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The purpose of this report is to show our business partners, our employees and anyone interested in Steuler Linings where we stand with regard to sustainability, what steps we are taking and what challenges we face. We were naturally already aware of the individual topics; what is new is the perspective and overview of the environmental and social aspects of our company.
As a company working in an energy-intensive industry, we have long had an eye on our energy consumption, not least as it is associated with emissions and high costs. We took a major step forward with the investment in a new tunnel kiln, which has replaced the previous central kiln at our Höhr-Grenzhausen site. It enables us to reduce our gas consumption by 8,000 MWh and CO2 emissions by 1,500 tons per year while maintaining output levels. It is planned to replace the batch kilns with another very efficient high-temperature tunnel kiln (HTTK), which will contribute to additional energy savings and reductions in CO2 emissions.
In order to increase the share of electricity generated from renewables, an additional photovoltaic system is to be constructed in 2022, this time at our Höhr-Grenzhausen site.
Our products and services help to reduce the environmental footprint of our customers too. The transition to a low-carbon economy in the context of the Climate Protection Act and the goal of climate neutrality by 2045 involves embracing new approaches. In some industry sectors, this will mean switching to hydrogen as the energy source. To companies taking the first steps in this direction we offer engineering services and refractory bricks for producing "green steel" in direct reduction plants, among other things.
We have achieved a great deal in the past three years and, contrary to initial fears, have weathered the Covid pandemic well. The European Union and Germany have already set ambitious climate protection goals, and will presumably continue down this road. The other international markets are still lagging behind, however. So it will be important for Steuler Linings to adapt to meet the highly disparate requirements. A key factor in this will be to continue to impress in all markets with innovative products. Within the Steuler Group, which includes the Equipment Engineering and Tile Divisions in addition to Steuler Linings, the sustainability management concept is being developed further.