news / 2011-02-02

Paradigm shift in power plant technology

Funding initiative implements German government’s energy concept

Professor Alfons Kather and Ministry Department Head Knut Kübler chaired the meeting of the COORETEC Advisory Board.


Power plants with CO2 reduction technologies form an integral part of the Federal government’s energy research programme. This has been testified by the COORETEC funding initiative, which since 2004 has funded 319 projects with a funding volume of 311 million euros. At its meeting on 2 February 2011 in Bonn, the initiative’s Advisory Board redefined the role of modern power plant technology for the coming energy research programme. Researchers from science and business want to close the energy supply gap caused by energy sources such as wind and solar energy as a consequence of their fluctuating yields.


COORETEC spokesman Alfons Kather formulated a central aim: “Only a sufficiently flexible power plant fleet can ensure the extensive use of fluctuating renewable energies while simultaneously ensuring a highly secure supply. In this regard, the reliable fossil-fuelled power plants should be seen as serving the expansion of renewable energies.”


The COORETEC Advisory Board has proved effective as a national platform for discussing research and development activities. At the Energy Research Conference that is being held later in 2011 in Berlin, the research initiative and the Advisory Board will present a new structure and strategy. The Federal government’s energy concept has required a paradigm shift in power plant technology. “With the 6th Energy Research Programme, we are implementing the ambitious goals of the federal government,” said Knut Kübler, the ministerial official in charge at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. “We’re also creating the flexibility that the concept’s long timeframe requires. Thirdly, it’s about creating an innovation-friendly Germany that attracts scientists and is competitive in global markets.”


Based on joint strategic goals, COORETEC is developing research topics that in future will be pursued and coordinated in restructured working groups. As has previously been the case, the aim is to improve efficiency and to reduce emissions. More than before, however, this requires power plants that have higher efficiencies with fluctuating loads (partial loads) and more flexibility, for example through the use of different fuels. Professor Kather summarised the discussion: “It’s about developing entirely new forms of power plants that have special service life and design features currently not available on the market, i.e. ‘sprinter power plants’.”

Projects currently being funded