The MVM Mátra Energy Co.
From 1 July 2021 Mátrai Erőmű Zrt. (Mátra Power Plant Co.) continues to operate as MVM Mátra Energia Zrt. (MVM Mátra Energy Co.). With its more modern and dynamic name, the company intends to emphasize its belonging to the MVM Group as well as a complex transformation programme.
Having been in operation since 1969, Mátra Power Plant is the only significant electricity generating power plant based on domestic primary energy source (lignite) in Hungary. With its total installed capacity of 950 MW it is the second largest electricity producer in our country and plays an important role in some system regulating processes. In the year 2020 the power plant produced 4 116 GWh electricity, which provides approximately 15 % of the total national power generation. Fuel for the lignite-fired units of the power plant is delivered from its own open-pit mines from Visonta and Bükkábrány, where a total of 5.5 million m3 of lignite was excavated in 2020.
The power plant has been producing renewable energy since 2002, which proves its significant contribution to achieving the sustainability indicators undertaken within the European Union. In order to reduce its CO2 – emission, the company also burns biomass mixed to the fuel in the proportion of 11-12 %. By possessing the professional experience, the know-how as well as the special technology, its subsidiaries are important pillars of the company’s vision. In addition to serving the power plant and the mines, these companies (Geosol Kft., MEKK Kft., MEBM Kft.) have marketable production and service capacities, which provide a solid basis for the implementation of the industrial development programme in the region.
With its 2,000 employees, MVM Mátra Energia Zrt. is one of the largest employers of the region. Together with its subsidiaries and partners of its industrial park, it supports the livelihood of about 3,000 families. That is why it is essential to maintain jobs during the transition to an environmentally friendly operation, and to make them sustainable in a longer term. Realising the green vision of the facility, phasing-out coal technology is also in line with the objectives of the EU Energy and Climate Policy, which provides opportunities for the company to apply for significant EU funding during the transition. Retaining employees longer in work remains a key priority even after the phase-out of coal-based power generation. The current mining activity will partly turn into recultivation following the year 2025, thus some of the miners can be employed further in the mining sites. In addition, workers of the Mátra will have an important role in the preparation tasks of the implementation of the planned state-of-the-art power plant units.
In 2007 an industrial park connected to Mátra Power Plant was established on a plot consisting of 259 ha core area and 23.4 ha development area, which administratively belongs partly to Visonta and partly to Halmajugra municipalities. It is bordered on the north-east by the reservoir of Markaz, on the east by agricultural area belonging to the municipality of Markaz, on the south by landscaped mining area returned to agricultural cultivation, and on the west by forest area and vineyards planted on landscaped mine-dumps belonging to the municipality of Visonta.
The firms and production companies settled right next to the power plant based their business intentions on the available commodity supplies, including cheap electricity and the existing infrastructure, utilizing by-products resulting from the operation of the power plant, and biomass co-firing projects. In order to utilize by-products, companies producing plasterboard and alpha-semi-hydrate settled in the nearby area of the power plant, furthermore, a biodiesel- , bioethanol producing plant is also operating in the industrial park, which requires steam and power from the Mátra.
30-year-long modernization programme
Mátra Power Plant and its subsidiaries were acquired by the MVM Group on 26 March 2020. The objective of the owner is to transform the now out-of-date and inefficiently operating power-generating facility into a modern, carbon-saving system, which has economical production. The coal-fired power plant is responsible for 14 % of the total domestic carbon-dioxide emission, so it is essential to develop its technology in order to support achieving Hungary’s carbon-neutral goals of 2050 in line with the National Energy and Climate Policy. The professional background of the parent company guarantees the smooth operation of the supply system during the transition process. Realising the green vision of the company, phasing-out coal technology is in line with the objectives of the EU Energy and Climate Policy as well, which provides opportunities for the company to apply for significant EU funding for the transition. The lignite-fired units are planned to be phased-out by the end of 2025, and new production units will have been involved in power generation by that time.
5 pillars of the modernization programme:
- Combined Cycle Gas Turbine unit of ~500 MWe capacity (CCGT)
Installation of a natural gas-fired power generating gas turbine unit, which has high efficiency, low CO2 intensity and can be regulated flexibly. In the future the unit can be suitable to use hydrogen as fuel in a ratio of 30-50% resulting further significant reduction of CO2. Its annual electricity generation will be nearly 4 TWh. By replacing lignite-firing capacity with natural gas, we can save 6 % of the total yearly CO2 emission of Hungary.
- RDF/biomass-fired unit of 31.5 MW capacity
At present the power plant generates electricity of ~480 GWh/year by burning biomass/RDF of ~400,000 t/year. By the planned shut-down of all lignite-fired units in 2025, the energetic utilization of this amount of biomass/RDF would be terminated, as currently we use the same technology for firing all these fuels. It makes the further development and extension of the existing supply system and infrastructure reasonable. The operation of the new RDF/biomass unit will be realised in line with the objectives of the National Waste Management Strategy.
- Implementation of photovoltaic solar parks with the capacity of 200 MW on recultivated mining areas
New solar parks with maximum 2 x ~ 100 MWe capacities are planned to be implemented in the area of Visonta and Bükkábrány mines depending on terrain conditions. Reclamation of the mines can begin in 2026, and its schedule will determine the synchronized schedule of PV installation terms.
- CCS pilot project – CO2 capture and storage
Realization of a pilot project using CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) technology is also among our plans, which is suitable for further utilization of the available strategic lignite resources, and can prepare the ground for the installation of a commercial-scale CCS power plant unit later on.
- Industry development
The fifth pillar of our modernization programme is based on the special production and service capacities of Mátra Power Plant and its subsidiaries. Technological transition of the power plant will be realised in the framework of a complex area development programme, which secures keeping the available skilled staff longer in work. The goal of area development is to provide a liveable natural and predictable economic environment for both the population and the employers.