Though oil demand is projected to peak as soon as 2025, natural gas will play a pivotal role throughout the energy transition with demand set grow by 10% in the next decade before peaking by 2035, McKinsey forecasts. Investment in sustainable fuels – particularly hydrogen – is anticipated to reach up to $50 billion over the next three years.

Belgian start-up Tree Energy Solutions (TES), co-developer of the German North Sea LNG import project at Wilhelmshaven together with E.ON, has launched an open season to gauge interest. The regas terminal will initially import LNG to wean off Germany’s dependence on Russian pipeline gas before switching to green hydrogen imports from 2030.

Long Ridge Energy Terminal in Ohio, home to a 485 MW combined-cycle power plant, is where a GE HA-class gas turbine has for the first time been co-fired with hydrogen in a commercially operating generator. Following the completion of blending tests, the CCGT is now partially running on hydrogen produced as a by-product at a nearby industry.

Three Japanese energy majors – ENEOS, JERA and JFE – strive to set up a hydrogen and ammonia receiving and supply base at Keihin waterfront in Kanagawa Prefecture in the greater Tokyo area. Hydrogen and ammonia emit no CO2 during combustion so both fuels will be used at scale to clean up power generation and petrochemical processes.

Markus Söder, premier of the southern German state of Bavaria, propagates the use of hydraulic fracking to extract more domestic gas to accelerate the shift away from Russian imports. But economy minister Robert Habeck opposes lifting a ban on fracking and favours a shift to hydrogen instead.

The British government wants to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels by building eight new nuclear power stations, plus two additional units at Sizewell. Up to 24 GW will come from nuclear power, while approvals for offshore wind farms and hydrogen plants will be accelerated and a new licensing round for North Sea upstream projects launched this summer.

Plug Power has awarded an order to Atlas Copco to provide compressors and expanders for two 15 tons per day (tpd) green hydrogen liquefaction plants to be built in Texas, US. The new plants will make use of the cryogenic process technology, developed by Joule, to reduce the cost of liquified hydrogen by 25%.

April 6 – Burckhard Compression has broken ground on a hydrogen test facility, due operational in early 2023. The Swiss company was selected by Shell New Energies to help develop hydrogen compressors that are oil-free and can compress H2 up to 900 bar (as a booster) using non-lubricated compressors.

INNIO’s Jenbacher J420 gas engine has performed well in operation since 2019 when technology improvements helped increase its power output by 60 kW and efficiency by up to 1%. Since then, 16 engines were installed which accumulated 120,000 operating hours and the fuel flexible J420 D/E types can be converted to run fully on hydrogen.

Berlin Moabit will be home to industrial production of Siemens Energy’s electrolysers for green hydrogen, based on a €30 million investment into new automated manufacturing lines. The first modules are scheduled to be put together in 2023 and the aim is to scale them up to 1 GW units.

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News in Brief

Rolls-Royce conducts laser field tests in the US

May 18 – Rolls-Royce has successfully conducted laser field tests to demonstrate ‘deep magazine’ power capability for directed applications in connection with Lockheed Martin’s layered laser defense project. Deep magazine power can be provided by a battery-only system, but the Rolls-Royce ColdFire system includes both battery-powered and near-continuous firing modes provided by M250 gas turbine engines.

Gas vs oil ratio increases in the Bakken

May 17 – The ratio of natural gas to crude oil production has risen in North Dakota’s Bakken region since 2008, and continues to accelerate. According to the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Drilling Productivity Report, annual gas gross withdrawals in the Bakken increased by 9% to an annual high of 2.97 Bcf/d in 2021, even though the region’s crude oil production fell by 6%.

Middle East shifts to gas power

May 16 – The Middle East, a region vulnerable to climate change, is undergoing a major shift from petroleum-based power plants towards gas-fired generation and renewable power sources. Capacity additions of over 185.46 GW are the pipeline, according to ResearchandMarkets, as the regions electricity demand for industry and residential cooling is set to grow. In fact, cooling already accounts for 70% of residential power demand.

Carbon utilisation in strong demand

May 13 – The market for carbon utilisation is forecast to grow rapidly from the 2030s onwards to surpass $285 billion by 2042, driven by rising climate commitments and a favourable regulatory framework. In its latest report IDTechEx also highlights the role of technology advances such as thermodynamics which help sequester CO2 permanently.

MTU gensets approved for biofuels

May 12 – Rolls-Royce has gained approval to use synthetic fuels in its MTU Series 4000 and Series 1600 diesel engines for power generation application. Field testing confirmed both engines can use a range of sustainable fuels including biomass-to-liquid, hydrotreated vegetable oil and power-to-liquid fuels such as e-diesel.

E.ON tells Germans how to save gas

May 11 – A large-scale switch to heat pumps, solar power and better demand-side management could help save Germany nearly 100 TWh of natural gas per year, E.ON has said, calling on households to contribute to Europe’s efforts to reduce reliance on Russian gas imports. “If 10% of the homes in Germany are equipped with solar PV installations, 20% of gas boilers are replaced by heat pumps, and the average temperature in all households is reduced by one degree Celsius on average, this would lead to natural gas savings of 103 TWh per year," E.ON Energy CEO Filip Thon said, noting this volume would equate to about 30% of Germany’s current gas imports from Russia.

Exelon Q1 earnings lower following Constellation cave-out

May 10 – Exelon has reported lower first quarter earnings and a higher operating revenue, having completed the separation of Constellation Energy – Excelon’s former power gen business. Focussing now solely on transmission and distribution, Exelon’s net income from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2022 decreased to $0.49 per share from $0.53 a share in pre-year period. In contrast, adjusted operating earnings notched up to $0.64 per share, primarily due to due to higher electric distribution earnings at ComEd from higher rate base and higher allowed electric distribution. Rate increases at Excelon’s group companies PECO, BGE, and PHI were partially offset by higher depreciation expenses at BGE and PHI.

South Africa to add 2.6 GW of new capacity

May 9 – South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, has just announced the REIPPPP BW6 Request for Proposals (RFP).  The bid round will add 2,600 MWs of new capacity to the energy mix. The ministry seeks to procure 11,813 MW of electricity from various power sources including renewable energy, storage, gas and coal.

GE Gas Power authorized as CVE Numbering Authority

May 6 – GE Gas Power’s increased focus on cybersecurity has been recognized by the Common Vulnerability and Exposures Programm as a ‘CVE Numbering Authority (CNA).  As such, GE Gas Power can now assign CVE identification numbers to newly discovered vulnerabilities potentially related to its products and allow GE Gas Power to directly publish new CVE Records and streamline the reporting process.

Heliogen gets nearly $90m in funding

May 5 – Heliogen has moved from design into testing and implementation of its supercritical CO2 power gen system that will be deployed for Woodside in California. The system consists of a 5 MWe sCO2 power block integrated with high temperature solid media thermal energy storage. The demonstration project is being funded with up to $50 million from Woodside, along with $39 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

Capstone to install microturbine in the Caribbean

May 4 – E-Finity Distributed Generation, Capstone's distributor for the Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern United States and the Caribbean, has secured an order for two C1000S microturbines for a government water authority in the Caribbean. The 2 MW system will provide emergency standby power to several pumping stations throughout the remote island community and is scheduled to be commissioned towards the end of 2022.

Forecasting solar and energy storage in CAISO

May 3 – Marubeni has chosen Veritone’s AI-based distributed energy resource management solution (iDERMS) to provide price, demand and generation forecasts at their pilot project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) SP-15 region. In addition to day-ahead and real-time generation figures, Veritone will also forecast production and demand for the overall CAISO region.

Forecasting solar and energy storage in CAISO

May 2 – Marubeni has chosen Veritone’s AI-based distributed energy resource management solution (iDERMS) to provide price, demand and generation forecasts at their pilot project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) SP-15 region. In addition to day-ahead and real-time generation figures, Veritone will also forecast production and demand for the overall CAISO region.

Steam turbines in high demand

April 29 – The market for steam turbines for power generation will grow around 6.5% through to 2027, driven by the build-out of combined-cycle gas power plants – notably in Asia and the United States, ResearchAndMarkets finds. Coal power projects in China, India and Bangladesh also require significant numbers of steam turbines. “Many of the countries in Asia-Pacific cannot provide 24-hour electricity to its citizens, and the cheapest way to achieve the objective is to build thermal [coal power] plants and use steam turbines,” analysts commented.

LNG-fuelled power for Antigua

April 28 – Antigua Power Company Limited (APCL) has contracted Wärtsilä to supply and install a 46 MW dual-fuel power plant on the Caribbean island. The plant will operate primarily on regasified LNG, imported through a small-scale import terminal developed by U.S.-based Eagle LNG in partnership with APCL.

ION launches risk analyser

April 27 – ION Commodities has built a cloud-based solution – FEA Analyzer – to help energy and commodity firms transition to new renewable energy markets while simultaneously optimizing trading strategies and supply chains. The tool combines pre-trade analytics with risk management and asset optimization, all powered by predictive analytics and stochastic models. 

Capstone to service 600kV microturbine

April 26 – Capstone has landed a rental contract for a 600 kilowatt (kW) microturbine-based system with one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America. Due for commissioning in mid-May 2022, the plant will supply power to remote mid-stream operations along the customer's gas pipeline in Colorado.