IAlong the Rhine River in the industrial heart of Mainz, a combined cycle power plant is trying something new. While other plant operators struggle in the market for fossil fuel power – facing lower demand, lower margins, and a harsh competitive climate due to subsidies for renewable energy – this plant is meeting the challenges with decisive steps to make its plant operations more flexible.
As part of its efforts, German operator Kraftwerke Mainz-Wiesbaden AG (KMW) is developing a steam reuse concept that will maintain the hot start capability of its power plant at times when generation is not profitable, but a fast restart capability is desired. Specifically, KMW has tested a system that makes use of steam from a nearby waste burning facility to keep components in the power plant warm so that the plant can be started up faster and more frequently. The system will allow KMW operators to respond quickly when demand for power rises and prices are adequate.