Hitachi Zosen Inova Replaces Superheaters at AVG Köln in Cologne

Early this year, German-based Hitachi Zosen Inova Kraftwerkstechnik successfully completed challenging revision work for the waste treatment company Abfallentsorgungs- und Verwertungsgesellschaft Köln mbH (AVG Köln), replacing superheaters five and six on all four lines of the Waste to Energy plant in Cologne. 

To ensure that only one line had to go out of operation at a time, enabling the other three to continue thermally treating waste produced in Cologne and the surrounding area, the project was split into four blocks of work from January to February. A total of 80 skilled specialists, welders, fitters and site managers worked on two-shift basis seven days a week. With 1,200 superheater pipes replaced on each line, 2,400 weld seams had to be expertly set and thoroughly checked. The top project priority was planning time and resources. The goal was to execute the individual sub-projects as quickly as possible to enable the plant to resume full operation. An additional challenge was to assure constant compliance with strict coronavirus measures during the revision, to contain the pandemic and protect the team. 

Thomas ter Horst, Managing Director of Hitachi Zosen Inova Kraftwerkstechnik: “Our team did a remarkable job here, managing to keep to the agreed schedule in all sub-projects. Given that superheaters are such a sensitive part of the water-steam cycle, the quality of the work was also decisive.” AVG Köln media spokesman Tilo Dumuscheit adds: “The most important thing for us is to avoid unscheduled plant outages and keep the revision as short as possible. The planning of the project, and the entire team, worked exceptionally well, and we’re now running at full capacity again as planned.” 

AVG Köln’s Waste to Energy plant generates around 450 million KWh of energy a year. Given the high proportion of renewable energy sources in the waste and the amount of fossil fuels saved in other areas, the installation reduces the city of Cologne’s carbon emissions by more than 100,000 tonnes per year. 

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Photo: Replacing the superheaters on all four lines of the AVG Köln energy-from-waste plant involved expertly setting and thoroughly checking 2,400 weld seams: demanding work requiring great accuracy and experience. Photo from Hitachi Zosen Inova Kraftwerkstechnik / Peter Lindel.