Offering an ecosystem of services
Since 2016, the Veolia Industrial Park in western Germany has been supplying 25 industrial and commercial enterprises with a range of integrated services, including power, water, steam, compressed air, sewage treatment and logistics services. The park’s managing directors Harald Kunkler and Stefan Langer share how they have taken on the challenge of developing this approach in the first large-scale example of its kind in the country.
What makes this project innovative?
One of our aims is to bring our business lines together, as customers often have a wide range of service demands.
Here we have the chance to put this convergence into practice, providing the infrastructure and utilities to serve a number of companies in one location.
Having operations for several clients on one site allows us to find synergies that make our services more efficient and cost-effective. This integration is something unique that Veolia can deliver.
What was your role been in making it happen?
The park was an acquisition, so I was involved in bringing it into the Veolia system. I mainly deal with the financial and administrative side of things, but I am also responsible for infrastructure management and logistics.
As an engineer, I am responsible for the energy and water operations. Harald and I share the task of business development – I focus on extra technical services that we could deliver to our customers.
What is it like working together?
Stefan’s engineering expertise has been really valuable. It’s important to have a partner I can trust on the technical details. His connections have also been a big help: he always knows who to ask for technical expertise.
The successful transition into Veolia is a credit to Harald’s experience. He also has a very clear vision of organisational efficiency, which he has brought into this new entity.
What has the biggest challenge been?
A big issue was that there was a kind of standstill in the previous organisation as they knew they were going to be sold. So we needed to convince the team that this was a new era and prove our willingness to invest in their ideas.
Winning the confidence of the people running the operations and showing them we need their expertise to develop the business. We’ve worked hard to build a relationship of trust.
What has most motivated you?
The integration into Veolia went extremely smooth. No one believed it would work as well as it has, which has been very positive for everyone here.
We’ve actually exceeded our performance expectations.
A highlight for me has been the implementation of an innovative new micro-gas turbine. This was an idea that came from the team.
What positive impact will it have?
As an industrial operator, we’re also an active part of the community. One project we’re working on closely with the municipality is to rehabilitate previously polluted land within the park perimeter to find a new use for it.
The micro-gas turbine allows us to produce our own electrical power, so we don’t have to purchase electricity, which is heavily levied and taxed in Germany. The waste heat generated can also be used to produce steam, so the overall efficiency is very high. This solution reduces electrical costs significantly, which will generate excellent cost savings.
How do you see the future?
For me, a major priority is to use the park to develop more environmentally friendly services. Our planet is suffering, and our main responsibility is to make things better in the future than they were in the past.
We need to keep increasing our resource efficiency. There are a number of solutions being developed within Veolia that we can implement here. We are currently deploying synergies with the industries located in the park to reuse waste heat and develop other ways to save water and energy.