Mainova power plant Frankfurt

Who powers Frankfurt? A look at Mainova.

Who actually powers Frankfurt?

As a matter of course we enter the warm office in the morning, switch on the light and make ourselves a coffee. But what you need for this is complex to produce: heat, electricity and drinking water are among the most important energies of the people, and yet we hardly worry about them in everyday life. Because: everything is working and somebody will take care of it.

Mainova AG

In Frankfurt, somebody is especially Mainova AG. Mainova is one of the largest regional energy suppliers in Germany and supplies around one million people in Hesse and the neighboring federal states with electricity, natural gas, heat and drinking water. Mainova belongs to the majority of the City of Frankfurt.

Mainova AG emerged in 1998 from the merger of Stadtwerke Frankfurt am Main and Maingas AG. The energy and water supplier had 2,698 employees at the end of 2018 and generated sales of 2.05 billion euros in 2018. The largest shareholders of Mainova AG are the City of Frankfurt (via Stadtwerke Frankfurt am Main Holding GmbH) with 75.2% and the associated company Thüga AG with 24.5%. The remaining shares (0.3%) are in free float and are primarily former employees of Maingas AG.

Mainova is particularly relevant for the local generation of district heating: Because heating has to be generated on site and cannot be transported over long distances. District heating is also used to supply many large companies (Frankfurt Airport, Goethe university clinic, new DFB headquarters) and the high-rise buildings in the city center with heat.

Electricity is different from district heating, however: Mainova now purchases most of the electricity it needs from outside. Because Frankfurt is hungry for electricity: the city has grown by more than 100,000 inhabitants in the past 10 years, the airport is growing and more and more data centers are being created. Electricity purchased externally can be easily transported and is also cheaper than electricity generated by Mainova itself.

Many Power Plants

A total number of four Mainova combined heating and power plants (Heizkraftwerke in German – HKW) and a network ensure that Frankfurt is supplied with electricity. The HKW’s West, Niederrad, Allerheiligenstrasse and Messe generate district heating in addition to CHP electricity. Mainova AG also generates its electricity in numerous wind farms and photovoltaic systems as well as in power plants that work in combined heat and power (CHP). The basis of the Frankfurt power supply is the coal combustion in blocks 2 and 3 of the west thermal power station, the largest power plant in the city.

HKW West Power Plant

The CHP Power Plant West (Heizkraftwerk West) is a Mainova plant powered with hard coal and natural gas. It is located in the Gutleutviertel district of Frankfurt. In addition to electricity, it produces district heating in cogeneration. Overall, it has an electrical output of 262 megawatts and a thermal output of 430 megawatts. The first thermal power station west was built in 1894 as a municipal electricity center. The power plant today consists of blocks 2 and 3 of identical construction, built in 1989, for hard coal and block 4, built in 1994, for natural gas firing. These blocks not only supply the high-rise buildings with energy, but you also have an excellent view of the Frankfurt skyline from the power plant roofs.

What will Happen to Coal in the Future?

Generating district heating and electricity using coal sounds strange to many people today. Critics even call for the shutdown of coal-fired power plants. Because especially in times of climate change and global warming, more sustainable forms of energy generation should be used. This is how Mainova assures that their experts are already working on converting coal to alternative energy sources. According to a Mainova spokesman, several years will pass before it will be technically possible.

The fact is: Mainova is an important part of the energy supply in Frankfurt and makes its contribution to life in the city every day, quietly and secretly.

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