Phototheque VEOLIA - Stephane Lavoué

Hungary: what about visiting the biomass plant in Pécs?

Posted on 28 June 2016.

In 2015 the biomass cogeneration plant in Pécs, Hungary, opened a visitor center. In one year, 1300 visitors have already discovered its circular model.

An educational journey focusing on renewable energy’s circular model.

What about visiting a biomass cogeneration plant? It’s possible in Pécs, a city in southern Hungary. Proud of its local plant, in March 2015 Veolia opened a visitor center there. It’s a way of publically showcasing its technology and the latest advances in renewable energy and biomass.

A unique cogeneration plant

The cogeneration plant (electricity and heating) in Pécs was commissioned in 2013 to meet the city’s desire to upgrade its electricity power plant. Veolia’s idea? To replace the old plant, which ran on gas, with a biomass unit. 400,000 tonnes of wood and 180,000 tonnes of straw are consumed annually. The energy generated by combustion is sufficient to cover the city’s entire electricity and heating needs. This change means Pécs annually avoids the emission of 400,000 tonnes of CO2.

The plant makes Pécs one of the only cities in Europe to be completely energy independent - purely tapping local resources. The wood and straw is sourced from farms located near the city.

In 2014 the plant received an award from COGEN, the European cogeneration trade association, which voted it the best plant Europe in the "market development" category.

A visitor center as a world showcase

After receiving the award in March 2015, Veolia opened a visitor center on the site. The goal: to pass on its unique knowledge of biomass and renewable energy. But also to disseminate as widely as possible information that is often reserved for scientists.

Using visual media and interactive games, visitors are able to understand renewable energy’s circular model. The information is suitable for all ages and all levels of knowledge. The center is therefore able to host adults and children, experts and beginners. In addition the 150 m2 complex has been built in a separate building in order to accommodate children under 14, who are not allowed to enter the factory. After a year, the center has already had more than 1300 visitors through the door. The Pécs biomass plant has become an edutainment attraction in itself!