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Cooling with heat

News 18. January 2016

As Ritter’s system partner, CADCON was responsible for a new CHP system that not only generates energy but also contributes to cooling during plastic production. The result is already noticeable: The system covers around a third of the customer’s energy needs. Planning for another CHP module has already begun.

Ritter GmbH, based in Schwabmünchen, was founded in 1965 and has made a name for itself with high-quality plastic products from the cartridge, medical technology, and gardening and landscaping areas in its 50 years of existence. Sustainable environmental protection is an important issue for Ritter, Concerning both the use of toxin-free and, where possible, biodegradable plastics and energy efficiency. For example, the fully automated energy control system for lighting, ventilation, and heat in the new production building was nominated for the 2013 LEW Innovation Prize. It was therefore not surprising that Ritter has been thinking about further optimizations in power supply. A suitable partner for planning and implementation was quickly found – the technology service provider CADCON. Eckhard Kühn, project manager in the energy and environmental technology business area, describes the initial situation: “The conditions at Ritter were ideal: Since plastic injection moulding requires not only a lot of electrical energy, but also cold for cooling, a combined heat and power solution, or CHP, was an obvious choice.” And a very efficient one: Gas becomes electricity, heat, and cold The CHP system developed for Ritter uses the two gas motors employed to generate electricity (2 × 530 kWel) to produce not only heat for heating, but also cooling in the production process. To achieve this, a large part of the waste heat (up to 84%) is converted to cold by means of an absorption refrigeration. A positive side effect is that the removal of a significant amount of groundwater, which was previously necessary for the cooling process, can now be dispensed with. “On the path from the initial idea to commissioning, there were, of course, several challenges to be met – both technical ones and in dealing with government agencies,” says Managing Director Ralf Ritter. But, with system partner CADCON, all impediments were cleared away. The result is already noticeable: About a third of the energy required on site can be covered by cheap self-generated energy that is also government-funded (Cogeneration Protection Law). This not only benefits the company’s balance sheet, but also has a positive effect on the environment’s CO2 burden. It is therefore not surprising that Ritter and CADCON have already begun planning another CHP module.