German Utility Prepares for Jenbacher Gas Engines
German utility Energie SaarLorLux (ESL) is preparing for the arrival by road of the first of five generating engines in Saarbrucken which will form the heart of a gas power plant. The first is due March 10 and the last on March 16.
ESL began converting its Romerbrucke combined heat and power (CHP) plant from coal to gas as its primary fuel in 2003. The commissioning of the additional, new gas power plant in 2022 will result in the complete phaseout of coal which lately has only been used to cover peak loads.
The five Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engines have an output totalling 50 MW and an overall efficiency of up to 92%. In the years ahead, the plant will be able to supply around 65,000 households with electricity and 13,000 homes with district heating.
Replacing coal with gas will eliminate more than 60,000 metric tons/yr of CO2 while further ahead there are plans to run the plants on hydrogen, "something that is already possible here and now,” Innio Jenbacher said.
The engines can be ramped up to full load in less than five minutes and so play an important part in stabilising the grid. The engines can also help stabilise the grid in the event of an impending blackout, and the manufacturer claimed the use of its engine helped prevent major blackout in Europe earlier this year.
Germany intends to phase out coal entirely by 2038 at the latest; in this coming year alone, coal-fired power plants with a total output of 12.5 GW are projected to go offline.