Aurubis utilizes energy as efficiently as possible and assumes responsibility for climate protection.
The individual production steps in our value chain are complex and very energy-intensive overall. For us, the effective and efficient use of energy is an issue of ecological and economic responsibility. As a result, all of our sites utilize energy as sparingly as possible. Increasing productivity and efficiency is part of our everyday work in the Aurubis Group. The Energy & Climate Affairs Department oversees the corresponding coordination of the measures across the Group.
In order to control energy consumption optimally and identify additional energy savings potential, the main German sites are certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO 50001:
Energy aspects and consumers are determined and assessed to derive a variety of suitable steps that lead to effective energy use and a continuous reduction in energy consumption. Existing measurement systems record energy consumption and verify energy savings.
Energy & Climate Affairs coordinates the group-wide development of the energy management and monitoring systems and thus provides for a uniform approach where this makes sense and facilitates the exchange of expertise regarding best practice examples, e.g. in the form of an internal energy efficiency network. Furthermore, since 2015 Aurubis has actively taken part in energy efficiency networks as part of an initiative of German government and business, entering into a moderated dialogue on energy efficiency projects and potential with other companies beyond Aurubis’ plant and company boundaries.
In addition to large projects to enhance energy efficiency – such as the steam turbines used to produce electricity from process waste heat at the Hamburg, Lünen and Pirdop sites – energy-conscious conduct and the participation of all employees are called for in particular. In order to raise awareness of the topic among employees, an Energy Day was organized at the Hamburg plant, for example – moreover, energy training sessions also take place regularly.
Aurubis holds a leading position in energy efficiency. However, as we increase productivity and efficiency, we also reach our technical limits. Efficiency enhancements that have already been achieved don’t serve as a blueprint for future development because the more steps that have already been taken in energy efficiency, the more difficult it is to optimize energy demand further. Because there are technological limits to reducing energy consumption and emissions, a continued high level of investment leads to only marginal improvements compared to past years.
Environmental protection already accounts for a large proportion of energy consumption at Aurubis, as the rising use of complex recycling raw materials with comparatively low copper content requires a higher amount of energy. However, since materials other than copper are also recovered, primary energy demand is decreasing steadily when the total input is considered. We therefore work to harmonize environmental protection, resource conservation and energy efficiency optimally across the raw material spectrum.
We are participating in NEW 4.0 to identify potential for electricity flexibility for our plants. This large-scale project brings together more than 50 partners in the German federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. “NEW” stands for “Norddeutsche EnergieWende” (Northern German Energy Revolution) and the “4.0” indicates the threshold to the fourth industrial revolution, i.e. the digitalization of industry, in which the intelligent networking of systems – also within the scope of the energy revolution – is playing an increasingly decisive role.
Energy consumption is the main source of CO 2 emissions in the Aurubis Group. The biggest CO 2 emitters in the Group are the German sites in Hamburg and Lünen. Currently, Aurubis systematically records the direct CO 2 emissions at the sites as well as the energy-related indirect emissions, for example from purchased electricity. We were able to further reduce emissions in the reporting period.
The development and implementation of the group-wide energy strategy is the central responsibility of the head of Corporate Energy & Climate Affairs, who reports directly to the Executive Board.
The efficient use of energy is an environmental and economic imperative for Aurubis. One of the innovative projects for boosting efficiency at the Lünen facility is its highly efficient, flexible electricity generation system.
By utilizing waste heat, i.e. converting it into electricity and using the residual heat, the recycling site achieves the optimum energy recovery possible. The plant produces about 23 million kWh of electricity (corresponding to about 14 % of the site’s electricity demand or the average electricity demand of roughly 6,500 three-person households) and prevents 14,000 t of CO 2 at the same time.
The Energy Efficiency Initiative of the German Energy Agency (dena) classed the project as exemplary and awarded it with the Best Practice in Energy Efficiency label in 2015. Aurubis was also nominated for the international 2015 Energy Efficiency Award for the project, putting Aurubis in the top 15 of about 100 applicants.