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Siemens Awarded German Industry Innovation Prize

With its world-record gas turbine, Siemens has won this year's "Innovationspreis der deutschen Wirtschaft" (Innovation Award of German Industry) in the large companies category.

Established under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the award was presented on February 11 at the Palais Thurn und Taxis in Frankfurt. Since 1980 it has been awarded annually by the Wirtschaftsclub Rhein-Main e.V. and a variety of partners.

The categories covered include "medium-sized companies" and "start-ups." Siemens is the only company in the world that supplies a combined cycle gas turbine power plant with a certified efficiency rating of more than 60 percent. That's the most environmentally friendly fossil-fired plant in the world.

The SGT5-8000H gas turbine was developed in cooperation with universities and research institutes over the course of about ten years. The project involved approximately 750 employees working at Siemens locations in Germany (Erlangen, Berlin, and Mühlheim) and Orlando in the U.S. state of Florida. Siemens invested approximately half a billion euros in the effort.

In combined cycle operation, a single turbine of this type can supply environmentally friendly power to a major city like Berlin with 3.5 million residents. The technology behind the award-winning turbine has been in use since June 2011 at the E.ON power plant in Irsching. In test operation supervised by inspection agency TÜV-Süd, the combined cycle power plant achieved a world-record efficiency rating of 60.75 percent with an electrical output of 578 megawatts.

The new combined cycle power plant requires about one third less fuel per generated kilowatt-hour (kW/h), compared with the average consumption of combined cycle power plants installed worldwide. In addition to lowering fuel costs, the technology also helps to protect the climate by significantly reducing CO2 emissions. And the power plant involves another special innovation: since technological advances break new ground and generally cannot be gauged on the basis of past experience, insurance companies are reluctant to offer coverage for these projects.

However, Siemens Financial Services has succeeded in ensuring the financial viability of the innovative technology underlying the new turbines. Combined cycle power plants are part of the Siemens Environmental Portfolio, with which the company generated about €30 billion in sales in the fiscal year 2011.

Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens InnovationNews
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