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TURBOmachinery REtrofits enabling FLEXible back-up capacity for the transition of the European energy system

Project description

Retrofitting power plants for a greener future

The global energy sector is responsible for two-thirds of CO2 emissions, making it crucial to achieving emission reduction targets and fostering green growth. However, the intermittent nature of abundant renewable energy sources like wind and solar creates a mismatch with peak energy demand. Without large-scale storage solutions available, alternative backup capacities are urgently needed. In this context, the EU-funded TURBO-REFLEX will retrofit thermal power plants with advanced technologies that enable flexible operation without compromising their lifespan, cost, or emissions. By reducing minimum load requirements, increasing ramp rates, and lowering costs per cycle, TURBO-REFLEX paves the way for stable and resilient energy systems, while promoting higher shares of renewable energy.


The energy sector accounts for two thirds of the global CO2 emissions and is therefore crucial to ensure future green growth and to achieve the global emission reduction targets. Substantial reduction of CO2 emissions can only be achieved by large scale deployment of renewable energy sources, including in particular the most abundant energy sources, wind and sun. Their intermittent nature however poses significant challenges for the energy system as peak demand from the system and peak production form those intermittent sources do not overlap. As there are no large scale storage solutions available yet, other backup capacities are needed. The installed fossil capacity is large enough to provide this back-up power. However, the plants were designed for baseload operation, which results in increased wear and costs through cyclic operation and unnecessarily high emissions in the start-up phase.
Providing technology upgrades to retrofit the installed power plants to enable flexible operation without penalties on life, cost and emissions is an opportunity to quickly provide the necessary backup capacity to keep the energy system stable and resilient and at the same time enabling higher renewable shares.
TURBO-REFLEX will follow this approach and has selected technologies for retrofitting critical parts of thermal power plants which have already seen experimental proof-of-concept and are expected to significantly contribute to flexible operation. The technologies will reduce the minimum load, increase the ramp rates and reduce the costs per cycle. This will be achieved by new compressor designs for off-design operability, technologies in the hot gas path, in combustor and turbine, and by new materials, models and sensors to monitor and ensure the mechanical integrity in flexible operation. An integrated assessment will provide not only the technological but also the economic benefits for plant operators, thus ensuring a swift implementation of TURBO-REFLEX technologies.

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Net EU contribution
€ 290 000,00
60313 Frankfurt Am Main

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Hessen Darmstadt Frankfurt am Main, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 621 141,25

Participants (29)