Biotta relies on domestic wood as energy source

We are climate-friendly – thanks to a lighthouse project unique in all of Switzerland. The introduction of a new woodchip heating system reduces our CO2 emissions by a total of 2,500 tons per year.

Forests cover large ar­eas of the Seerücken ridge south of Lake Con­stance. The woods per­form some im­por­tant tasks, pro­vid­ing a wel­come habi­tat for an­i­mals and plants, while also mak­ing a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to our nat­ural en­vi­ron­ment. And since late au­tumn 2019 the forest­land has also been the source of im­por­tant raw ma­te­ri­als for Biotta. With our new wood­chip heat­ing sys­tem, we rely en­tirely on the re­gen­er­a­tive raw ma­te­r­ial of wood from the re­gion to gen­er­ate en­ergy. Parts of the trees that are not us­able as valu­able tim­ber (branches, tree­tops, mal­formed trunks) are chopped up and fed into the com­bus­tion process as un­treated for­est wood. The an­nual tim­ber growth in the en­tire can­ton of Thur­gau amounts to 175,000 cu­bic me­tres, enough to fill 70 Olympic-size swim­ming pools. The new wood­chip heat­ing sys­tem uses around three per cent of that amount per year.

Working together for greater sustainability

As a Swiss or­ganic pi­o­neer, Biotta wanted to re­place heat­ing oil as an en­ergy source due to the high amount of CO2 it pro­duces. The heat­ing sys­tem had to be up­dated any­way, so the tim­ing was ideal. By chance, the neigh­bour­ing com­pany Rathgeb Bio was also look­ing for the most eco­nom­i­cal way to gen­er­ate heat us­ing re­new­able en­er­gies. The two com­pa­nies share a fo­cus on or­ganic agri­cul­ture and the pur­suit of in­no­v­a­tive, sus­tain­able so­lu­tions, so the de­ci­sion to work to­gether on this pro­ject came eas­ily. From its found­ing in 1957 un­til to­day, re­spect for na­ture and peo­ple has al­ways been a cen­tral prin­ci­ple for Biotta. This sense of who we are guides all of our en­tre­pre­neur­ial de­ci­sions. “Our WHY Biotta puts into words the cor­po­rate phi­los­o­phy we have lived by for decades. Our or­ganic ori­en­ta­tion laid the cor­ner­stone for this phi­los­o­phy – and con­vert­ing our plant to a more sus­tain­able en­ergy source to­day is the log­i­cal con­se­quence,” says Clemens Rüt­ti­mann, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Biotta. Thanks to the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, the new wood­chip heat­ing sys­tem saves a to­tal of 2,500 tons of CO2 per year.

State-of-the-art technology

The wood­chip heat­ing sys­tem has a nom­i­nal ca­pac­ity of 2.4 megawatts (MW). In com­par­i­son, this would be enough en­ergy to make 168,000 cups of cof­fees, lis­ten to the ra­dio for 240,000 hours, or work on a lap­top for 120,000 hours. An up­stream con­trol sys­tem en­sures that the sys­tem al­ways de­liv­ers the de­sired amount of heat, tak­ing into ac­count the amount of en­ergy re­quired and the ef­fects of the weather. To re­cover the en­ergy con­tained in the ex­haust, the flue gases are con­densed and then cleaned in a wet elec­tro­sta­tic pre­cip­i­ta­tor. As a re­sult, the level of fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter that re­mains is well un­der the le­gal limit. The sys­tem also com­plies with all other limit val­ues. And all that rises out of the chim­ney is wa­ter vapour.

Ac­cord­ing to Clemens Rüt­ti­mann, the wood­chip heat­ing sys­tem meets Biot­ta’s in­ter­nally de­fined en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity tar­gets – green en­ergy and less CO2. With this “pro­ject for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions”, as he calls it, Biotta has ded­i­cated it­self to pro­tect­ing the cli­mate and is in a po­si­tion to pur­sue far into the fu­ture the eco­log­i­cal vi­sion that has al­ways shaped the com­pany in the spirit of WHY Biotta.