mtu Onsite Energy steps on the Gas
Posted on October 26, 2011
Canberra Airport in Australia has one and so does the airport at Friedrichshafen. A carpet factory in Kayseri, Turkey has one and the Hessing Clinic in Augsburg and the Peugeot and Smart automobile factories in France each have several. What are they? Compact cogeneration plants from mtu Onsite Energy Gas Power Systems in Augsburg.
- Augsburg-based Tognum subsidiary enjoys worldwide growth with compact cogeneration plants
- 100 new employees in 12 months
- Excellent prospects for ecologically sound power generation
Friedrichshafen, 26 October 2011. Canberra Airport in Australia has one and so does the airport at Friedrichshafen. A carpet factory in Kayseri, Turkey has one and the Hessing Clinic in Augsburg and the Peugeot and Smart automobile factories in France each have several. What are they? Compact cogeneration plants from mtu Onsite Energy Gas Power Systems in Augsburg. The company, which is a subsidiary of propulsion and power generation specialist Tognum, specializes in energy-efficient combined heat and power (CHP) technology based on gas engines and it is growing rapidly. The company currently employs over 350 staff, 100 more than at the same time last year. “The technology means that electricity and heat can be generated where they are needed reliably, extremely efficiently and in an environmentally friendly way. This is an important market for the future throughout the world,” said managing director Ulrich Kemnitz. “That’s why we are currently expanding our facility and why we are looking for additional qualified workers.”
The basic aim of a CHP plant is to get as much out of the gas it uses as can possibly be got out. An engine powered by fuel gas drives an electricity generator and the electricity produced is either used on-site, in a large production facility for example, or it is sold and fed into the public grid. Instead of allowing the exhaust heat from the engine to disappear into the atmosphere, this too is used to heat homes for example, or to heat water for whole districts or to provide heat for industrial processes. “This means we can achieve efficiency rates above 90% and are able to utilize virtually all of the energy present in the gas,” explained Kemnitz. In Holland, large-scale market-gardeners not only produce very economical electricity and heat with CHP plants, they also use the carbon dioxide in the exhaust to fertilize their crops. Up to now, most gas-powered systems have used natural gas but there is now a growing trend to fuel the engines with biogas gained from corn or other biomass materials.
mtu Onsite Energy Gas Power Systems and its predecessor have been building gas-powered CHP plants in Augsburg for more than three decades now. Originally, production was for the German market only but, says Kemnitz, who has headed the company since 2008, “In the meantime we have been very successful on the international scene.” Considerable sales successes in Indonesia, Bangladesh, India and Russia demonstrate the point. The next project is a sales campaign in the USA. “Being part of the international Tognum Group really helps us to gain access to new markets,” emphasized Kemnitz, “because Tognum has a global sales and service network which we could never have developed alone. That gives us, as a medium-size company, the advantages enjoyed by international organizations.” The recent takeover of the Tognum Group by Rolls-Royce and Daimler opens up significant opportunities. The product ranges on offer from mtu Onsite Energy Gas Power Systems and the gas engines division of the Rolls-Royce engine facility in Bergen, Norway, complement each other to create an extensive portfolio. The two together provide customers with a considerably wider range of products and services. In addition, future cooperation will open up access to wider markets through the joint use of two individual sales networks.
The growth in domestic and international business is immediately recognizable at the production facility. “We’re bursting at the seams,” said Ulrich Kemnitz. Over the last few weeks, some sections of the company have moved to a new building in the city. By the end of the year, the After-Sales section and a training center will also be located there. The relocation will create space for around 60 staff at the main facility. Planning is also underway for further expansion at the location, with additional production and test stand facilities to enable the company to cope with the heavy demand for CHP plants. Just a few months ago, mtu Onsite Energy Gas Power Systems put a new R&D test stand into operation. The €5 million investment which has built-in potential for further expansion will be vital for further development of gas engine systems. For example, it allows simulation of various gas qualities and different environmental conditions from tropical climes to Siberian cold. “The places where our CHP plants are in operation do not always have the friendliest of climates. And in addition, especially with biogas, fuel quality tends to fluctuate. Our systems need to be able to cope with that,” said Kemnitz.
To make sure that its systems really can cope, mtu Onsite Energy Gas Systems employs around 160 engineers and technicians specializing in the widest range of areas and working on custom-tailored solutions for each order as well as on the gas engine systems of the future. “Good workers have a good future with us,” said Kemnitz. Especially in demand are qualified technicians and engineers for R&D, project management, commissioning and global service assignments. The demand for staff is also growing in production and administrative areas too because mtu Onsite Energy Gas Power Systems is continuing to expand. “Throughout the world, the market holds great potential for us,” added Kemnitz confidently.