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MAN Energy and Statera deliver back-up power to support UK energy transition

MAN Energy Solutions has won an order from UK company Statera Energy to supply eight of its MAN 20V35/44G TS engines for two 50 MW power plants.

The orders represent the first part of a recent framework agreement between the two companies for the supply of 20V35/44G TS natural-gas reciprocating engines to Statera’s UK power plants.

Some 24 such engines, the first of their kind to be deployed in Britain, will deliver a total of 300 MW of highly efficient back-up power to the national grid, and will be installed in six new power plants over the course of the next 18 months.

Wayne Jones, OBE, chief sales officer of MAN Energy Solutions, said: “… MAN Energy Solutions is proud and honoured to be part of such an important initiative. Our gas engines provide market-leading fuel efficiency and saving fuel ultimately means cutting emissions.

“As soon as it is available, the engines can also be operated on synthetic natural gas, a fuel that can be generated from renewable energy and is 100 per cent climate neutral. Studies expect the production of such green gas to ramp up within the next 10-15 years. In this way, Statera’s new plants are future-proofed and have the potential to contribute to a fully decarbonised economy.”

Gas as a key player in UK energy mix

The UK’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 means that weather-dependent, intermittent, renewable sources of energy – such as wind and solar – will need to be deployed at scale over the coming years.

As a result, balancing the supply and demand of electricity will become increasingly challenging as back-up forms of generation will need to respond rapidly to fluctuations in the output of renewable sources of power.

Aurora Energy Research predicts that by 2050, 50 TWh of back-up power will be needed to support renewables which will represent around 9 per cent of the energy mix. In all its Future Energy Scenario analysis, National Grid predicts that gas will play a key part in meeting this requirement.

Statera’s new plants mark an innovative step change in the way natural gas can be used to meet the urgent nature of an energy deficit or peak demand on the UK electricity network when compared to Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power plants.

The Statera plants can reach full capacity from standby within around five minutes (versus 60 minutes minimum for a CCGT) and their design has been optimised to be the most efficient way of turning natural gas to electricity for short runs of 4 hours or less.

Analysis conducted by Aurora Energy Research predicts that the most common duration requirement for back-up power to support the renewable energy mix by 2050 will be for under 4 hours, which is why these new power plants are essential to meet this changing need.

In addition, each of Statera’s power plants will be fitted with a selective catalytic reduction unit, which will ensure that exhaust emissions are not only within Environment Agency limits but are consistent with levels already measured in the atmosphere.

Tom Vernon, managing director of Statera Energy, said: “The UK has set some of the most ambitious carbon and sustainability targets in the world, which will require a fundamental rethink of the way energy is produced, stored, and used. Renewables are going to be the dominant source of power in the future, and while batteries will balance the grid for daily fluctuations in supply and demand, flexible gas generation will play a crucial role in efficiently guaranteeing security of supply for those prolonged periods where there is low renewable generation.

“Statera’s mission is to improve the efficiency of the current level of gas deployment using technology where the best flexibility and response times can be delivered. This will replace less efficient and less responsive gas and allow further development of renewables. We are very pleased to be working with MAN Energy Solutions who has developed an engine that we believe is truly best in class and leads the way in using Natural Gas and Synthetic Natural Gas to create electricity with maximum flexibility and efficiency.”

About the gas engines

Gas engine power plants offer important advantages to plant operators facing today’s energy-market requirements. Each of the new plants consist of four MAN 20V35/44G TS-type gas engines that can be introduced to – or removed from – service as required, offering customers optimal operational and market-oriented flexibility.

The MAN 20V35/44G TS is a spark-ignited, two-stage turbocharged gas-engine. Engines with two-stage turbocharging come with both a low-pressure and high-pressure compressor, which work connected in series to deliver improved power density and efficiency.

Such a set-up significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions, and offers a more compact plant design.

Visit MAN Energy Solutions at POWERGEN Europe, stand C37. The team would enjoy the opportunity to share about their insights into the European power sector.