Pellet producer Graanul Invest buys Genk-Langerlo power plant in Belgium

Graanul Invest buys Genk-Langerlo power plant in Belgium /Lennart Ljungblom / 2016-06-09 / Estonian headquartered fast growing pellets and energy producer AS Graanul Invest has overtaken the Belgian power plant Langerlo NV in Genk, Flandern from Peter Leibold, owner of the now insolvent pellet group German Pellets. Peter Leibold bought the plant as late as in January from the German power group E.on. The coal plant is intended to convert to biomass. An investment of about 250 million euros is to be made to switch to pellet burning units according to information from the company, When fully converted the plant will use 1.8 million ton pellets yearly.

“The Langerlo power plant project is a big step forward in our company’s development. We have been on a lookout for projects like this for a couple of years already. I hope that by carrying out this project we are able to prove that sustainable use of biomass is one of the best ways to make use of existing energy infrastructure and a viable and solid alternative to whatever other renewable energy technologies,” Graanul Invest board chairman Raul Kirjanen said.

A support measure has been assigned to the Langerlo plant in the form of green certificates to convert the coal burning units to wood pellet burning units. Working at full capacity, the plant will use 1.8 million tons of pellets per year.

The conversion of the plant that covers about 8 percent of the electricity needs of the Flanders region must be completed by fall 2018. The price and terms and conditions of the transaction are confidential. The investment into conversion of the plant is in the range of 250 million euros.

“I am glad that a capable investor has been found for this project who has strong expertise in forestry, production of pellets, logistics and energy alike. We hope that Graanul Invest is able to continue the project and bring it to a successful conclusion,” said the manager of the Langerlo plant, Marc Rommens.

Graanul Invest is the largest pellet producer in Europe with production units in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also active in North America through Rentech Graanul LLC. As late as last year they expanded with four more pellet production units through the acquisition of the pellet producer SIA Latgran. In 2015 they also started the largest pellet production plant so far the 250 000 t/y unit in Võrumaa, Estonia. The business model now used by Graanul Invest includes vertical expansion and when possible they integrate CHP, Combined Heat and Power production, with pellet production.

Since May 2016, all Latvian pellet plants of Graanul Invest group hold certificates of conformity to the internationally recognized Energy Management Systems, ISO 50 001 standard and since April certification assessment of compliance with the Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) standard.

AS Graanul Invest is a privately owned company, established in  2003, and operates in the fields of forestry, development of bioenergy and production of renewable energy. Graanul Invest group includes 11 large and modern pellet factories, two sales organisations, four combined heat and power plants (CHP plants) and three companies engaged in forest management and harvesting. They employs 501 persons.

Genk-langerlo power plant is located alongside the Prince Albert Channel in eastern Belgium close to the city of Maastricht. the plant has a capacity of 656 megawatts, of which 86 megawatts is gas-powered and 470 megawatts coal-powered. /Lennart Ljungblom / 2016-06-09 /