Due to the existence of an extensive infrastructure and simple processing needs, natural gas is one of the most frequently used fuels within the German industrial sector. Natural gas is delivered directly to the customer via pipelines with no losses due to processing at the point of extraction. Because of the versatility of this fuel type, natural gas is used in heating, cooling and power generation plants, whereby, if used efficiently, it achieves the highest possible efficiency ratios, whilst being low on harmful pollutants and leaves no solid residue when combusted. Due to an advantageous hydrogen to carbon ratio, natural gas emits only minimal amounts of CO2.
Using natural gas:
- Heat and electricity generation: CHP systems use natural gas as a fuel. Under optimum conditions, a natural gas fired combined heat and power plant can achieve an efficiency factor of 95 %.
- Mobility: Natural gas is significantly cheaper than petroleum or diesel, and burns cleanly. Natural gas engines reduce CO2 emissions, thereby contributing to the protection of the environment.
Heating oil is an important energy source within the industrial sector. Heating oil is a by-product of crude oil treatment and is sold in four different grades, being: heavy, medium, light and extra-light, whereby the greatest difference is in the density of its constituent parts. In modern combined heat and power (CHP) systems, it is possible to use a combination of extra-light heating oil with other fuels, whereby the benefits are obvious: high energy efficiency, supply independence and the additional security of being able to stockpile fuel for future use. You are always able to react to the prevailing market prices and secure your energy supply. Moreover, heating oil requires no complex in-feed infrastructure and there are no contingency costs involved. In conjunction with time-limited performance peaks, heating oil represents the optimum alternative to other primary fuel sources due to both a lack of storage costs and contingency reserves. Modern storage and dispensing systems are designed for longevity and reliability.
The use of lignite dust technology enables the use of locally-sourced fuel, which, however, should not be confused with the untreated brown coal still used in many power stations. Lignite dust is extracted, treated, dried and milled from extremely high-grade brown coal with special combustion characteristics and a low ratio of inert inclusions. This refinement process yields a particularly homogeneous solid fuel, valued for its consistent fuel calorific value as a result of its low water content. High levels of availability throughout Central Germany, Lusatia and the Lower Rhine Region guarantee long-term price stability. The low procurement costs of this fuel type ensure a cost advantage over alternative primary energy sources, such as heating oil and natural gas.
Fuels derived from waste products are extremely important due to their ecological and economic significance. The fraction of such so-called alternative fuels within the overall fuel mix is increasing due to the increasing importance of sustainability among other things, whereby the source is relatively unimportant: the raw waste can come from the domestic or industrial sectors. By recycling these materials, valuable resources are saved and CO2 emissions are reduced. Depending on fuel homogeneity, composition and average calorific yield, the plant technology used for the energetic exploitation of this fuel source tends to be extremely heterogeneous.
Examples of the exploitation and utilisation of alternative fuels:
- Industrial power stations
- Waste incineration plants
- Cement and lime industry