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Rheinhafen steam power plant in Karlsruhe

At the site of the Rheinhafen steam power plant in Karlsruhe – RDK for short – a new coal-fired unit went into operation after many years of construction: RDK 8 The new RDK 8 power plant is an essential component of an environmentally friendly energy supply. With a multitude of technical innovations, RDK 8 is setting a new worldwide standard for the efficient and thus environmentally friendly generation of electricity and district heating from hard coal.

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RDK 8 – a milestone in efficiency

The large construction site RDK 8 in Karlsruhe’s Rheinhafen

RDK 8 is designed for a gross rated electrical output of 912 MW. Depending on the heat requirement, up to 220 MW of district heat can be extracted from environmentally friendly combined heat and power generation for feeding into the district heating network of the city of Karlsruhe.

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The most important advantages of the new system at a glance

  • A quantum leap in terms of efficiency: The innovative technology of the new block leads to a significant increase in efficiency to over 46%.
  • A further step in terms of climate protection: Specific CO₂ emissions will be reduced by around 30% compared to the current global average. In addition, RDK 8 reduces the annual averages relevant for emissions (e.g. for dust and nitrogen oxides) by 50%.
  • Many years of supply security: RDK 8 will ensure an environmentally friendly energy supply in the base and medium load range for many years to come and is thus a reliable partner in the further expansion of renewable energies.
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Dialogue and tour

Would you like to visit the Rheinhafen steam power plant in Karlsruhe? Register here for a guided tour!

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Construction diary and current information on the course of the project

Here we inform you about important events in reverse chronological order (the most recent event is at the top).

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September to December 2013 +++ First full load

In December, Block 8 of the Rheinhafen steam power plant reaches 907 MWe.

After the fire damage has been repaired, RDK 8 will be put back into operation at the beginning of November. Work is progressing according to plan, and the plant is feeding electricity back into the grid. In November, the output of RDK 8 will be continuously increased until it reaches full load on 12 December. All systems work together – from the boiler to the turbine to the flue gas cleaning system. This takes place under constant supervision of all plant components by the commissioning engineers of the suppliers.

Now that the assembly work at RDK 8 has been largely completed, the focus of construction activity is on road construction and outdoor facilities. The areas in the Rhineland have already been completed and will be open to the public again in November. Over the next few months, green areas will be increasingly created within the site as well as the outdoor areas in the area of the employee parking spaces. The cycle path in the parking area will remain open at all times. The outdoor areas on the south and east side of the complex will follow in 2014.

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July to September 2013 +++ First electricity feed-in

First electricity feed-in at RDK8

After the “protective shift run” in June, the plant will shut down for a few weeks in July to check the steam pipes for cleanliness. Only after this inspection may the block be restarted and the steam generated in the boiler be fed to the turbine to generate electricity in the generator. This is done to protect the turbine because impurities from the construction phase in the steam pipes could damage the high-precision turbine blades. On 3rd August, the time had come: RDK 8 was synchronised with the power grid for the first time so that it can feed electricity into the extra-high voltage grid.

On 7th August, however, the commissioning process had to be temporarily interrupted because of fire damage in the engine house. By this time, RDK 8 had already burned more than 600 hours of oil and coal in the new boiler.

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April to June 2013 +++ First oil fire

The commissioning of the boiler plant continued. The first ignition tests with fuel oil were carried out on the large construction site in order to test the oil burners. These were a prerequisite for the subsequent start-up of the steam generator. Each individual oil burner had to be adjusted and checked for safety.

Another important stage was reached in June with the first continuous oil fire: RDK8 generated steam in the boiler for the first time. Among power plant operators, these first operating days with continuous fire are also referred to as protective layer operation. In this phase, a stable protective layer is formed inside the boiler tubes. This is important for a long service life of the tubes. One week after this first steam generation, the coal burners were also ignited for the first time in order to increase the boiler output for the diversion operation. During bypass operation, the steam generated in the boiler is fed directly past the turbine into the condenser. The purity of the steam in this phase is not yet sufficient to direct it to the turbine.

With the hot commissioning of the boiler, increasingly more extensive systems are being operated. The cooling tower will also be used for the first time in run-off operation and shows that it can effectively reduce the cooling water temperature before discharge into the Rhine – this is important in future operation of the power plant in order to conserve the river and the fish living in it.

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Archive of construction diary

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Press releases about the project