14 October 2002 – German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was present as the new Niederaussem power station in Germany, one of the world’s largest and most advanced facilities for cost-effective, environmentally-friendly energy generation – was officially put into operation in September, 2002.

Schröder emphasized the role of brown coal as a stabilizing factor in the energy mix for Germany. The unit’s owner is RWE Rheinbraun AG.

Alstom was responsible as consortium leader for the engineering, construction, and commissioning of the high-tech boiler. The Niederaussem unit is designed to feed 965 MW into the interconnected German public grid and to serve the power needs of around 4.7 million consumers.

The Niederaussem Unit K is a supercritical boiler that will achieve a boiler efficiency of almost 95 per cent (LHV) with steam pressure of approximately 275 bar/3988 psig and steam temperatures of 580°C/1076° F. The plant electrical efficiency is over 43 per cent (LHV) – considerably more than that of existing plants designed and erected in the early sixties, which typically achieve an efficiency of about 31 per cent (LHV).

This means that sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen-oxide emissions (NOX) will decrease by around 30 per cent and CO2 emissions will be lessened by approximately 2.9 million metric tons per year when compared to these older units.

The Niederaussem unit represents a further milestone towards increasingly efficient utilization of German lignite in base-load power stations, in conformity with the most stringent environmental requirements.