Project Cluster

Comparison of power plant systems

Research approach

What technologies are suitable for newly constructed plants such as the Staudinger black coal power plant in Großkrotzenburg, near Frankfurt? ©EON

In order to avoid major climate change effects due to carbon dioxide (CO2) arising from human activity, the reduction of global emissions of this gas is an international goal. In the case of electricity generation from fossil fuels, which accounts for around 60% of all electricity generated worldwide, this can be achieved by measures such as increasing efficiencies, changing to other fuels or CO2 capture.

The technologies that appear to be the most promising based on current knowledge have been identified as part of investigations on CO2 REduction TEChnologies (COORETEC) in power plants run on fossil fuels. There are significant deviations in the data on electrical efficiencies in these studies in certain cases. In addition, certain calculations are based on constraints and assumptions that raise questions about the comparability and, in certain cases, the general engineering feasibility of the processes.

Research goals

With a focus on the processes currently being worked on as part of the COORETEC programme, this research project aims to define uniform or comparable constraint conditions for the realistic calculation of efficiencies for the following processes.


Without CO2 capture:

  • Steam power plant (black coal/lignite)
  • Combined gas and steam process

With CO2 capture:

  • Steam power plant with downstream capture
  • Oxyfuel process with flue gas recirculation and cryogenic air separation unit or a high-temperature membrane for oxygen supply
  • Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle with CO2 capture (IGCC)


If all comparable components are described using comparable parameters, it then becomes possible to compare processes with regard to efficiencies and to potential for CO2 avoidance.


The central finding that this research project is to provide a statement as to which of the processes considered has the greatest potential from an engineering and economic viewpoint for advancing climate protection as quickly as possible under realistic, comparable constraint conditions.

The technology currently available will first be surveyed so that potentials for efficiency improvements can be quantified and compared in subsequent development scenarios. The application of uniform methods to the processes will mean that the relevance of particular developments can be evaluated and compared for each specific process.

Current research project

Comparison of power plant processes being studied as part of COORETEC under uniform, realistic constraint conditions
Organisation carrying out research: Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg - Institut für Energietechnik (IET)

Project number: 0327742