Energy Storage

Enschede-based Lithium Werks has started to sell Nanophosphate cathode powder to lithium battery producers. Developed by MIT, the novel technology not only eliminates cobalt, but also heavy metal nickel. The material was first commericalised by A123 Systems and later acquired by Lithium Werks.

Technology companies in Europe and China have embarked on a race to develop and commercialise electrolysers to produce hydrogen as a fuel for industry and power generation. Though China can make the cheapest electrolysers, Europe leads on lean hydrogen technologies. Competition is rife, and set to improve project economics.

Xodus Group has been selected by Infinite Blue Energy (IBE) to carry out phase one work for the $300 million Arrowsmith Hydrogen Project, Australia’s first large-scale 100% green hydrogen plant. Situated 320km north of Perth, the 152 MW plant will produce 25,866 kg of hydrogen a day once operational in 2022.

Investment in the power generation sector in Asia Pacific will amount to over $1.5 trillion over the coming decade, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Wind and solar are seen account for up 66% or $1 trillion of that investment, with just $500 billion spent on new gas- and coal-fired power projects.

Energy storage markets in the United States staged a staggering 72% growth in the second quarter, with 168 MW new-built capacity. That's the highest quarterly total on record, according to the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA), falling just behind Q4-2019 when 186.4 MW were added.

Able Grid, developer of U.S. battery energy storage projects, is forging ahead with works on the Chisholm Grid battery energy storage system in Fort Worth, Texas. Chisholm Grid will initially have 100 MWac of rated capacity and is scheduled to begin commercial operations in mid-2021.

The number of battery storage systems in the United States has more than doubled from 49 to 125 within just three years, pushing up available capacity for storing electricity from 351 MW to over 869 MW. Analysts expect growth to continue once the U.S. comes out of the Covid-19-related recession.

Hanwha Energy has announced completion of the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell power plant that generates electricity from waste hydrogen. Built at a cost of $212.4 million, the 50 MW power plant makes use of waste hydrogen left over from the Daesan petrochemical complex to generate 400,000 megawatt-hours of electricity.

Gold Fields, operator of Agnew Gold Mine in Western Australia, has contracted Cummins to install QSV91G generators as part of Australia’s largest hybrid renewable energy microgrid. The system consists of a 23 MW off-grid power station, plus 18 MW wind power, and a 13 MW battery.

Industrial gas company Linde has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Beijing Green Hydrogen Technology Development, part of China Power, to promote the use of hydrogen in China. Green hydrogen mobility solutions are to be in place before China hosts of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

AEG Power Solutions has installed Convert SC Flex storage converters to help run Africa’s largest off-grid solar hybrid power plant at Bayero University Kano in Nigeria. The 7.1 MW micro-grid combines 3.5 MW solar photovoltaic, a 2.4 MW gas genset and 8.1 MW battery storage.

Shell says its REFHYNE hydrogen electrolyser project, based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology, will be supported by the European Commission’s new hydrogen strategy. The policy sets out pathways how clean hydrogen can help the EU reach is 2050 net-zero emissions target.

Europe’s largest power producer E.ON and the German steelmaker thyssenkrupp have teamed up to produce hydrogen by linking large-scale electrolysis units, built by the latter, with E.ON’s virtual power plants (VPPs). That way, industrial hydrogen can help integrate green energy into the grid.

Siemens has partnered with the Norwegian startup EnergyNest to jointly offer modularized energy systems to industrial customers. A heat battery, developed by EnergyNest, can be charged with waste heat from thermal power stations or renewable energy for use as backup power.

On-site power provider Cummins has entered a joint venture with the German startup NPROXX, focussed on hydrogen storage tanks and transportation. The JV is aimed at deepening Cummins’ capabilities in fuel cell and hydrogen production technologies.

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News in Brief

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

VELO distributes Sapphire Metal 3D-Printers in the US

Dec 18 – California-based VELO3D has formed a distribution partnership with GoEngineer for Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and controls. GoEngineer will be VELO’s only distributor in the United States.

Indian electric boats to achieve zero emissions

Dec 17 – Cochin Shipyard, India’s largest shipbuilder, has asked Siemens Energy to equip India’s first fleet of 23 boats with electric propulsion drive train, integrated with batteries and vessel automation. Combining the electric propulsion drive trains, energy storage, and automation systems is expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Terna BESS auction six times oversubscribed

Dec 16 – A pilot auction, held by the Italian TSO Terna, for battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide reserve grid services has been six times oversubscribed. The auction was held with an expectation that around 230 MW would be on offer, but Terna received 1,327 MW worth of bids and eventually awarded contracts for 249.9 MW.

New £150m link to UK’s Easington terminal

Dec 15 – National Grid has completed a gas pipeline under the River Humber, build in 18 months and at a cost £150 million, as new link to the import terminal at Easington. Following commissioning, the pipeline is now operational and can now transport between 70 to 100 million cubic metres - around a quarter of Britain's gas needs.