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Pécs Power Plant provided uninterrupted service even in the coldest weeks of winter
February brought extraordinary cold weather to Pécs, with temperatures well below what is usual in this part of the year. At times temperatures fell to as low as 19 °C below zero in the power plant. The severe conditions – unprecedented for quite a long time – put to the test both workers and boilers. As to the boilers, PANNONPOWER Holding Zrt. planned to operate the two gas-fuelled ones for the last time this year because from the next heating season on the company group intends to use exclusively biomass fuel to generate the heat required for district heating.
The lowest temperature of this winter was measured in the early hours of February 10 on the premises of PANNONPOWER HOLDING Zrt, when the thermometer showed 19 °C below zero. In those days the daily average temperatures, i.e. the mean values of the highest and lowest temperatures measured, were usually found to be around minus 10-12 °C! These far from ordinary conditions caused smaller difficulties in the operation of the plant, but the boilers held their ground and ensured pleasant temperatures in every flat with district heating.
In order to continuously keep up the pleasant conditions in the flats PANNONPOWER raised the temperature of the so-called upstream water, i.e. the water leaving the plant for the district heat system. The usual average temperature of water pumped into the system is around 80 degrees. In mid-February the temperature of the water circulated in the heating system approached 120 degrees.
Maintaining this level of performance made it necessary to operate three boilers in parallel in order to supply the amount of heat required by the town. The wood-fuelled unit that has been in operation for several years now generated two fifth of the heat on the average from biomass, while the remaining amount was supplied by the gas-fuelled equipment.
In the coldest period the two gas-fuelled boilers burned more than 350,000 m³natural gas per day to keep homes in Pécs warm. In the next heating season this daily quantity will be saved thanks to the straw-firing boiler under construction now on the premises of PANNONPOWER that will contribute to the reduction of annual gas-consumption in Hungary by approximately 80 million m³ not speaking of the 150,000 - ton decrease in CO2 emission at the national level.
On the coldest days the heat required by the heating system amounted to as much as 190 MW for shorter periods of time, making it exceed the amount of heat agreed in the long-term heat supply contract. This amount of heat meant a two-third increase on an average winter day. However, no records were broken, because the similarly cold winters in the years immediately following the turn of the millennium generated a demand that exceeded these amounts on several occasions.
Although the bitterly cold days of this winter are history now, the heating season is not over yet: the district heat system has a continuous demand for heat that PANNONPOWER can meet thanks to the simultaneous operation of wood-fuelled and gas-fuelled boilers. Security of supply is not jeopardized by the construction of the new unit fuelled with agricultural by-products. The progress of the construction is on schedule, it is therefore reasonable to plan start-up to take place in summer so that the commercial operation of Hungary’s largest straw-fuelled power plant should begin in the next heating season. As a result of this addition, PANNONPOWER will generate practically all the heat required for the urban district heating system from renewable energy sources from then on.