The Center for Power Generation

Who we are

The Center of Power Generation (CPG) is a research cooperation established within the MSE and involving multiple TUM institutes which deal with research on energy transformation in the broader sense. Apart from efficient and innovative power plant technologies, the research spectrum also includes innovative research on transportation and storage of electricity, control systems to achieve the latter as well as new and optimized technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The CPG provides an innovative environment enabling efficient collaboration across faculty borders through the exchange of knowledge and resources from several institutes of the TUM.  

Furthermore, the CPG serves as qualified contact for interested parties and potential partners, supporting the transportation and sharing of expert knowledge.

In the plant simulator (Picture: TUM/Andreas Heddergott)

Research Scope of the CPG

Power generation comprises all methods and technologies for energy conversion on the one hand and power supply on the other. Thus, it covers all tasks and operations from fuel to socket. Furthermore it includes all processes necessary to control power plant and grid operation as well as the storage of energy.

Within the research efforts of the CPG all of the above aspects of power generation are considered with a special focus on new technology development, efficiency and flexibility increase as well as emission reduction of biomass, gas and coal fired power plants. Partner institutes contribute their expert knowledge to cooperative projects. In parallel, the acquired knowledge is shared between partners on a regular basis building a strong common knowledge base.

Need for research

Research in the power generation area has for decades concentrated on a continuous efficiency improvement to decrease electricity production costs. Due to the ‘Energiewende’ on the one hand, and rocketing energy demand in developing countries on the other, the above objective has been replaced by the urgent need for highly flexible,  fuel efficient, ideally near-zero emission power plants. New technologies and designs provide only half of the solution, though, as investment costs are high, payback periods of existing power plants are long and the basis of decision-making for such an investment nowadays is volatile. Therefore, also upgrading of existing power plants became vital for meeting the new demands on efficiency, emissions and flexibility.

Although the core working principles of the considered technologies in the focus areas are known for well over 100 years, a range of promising optimization parameters have not been given a lot of attention by utility operators in the past due to low pressure, both with respect to cost and environmental legislation. Nevertheless, universities and research institutes have been working on new solutions and technologies, which now, in a changed political and economic environment, provide plant operators multiple options to work on improving plant emission levels, cost effectiveness and operation flexibility.

In an increasingly fast changing setting, thorough research efforts are needed in order to provide stable electricity supply in an economic and environmentally friendly way in accordance with political demands. Within the context of the MSE, the Center for Power Generation  therefore provides solutions and research on technologies and strategies which meet environmental, economic and flexibility needs as a partner of public and the private sector.

Head and Coordination

Prof. Spliethoff (Picture: TUM/Andreas Heddergott)

The Center for Power Generation is headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hartmut Spliethoff. He also chairs the Institute of Energy Systems, which – in the context of TUM’s mechanical engineering faculty – scientifically focuses on efficiency improvement and emissions reduction from conventional power plants as well as development of new technologies for power generation from solid fuels. In his function as director of the CPG, Professor Spliethoff sees himself as an initiator and contact of innovative projects among the partners of the CPG in close cooperation with external partners and governmental institutions.