As a leading power generation company in Germany and one of the biggest in Europe, the demands on RWE are high. The company is expected to offer our customers a secure and value-for-money energy supply in the future, while reducing CO2 emissions using innovative technologies.
Today’s experts secure the energy supply of tomorrow
Expert engineering and cutting-edge science: the solutions to our energy transition
Our research and development teams are therefore faced with many challenging tasks. Scientists and engineers deal with the latest questions in the field of modern-day power generation, while designing concepts for the energy supply of tomorrow. The aim is to use technologies that can maintain the balance between cost-effectiveness, security of supply and environmental friendliness within a constantly changing energy market.
Cleaner power, and more of it – RWE reacts to the constantly rising demand for energy while keeping the environment in mind
At the current state of the art in technology, the high capacity requirements for new power plants can only be met with energy-efficient coal- and gas-fired power stations. Reducing CO2 emissions is key in this regard as, in addition to their undeniable role in climate change, they have become a major cost factor since the introduction of emissions trading.
Newer-generation power plants are therefore able to achieve greater output with lower emissions and reduced requirements in terms of resources. RWE is working hard on bridging this gap. As innovation drivers, our research and development teams play a major role in this. The course has been laid out and we have already seen major success. Topics such as CO2 scrubbing, fluidised bed drying and biomass utilisation are some of RWE’s top priorities.
Higher flexibility – fossil fuel power plants underpin the expansion of renewables
The expansion of renewables is resulting in an increase in fluctuating supply to the power grid. In order to counter this effect, it is particularly important that our research and development people create new solutions to operate fossil fuel power plants more flexibly. This would allow these plants to underpin the expansion of renewables and would ensure a cost-effective, secure power supply in Germany over the long term as a partner to the renewables industry.
Use of biomass in Dutch power plants
Biomass – a key component in avoiding CO₂
Biomass in the form of pellets and wood gas are particularly sustainable fuels. Tests have shown that coal can be largely replaced by biomass coming from sustainably managed forests. The Amer power plant in Geertruidenberg, the Netherlands, is one of RWE’s biggest plants using biomass as a major source of fuel. Another power facility in the Netherlands that is partially fired using biomass, and which therefore makes an important contribution to reducing CO2 emissions, is the new, ultra-modern power plant in Eemshaven near Groningen.
The Eemshaven power plant, which commenced operations in 2015, is one of the cleanest around
The plant, which supplies over 3.5 million homes with power, is state of the art, with regard to both technology and science. This is partly what enables it to achieve an efficiency level of 46 %, which is much higher than the average efficiency level of 36 % for the older generation of coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands. A higher degree of efficiency means that less fuel is required to generate the same amount of electricity, therefore lowering emissions. This power plant is not only efficient but also the cleanest of its kind thanks to modern cleaning techniques.
RWE operates state-of-the-art battery storage facility
An investment of €6 million, seven megawatts of storage capacity and start of operation in early 2018: these are the key data for the high-performance battery storage unit that RWE Generation has installed at the Herdecke site. The supplier of the lithium-ion-based battery system is Belectric.
Why modern storage technology is so important
Electricity storage units make it possible to better integrate electricity from wind and solar power systems into the grid. After all, wind and solar power systems often generate electricity when it is not immediately needed, or do not generate enough when demand is particularly high. The energy is temporarily stored and then released when needed. This is promising technology because as renewables become increasingly prevalent, maintaining the frequency stability of the electricity grid is becoming more and more important. With the new battery storage unit, RWE is making a major contribution to the successful implementation of the energy transition.
They know their stuff: specialists at the Herdecke site
Herdecke was selected as a site for good reason. The grounds of the pumped-storage hydroelectricity plant can make use of synergies from the infrastructure, thus keeping investment costs low. In addition to a medium-voltage connection, the site also has a workforce with years of experience in storage technology and in the use of the associated technology. One practical example: the size of the battery storage unit would make it theoretically possible to use the energy stored in it at any one time to fully charge an electric car more than 100 times.