With an electrical efficiency of 45.95%, the Lünen hard-coal-fired power plant, located on the Datteln-Hamm Canal in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany, is Europe’s cleanest and most efficient.

The 750-MW unit is owned by Trianel Kohlkraftwerk Lünen GmbH und Co. KG and has been online in continuous operation since Dec. 1. The plant had been under construction since August 2008 and was built as a turnkey unit under a consortium arrangement between Siemens and IHI Corp.

1. Lünen hard-coal–fired power plant, located on the Datteln-Hamm Canal in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. Courtesy: Siemens AG

The facility utilizes Siemens technology, including a model SST5-6000 steam turbine, a model SGen5-3000W generator, the complete electrical installations, and the SPPA-T3000 instrumentation and control system. It is designed for high efficiency in base load operation, but it also has responsive ramping characteristics, which are crucial to meet changing demands resulting from Germany’s increasing reliance on renewable resources.

“[With] the energy transition in Germany, we need the right balance between power plants delivering constant base load and fluctuating power from the renewables,” explains Manfred Ungethüm, managing director of the Trianel power provider. “The high-efficiency coal-fired power plant in Lünen is a mainstay of the energy mix in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. The power from this plant is in demand.

At a cost of about €1.4 billion, it is the largest investment in the history of Lünen and also supplies the city with district heating. The owners currently expect the plant to operate for 7,000 full-load hours in 2014, which could save up to 1 million tons of CO2 compared to an older, less efficient coal-fired power plant.

“Despite difficulties arising from the special licensing situation for coal-fired power plants in Germany, we have managed to build a plant to the highest technical standards that by far surpasses the contractually agreed performance values for output and efficiency,” Rainer Hauenschild, CEO of the Energy Solutions business unit at Siemens Energy, stated in a press release.

—Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)