Journal Article /

The magazine "Energie und Management (E&M)" has nominated the natural gas CHP plant at Fraunhofer IISB as "CHP unit of the Year", having previously awarded it the title of "CHP unit of the Month" in June 2020.

© Energie & Management Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
Certificate "Block Heat and Power Unit (CHP) of the Year 2020", awarded by the magazine "Energie und Management (E&M)" and B.KWK.
© Kurt Fuchs / Fraunhofer IISB
Combined heat and power plant and hot water storage tanks in the basement of Fraunhofer IISB: The combined heat and power plant was integrated into the institute's infrastructure as part of the extension building B. It is used there both for heat and power supply and as a research facility.

Out of the "CHP of the Month" that E&M presents during a year, the German "Bundesverband Kraft-Wärme-Kopplung e.V." (B.KWK, "Federal Association for Combined Heat and Power") selects one plant as the annual champion.

In 2020, CHP concepts of combined heat and power plants running on natural gas and biogas with an electrical rating of between 4.7 kW and 2 MW were up for election.

The jury was convinced by the concept developed using scientific methods for integrating the CHP plant with a heat and battery storage system into the infrastructure of the Fraunhofer IISB.

In combination with a newly developed intelligent operating strategy for electric power and heat supply and for peak load reduction, a system concept was implemented that serves as a role model for the energy transition.


At Fraunhofer IISB, a key research area is the optimization of the energy infrastructure in industrial-scale facilities.

As the institute operates not only offices but also air-conditioned clean rooms and laboratories with large energy consumers, it is ideally suited as a demonstration platform for energy system solutions for medium-sized companies and industrial sites.

The optimization methods are not only related to the single present energy sectors - heating, electricity and cooling - but also focus on the overall energy system by linking the different sectors.


The plant at a glance

Operator: Fraunhofer IISB, Erlangen

Plant: Natural gas CHP from Tuxhorn (150kWel and 210 kWth), combined with a 60 kWh battery system and a 24 m³ heat storage tank.

Special feature: The plant is optimized for peak load reduction (peak shaving) of up to 20 %.
It is used for supply and research while saving costs.

Dates from mid-July 2019 to December 2020:  

  • Running time: running time (means CHP not off): 7552 h in a timeframe of 12097 h in total
    --> corresponds to 62 %
  • Energy balance: 1.12 GWh electrical energy, 1.69 GWh thermal energy
  • Natural gas energy required: 3.26 GWh
  • Average overall efficiency in operation: 86.2 %
  • Running time per cycle: 17 h

In the E&M issue 23/24 of December 15, 2020, the "Zeitung für den Energiemarkt" ("Newspaper for the Energy Market") reports about the intelligent load management with CHP, battery and heat storage at IISB.

Read more in the article "CHP unit of the Year" (in German) by "Energie & Management, issue 23/24 of December 15, 2020. 

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