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Towering Turbine Harnessing the Wind for Pfizer in Puurs

Towering Turbine Harnessing the Wind for Pfizer in Puurs

By Rania Richardson, PfizerWorld Correspondent Network

Towering Turbine Harnessing the Wind for Pfizer in Puurs
Pfizer's towering wind turbine under
construction in Puurs

Pfizer Global Supply (PGS) is installing a 45 story-tall wind turbine at its facility in Puurs that will serve as a beacon for the Flemish region of Belgium, as well as an alternative energy source that will reduce consumption, lower emissions and save the company $1.4 million annually.

With a tip height of 150 meters (492 feet), the turbine will begin supplying 12 percent of the annual electricity consumed at Puurs on June 15 to coincide with Global Wind Day, an awareness campaign to promote wind energy worldwide. The project also supports the company's "Green Journey" by helping reduce reliance on non-renewable resources.

"Initiatives are based on the feasibility for each site and the support of the government," said Dirk Koyen, PGS Project Leader in Belgium. "There is good support from our government for wind energy. They will credit us with green certificates worth 106 EUR (150 U.S. dollars) for every megawatt-hour of power we generate."

Government credits and the elimination of electric bills will result in an annual cost benefit to Pfizer of 1 million EUR, or approximately $1.4 million. The price of the wind turbine and its installation is 3,680,000 EUR, or just over $5.2 million, with an annual maintenance cost of 52,000 EUR, or $73,510.

"Designed like airplane wings, wind turbine blades use lift to capture the wind's energy," Koyen wrote in his specifications for the project. "Because of the blade's special shape, the wind creates a pocket of pressure as it passes behind the blade. This pressure pulls the blade, causing the turbine to rotate. The spinning blades are attached to the generator either directly or through a series of gears. As the generator spins, electricity is produced at low voltage and varying frequency."

Energy credits are a result of a mandate from the European Union to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty created by the United Nations aimed at fighting global warming. The Puurs wind turbine will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3,000 metric tons per year by eliminating the burning of fossil fuel.

The wind turbine is not the first green venture for the Aseptic Manufacturing, Packaging and Supply facility in Puurs. The site received a Pfizer Environment, Health and Safety award in 2009 for developing a package design concept that uses less plastic and less material overall. Last year the facility installed a Combined Heat and Power Generation unit, which provides 40 percent of the site's yearly electricity consumption and additional cost and environmental benefits.