Increasing the steam parameters
Less fuel input, less CO2 emissions – a generation of lignite- and hard coal-fired power plants with efficiencies of more than 50% constitute huge progress within the meaning of sustainable and environmentally sparing developments. With the project COMTES+ "Component Test Facility Plus” as follow-up projects of the component test facility in the hard coal-fired power plant Scholven (COMTES 700), this aim has come a good deal closer.
Acting jointly with partners inside Germany and from abroad, and promoted by the Federal Government and the European Union, our engineers are testing in test facilities in Germany and Italy the materials and power plant components of tomorrow – components that can be reliably used even at temperatures of more than 700°C and under high pressure.
Why 700°C? Anyone out to increase – compared with today's standard – the steam conditions in coal-fired power plants to such a temperature level while reaching a pressure of 350 bar will also drive up efficiency: theoretically, by four percentage points. In previous plants, like the new hard coal-fired twin unit in Hamm, max. 46% is possible. Future power plants will reach efficiencies beyond 50%. Europe's average of approx. 36% is well below this value. This being so, the development of efficiency-boosting technologies for a 700°C power plant is an important goal for RWE.
Besides RWE's own plants, the COMPTES+ test facilities play a crucial role in developing corresponding components. Our engineers are trialling special pipes, valves/accessories and thick-walled components. To withstand the high temperatures, they are mostly made of materials on a nickel basis. The tests will be completed by the middle of the decade.