Climate Policy

Engine Power Plants – A cost-efficient solution to support the energy transition

To achieve the 2030 EU target of a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to 1990, carbon-intensive energy sources like coal must be replaced by environmentally sound energy sources emitting much less carbon dioxide. In this new context, Europe has to invest in energy efficient technologies using the potential of renewable energy sources like wind, sun and biomass but also of gas - the cleanest fossil fuel.

Engine power plants run on the full range of fuel types, from different biofuels to all types of gases, from natural to sewage and biogas. Biogas is produced through anaerobic fermentation of organic materials like liquid manure, solid dung or corn silage. It represents a carbon neutral and renewable energy which is locally available and provide an additional revenue to farmers. Thanks to the energy produced by engine power plants running on biogas, consumption of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

Energy efficiency has become a strategic issue for all energy consumers. For locations using both electricity and thermal energy like in swimming pools, hospitals or shopping centres, combined heat and power (CHP) power plants, also known as cogeneration power plants, are an optimal solution. Thanks to the simultaneous production and use of both electricity and heat, an exceptional energy efficiency of up to 95% may be achieved, which means up to 40% energy savings and very significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Beyond cogeneration, trigeneration (combined heat, power and cooling) and quadgeneration (recovery of carbon dioxide from the exhaust gas) offers very interesting opportunities for today’s and tomorrow’s users’ needs. These cost-efficient and environmental-friendly solutions are also a way to provide decentralized energy and to avoid the costly development of high-voltage power transmission lines.

Engine power plants are also an optimal partner to renewables because their flexibility allows the smooth integration of these intermittent energy sources into the power grid by completing them as soon as the wind or sun intensity is declining and a responsive and environmentally sound power source is needed. Thanks to their responsiveness, very fast starting and ramping capabilities, engine power plants are highly flexible. They are perfectly well-suited to react as quickly as required by an unexpected increase of power demand or changes in weather conditions leading to a decrease of the power supplied by intermittent renewable energy sources (intermittency & flexibility challenges). Unlike traditional power plants including nuclear and coal power plants but also gas turbines, engine power plants are able to adjust power production within minutes without causing higher costs of maintenance: they are made to make up for variations.

Finally, thanks to their very fast availability, engine power plants only run when really needed, avoiding unnecessary emissions in idle or minimum-load mode. Engine power plants are thus a very useful technology to help decarbonising Europe’s energy production.

EUGINE is raising awareness of engine power plants’ key features in the fight against climate change.