July 17

CIMAC, in its continuous endeavor to boost large engines development, held its long-established CIMAC Circle at Power-Gen Europe on June 28th 2017. A new event format was held under the patronage of the ‘The European Engine Power Plants Forum 2017’ and in co-operation with EUGINE (European Engine Power Plants Industry Association). 

Axel Kettmann, Senior Vice-President, ABB Turbocharging chaired the panel exploring “Why the Energy Transition policy needs flexible dispatchable power generation with gas’ and he provided an insight on the ambitious Energy Transition Program– the ‘Energiewende’ in Germany. As the percentage of electricity from renewables rises, it becomes important to have an electricity grid that can respond to fluctuations in a flexible way and where the power-to-gas technology could play a significant role in the future energy system.

Axel's prominent panelists invited to address this first key topic were:

  • Torsten Herdan, Director General Energy, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
  • Kari Hietanen, Executive VP, Wärtsilä
  • Fabian Huneke, Senior Expert, Energy Brainpool
  • Hermann Kroeger, Senior Vice President, MAN Diesel & Turbo

Germany is not alone, and other countries are keen to take on the Energy Transition policy (‘Energiewende’), said Thorsten Herdan, as he explained that the main goal of the program is reducing CO2 emissions and shifting from large power plants with huge operating costs to smaller renewable power plants with no or minimum fuel-associated costs.

Thorsten addressed power generation flexibility, including grid expansions, grid connectivity to the neighboring countries, storage flexibilities (especially in the building sector), demand side management and flexible engine power plants using gas and how it would ultimately shape the future of power generation.

Kari Heitanen says that flexibility is a pre-condition or an enabler for increasing the renewables in the grid, and there are signs in Europe that this is becoming more and more important.  The aim is to reach the point where the market driven energy pricing will be sufficient to drive investments. 

Fabian Huneke explained the study done by Energy Brainpool for EUGINE on the flexibility in the energy grid, and he considers that the demand for flexibility is on the rise with the influx of renewables. He described the term ‘efficiency first’ when judging the various flexibility options, and the highly efficient, flexible and cleaner combined cycle power plants provide a huge advantage. 

According to Hermann Kroeger, every European country is different, and different solutions are required to accommodate the respective needs. However, similar principles and policies need to be formulated and applied across Europe and other countries, clearly explaining the technical benefits as well as the environmental impact of such a system.

To the question of synthetic fuels, Thorsten Herdan mentioned that Germany has a 124 million annual budget set towards research and development into synthetic fuels or energy transition based on gaseous or liquid fuels from renewables. He mentioned that that a completely electric society is impossible to achieve, adding that the engines and turbines are not just fossil fuel technologies, but they can also burn renewable gas and fuels. 

The panel concluded in consensus that renewable gas engine driven power plants have a significant role to play in the power generation grid today as per Germany’s Energy Transition Program. This will help the inclusion of these unsteady sources into the grid as well as to utilize the excessive energy output to synthesize renewable fuels.
The second topic ‘Greening engine power plants – the many technology options’, gathered valuable panelists to examine the feasibility and long term alternatives to conventional fossil.

Rolf Bank from MAN Diesel & Turbo explained a power-to-gas pilot project at their facility in Deggendorf, Germany, and detailed the many advantages of the initiative. Carl Richers from GE Power, Jenbacher, talked in length about the biogas potential and a biogas CHP in the energy mix comprised of biogas from cattle, landfill gas and sewage gas. Marcel Zürn from Rolls-Royce Power Systems looked into the integration of engine power plants using micro grid solutions, combining multiple power generation sources including renewables, energy storage and fossil generation with local loads that can operate connected to the centralized electricity grid or in island mode in remote areas.

And lastly, Armin Roeseler from Caterpillar Energy Solutions presented the advantages of modern gas power plants to provide high efficient power solutions and to reduce emissions. These solutions can also be used for standby as well as backup for datacenter applications. Moreover, the investments in gas standby applications are very comparable to diesel today.

The panelists agreed that all possibilities must be explored and investigated to make renewables for power plants a market reality, and supported the continuous effort from both the policy makers as well as technology developers to set a clear path towards a CO2- neutral world.

For more information regarding the CIMAC Circle at Power-Gen 2017 along with the material presented, please visit - https://www.cimac.com/events/cimac-circle/previous-circles/cimac-circle-at-power-gen-2017.html 


Originally founded in Paris in 1951, CIMAC is the leading global association of the internal combustion machinery industry. It is a non-profit association bringing together and representing the large engines industry to regulators and standardizing bodies. In addition to promoting the work of National Member Associations, CIMAC supports and facilitates information exchange and understanding across the global community involved in the development and sustenance of large engines.

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