Combustion Engine Power Plants:
Highly Efficient Generation of Heat and Electricity to Maximize Primary Energy Utilization
Combined heat and power plants use combustion engines or turbines to convert fuels such as biogas into heat and electrical energy. The heat is used as industrial process heat or for residential heating purposes. The generated electrical energy can be consumed locally or fed into the public electricity network. In contrast to many large thermal power plants, the generated heat has a specific benefit and is not just a waste product.
Combustion engines everywhere in use
Combustion engines in the power range of 50 kW to 1 MW of rated electrical power have a wide range of applications: in large buildings such as schools and hospitals, in district heating systems, in various industrial and commercial enterprises, in swimming pools, etc. The advantages of this technology are the already extensive infrastructure for natural gas and biogas, the high share of primary energy utilization, and the mature technology due to many years of experience.
Sophisticated technology meets new challenges
Even though the underlying technology is well-known and mature, new challenges arise for the manufacturers. Connection to the public electrical power system requires compliance with the ever-changing guidelines of network operators. In particular, increased demands on operating conditions involve risks and require careful reconsideration of previously tried and tested concepts. Sudden load changes due to short circuits in the network can lead to high mechanical forces that stress the drive train. Overloading of components such as couplings can pose a risk to safety. Additional flywheels increase the rotor angle stability during and after the short circuits in the network as more kinetic energy storage is available. For manufacturers of combustion engines, the question arises as to which of these measures are necessary for their special case. Well-founded answers can be given, for example, using models for generating plants.
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