Technology & Innovation

Demand for transmission system voltage support is increasing amid greater renewable penetration and retirement of fossil and nuclear power plants. Synchronous compensators such as STATCOM provide reactive power; yet its operational characteristics differ from a Static VAR Compensator.
GE said STATCOM undervoltage performance would be “superior”, while SVCs “masters overvoltages.”

State-run GAIL is partnering with California-based Bloom Energy in the development of gas-based fuel cell power production and its deployment across India. Bloom’s fuel cells are understood to utilize on scandia-ceria stabilised zirconia – research is ongoing to optimise the technology.

Following intensive R&D, Siemens exhibits high voltage interrupters and gas-insulated switchgear using vacuum technology and so-called clean-air technology up to a voltage of 145 kV for the first time ever at this year's Cigré in Paris. The launch of the new outdoor circuit-breaker 3AV1 and 8VN1 Blue GIS is scheduled in 2018.

Affordable storage is seen as the missing link between intermittent renewable power and reliable energy supply. McKinsey research anticipates costs could fall to $200 per kWh in 2020 – half of today’s price, which would help transform the energy mix of many nations. By 2025, costs of power storage are expected to fall to $160 kWh or less, making it affordable to use for utilities and grid operators.

New technology and advanced software controls are changing the ability for gas plants to respond flexibly to demand and harness waste heat driving renewed profitability for operators. “As plant performance improvements are more and more often optimized through smarter software our solutions are increasingly focused on the integration of hardware and software across the plant,” Andreas Pickard from Siemens told Gas to Power Journal.

 Det Norske Veritas and Germanischer Lloyd (DNV GL), an international classification society, have given IHI the approval in principle for its design of a Floating LNG Power Station (FLPS). The concept is a combination of a FSRU and a power plant.

Physical Systems Integration (PSI), along with partner Biosolventus, have reached the semi-final round of Cleantech Challenge Mexico (CTCM) 2016. Their offering, a turbine warming system, reduces warm turbine startup times by nearly 50% and eliminates cold-starts altogether. Winners of the CTCM2016 compete for private equity investment up to $30 million.

Frequent blackouts and entire grid collapses have knocked nearly 4% off Nigeria’s GDP year after year, and fuel shortages leave much 11,600 MW installed gas power capacity sit idle. A Powerphase upgrade can add incremental power to existing, well-fuelled installations – avoiding investment in risky new-builds.

Local power grids, able to disconnect from the central network and operate autonomously, are no longer primarily used by industries. For cities, they've become a ‘fail-safe’ – ready to spring into action if ever the main grid goes down. Decentralised generation capacity then powers the city 'from the edge'.

Since the rise of Additive Manufacturing, Siemens has been investing in the technology and is now driving it towards commercialization. To that end, the German OEM last August bought a majority stake in Materials Solutions, one of the pioneers in using selective laser melting to manufacture high-performance metal parts.

Additive manufacturing is a break-through technology for intricately shaping turbine parts. TerniEnergia and Numanova just signed two EPC contracts worth €6.5 million for the turnkey supply of two plants that actually produce the sought-after metal powders – the very basis of the laser printing process. The two facilities will be built some 100km north of Rome, due for completion in the second quarter of 2017.

By 2030, Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS) below €100/MWh will be achievable through various innovative technologies. At present, conventional battery power storage has LCOS of around €200-400/MWh.

Rising interconnectivity of power plants’ operating system with web-based monitoring and dispatch is posing greater risks in terms of cyber-security. “Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) machines are now open to the same attack vectors that the corporate environment has been dealing with for years,” security experts warn.

Recovering exhaust heat at its GT333S gensets allows FlexEnergy to make use of an additional 545 kilowatts of thermal energy. To that end, the New Hampshire-based company just launched an integrated heat recovery module that furthers boost microturbine efficiency.

Yamal LNG, a flagship liquefaction project in the Russian Arctic, will have uninterrupted power supply through 50 of AEG Power’s Protect 8 three-phase units, based on double-conversion/topology. First LNG production at the Novatek-led project is targeted in 2017.