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  • Energy system transition requires modern solutions: unique electrode boiler at STEAG's Fenne site

    Integrated energy is regarded as an important element in the success of the energy system transition. In the Saarland, STEAG has set up a plant that makes a temporary surplus of electricity from renewable sources usable as district heating.

    What prospects does the electrode boiler offer for the energy transition? 

    An electrode boiler can serve various purposes. On the one hand, it removes excess energy from the power grid when – for example in bright sunshine and strong winds – more energy is generated from renewable sources than is consumed. This ensures the stability of the electricity grid. On the other hand, an electrode boiler can step in if some heat, but not enough to justify the start-up of a power plant, is needed. Another aspect that is likely to gain in importance in the future is cogeneration: What happens if a power plant has to supply heat but no electricity is needed? That is not a problem as long as electricity prices cover costs. If electricity prices are low or even negative, it is worth using an electrode boiler to convert the unintentionally produced electricity into additional usable heat.

    What is so special about an electrode boiler? 

    At the Völklingen-Fenne site, STEAG tries out innovative applications for the electrode boiler and remote-controlled, grid-driven operation. The load change rate and control capability are particularly noteworthy – our electrode boiler reaches its maximum output within 30 seconds of being called up by the network operator and can control that output precisely in a way that serves the network. Irrespective of our project in Fenne, an electrode boiler can also be used if a heat generator is needed at short notice – for example to secure heating supply. An electrode boiler works locally, almost without any emissions. The approval procedure is therefore quite simple and the installation period comparatively short. It took STEAG less than a year to complete the project.