The second largest river port in France and the largest freight station in Alsace, the Ports of Strasbourg represent 7.6 million tonnes of mass traffic and nearly 400,000 container traffic operations each year.
THE Ports of Strasbourg* are at the heart of the territory’s transition issues. They are a major player in the massification of goods flows at local and national level and in the modal shift towards rail and river transport, which emits less.
As such, they are a major player in decarbonization, particularly through an industrial ecology approach, operational for nearly 10 years, and a recovery heat network active since 2021. This heat network should allow manufacturers to recover the heat generated by and for their activities, which is otherwise lost.
The R-CUA company (Urban Heat Networks of Alsace)* created in 2014, located in the Grand Est region, aims to study, finance, build and operate low-carbon heat networks. For various purposes ranging from supplying heating networks at the level of an eco-district, to the redevelopment of industrial wastelands, for example. Also, R-CUA responds to delegations of public services launched by communities and develops in this context heating networks with energy plants based on renewable and recovery energies for uses which can be of all types, residential, but also tertiary and of the small industrialist.
Finally, R-CUA collaborates with large industrial companies on projects for the recovery of recovered heat, synergies between manufacturers or the creation of carbon-free solutions dedicated to them. By adapting technologies and renewable or recovery energy sources according to opportunities and context.
The company has created, in partnership with the autonomous port of Strasbourg (PAS) and the Banque des Territoires, a company, R-PAS, to carry out projects recovering and valorizing industrial recovery heat in Strasbourg. More than 300 companies are active in the PAS Zone.
Arnaud Boyer, Development and Foresight Director at R-CUA/R-CUE, explained to Techniques de l’Ingénieur how the industrial heat generated in the PAS area was valorized, in particular thanks to the projects carried out with two industrial companies: Blue Paper* et betray*.
Engineering Techniques: The Strasbourg port area, the PAS, is in the midst of an energy transition, with the desire, in particular, to recover industrial heat to promote it. How does the R-CUA company intervene in this perspective?
Arnaud Boyer : R-CUA is a company created in 2014, which established a partnership with the PAS (autonomous port of Strasbourg) in 2016 in order to reflect on potential energy synergies between industrialists in the area or between industrialists and third parties (communities , tertiary buildings, residential, etc.).
Initially, we worked on the subject of energy performance in a global manner, on flow synergies, whether at the electrical, heat, or cold level. Very quickly, we realized that PAS, which brings together nearly 300 companies in various industrial sectors in the Strasbourg Rhine strip, represented very significant potential.
We then carried out in-depth studies which led to the creation of the company R-PAS, which associates R_CUA, PAS and the Banque des Territoires, in 2021. This in order to realize heat recovery projects on industrial sites in The area.
Give us an example of a project carried out with a company operating in the PAS area.
The most emblematic project, which is also the first to be successful, is the partnership established with the industrial Blue Paper, which is located in the area of the autonomous port of Strasbourg. Blue Paper is in fact the first industrial company to trust us to recover and recycle waste heat from its industrial activity outside its site. Today, 100 Gwh per year of carbon-free heat are used through this partnership.
In doing so, we hope that this achievement inspires other manufacturers wishing to utilize in one way or another the waste heat generated by their processes and which, today, is lost.
It is also an interesting example because the technologies implemented around heat recovery are evolving. We started with Blue Paper by recovering heat at different levels on biomass co-generation, with directly usable heat at around a hundred degrees, obtained thanks to the installation of an economizer on the flue gases. Also, heat is recovered via a condenser, still on these same fumes but it needs to be raised in temperature via a high temperature heat pump, to make it compatible with existing heat networks outside the site. , for global use around 95-100°C of export of this heat.
Beyond these projects which have already been launched and which are operating today, multiple avenues for developing new sources of heat recovery will still lead us to work for many years with Blue Paper, in order to continually improve energy performance. and the recovery of this heat which initially was completely lost.
Another project in the PAS area is being carried out in collaboration with the company Trédi, specializing in waste incineration.
Indeed. I betray is an industrial player working in the incineration of hazardous waste with which we have entered into a contract in 2023. Trédi’s waste incineration activity generates fumes, and therefore a potential for heat recovery. We therefore, for several years, thought with Trédi about different solutions to recover and use this heat.
Today, Trédi allows us to recover high temperature heat, in the sense that it does not need to be raised in temperature by heat pumps or other systems: it can be used directly at the network level. Also, these are installations that operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, excluding scheduled maintenance operations. They therefore have very high availability and very high smoothing over the production year. This guarantees us regular volumes that can be used for industrial, tertiary or residential uses.
Today, 50 GWh of heat are recovered each year through this project, a figure which will increase in the future since this is only the first phase of the project.
You have also set up a decoupling substation between Blue Paper and Trédi. Tell us why.
Indeed, whether with Trédi or Blue Paper, the heat recovered and valorized in the network will supply a decoupling substation. This station will use heat coming from the south and the north to supply all of Strasbourg’s networks. Concretely, we have created a sort of energy hub which makes it possible to bring in different sources of recovery heat coming in particular from industrialists from the autonomous port of Strasbourg, depending on the needs of each other from other industrialists, from eco-districts or from public service delegation networks at the level of the Strasbourg metropolitan area.
What are the areas for improvement today to scale up industrial heat recovery?
The room for improvement is very significant, first of all because even if it is a principle that seems relatively simple, recovering waste heat from industrial activities, in fact, is a fairly recent activity. Ademe is currently pushing for the implementation of heat recovery projects, particularly because it is carbon-free heat, intended to be used locally.
The other subject concerns the decorrelation between heat production by industries and the heat needs of urban networks, which are much more seasonal. THE energy storage is a response to this seasonality of needs, and some countries such as Denmark are already using it on a large scale. Which is not yet the case in France.
Comments collected by Pierre Thouverez
* I betray