New pilot project: Zeven utility and WINGAS test the use of new micro CHP systems together
Kassel. Every second cubic meter of natural gas used in Germany is consumed by households and small consumers such as retailers and service providers. "If we want to achieve the climate protection targets set by the government we need to design our energy consumption more efficiently," Dr. Ludwig Möhring, WINGAS Managing Director for Sales, explained. "Particularly in the household sector, we can see strong possibilities for improving energy efficiency significantly by applying new technologies." Hence, together with the Zeven utility, WINGAS has now launched a two-year research project aimed at increasing the use of micro combined heat and power (CHP) systems for the energy supply. By supporting innovative energy projects such as combined heat and power, we are making sure our town develops in an ecologically sustainable way," Holger Schlüter, Managing Director of the Zeven utility company, underlined. WINGAS is conducting the research into micro CHP systems in cooperation with the utility companies in Bielefeld and in Aachen (STAWAG), the Technische Werke Ludwigshafen (Ludwigshafen utility) and Energie- und Wasserversorgung Bünde (Bünde energy and water supplier).
In contrast to conventional heating systems, micro CHP systems generate electricity as well as heat. "Micro CHP units attain efficiency levels of up to 90% by utilizing the heat that is usually discarded as waste heat by power plants when generating electricity," Möhring explains. "Such systems make natural gas all the more valuable for the energy supply for households - for heating and the electricity supply," the utility company's Managing Director Holger Schlüter adds. "Compared to the conventional generation of electricity in external power plants and separate heat generation with residential heating boilers, with CHP units primary energy consumption can be reduced by around 40 percent by using the source fuel more efficiently," Detlef Mirsch, Head of Technical Services at WINGAS, explains. "This also enables CO2 emissions in a single-family household to be reduced by about a ton per year."
The new test unit of the make "eVita" is based on Stirling technology and has been integrated directly into the heating system of the utility's administration building. The unit was developed by the company De Dietrich Remeha GmbH from Emsdetten. As Mirsch explains, "when it is ready for mass commercial production, the Stirling heating system is intended to replace the conventional heating boiler in households, and, as well as providing heat, it will also generate electricity in a cost-effective manner." There is a potentially major market for new micro CHP units in Germany, where about 600,000 heating systems are modernized every year. The participating companies anticipate that the new systems based on Stirling technology will be ready for the market as early as 2011.
Stadtwerke Zeven GmbH is a modern and dynamic company from the energy sector. The Zeven utility operates its energy grids and the drinking water network in the town and the entire Zeven municipality safely and cost-effectively. By promoting renewable energies, energy savings as well as various innovative ecological projects, such as the operation of two natural gas filling stations, the Zeven utility ensures that the development of the town, the region and beyond proceeds in a sustainable and ecological manner.
European energy provider WINGAS GmbH & Co. KG is active in natural gas trading and distribution in Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Austria, the Czech Republic and Denmark. Its customers include municipal utilities, regional gas suppliers, industrial firms and power plants. Since 1990 WINGAS has invested more than 3 billion Euros in the development of a natural gas transport and storage infrastructure. WINGAS TRANSPORT pipeline network, which is over 2,000 kilometers long, connects the major gas reserves in Siberia and in the North Sea to the growing markets in Western Europe. In Rehden in North Germany, WINGAS has the largest natural gas storage facility in Western Europe - with a working gas volume of over four billion cubic meters, and the company also participates in Central Europe's second largest storage facility in Haidach, Austria. Additional natural gas storage facilities are currently being built in Great Britain and Germany in order to secure the supply of natural gas in Europe.