Flexible operation of a combined cycle cogeneration plant - A techno-economic assessment
Journal article, 2020

The need for flexibility in combined heat and power (CHP) plants is expected to increase due to the strong expansion of wind power in electricity systems. Cost-effective strategies to enhance the flexibility of CHP operation are therefore needed. This paper analyzes three types of flexibility measures for a combined cycle CHP plant and their relative impact on the plant operation and revenue. The types of flexibility are: operational flexibility of the fuel conversion system, product flexibility with variable plant product ratios (heat/electricity/primary frequency response), and thermal flexibility in a district heating network. A modeling framework consisting of steady-state and dynamic process simulation models and optimization model is developed to combine static, dynamic, technical and economic perspectives on flexibility. A reference plant serves as a basis for the process model development and validation, and an energy system model provides input profiles for future electricity price scenarios. The results indicate that product flexibility and thermal flexibility have the highest value for the cogeneration plant (up to 16.5 M€ increased revenue for a 250 MWel plant), while operational flexibility (ramp rate) has a comparatively small impact (<1.4 M€). A wide load span and plant versatility, e.g. electricity and heat generating potential between 0 and 139% of nominal capacity, is beneficial in future energy system contexts, but has a marginal value in the current system. Electricity price volatility is a main driver that increases the value of flexibility and promotes operating strategies that follow the electricity price profile rather than the heat demand.


Process optimization

Gas turbine combined cycle

District heating

Steam cycle

Combined heat and power


Johanna Beiron

Energy Technology 3

Rubén Mocholí Montañés

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Energy Technology

Fredrik Normann

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Energy Technology

Filip Johnsson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Energy Technology

Applied Energy

0306-2619 (ISSN) 18729118 (eISSN)

Vol. 278 115630

Flexible Combined heat and power plants for power systems with volatile electricity prices

Swedish Energy Agency (S44910), 2017-10-01 -- 2020-11-01.

Subject Categories

Energy Engineering

Energy Systems



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