THINKING IN THE CYCLE OF NATURE
For AustroCel Hallein, managing our water, air and soil responsibly is an integral part of our sustainable actions. We ensure the wood that we purchase is from sustainably- and responsiblymanaged forests which have the corresponding certification (PEFC). During our production processes, energy efficiency, the prevention of waste and short transport distances are key focal points of our actions.
With the products of pulp, bio-energy and bio-ethanol, all of which we produce on the basis of residual spruce wood from sustainably-managed forests, we see ourselves as being part of the cycle of nature. Our location, which nestles in a landscape characterised by mountains, forests, meadows and water, shows us the value of intact habitats, with their diverse ecosystems, each day. Based on this holistic, green approach, in terms of the environment, we do everything to work even better and on a more resource-efficient basis wherever possible as regards the limit values and legal requirements.
Our company is dedicated to a zero-waste approach, and as a bio-refinery, works hard to view all the material and energy flows generated in the production process as a valuable resource for the further creation of value, and to use them accordingly.
The responsible use of water
AustroCel Hallein has three wells of its own and is therefore able to supply itself with the fresh water it requires at its plant. The company makes continuous investments in measures for a further reduction in the consumption of water in all the processes at its plant, while focusing strongly on raising awareness at the same time. As a result, in recent years, it has been possible to achieve a continuous reduction in both the consumption of fresh water and the load of wastewater.
Working in cycles constitutes a particularly important approach. As a recent example, an investment has been made in a lukewarm water tank, which has been installed at the bio-ethanol plant. The water which circulates in it is used for the purposes of cooling. The wastewater is treated at the company’s biological wastewater treatment plant and discharged into the Salzach River through filters. For the remaining volumes of wastewater, AustroCel Hallein achieves values which correspond to the benchmarks of the best technologies available on the market, and sometimes performs even better.
Climate-neutral production as the goal
In terms of climate protection, AustroCel Hallein has set itself an ambitious goal: By 2030, its entire plant will operate free of CO2 from fossil fuels, and its production will take place on a climate-neutral basis. Since 1999, the plant’s annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have been falling: from approximately 156,000 tonnes to just 1,974 tonnes in 2020. The only fossil fuel currently used is natural gas, which is used to start up the boilers. Switching to remote monitoring will further reduce the use of this fuel for the boilers, before it is possible to changeover to renewable energy in full. The company is a partner of the Salzburg 2050 climate and energy strategy, and as a supplier of green electricity and district heating, it has made an important contribution to climate protection for several years.
We also participate in several projects which also generate organic CO2 through fermentation processes at our bio-ethanol plant for use in industrial applications – such as the food industry. In the long term, with its wide range of products and processes, AustroCel Hallein is set to absorb more CO2 than it emits.
Read the 2021 Sustainability Report here
The valuable raw material of wood
For AustroCel Hallein, spruce wood from sustainably managed forests constitutes the most important raw material. In this context, practically the only other wood that we use is residual sawmill chips from the wood industry, which is not suitable for higher-grade use. Approximately 90 percent of the wood used for the production of pulp is certified according to the strict standards of the PEFC. AustroCel Hallein sources its wood from companies within a radius of 150 kilometres, and therefore ensures short transport distances. Wherever possible and reasonable, the wood is taken to Hallein by rail. AustroCel Hallein also relies on regional purchasing and transport by rail for other raw materials, such as chemicals, auxiliary products and minerals.
Clean air, pure water, healthy soil
AustroCel Hallein has been making consistent investments for several years to reduce or prevent emissions to the air, water and soil. During this journey, which is a continuous improvement process, a lot has been achieved. The company complies with all the limit values for wastewater, air and noise emissions, and performs better than these in several areas. AustroCel Hallein aligns itself according to the benchmarks that are set by the best available technologies for the industry.
As the general traffic in Hallein – among others, due to its proximity to the Tauern motorway – creates a considerable amount of air pollution, AustroCel Hallein prioritises transport by rail and e-mobility, and encourages its employees to use public transport and job bicycles. In this respect, a direct transfer from the Burgfried public transport stop to the plant is set to make the S-Bahn rail link even more attractive. E-charging points at the plant and the changeover to energy-efficient loaders and forklifts are further building blocks which will contribute to improving the air quality in Hallein.