Abstracts - VGB PowerTech Journal 6/2021

Digitalization as a technological enabler for the future energy system

Dr. Oliver Then

At the beginning of this year, Clearly you have heard them before, the key terms of the digital world: big data, data mining and data lakes, smart meters and predictive maintenance, AI and cyber security, to name just a few. Some of the technologies behind them are already part of everyday life for many of us in the energy industry as concrete applications; for other technologies, the industry is still at the beginning of their use. [more...]

System separation as a warning shot? - Current aspects of electrical supply security

Marc Oliver Bettzüge

The system split in the European electricity interconnected grid on 8 January 2021 has shown which supra-regional efforts may currently already be necessary to ensure the security of supply with electricity in case of emergency. The challenges for supply security continue to increase due to the transformation of the energy system, not least driven by the (German) coal phase-out and the European Clean Energy Package, especially since the power system will remain the decisive area for transformation in the medium term. Therefore, the challenge in the next years will be to identify and implement in a timely manner those measures among the available ones that can best support security of supply. In addition to the promotion of renewable energies, targeted investments in technologies that make a high contribution to supply security are therefore necessary. However, the question remains to what extent the current institutional and market framework can ensure such an adaptation of the power system to maintain security of supply.

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Risk analyses: Identifying and managing the risks of new energy projects

Thorsten Weidl

New developments in energy technology are not always adequately described by standards and technical rules. For large special projects, standardized procedures are sometimes not applicable. To ensure a safe product or process, manufacturers and operators must identify its risks. Four examples show how diverse the application possibilities and advantages are for companies. The actual risk must therefore be assessed according to a standard in order to make it more concrete and translate it into understandable quantities. In doing so, it has proven useful to make an objective comparison to already known and accepted techniques with similar utility. This proof of equal safety has become the standard for the introduction of new technologies in Germany.

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What does an industrial metallurgical power plant do with a simulator?

Peter Lasch

A much-heard buzzword these days is the Digital Twin, which brings numerous benefits to the operation of power plant components. So why has the concept of a dynamic simulator as the digital twin of an entire plant not yet spread to the wide circle of industrial customers? Industrial power plants in particular are currently under a lot of pressure. Companies want to decarbonize their production, but at the same time they have to ensure that downstream processes are reliably supplied with energy and process steam or that supply contracts for district heating are honored. A dynamic high-fidelity simulator of the overall process, which takes all aspects into account in the modeling, provides a building block for optimization. Due to a modular approach of such a simulator, it can be adapted to new boundary conditions of the reference plant again and again and thus serves not only as a training tool, but can also be used as an engineering tool. Based on the project of voestalpine for the creation of a simulator for their latest power plant unit at the Linz site, details and implementation are presented.

Secure IT-/OT-devices according to IEC 62443-4-2: a worldwide solution

Stefan Loubichi

Due to the increase in cyber-attacks on critical infrastructures and the debate about the extent to which IT/OT devices pose a disproportionate threat, a solution is being sought worldwide on how to assess the security of critical components according to the same criteria. The political rather than scientific thesis that a manufacturer’s equipment is insecure only because it is made in a particular country is too easy to see through as economic protectionism and will not stand up in the long run. The IEC 62443 series of standards offers a way out by certifying products according to IEC 62443-4-2 in conjunction with IEC 62443-4-1. If this is followed by a black box penetration test, this provides proof of secure functionality without manufacturers having to disclose their source code. This paper shows how the challenges of the European NIS Directive 2.0 or the German IT Security Act 2.0 can be solved relatively easily using proven normative methods.

Methods for the flexibilization of thermal power plants: A literature review

Silas Heim and Lars Komogowski

The course of the energy transition in industrialized countries poses new challenges to convention-al thermal power plants. The plants are designed to operate in steady-state operation mode. Due to renewable energy’s unforeseeable and unsteady power supply, the demand in conventional power supply changes from steady supply to dynamic, flexible supply for which conventional plants were not designed. To account for these new operation modes, power plants must be “flexibilized” by both structural and process changes. This paper gives an overview of the various flexibilization methods as a literature review and categorizes these methods by three differing main categories. This is to give a foundation for discussion among fellow experts on this topic as this subject is going to be drastically increasing in popularity and importance. Also, this may be used as a reference guide for power plant operators as to which flexibilization methods there might still be left to be performed.

KKS and RDS-PP® – VGB speaks the language of power plant technology

Andreas Böser and Sabine Kuhlmann

Regardless of the degree of industrialization, power generation is undoubtedly one of the most important and complex tasks of any society. The reliable supply of energy and thus the successful operation of each individual power plant – regardless of the primary energy used – requires an identification system for the consistent identification of plant components and processes. KKS and RDS-PP® provide these capabilities from planning to orderly dismantling. Starting with project planning, through operation of the plant and up to the planned end of operation, all process participants speak the same “VGB language” and can thus communicate with each other nationally and also internationally without any problems. Thanks to this VGB power plant language, data can be exchanged irrespective of manufacturer and operator and enable power plant operators to operate and maintain their plants independently and, in the end, to dismantle them in compliance with laws and standards.

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Advances in non-energy products from coal

Ian Reid

The global drive to net zero carbon is leading to fundamental changes in the way fossil fuels are used and regarded. New industries are emerging that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. Vehicles with internal combustion engines will soon be banned in many countries as there is a global shift towards renewable power and electrification of energy. What do these momentous changes mean for the future for coal? The demand for coal as a fuel supply is set to fall and so it is a resource that will be both plentiful and inexpensive, increasing its potential as an attractive feedstock. For instance, coal contains fragments of nanomaterials that are increasingly seen as the future of materials science. Every electric motor and battery require components that can be obtained from coal. Increasingly there is a shift in perspective towards coal as a feedstock, to supply our new industries, whether in sustainable agriculture, addressing shortages in critical elements, or as a source of transformative carbon-rich materials. Coal’s growth prospects are as a feedstock rather than a fuel.

Increasing efficiency of pulverised coal-fired power plants

Malgorzata Wiatros-Motyka

Increasing coal power plant efficiency means burning less coal for the same amount of electricity generated. Thus it is a way to reduce fuel costs and to make significant cuts to CO2 emissions. Coal-fired power plant efficiency across different fleets varies widely; the current global average is 37.5 %, whereas state-of-the-art plants such as RDK8 in Germany achieve efficiencies of over 47 %. This means that around 2 GtCO2/y emissions could be saved if the gap between the average and the state-of-the-art was closed. Such a reduction would amount to around 5 % of total global annual CO2 emissions or about 20 % of total annual emissions from coal power plants. This report reviews technological developments and options for increasing the efficiency of both new and existing coal-fired units.

A technology roadmap for high efficiency, low emissions coal power plant

Toby Lockwood

Coal power is the world’s single largest source of electricity and has remained at around 37 % of global generation since 1990, even as total demand has more than doubled. With the strengthening of international efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, coal’s dominance over power generation is expected to gradually decline, but it will retain a major role in the sector for the coming decades – particularly for emerging economies with growing demand. However, coal power contributes around a third of global energy-related CO2 emissions and is also a major source of harmful atmospheric pollutants including particulates, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and heavy metals. High efficiency, low emissions (HELE) technologies describe the suite of state-of-the-art and emerging solutions for generating power at lower carbon intensity and effectively removing pollutants from flue gas. As long as coal continues to be present in the power sector, it is vital to maximise the uptake and development of these technologies, which can also pave the way for the more cost-effective application of carbon capture.