Gas power briefly explained

gas power illustration

Gas power is an environment-friendly alternative to coal-based electricity production, and forms a bridge to a more sustainable energy supply in the future.

By 2020, 36 per cent of Europe’s electricity production is expected to come from gas-fired power plants. Statkraft is currently involved in the operation of five gas power plants – four in Germany and one in Norway.

From gas to electricity

Combined cycle power plants (CCPP) operate by combining the gas turbine cycle and a steam cycle for higher efficiency. Exhaust produced by burning gas in combination with compressed air, turns the gas turbine. The remaining heat in the gas turbine exhaust is used to generate steam, which drives a steam turbine. In this way, two power sources drive the generator, which ultimately produces electricity.

A gas turbine consists of three main components: a compressor, a combustion chamber and the turbine itself. The turbine sucks the surrounding air into the compressor, where the pressure is increased by a factor of 15–30. The compressed air is then fed into a combustion chamber where gas is added and the mixture burned. The temperature inside the combustion chamber is around 1 400°C. The exhaust gas is led out of the combustion chamber onto the turbine blades, expanding as it does so and making the turbine revolve.

Gas power is environment-friendly

Gas-fired power plants bridge the gap between the oil and coal age and a future based on renewable energy. Natural gas is not a renewable resource and the gasfired power plants produce carbon emissions. Nevertheless, gas power makes a positive contribution to the environment because it is part of a European energy mix that produces a lower level of greenhouse gas emissions. Gas fired power plants have the lowest carbon emissions of all power plants burning fossil fuels. The emissions from gas-fired power plants built using the best available technology contain approximately 50 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO2) and up to nine times less nitrogen oxide (NOx) than emissions from coal-fired power plants