Daily News

Gazprom has made a loss due to a weak Russian currency and 40% plunge in sales to Europe as the pandemic depressed demand and prices. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Gazprom booked a net loss of 218.38 billion Rubles ($2.85 billion) compared with a 1.048 trillion Rubles profit in the pre-year period.

Winter has come early in northern China this year and municipalities fired up district heating plants from November 1, causing stock-draws and encouraging buyers to look for spot LNG. Seasonal LNG demand also keeps rising in South Korea due to coal power plant closures, widening the JKM-TTF spread.

The pandemic has slashed the UK’s energy demand by 12% in the first three quarters of the year as the economy contracted by 11.3%. Up to 30,000 jobs in Britain’s oil and gas industry are at risk and the lobby group OGUK urges to government to help the industry transition to a green energy future.

Electricity Generating Public Company (Egco) of Thailand has applied to the state regulator for a licence to import LNG to fuel gas-fired power plants. Egco said the 256 MW Banpong plant and the 121 MW Klongluang plant “could use additional supplies,” though they already source gas from state-run PTT.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Power, part of MHI Group, has struck a licensing agreement with the French metallurgical firm Aubert & Duval related to metal powders used for additive manufacturing, or 3D Printing. The supply deal allows Mitsubishi to develop a 3D Printing base within its Hitachi Works in Ibaraki.

Gazprom says the global health and economic crisis in 2020 keeps a lid on high-cost shale gas production, with US LNG exports seen as “insufficiently competitive.” The current economic slowdown could create a niche especially in China and Europe, to be filled by cheaper Russian conventional gas.

Fast-start capability is vital for peaking plants and about a quarter of US power generation capacity can start up within one hour. Most hydroelectric turbines can go from cold start to full operations in less than 10 minutes, as can aero-derivative and some flexible combustion turbines.

GE Research has been awarded a $1.6 million project to develop refractory alloys, based on novel material that would enable turbine blades to operate at 1,700°Celsius, or 3,092°Fahrenheit. The aim is to develop niobium-based alloys to push combined-cycle gas turbine efficiency beyond 65%.

Japan’s largest power producer JERA is testing the data platform linked to its Battery Energy Storage System’s (BESS) until March 2021. Batteries are mostly installed for back-up energy, so they have surplus capacity at normal times which could be used for peakload-shifting.

Toshiba has developed an aqueous rechargeable lithium-ion battery in a bid to realise the world’s first large-scale battery that can operate at -30°C. The high durability battery has over 2,000 charge- and discharge-cycles and by using water as aqueous electrolyte, it is safe even if exposed to fire.

Nokia and the Austrian telecommunication provider A1 are looking to set up a private wireless network (VPN) to operate utility microgrids. The application will be tested at A1’s so-called campus solution, deployed at the company’s headquarters in Vienna.

The US government has started to call companies involved in the 27.5 Bcm/y Nord Stream 2 pipeline, threatening sanctions if they do not pull out. The Trump administration heavily opposes the Russian gas interconnector to Germany, but all five investors continue to support the project.

News in Brief

Hamburg CHP runs fully on hydrogen

Dec 1 – Field testing has started for HanseWerk’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Hamburg to run fully on hydrogen. The converted 1 MW pilot plant, powered by Jenbacher engines, provides district heating equal to 13,000 MWh/year to 30 residential buildings, a sports facility, a daycare center, and the Othmarschen Park leisure centre.

Oil majors in the red

Nov 30 – For most oil majors worldwide, higher prices are needed to get their business out of the red. Breakeven prices for Saudi Arabia are $85 per barrel, around $64/bbl for Iraq, $49/bbl for Kuwait and as little as $40/bbl for Russia. As business confidence plummets, major oil companies have already slashed planned CAPEX spending by almost $89 billion in first quarter of 2020, with further cuts being made throughout the summer and autumn.

EU invests into battery cells

Nov 27 – Germany's EU Council Presidency has pledged Europe should develop an integrated value creation chain for battery cells, starting with the processing of raw materials over battery cell production to recycling. Germany is investing 3 billion Euros into the two projects that foster novel methods of battery production.

Rolls-Royce wins order from Hinkley Point C

Nov 26 – Rolls-Royce has been awarded an order from Hinkley Point C to deliver 140 Bibloc pressure transmitters for the two EPR nuclear reactors currently under construction in Somerset, UK. The transmitters will measure the flow, level and pressure of the Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS).

CHP industry to grow 14.4% through 2025

Nov 25 – The combined heat and power (CHP) market, evaluated at $12.152 billion, is expected to expand nearly 14.4% per year to reach $27.196 million by 2025. Growth is primarily driven by government funding and subsidy schemes. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the country aims to install 40 GW of new, cost-effective CHP to save $10 billion per year, compared to current energy use.

Rolls-Royce opens US customer center

Nov 24 – Rolls-Royce has opened its latest US customer support center in Savannah, Gerogia. The 62,000 square feet facility houses a power plant completion center, a wing services repair unit and a warehouse, all under one roof.

Lithium Werks grows manufacturing

Nov 23 – US-Dutch manufacturer Lithium Werks is growing the output and sales fuel cells and battery modules for use as power, pulse, and stand-by applications. The company’s 26650 Nanophosphate cells are used as single cells, as well as to build cell-packs and modules like Lithium Werks P40-24 battery modules. The Austin and Enschede-based company said it can “produce millions of 18650 and 26650 cells a month in China.”

AGL plans 1,000 MWh battery

Nov 20 – Australian power producer and retailer ALG wants to realise a large grid-connected battery storage unit of up to 250 MW rated output and four hours’ duration of storage, equalling 1,000 MWh. The battery will be built in stages on the site of Torrens Island Power Station in South Australia. AGL vowed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but is currently still operating some 40 GW of coal-fired generation.

Fusion demo plant to be designed in Canada

Nov 19 – Vancouver-based General Fusion has entered a partnership with the architecture firm AL_A to design a demonstration plant, based on magnetized target fusion (MTF). Once operational, the demo plant will showcase MTF technology under power plant-relevant conditions.

Toshiba opens H2One fuelling station

Nov 18 – Toshiba has opened the first ‘H2OneMulti Station’ which fills fuel cell vehicles with green hydrogen and supplies for green electricity at Tsuruga City in Fukui prefecture. The station consists of H2One ST Unit and H2One, using hydrogen produced from wind and solar power sources.

Shale gas market grows at 7% rate

Nov 17 – Unconventional gas markets are poised to grow by $41.76 billion through 2024, rising at a rate of almost 7%. According to Technavio, about 87% of the supply growth this year is coming from the Americas.

Agua Blanca pipeline expanded

Nov 16 – Austin-based WhiteWater Midstream and MPLX have completed a 1.8 billion cubic-feet-per-day (Bcf/d) expansion of their joint venture Agua Blanca pipeline system. Christer Rundlof, CEO of WhiteWater CEO, said the expansion will be brought into service ahead of schedule. Testing and commissioning will begin this month, for the new pipeline stretch to be brought into full service in early 2021.

Wärtsilä integrates clean energy

Nov 13 – Finish technology group Wärtsilä strives to integrate variable clean power sources to achieve a 100% renewable energy future. The necessary operational flexibility will come from gas generation assets running on synthetic renewable fuels and by the extended use of energy storage.

First German-Belgium power link to start operation

Nov 12 – The two TSOs Amprion and Elia are preparing to launch the first electric interconnector between Germany and Belgium. The 1,000 MW interconnector stretches between Aachen and Lüttich, from where it links to the Rhineland region and Wallonia. It will go into operation as of 18 November, with intraday capacities to begin trading on 8 December.

Sachsen Energie takes on E.ON and RWE

Nov 11 – A small regional energy provider in Saxony seeks to counter the dominance of E.ON and RWE. Sachsen Energie, set up in a merger between two local utilities, claims it will become "the largest municipal utility in eastern Germany," catering to about one million customers, when it begins operation in 2021.

Rolls-Royce to build Czech nukes

Nov 10 – British engine maker Rolls-Royce and the Czech energy conglomerate CEZ have agreed to design and develop small modular reactors (SMR). These low-cost nuclear power stations are being built by the UK SMR Consortium aimed at installing a “fleet of factory built” nukes in the UK, and exporting the design abroad.

CCUS to reach $3.5bn by 2025

Nov 9 – The global carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) market size is expected to grow at a rate of 17% from $1.6 billion in 2020 to $3.5 billion by 2025. According to ResearchAndMarkets, the rising use of captured carbon for enhanced oil recovery plays a key role for the expanding CCUS market.

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