Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium) is adapting one of its existing boilers to increase its co-combustion rate with biomass at its largest European soda ash plant in Devnya, Bulgaria. By powering the boiler with 30% biomass, the CO₂ emissions related to energy production activities will be cut by 20%. The biomass will come from a variety of sources, including locally-sourced sunflower husk pellets. The boiler is projected to begin operating in November 2022.
The project is a first major milestone in transitioning the plant away from thermal coal power towards more sustainable energy and is fully in line with Solvay One Planet’s ambition to reach carbon neutrality before 2050. This investment builds on the 2020 announcement on Solvay’s soda ash plant in Rheinberg, Germany – set to become the world’s first soda ash plant to be powered primarily by renewable energy – and the very recent announcement on Solvay’s soda ash site in Dombasle, France – a transition to 100% primarily refuse-derived fuel to cut CO₂ emissions, the first of its kind in France. Together these three projects in Europe will cut the Group’s emissions globally by 8% by 2025.
On February 10, 2022, Solvay’s global president of its soda ash division, Philippe Kehren, and the plant manager in Devnya, Spiros Nomikos, met with the Bulgarian prime minister, Kiril Petkov, and the minister for innovation and growth, Daniel Lorer. During this meeting, Solvay presented its full energy transition road map for the Bulgarian plant, including a waste-to-energy project which was well received and appreciated by the government.
“The government greatly values Solvay’s investment in Bulgaria, which represents an important development for our country and the region of Varna,” explained Prime Minister Kiril Petkov. “Solvay can count on our partnership and support to make its sustainable ambitions in Devnya a reality.”