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Irsching celebration, with power plant model: State Secretary Jochen Homann, Mayor Martin Schmid, EON-Energie board member Dr. Ingo Luge, Minister President Horst Seehofer, ex EON supervisory board member Ulrich Hartmann and Siemens Energy CEO Dr. Michael Süß (from left to right).
Big success for German energy research

View into the heart of Irsching 4: the most efficient gas turbine in the world (SGT5-8000H)
© Siemens

Prototype for high-performance power plants: the Ulrich Hartmann plant in Irsching

Inauguration of the most efficient power plant in the world

Government and industry representatives jointly inaugurated the high-efficiency Combine-Cycle power plant (CCPP) in Irsching in the vicinity of Ingolstadt. Incorporating high-tech components, such as the latest gas turbine manufactured by Siemens, the power plant is currently the most modern of its kind. Its total capacity is 561 megawatts and its electrical efficiency factor over 60 per cent – a world first. Further technological innovations allow the power plant to adapt to fluctuations in electricity demand.

According to Jochen Homann, State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the Irsching power plant is a huge success for Germany as an energy technologies centre. “Several aspects of the new power plant are perfectly in line with the German Federal Government’s energy concept. Aside from the development of electricity grids and storage tanks, we also require efficient and flexible power plants to guarantee secure energy supply at all times.” Future-oriented power plant technologies are among the focal points of the German Government’s new energy research programme that was adopted in August 2011 under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. Among other points, the programme also calls for high-efficiency, flexible and low-emission power plant technologies. Such power plants are vital for the stability of the German energy supply system. Furthermore, the respective technologies represent important export products. Approximately 80 per cent of all German-produced turbomachinery are sold abroad. In the last 25 years, the German share of the world market rose from 15 per cent to over 30 per cent. The technologies on which this new plant generation is based go back to developments made since the end of the 1990s. The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology supported these developments in the context of its energy research programmes and made funds available in the amount of 19 million euros.

Baptism of the Ulrich Hartmann Combine-Cycle power plant

The new power plant in the vicinity of Ingolstadt has been named after Ulrich Hartmann. In choosing this name, EON, the operator, is following a tradition adhered to by its predecessor companies which named power plants after personalities that had made a particular contribution to the company. Ulrich Hartmann worked for EON for 39 years, most recently as chairman of the supervisory board. Innovative developments in the field of turbine and boiler technologies combined with proven technologies allow the Ulrich Hartmann power plant to achieve higher combustion temperatures and thus higher efficiency than any other Combine-Cycle power plant. The high temperatures in the gas turbine are controlled via progressive blade materials, heat-resistant coatings and optimised air cooling of the turbine blades. The turbine can deal with large load changes, allowing it to adapt swiftly to fluctuations in demand.

Siemens hands over record plant to EON

In mid-September, high-ranking representatives of EON, the operator, and Siemens, which was responsible for building the power plant, inaugurated and baptised Block 4 of the Irsching power plant in the presence of the Bavarian Minister President Horst Seehofer. The 561-MW plant (net) has been in commercial operation since July 2011 and has already reached 9,000 hours of operation (including the preceding test phase). Thanks to its record efficiency of 60.4 per cent and its low nitrogen oxide emissions, Irsching 4 is the most environmentally friendly power plant based on the conversion of fossil fuels into energy. Compared to the average natural gas consumption of the Combine-Cycle power plants currently installed worldwide, the plant consumes one-third less gas per kilowatt hour generated and emits approximately one-third less carbon dioxide. Furthermore, the plant stands out for its high operational flexibility, a factor that is gaining importance given the increasing feed-in of fluctuating wind energy. In his inauguration speech, Dr. Michael Süß, CEO Siemens Energy Sector, stated: “I can promise you that we at Siemens will continue our research and development activities. The record efficiency we have now reached does not mark the end of our ambitions.”

Further information regarding this successful research in the context of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology’s COORETEC initiative is available on KraftwerkForschung.info.


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