In-depth reports on "Cooperation and innovation"

Common objective:

Heiko Schmitt and Uwe Wittka of CURRENTA and Daniel Fritsche, Head of the gas and steam power plant project Leverkusen at Repower (from left), visit the project site in CHEMPARK Leverkusen.

Exploiting synergies to the full

In-depth report on “Cooperation and innovation” – part 1

In Leverkusen – the city in North Rhine-Westphalia situated in the heart of a chemical region – Repower found a suitable location to build a combined-cycle gas turbine power plant, not least because CURRENTA, the manager and operator of the CHEMPARK, proved to be the ideal partner.

To complement its existing trading and sales activities, Repower is aiming to build up its own generation capacity in the key market of Germany. Following the acquisition of two wind farms, Repower is now planning to build a high-efficiency, environmentally friendly combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant with process steam extraction at CHEMPARK in Leverkusen, in close cooperation with CURRENTA, a joint venture of Bayer and LANXESS. This combined heat and power generation plant will have an electrical capacity of around 550 MWel. The combined gas and steam turbine process enables the energy in the natural gas to be converted to electricity, so that the ultra-modern power plant will achieve an electrical efficiency level of more than 60 per cent. The heat will be even better utilised by extracting the process steam and delivering it to CURRENTA, allowing the plant to achieve a fuel efficiency of around 80 per cent. The project also supports Germany's climate policy, since heat and power cogeneration is a key criterion for reaching the country's CO2 reduction and energy efficiency targets. Moreover, it makes a cost-efficient contribution to ensuring security of supply.

Location with potential

The CHEMPARK in Leverkusen was selected as the project location since the conditions there are ideal for the cost-effective planning of a CCGT power plant. The three branches of CHEMPARK – Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen – house more than 70 companies. CURRENTA supports these companies by providing a comprehensive service portfolio, covering everything from training, infrastructure and analytics to supply, recycling, safety and security. More than 5,000 chemicals are manufactured on the 480-hectare complex in Leverkusen. Some 28,000 employees work to ensure that the CHEMPARK Leverkusen continues to grow. This location offers all the right conditions for the development and operation of a CCGT power plant that offers both partners major benefits: steam for the CHEMPARK and electricity for Repower. And a secure supply of steam from the power plant for the CHEMPARK companies will enhance the site's attractiveness as a business location, as well as ensuring the competitiveness of the chemical park's partners. This proximity is also advantageous for Repower, since the closer to the sales market the heat can be generated, the better heat and power cogeneration can be utilised. Repower also benefits from the power plant's integration in CHEMPARK's existing infrastructure, since it can make use of the existing utilities such as industrial water and fully demineralised water.

Shared views of the future

Thanks to the cooperative spirit of the partnership between Repower and CURRENTA, a comprehensive set of agreements was signed back in November 2012. Together with CURRENTA, Repower has drawn up a heat delivery contract that is tailored to the needs of the heat purchaser yet still allows Repower to respond flexibly to the electricity and balancing energy market. The agreements also set down the requisite property rights and govern the use of CURRENTA services. The cooperation is founded on a shared understanding and a commitment to open communication between all parties. Repower and CURRENTA are also able to benefit from synergies in terms of the permit procedure and connection planning. Among other things, CURRENTA decided to build a new culvert (supply line below the River Rhine) to supply gas to the power plant.

Repower and CURRENTA – a partnership that exploits synergies to the full, ensuring the best possible conditions for a successful project.

Interview with Uwe Wittka, CHEMPARK sites

Mr Wittka, what distinguishes the partnership with Repower?

We've known each other for some years now, during which time the basis of trust has steadily grown. Our cross-border partnership is informed by a high degree of mutual appreciation. And there are no disadvantages in the fact that Switzerland's negotiating culture is sometimes different from that of the Rhineland. I know few projects in which cooperation is imbued with such respect.

Can you name the advantages of the planned power plant from CURRENTA's standpoint?

The planned power plant offers security of supply and greater energy efficiency for the CHEMPARK. As a chemical park operator, we are responsible for providing various utilities, and supplying steam is an essential part of these tasks. After all, in the chemical industry steam is the most important source of energy, since it fuels all chemical processes. The power plant will allow us to purchase steam in the form we need, and this is a huge support for our own systems.

How will the power plant enhance the CHEMPARK “landscape”?

For us, the planned CCGT power plant ideally complements our existing infrastructure. It will ideally supplement older facilities. The new plant's energy efficiency deserves special mention in this context, since modern technology allows energy to be used cost-effectively.

At present, Germany's energy policy does not provide any reliable framework for investment. How do you see things developing?

Supply needs security. The new technologies that support security of supply – and this includes a modern CCGT power plant – must be promoted.