News – What`s happening in energy research

read short description
subscribe News

At the Dresden Congress Centre, TUD Institute Director Antonio Hurtado moderates questions about research funding.
© BINE Informationsdienst
Beneficial network for science and business

Annual gathering of power plant technicians

"Within the next ten years, the number of load changes in large-scale power plants will double." In his opening speech, Professor Michael Beckmann outlined a central task for power plant technology, namely to flexibly ensure grid stability without overly reducing the service life of turbo engines. Each year, his Institute for Energy Technology at the Technical University of Dresden organises a conference at which hundreds of experts discuss a wide range of issues spanning from solar power plants to nuclear technology.

In October 2011, the 43rd Conference on Power Plant Technology bundled the interests of more than 600 delegates in 68 presentations and 41 posters. The business sector was represented by 32 companies.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, State Secretary Katharina Reiche described the future of the power plant sector. “The regulation of the power plant output will not be the exception as in the past but will become the rule.” However, she also pointed out that with renewable energy making up just 45 gigawatts (GW) of the total installed power plant capacity in Germany, which amounts to more than 160 GW, it should also be noted that “the laws of physics cannot be defied.” According to Reiche, Germany still requires fossil fuel power plants to ensure a stable power supply. For this reason, the German government is considering whether to establish a funding programme, since, without further investment, around 8 GW of power plant capacity could be lacking in 2022.

The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) also had good news for the gathered researchers and developers. “The BMWi wants to support business and science in the pre-competitive development of energy sector-relevant power plant technologies,” announced senior government official Arne Höll from the BMWi, since the German government has identified energy research as an important prerequisite for implementing the energy revolution. For this reason, considerably more funding will be made available for energy efficiency and renewable energies. From 2011 to 2014, the German government wants to provide funding amounting to 3.5 billion euros. Between 2006 and 2009, 1.9 billion euros were provided.

The 44th Conference on Power Plant Technology will take place on 23 and 24 October 2012. The planned themes are similar to this year’s. When it comes to CCS technologies, the researchers are waiting for a viable legal regulation for underground CO2 storage systems. With nuclear energy systems, transmutation processes can simplify the final storage of highly radioactive waste. However, energy storage systems have yet to prove their economic viability because the electricity prices on the spot market do not currently cover the costs for the storage systems. Power plant technology-related new-build schemes and pilot projects are also on the agenda, as are the findings from process simulations and measurement technology. As with the turbine technology, renewable and decentralised energy supply systems are also concerned with optimising the impacts of frequent load changes, considerable output fluctuations and sustained operation with minimum loads. In addition, the slagging and corrosion of steam generators remain a recurrent issue in power plant technology.


BINE subscription

Subscribe to newsletter