Since March 2016, the municipal works department in the North German town of Winsen (on the river Luhe) has been supplying its leisure center swimming pool “Die Insel” (The Island) and other municipal buildings with electricity and heat using a new combined heat and power plant from MTU Onsite Energy. Powered by natural gas, the plant consists of two gensets, each based on a 12-cylinder MTU Series 400 engine delivering 420 kW.
With their high power requirements, indoor swimming pools such as the leisure facility run by the works department are ideally suited to CHP plants. Firstly, it takes a very large amount of power to heat both the pool water and the warm water for the shower facilities. Secondly, the heat given off by the power plant can also be used for space heating, which is especially useful in winter or during cold spells. The ventilation units and lighting systems, too, constantly draw large amounts of electricity.
“The CHP plant was sized and designed in such a way to enable it to supply heat and power, in addition, to four school complexes and a large sports hall in the town. To run a CHP plant economically, you have to have a high base load like this, and that's what makes it perfect for our application in Winsen”, says Mathias Eik, CEO of Stadtwerke Winsen GmbH. With a CHP plant, up to 90% of fuel burned is converted into electricity and heat (approx. 40% and 50%, respectively). This extremely high efficiency, and the fact that the CO2 emissions of co-generation systems are around one third less than with separate heat and power generation, make this type of generation especially economical and environmentally-friendly.