Skip to main content
Solvay-Werk Rheinberg mit Woodpower - Photo Johannes Kefferpütz

Solvay to phase out coal for energy use in Rheinberg soda ash plant

Share to

Part of the Solvay One Planet strategic roadmap, the Rheinberg plant's coal exit will establish a new global sustainability reference for soda ash production worldwide

Brussels, May 5, 2021

Solvay is announcing plans to completely phase out the use of thermal coal at its soda ash plant in Rheinberg, Germany. 

After commissioning a first biomass boiler, which will go into operation in May 2021, Solvay is unveiling plans to build a second biomass boiler, which will complete the thermal coal phase-out by 2025 and make Rheinberg the first soda ash plant in the world to be powered primarily by renewable energy. Both biomass boilers use scrap waste wood chips - a mixture of used wood, from industrial residues and demolition - as fuel to produce steam and electricity.

“Solvay is a market leader in soda ash and sodium bicarbonate and with these investments, we will ensure that Rheinberg is producing sustainably and competitively to benefit our customers in the long term and instill pride among our employees,” explains Philippe Kehren, President of Solvay Soda Ash & Derivatives.

These projects will reduce CO2 emissions at the Rheinberg soda ash plant by 65% relative to 2018. Further, the investment will set a new sustainability reference: greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted in Rheinberg will reach levels below plants producing natural trona soda ash. 

"This is the first plant to exit coal since we launched our Solvay One Planet roadmap, and the first in our history to switch to biomass. I’m proud that it will establish a new reference as the lowest emitting soda ash plant in the world,"explains Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri. "We are walking the talk and delivering on our commitment to eliminate coal energy wherever possible by 2030. The project will structurally reduce Solvay’s greenhouse gas emissions by 4%, bringing us closer to achieving our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26% by 2030. This is good for the planet and for our long term competitiveness.”

About Solvay Soda Ash & Derivatives

Solvay Soda Ash & Derivatives is a global business unit of Solvay. As a world leader in its markets, it provides a global, secured and sustainable supply of soda ash to its customers manufacturing glass for building, automotive, solar panels and packaging applications, as well as detergents and chemicals. It also develops solutions based on sodium bicarbonate for the health care, food, animal feed and flue gas cleaning markets. Solvay Soda Ash & Derivatives has 11 industrial sites worldwide, more than 3,200 employees and serves 120 countries.

About Solvay 

Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 23,000 employees in 64 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet plan crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering  better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €9 billion in 2020. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels (SOLB) and Paris and in the United States, where its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a Level I ADR program. Learn more at

Media relations

Investor relations