When the city of Reutlingen, Germany began a residential development project 40 years ago, the city decided to supply heat to the new section of the city from a central district heating plant. This has proven be a good long-term decision. Heizwerkbetriebsgesellschaft Reutlingen mbH (HBG) today provides district heating for more than 4,200 residences, schools, and swimming pools in the city of Reutlingen, Germany.
“HBG decided in 2002 to modernize its main cogeneration plant located in the Orschel-Hagen section of Reutlingen. The goal was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without increasing the costs to district heating customers,” explains Uwe Klingler, HBG’s chief operating officer. To reach this goal, HBG decided to augment the four conventional oil- and gas-fired boilers it was using to produce heat with a 2 MW G3520C natural gas powered Cat® cogeneration system.
In the summer of 2012, with the help of Cat Dealer, Zeppelin Power Systems, HBG upgraded the facility with Caterpillar’s first G3516H gas generator set, which boosted the electrical efficiency of the plant from 39% to 42.3%. With the installation of some new thermal recovery technologies such as heat pumps, the plant simultaneously increased thermal efficiency to over 57%. The net result is one of the most efficient combined heat and power systems in the world, where each unit of natural gas energy consumed is delivered back to the community to either power or heat local homes.
Today, as in the past, service and maintenance are critical, in addition to having a top-quality generator set. “Startup time and reliability were exceeded by a long shot. And with our local maintenance agreement, we know exactly what our operating costs are going to be,” Klingler explained.