Renewable energy from Christmas trees

The sustainable tradition continues in Pécs for the warmth of homes

In 2024, Pannon Hőerőmű Zrt. will continue the successful practice of the past years and accept the collected pine waste after the Christmas period. As a member of the Veolia group, following the circular economy approach, the Pécs power plant creates an opportunity to use the thrown away Christmas trees in the form of biomass after the holidays. As a key economic player in the city, the power plant provides district heating for more than 31,500 apartments and 480 public institutions, and the energy utilization of the Christmas trees accumulated during the New Year period contributes to the realization of the circular economic model.

At the Pécs power plant of Veolia Energia Magyarország Zrt., it has been a tradition to collect the thrown out Christmas trees after the holidays in the surrounding towns and use them for energy purposes. Therefore, the Christmas tree rescue campaign will take place again this year.

Every year, the Hungarian population puts up nearly 2 million live fir trees for the holidays, but with the arrival of January, the Christmas trees that are no longer needed end up on the street or, in the worst case, in landfills, which is not a suitable solution, since fir waste is difficult to compost and takes up a lot of space in landfills. Pannon Hőerőmű Zrt., which belongs to the Veolia group, however, will accept unwanted trees thrown onto the streets around Pécs this year as well and recycle them as biomass in the city's power plant. The trees, although in a changed form, can contribute to the warmth of homes in Pécs after the holiday season, thus ensuring the efficiency of the circular economy.

Biokom Nonprofit Kft., the local waste management company, will take care of the collection of the trees in the coming period according to their own schedule, so the residents of Pécs will only have to place the trees in front of their homes. In order to ensure the smoothness of the chopping work, it is important that when residents place the trees at the collection points, they should be freed from all objects - candy, plastic decorations, garlands and string of lights - that are not biomass raw materials.

The fir trees intended for disposal are chipped using mobile chipping machines in the fuel yard of the power plant and then the woodchips, due to their high resin content, are mixed with other fuels, such as agricultural by-products and forest wood chips, in order to improve efficiency and protect the boilers.

The power plant can produce a significant amount of clean and green energy by reusing tens of thousands of Christmas trees collected throughout the city. The expected 35-40 tons of pine waste will be able to provide enough energy to heat approximately 85 flats for a whole month.

 "The Veolia group is committed to sustainability and the widest possible utilization of renewable energy sources. From the point of view of real action, the periods when significantly more usable waste is generated are extremely important. Pannon Hőerőmű Zrt., with its Christmas tree collection campaign, not only provides the locals with a renewable energy source, but also helps waste management by completely freeing the streets and landfills of discarded, withered trees", said Péter Rudolf, the managing director of  Pannon Hőerőmű Zrt., the operator of the power plant.

Pannon Hőerőmű Zrt. provides heating for 31,500 apartments and 480 institutions in Pécs. The residents of the town can count on such actions centering on circular economy following the festive period and on a reliable district heating supply.