Powering the Cologne/Bonn Airport Airport plant surpasses 200 000 operating hours
The Konrad Adenauer airport in Cologne/Bonn, Germany, is powered by a combined heat and power plant (CHP) with four GE Energy Jenbacher type 616, 2 MW gas engines in operation since 1999.
On the 10th anniversary of the power plant’s installation, it was calculated that the four units have surpassed 200 000 operating hours and displaced the equivalent of 360 000 tons of CO2 compared to the same power supplied by a typical coal power station. The power plant was installed to replace the 30-year-old airport’s original heating system. The operator, municipal district heating company Fernwärmeversorgung Niederrhein, decided back then for a cogeneration system, which was well ahead of the German national law for EU emissions reduction targets and of today’s cogeneration popularity.
The engine room consists of the four GE Jenbacher engines running on natural gas, with a power output of 2200 kW thermal and 1936 kW electric each. Three units are continuously operating, while one provides backup power. Arno Gedigk, production department leader at Fernwärmeversorgung Niederrhein, pointed out that the redundant unit can be in operation from cold start in eight minutes. He also explained that, depending on the airport’s power needs, the thermal energy from the engines can be used to cover either the facility’s heating demand or the cooling requirements, by means of two absorption chillers.
The excess thermal power is stored in a tank with 120 cbm capacity and can be used to cool the airport during warm summer months. Gedigk said that with this system its company is able to supply power at a 99.9% availability rate throughout the whole year. The plant provides 100% of the airport’s heating, 80% of the cooling and 60% of its electricity needs. The heating capability is set up with two different heating districts: one for auxiliaries, shops and hotels; the other for the passenger terminal, and for the cargo and freight terminal.
“The heating circuit provides a constant temperature of 95°C. We have three boilers, one of which is in operation since 1968. They can be operated with gas or oil, but when the outside temperature is below 0°C for more than 24 hours, the system is switched to oil,” said Gedigk.
He further explained that the cooling power is provided by two absorption chillers and a compression chiller for peak need. “The system uses 400 cbm of water per day when at full load,” concluded Gedigk. The company calculated that since 1999 the power plant has generated about 46 000 MWh of electricity and GE’s Jenbacher engines have ensured an efficiency level above 82%.
GE Energy has more than 1600 Jenbacher gas engines installed in Germany, and it is estimated that over 500 of them are run with biogas. The company has a team of over 60 service technicians to cover this market.