Present situation in energy terms

The main pillars of electricity and energy supply in Germany and globally are fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas. With regard to their future role in power generation, it is necessary to distinguish between the targets in Germany and the predicted global developments.

According to forecasts by the International Energy Agency, global electricity generation from coal, oil and gas will rise by up to 86% by 2035 and will then, depending on the underlying scenario, reach a share of between 54% and 67%.

The situation in Germany is different. The share of electricity generated from fossil fuels is 57% (2013). The aim for 2050 is to reduce electricity consumption by 25% in absolute terms (from 2008) and to cover a maximum of 20% of gross electricity consumption from fossil fuels. This will entail substantial efforts to reduce energy consumption.  

Technology development and the funding structure

The funding area of "power plant technology and CCS technology" can build on existing Federal Government funding structures and strategies. In the context of the Economic Affairs Ministry's COORETEC research and development initiative ("COORETEC" stands for CO2 reduction technology), a comprehensive and long-term development strategy for power stations of the future was developed together with stakeholders from the business and scientific communities. The new Energy Research Programme restructured the working groups in 2012 to cover the following objectives:

  • optimising systems integration of power plant processes,
  • increasing the flexibility of power plant processes,
  • boosting efficiency,
  • reducing emissions,
  • developing new technology options.

In addition to the four COORETEC working groups, whose focus is on developing and optimising the corresponding processes, there is also the "Turbo working group", a thematic association devoted to developing components for turbo machines. The Turbo working group is an association of manufacturers of turbo machines, universities and research establishments, and is continuing the successful work of the last few years.

Strategically important funding areas

The future work of the "power plant technology and CCS technology" funding priority is oriented to recommendations by experts after consideration by the COORETEC advisory board. It will be focused on the following priorities:

  • Steam power stations: materials research and development of joining and manufacturing technologies for steam temperatures of 700C and pressures of up to 350 bar; testing new materials in long-term trials lasting 30,000 hours or more; improved understanding of microstructure and long-term stability; models to optimise lifetimes and maintenance strategies; new testing methods for thick-walled components; fuel-flexible combustion systems.
  • Gas turbines and combined-cycle turbines: efficient cooling concepts and novel thermal insulation layers (e.g. nano-structured thermal insulation layers) to realise turbine inlet temperatures of over 1,500C; development and validation of simulation models to optimise the interplay of cooling technology and materials development; aerothermodynamic optimisation of compressors and turbines using state-of-the-art numerical processes and their experimental validation; expansion of the fuel range (especially for hydrogen-rich gases with a view to coupling with chemical storage facilities).
  • Carbon capture: technology-neutral research into the various CCS technologies; post-combustion and oxyfuel with the greatest prospects of success from today's point of view on a pilot and demonstration scale; inclusion of carbonate looping, chemical looping and membrane-based processes, and the environmental and safety aspects of various capture techniques.
  • Carbon transport and storage: storage in different geological formations; information systems for carbon storage and overburden, safety concepts including long-term safety, large-scale monitoring procedures; risk analyses, simulation of underground dissemination of CO2; studies into the long-term underground behaviour of CO2; effects of capture-related additives in the CO2 flow on pipelines and storage facilities (e.g. corrosion, carbonate formation).
  • Concept studies on the control and load-management of power stations: dynamic simulations of an energy supply system with a high proportion of renewable energy; effects on the load flexibility of plants and components; coupling with material fatigue and studies of lifetimes.

Sample projects

Sample projects can be found here.