A new power plant at Hille & Müller, part of Tata Steel’s plating business based in Dusseldorf, Germany, has halved energy costs, claims the company.

The new combined and heat power (CHP) plant will reduce annual energy costs by about €1 million (£750,000) and cut CO2 emissions of by almost 50%.

Hille & Müller employs 275 people and is a leading European producer of specialised steel used to case household and car batteries. It was also the first company in the world to produce electroplated steel strip.

In addition to producing electricity, Tata Steel’s €2.8 million (£2.1m) gas-fuelled CHP plant turns by-product heat into steam, which is used in manufacturing processes as well as to heat buildings for employees. It will also reduce CO2 from the site by the equivalent emissions of about 2,000 homes.

Hille & Müller’s managing director in Düsseldorf, Friedmar Schhittko, said it was the company’s long-term aim to be self-sufficient in energy in order to improve competitiveness and become more resource-friendly.

“In future we will be able to produce about half of our own electricity in Düsseldorf – about 13 megaWatt hours per year. This is equivalent to supplying almost 3,000 households with electricity,” Schhitko said, adding that the company was also looking into whether it can supply heat to neighbouring businesses.

The CHP plant is now fully operational and consists of two high-temperature boilers and a power-heat co-generation facility. The 2,500bhp engine (equivalent to about 25 car engines) for the power-heat co-generation runs on natural gas and produces approximately 2,000 kW of electricity. The plant also produces about 2,000 kW of by-product heat, which is turned into steam and used in manufacturing processes and to heat buildings for employees.

According to Tata Steel, the CHP plant is just one component of the company’s energy management strategy.

Hille & Müller has also implemented an energy management system according to ISO 50001 standard, certified by the technical control board (TÜV).