come from forestry waste such as branches, twigs and thinning trees as well as from sawdust from the furniture and saw mill industries.

"When we use sustainable biomass, we achieve significant CO2 reductions in comparison to when we use coal and gas. Our wood pellets and wood chips originate from forest areas with continuous reforestation, meaning that new trees grow up to absorb the CO2 emissions created during the combustion of the biomass," says CEO Henrik Poulsen.

Background information and diagram courtesy of DONG Energy A/S, Fredericia, Denmark.