Renewable Energy: Developing More Flexible Turbines

Electricity in Germany is increasingly provided by renewable energy. In the future, conventional power plants will have the job of balancing the fluctuating generation of solar and wind power. In order to be able to achieve this gas and steam turbines will have to become more flexible. This is where the ECOFLEX-turbo research programme will come in.

Compensating for the fluctuating electricity generated by renewable energy

The research and development targets within this programme are aimed at increasing the partial load operation, allowing faster response times, varying fuels and the utilisation of more hydrogen.

Until now, turbines have been designed to run as smoothly as possible under full load conditions in order to achieve good values in terms of efficiency, emissions and longevity. However, increasing the partial load operation now represents a new challenge for turbine technology. Turbines with greater flexibility will require, for example, more robust compressors and combustion chambers as well as new computer software in order to design components and analyse test results. This data will form the basis for powerful simulation models and help to shorten development times in future.

AG Turbo is an alliance of leading German turbine manufacturers and more than 20 scientific institutions that account for more than two thirds of the subsidised projects in turbine research. Approximately 30% of the globally traded turbo machines come from manufacturers in Germany.

More information about the project, “Flexible turbo Machines Stabilise the Power Grid” and about BINE, can be found here, and here.

Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from idw online.

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