Weisweiler power plant
The Weisweiler power-plant location in the Rhenish lignite-mining area near the town of Eschweiler looks back on a long tradition: it starts with the beginnings of lignite mining in 1909. In 1913, the construction of a lignite-based power station at Weisweiler was resolved for the first time, and power was generated here from 1914 until its shutdown in 1975.
First power generation in 1955
The first electricity was generated at today's Weisweiler power plant in 1955. By 1975, eight units had been commissioned. Starting in the mid-1980s, all units were equipped with flue-gas desulphurization (FGD) systems and their boilers converted with the aim of lowering NOx emissions (denoxing). The work was completed in 1989.
Gas turbines commissioned
Since then, a series of further projects has been on the work schedule: retrofit measures for the turbines, extraction of district heat as well as the link-up to the nearby refuse-incineration plant (RIP), improved FGD gypsum for further utilization by the construction industry (fine particle discharge) and sewage-sludge co-combustion (since 2000).
In 2006/2007, RWE Power AG commercially commissioned two topping-gas turbines at the 600-MW units G and H of the Weisweiler power plant. They have a net output of 190 MW and are upstream of the lignite-fired units.
Coal supplemented by gas
The topping-gas turbines are an energy-efficient supplement for lignite-based electricity generation at the existing power-plant location: they are operated jointly with the existing systems, thus enabling the dispatch of a base-load power station in the intermediate and peak load. Here, gas does not oust coal, but supplements it. The lignite units are continuously used as in the past to generate base-load electricity.
Steam withdrawn for power generation
By exploiting the waste heat of the two gas turbines in the lignite units G and H, the electric output can be raised by an additional 80 MW each. The steam previously extracted from the lignite units' turbines to heat the feedwater is additionally available to generate electricity. The investment volume for the two topping-gas turbines totals €150 million.