Evonik and Uniper launch sustainable district heating project for Germany’s Ruhr region

12 February 2024

Evonik and Uniper have officially launched the Technical Options for Thermal Energy Recovery (TORTE) project in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. As one of the first phases of Evonik’s ‘Herne Green Deal’ to sustainably transform the Herne chemical site,  the TORTE project will feed industrial waste heat from isophorone production into the district heating network. Around 1,000 homes in the Ruhr region will be supplied by the end of 2024.

To recover this industrial low-temperature waste heat, Uniper has installed a large on site heat pump to feed up to 1.5 megawatt of heat into the district heating network to supply local customers. This sustainably recovered heat from the Herne site will help Uniper to reduce its emissions by 1750t of CO2/yr. The project also supports Evonik’s sustainability ambitions to reduce carbon emissions and its use of fossil resources at its sites.

“This is only the first part of Evonik’s sustainability journey at Herne. Our long-term ambition for the site is to run completely independent of fossil fuels – including the elimination of fossil-based raw materials from our production and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Christian Schmidt, Head of the Crosslinkers business line. “By focusing on our footprint and the handprint of our products we’re supporting our customers in meeting their CO2 emission and performance requirements. We achieve this by using renewable raw materials to develop new lower fossil carbon-based solutions such as our next generation IP, IPD, and IPDI eCO products, which help to shape a more sustainable future.”


Focus on Sustainability: The power of collaboration – Uniting for sustainable success

The TORTE project was awarded first prize in the German Chemical Industry Association’s (VCI) “Responsible Care Initiative” for its sustainable and economical use of energy. The judges regarded the initiative in Herne as a benchmark for the holistic sustainable transformation of a chemical site towards green production and environmental protection.

“Optimising production and reducing emissions by capturing industrial waste heat energy and reusing it, has long been an objective for the chemical industry,” said Dr. Rainer Stahl, Evonik’s Site Manager in Herne. “Making a sustainable contribution to the municipal heat supply in our local community with waste heat can turn the Herne site into a shining example for sustainable chemical production.”

The Herne site comprises 17 production plants spanning over 250,000 square metres. With the ‘Herne Green Deal’ Evonik’s goal is to sustainably transform the production site to achieve climate neutrality. In addition to the TORTE project, the H2annibal project is also in progress to test a new type of electrolysis technology. The goal is to produce green hydrogen which can be used as a renewable starting material for more sustainable isophorone diamine (IPD) production at Herne.

For information about the ‘Herne Green Deal’ and Evonik’s sustainable production ambitions, please visit:  https://crosslinkers.evonik.com/en/about/manufacturing/herne/herne-green-deal-233252.html 

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