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Optimally marketing electricity from CHP plants

Many small units respond together like a large power plant

Combined heat and power (CHP) plants can also base their electricity generation on the fluctuating market prices. This means that the plants are oriented in accordance with the electricity demand but require other concepts for the local heating requirement.

The control room keeps an eye on the price development on the Energy Exchange and the heat demand of the operators. © Lichtblick SE

The BINE Projektinfo brochure “Intelligently controlling CHP plants” (08/2013) presents a model project in which around 800 mini-CHP units are controlled at their respective, decentralised locations by a joint control room. The plants preferably work at times when the prices are high on the Energy Exchange. Surplus heat is stored.

Newly developed control software, which has been specially developed for the research project, ensures optimal operation between the electricity and heat generation. Important components include the forecasting programs that can estimate both the current electricity price development and the heating requirement up to three days in advance.

Although the CHP units primarily generate electricity, the heating recipients on the ground are always guaranteed that their requirements are covered. For this purpose powerful thermal storage systems are integrated into the concept that store the surplus heat generated during the electricity production to meet later peak demands. If that is insufficient on very cold days, the CHP plants begin operating regardless of the electricity price.

The LichtBlick SE company conceived and implemented the project. It has developed a mini-CHP unit in conjunction with Volkswagen AG. This is operated with natural gas and has an electrical output of 19 kW and a thermal output of 36 kW.

The BINE Projektinfo brochure, which can be obtained free of charge from the BINE Information Service at FIZ Karlsruhe, is available online at or by calling +49 (0)228 92379-0. The brochure cover and additional image material is also available for download on this web portal in the press section.

Press contact
Uwe Milles
About BINE Information Service
Energy research for practical applications
The BINE Information Service reports on energy research topics, such as new materials, systems and components, as well as innovative concepts and methods. The knowledge gained is incorporated into the implementation of new technologies in practice, because first-rate information provides a basis for pioneering decisions, whether in the planning of energy-optimised buildings, increasing the efficiency of industrial processes, or integrating renewable energy sources into existing systems.

About FIZ Karlsruhe

FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure is a not-for-profit organization with the public mission to make sci-tech information from all over the world publicly available and to provide related services in order to support the national and international transfer of knowledge and the promotion of innovation.
Our business areas:
• STN International – the world’s leading online service for research and patent information in science and technology
• KnowEsis – innovative eScience solutions to support the process of research in all its stages, and throughout all scientific disciplines
• Databases and Information Services – Databases and science portals in mathematics, computer science, crystallography, chemistry, and energy technology

FIZ Karlsruhe is a member of the Leibniz Association (WGL) which consists of 87 German research and infrastructure institutions.

Rüdiger Mack | idw
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