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New Cologne-Merheim gas-fired, combined heat power plant proves successful in commercial operation

The new combined heat and power (CHP) facility at the Cologne-Merheim thermal power plant operated by RheinEnergie AG has been running successfully as part of regular operations since April 2020. The new unit – an advanced natural gas-fired CHP plant with three INNIO* Jenbacher* gas engines – replaces the older combined cycle gas turbine power plant operated at the same site as well as an outdated boiler for district heating. The power plant supplies district heating to Cologne’s Merheim and Neubrück areas in addition to two large hospitals in Merheim.

“As a company, we are committed to making a significant contribution toward reducing CO2 emissions by 50% in Cologne by 2030 compared to 1990 emissions,” said Dr. Karsten Klemp, power plant manager at RheinEnergie. “The new CHP plant in the Merheim area of Cologne is an example of this undertaking. This is a state of-the-art facility and forms the backbone of power and heat supply in the east of Cologne. Because of the high degree of flexibility offered by the plant, it ideally complements energy generation from renewables and is an important element for ensuring security of supply.”

Central to the new CHP plant are three natural gas-powered Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engines, each with an electrical and thermal output of 10 megawatts. The CHP modules, which weigh approximately 430,000 pounds (195 metric tons), can either be operated in combination or separately from one another. Like the previous plant, they generate electricity and heat simultaneously; however, these units are much more efficient and can match their output exactly to the current demand for energy. 


Because of the combined generation of power and heat, the unit’s fuel efficiency is 90% – a level of efficiency that far exceeds that of conventional plants which achieve around 40%. This not only affects fuel consumption, it also has a positive impact on emissions. Compared with the previous thermal power plant, the new unit reduces approximately 110 million pounds (50,000 metric tons) of greenhouse gas every year. The project represents an investment of 30 million euros. The trio of Jenbacher gas engines was installed in record time, taking less than eight months from the delivery of the first modules to commissioning. “We are delighted that, our flexible, highly efficient, and advanced gas engines have been able to contribute to the operational center of RheinEnergie’s new CHP plant,” commented Carlos Lange, president and CEO of INNIO. “The new plant not only plays a significant role in securing the energy supply, it also represents another milestone on the path to a climate-neutral future for the energy system in Germany.”

* Indicates a trademark


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GasPro 2.0: A Webcast Symposium

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Following the successful GasPro Webcast Symposium in October 2019, the third GasPro Webcast Symposium will take place on October 21, 2020.

The 2019 webcast drew attendees from around the world, with more than 80% of the audience working in company management or engineering divisions.

The 2020 web event will gather experts in the fields of LNG, gas processing and process safety to share market, operations and engineering technology and trends with our audience.

Attendees of the 2020 webcast will learn about market solutions and technology deployments in a number of areas: LNG delivery infrastructure, small-scale desulfurization for NGL, H2S removal for gas treating, process safety for safety instrumented systems, small-scale LNG project design, and advances in freeze component removal for LNG.

October 21, 2020 08:30 AM CDT

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