Large scale power plants based on nuclear or conventional fuel provide about 80 % of generated electricity in the EU and nearly 90 % of hot water used for district heating. 

Electricity generation by fuel used in power plants, EU-27, 2006 (% of total, based on GWh)

Despite the important and necessary increase of renewable energy by approximately 10 % by the year 2020, large scale power plants will form the backbone for the secure supply of energy for the next few decades. It  is  evident,  that  improving  the  energy  efficiency  of  nuclear,  coal  and  gas  plants  will  generate  a  significant contribution  to  energy  conservation,  preservation  of  natural  resources,  reduction  of  emissions  and  the protection of the environment.

This JRP focuses both on the metrological research necessary to reduce the measurement uncertainty of the important control parameters (temperature, flow, thermal energy and electrical output) of power plants and on research on advanced materials to be used in future turbines. The total results of the research work could lead to an overall additional enhancement of energy efficiency of 2 % - 3 % for all types of large power plants, and a commensurate reduction of emissions.


The final stakeholders of the project are the EU citizens who will benefit from the efficiency enhancement, and  improvements  to  sustainability  as  natural  resources  are  preserved  and  the  emission  of  green  house gasses are lowered. The results of the research work, however, have to be put into practice by the power plant producers, operators, consultants and instrumentation companies. These have to be supported by their respective associations, but also by policy makers and legal / standardisation bodies. Therefore, the project will be flanked by a advisory group of high-level representatives of the relevant parties. This group is also one of the JRP’s instruments to ensure the impact of the research results.


The JRP is related directly to the important political issues of European policy concerning the enhancement of  energy  efficiency  in  order  to  save  natural  resources,  promote  the  protection  of  the  environment  and  to lower  the  emission  of  green  house  gases.  The  mandate  for  research  work  on  efficiency  enhancement  in power plants may be derived from the following EU documents:  

  1. Directive  2006/32/EC  “on  energy  end-use  efficiency  and  energy  services  and  the  corresponding national energy efficiency action plans” (NEEAP). [Directive 2006/32/EC, “Article 4, General target: 1. Member States shall adopt and aim to achieve an overall national indicative energy savings target of 9 % for the ninth year of application of this Directive, to be reached by way of energy services and other energy efficiency improvement measures.”]
  2. European  strategic  energy  technology  plan  (SET-Plan)  [COM(2007)  723,  P.5:  “Energy  efficiency: First and foremost, we need a step change in efficiency in energy conversion, supply and end-use.” ]
  3. Directive 2004/8/EC on the promotion of cogeneration [Directive 2004/8/EC: Article 1 Purpose: The purpose of this Directive is to increase energy efficiency and improve security of supply by … high efficiency cogeneration of heat and power based on … primary energy savings.”]  
  4. European Parliament resolution of 24/10/2007 on “Conventional energy sources and energy technology” [C263E/424,  p.3:  “…improvements  in  the  efficiency  of  fossil  fuel  power  plant  technology  are essential…”] 

 

The  results  of  the  JRP  concern  a  wide  community  starting  with  different  and  competitive  companies responsible for construction, instrumentation and operation of power plants / district heating networks and ending with legal bodies, regulators and policy makers. The main addressees, however, are the European citizens and their demand that the community undertakes all efforts to protect the environment and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Therefore, the result of the research work shall be open and accessible to all parties.