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Solvay to co-fire soda ash plant boiler with biomass

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Solvay, a global leader in materials, solutions and chemicals, is adapting one of its existing boilers to increase its co-combustion rate with biomass.

The boiler is located at Solvay’s largest European soda ash (sodium carbonate) plant in Devnya, Bulgaria. By powering the boiler with 30% biomass, the CO2 emissions related to energy production activities will be reduced by 20%. The biomass will come from a variety of sources, including locally-sourced sunflower husk pellets.

Solvay’s project marks a major milestone in transitioning the facility away from thermal coal power towards more sustainable energy. The move is in line with Solvay One Planet’s ambition to reach carbon neutrality before 2050.

“With more than 25 years of presence in Bulgaria, we are proud to embark on this new initiative towards more sustainable operations,” said Ilham Kadri, CEO of Solvay.

“This important milestone marks a critical step in our journey to reduce our carbon footprint and serve customers in a more sustainable and competitive way.”

In 2020, Solvay announced that its soda ash plant in Rheinberg, Germany will become the world’s first soda ash plant to be powered primarily by renewable energy. Recently, the company also announced that its soda ash site in Dombasle, France will transition to 100% primarily refuse-derived fuel to cut CO2 emissions. Together, these three projects in Europe will cut the group’s emissions globally by 8% by 2025.

On 10 February, Solvay’s global president of the soda ash division, Philippe Kehren, and the Devnya plant manager, Spiros Nomikos, met with the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov, and the Minister for Innovation and Growth, Daniel Lorer. During the meeting, Solvay presented its full energy transition roadmap for the Bulgarian facility, including a waste-to-energy project which was “well received and appreciated”.

“The government greatly values Solvay’s investment in Bulgaria, which represents an important development for our country and the region of Varna,” said Prime Minister Kiril Petkov. “Solvay can count on our partnership and support to make its sustainable ambitions in Devnya a reality.”