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Dortmund cogeneration plant

Cogeneration plant

Facts and figures

Power plant location
North Rhine-Westphalia
Power plant type Cogeneration plant
Unit output (net)
26.5 MWel
District heat output
170 MWth
Natural gas
Flue gas cleaning system Due to measures on the primary side, flue gas emissions remain below the legal limits           

Electricity production since 1897

The power plant first generated electricity in 1897 with a maximum capacity of two megawatts. A thorough refurbishment of the plant between 1935 and 1938 brought an expansion to 55 megawatts of electric output. The year 1950 saw the first district heating customer being supplied with heating steam. This was the start of electricity generation according to the cogeneration principle, as is still practised today at the site. In the years 1974/1975, new boiler installations were built on the power plant terrain on the basis of more environmentally friendly natural gas. The old plants then went off stream, step by step, and were dismantled in 2010/2011.

Expansion of combined heat and power generation

Since 2014 a new topping gas turbine has been in operation at the site. It supports the expansion of combined heat & power (CHP) generation, thus helping to achieve a key goal of the energy transition. The plant is a joint venture between RWE Generation and Dortmunder Energie- und Wasserversorgung GmbH. The two companies have invested seven million euros each in the project. The potential for power generation in cogeneration has been significantly increased with the topping turbine. Up to 45,000 households can now be supplied with electricity – as opposed to 10,000 with the old system. In addition, the new turbine reduces CO2 emissions by up to 36,000 tonnes a year when compared with older plants without CHP.

Securing district heating supply

Today, following a series of upgrades with four gas-fired boilers and a total heating capacity of 170 megawatts, the site secures the district heating supply to Dortmund and feeds around 300,000 megawatt hours per year into the district heating grid. In addition, it produces up to 130 megawatt hours of electricity. In 2003/2004, a turbine was added to the plant and the entire control system was replaced. The new topping gas turbine went into operation in 2014, which further improved the plant's efficiency and environmental friendliness. The Dortmund cogeneration plant is operated and monitored from the central control room in Essen-Karnap. 

Plant to go offline in autumn 2022

As of 30 September 2022 RWE Generation’s cogeneration plant in Dortumnd (HKW Dortmund) will discontinue its operations. This decision was taken due to changing prevailing technical and economic conditions: the Dortmund district heating grid, which has up to now operated on steam power, is changing over to hot water as an energy source. Other market participants will likely feed in more and more heat. For this reason heat generation at the thermal power plant is no longer economically feasible as the HKW Dortmund exclusively supplies to the local provider DEW21. This heat supply will continue until the end of the current contractual period in September 2022. After that, DEW21 will take over the land on which the current thermal power plant is built.

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