Technology & Innovation

Hybrid solar & gas generator sets, manufactured by Himoinsa, are said to allow operators reduce their fossil fuel costs while making use of solar energy. Particularly in areas with high levels of solar irradiation, hybrid power projects may also include a battery bank. Sub-Saharan Africa is seen as a growth market for such hybrid installations.

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.

Varying gas composition impacts performance and component lifetime of internal combustion engines, gas turbines and fuel cell-based machines. By measuring the optical fingerprints of C1-C5 alkanes, the Precisive 5 Gas Analyser enables real-time and high-accuracy fuel gas analysis, according to the firm’s founder and president, Vidi Saptari.

Implementation of heat exchange and storage systems attached to CCGTs is delivering greater demand-response for plant operators, delegates at PowerGen heard. The Italian utility IREN uses heat storage tanks at three gas power plants around Turing – optimizing between the sales of electricity and district heating.

A “remarkable technical success” is how Chuck Goodson, Eastman Chemical Company’s utilities maintenance area manager describes PSM’s FlameSheet combustion system conversion, implemented on two 7F gas turbines at the Longview combined heat and power plant in Texas.

As for generating district heating from CHP sources, gas engine-driven power plants offer numerous advantages over classic gas combined-cycle power plants, a comparative study by the Essen-Duisburg University and MAN Diesel & Turbo shows. Engine-driven CHPs were found to be “operationally superior”, both in terms of energy efficiency as well as cost-effectiveness.

Accelerated growth of volatile wind and photovoltaic power supply in Germany has been shifting the dispatch of fossil power plants to load-following operation to maintain the stability of the power grid. More decentralized gas-fired stations would help meet TSO’s flexibility requirements, Dr. Thorsten Krol, marketing manager at Siemens’ distributed generation business development told Gas to Power Journal.

Flexibility of power network hinges on storing excess electricity and demand response to alleviate the impact of intermittent generation. California and Germany used subsidies as a trigger to advance power storage; yet to further commercialise these technologies the industry needs market-based regulation that remunerates flexibility and puts in place a level playing field between different assets.

Ener-Core has initiated a full scale acceptance test, connecting its first-ever 2 MW power oxidizer with the Dresser-Rand KG2-3G gas turbine. Following successful testing, Siemens-owned Dresser-Rand will assemble and ship two commercial 2 MW systems to Pacific Ethanol, who placed the first purchase order for this technology.

US merchant power producer Talen Energy has verified the feasibility of bringing natural gas to its Montour power plant, in Washingtonville, as it is about to install boiler modification to enable the coal-fired plant to also run on gas. Dual-fuel capability is expected to reduce operating costs.

Construction and fuel costs determine the economics of electric generator technology, while markets and price drivers alter patterns of which type of capacity is being added, an EIA analysis finds. As for gas generation, construction costs in the US averaged at $965/kW in 2013 while building new wind power installationscost $1,895/kW, supported by tax credits at the time.

A policy session on the role of micro gas turbines amid the rise of green energy production will be held by ETN, COGEN and AEBIOM during the upcoming EU Sustainable Energy Week. A system approach is needed so that decentralised gas generators can effectively contribute to the decarbonisation of the power mix.

Technological advances in fuel flexibility, efficiency, and environmental sustainability remain in focus at Wärtsilä, notably in its Wärtsilä 31 engine. As of late, the Finnish OEM introduced the world's first gas tanker fuelled by liquefied ethane gas.

SmartSet Couplings, designed by Voith, limit the torque between the generator and the turbine in the event of a sudden voltage drop in the power system, allowing continuous plant operation. The risk of critical voltage fluctuations increases due to rising alignment of the grid to renewables and distributed power.

Keen to cater to Saudi Arabia’s fast-growing power market, turbine manufacturers are stepping up local production. Siemens has just delivered its first gas turbine built in the Saudi kingdom, while GE and SAIIC signed an accord to co-invest in sectors that help develop local industries.