Daily News

ABB has won an order worth US$16 million from Qatalum, for upgrading the power network at its aluminum smelter in Mesaieed Industrial City, located about 50 kilometers south of Doha, Qatar. The order was booked in the first quarter, ABB said, with the project scheduled for completion by 2013.

MAN Diesel & Turbo will bring the prototype of a new 6 MW gas turbine family to the market shortly after development completion, Roland Herzog, Vice President, Material Technology at MAN Diesel & Turbo said today. "The first model of MAN's new 6 MW gas turbine will be commercially used at a CHP cogeneration unit at a chemical production plant in Rheinberg," he told 'Gas-to-Power Journal' at the sidelines of the 'Turbine Forum 2012' in Nice.

Japan's Tokyo Gas is considering building a third 400 MW gas-fired power plant unit at its Yokohama plant, Tokyo Gas president Tsuyoshi Okamoto said today.

The share of electricity production from gas-fired power plants has fallen to the lowest levels in 14 years due to "unfavourable market conditions and low demand," data published by the department of energy and climate change (Decc) shows.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has won an order from TransAlta Generation Partnership, a subsidiary of TransAlta Corporation, to supply two M501GAC gas turbines for the proposed Sundance 7 power generation facility in Alberta.

Transco, a key gas transmission pipeline in the U.S., is preparing to increase gas transport capacity to satisfy rising gas demand for power generation. "Power generation is the driver behind about a third of the volumes in proposed projects in development on our Transco pipeline," Alan Armstrong, chief executive of Williams Partners' said.

Southern has burned more natural gas than coal for power generation during the first quarter of this year as plunging gas prices due to abundant domestic supply makes gas the cheapest fossil fuel in the U.S.

Entso-E, the representative body of European TSOs, is criticizing the lack of investment in power grid expansions to support the massive increase of renewable capacity throughout Europe. Gas-fired power plants are widely used to backstop the intermittency of electricity produced by renewable energy sources.

The impact of today's strike at E.ON's gas- and coal-fired power plants in France is expected to be "minimal" and will not curtail electricity output as the German utility is not planning to operate the affected plants.

The focus in hot section coatings is shifting from temperature to time. "It's all about coating durability," Carol Crowe, aftermarket coatings discipline chief at Pratt & Whitney said today.

Alstom has developed a new nozzle design for gas turbines and is getting ready to put it to production. "We started to use them in production, now that we've solved an initial problem with nozzle life time," Sebastian Mihm, coating engineer at Alstom said today.

Robustness and increased thickness of thermal barrier coatings (TBC) of industrial gas turbines  is 'key' as the industry aims to ramp up firing temperatures and pressure ratio to boost turbine performance. "We need to spend more R&D money on TBC process robustness," Matthias Oechsner, professor for materials technology at the technical university of Darmstadt, Germany, told an industry forum in Nice today.

Danske Commodities has started to take on physical power generation assets by buying a 38 MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant outside Copenhagen from Dong Energy. The acquisition marks the first move  of the Danish energy trading house to get risk exposure to power generation assets. Other purchases may follow "if the price is right," Jakob Bendixen, head of power generation at Danske Commodities said. 

ABB has delivered in record time a Symphony plant automation system for a 500 MW supercritical unit at South Korea's largest thermal power plant in Boryeong. The speedy delivery enables the unit to start production 11 days ahead of schedule, ABB said today.

 A new gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant could be on the horizon for the Milford Haven waterway, South Hook LNG has confirmed. The news comes after the UK Government announced its backing for a major expansion in gas generated electricity to avert a looming gap in power generation capacity.

News in Brief

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.

MAN, Daewoo, HSD partner on engine digitalization

July 16 – MAN Energy Solutions, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and HSD Engine (HSD) have signed a strategic agreement to cooperate in the field of marine engine systems digitization. The three companies also work together on auxiliary systems and data analysis, aiming to apply part of their know-how to power generation and related sectors.

Canada launches first utility-scale smart microgid

July 15 – The Ontario-based municipal utility North Bay Hydro Services is cooperating with the smart grid solutions firm S&C Electric to launch Canada’s first utility-scale microgrid system. Among some solar power, the 789KW microgrid system will be powered by two 265kW natural gas generators.

Macquarie funds Mexican power plant

July 12 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

B&V launches distributed energy group

July 11 – Black & Veatch has launched a dedicated distributed energy group to place its conventional power business in the context of the global energy transition. The distribute energy group will look into new fuel sources such as hydrogen and aspires to “re-power the more-than-century-old power industry.”

Funding secured for Kazah CHP project

July 10 – Kazinform Erg has committed to spend $500 million on a gas cogeneration station that will provide heat and electricity to the south of Kazakhstan. Over 87% of Kazakhstan’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels, and in 2018 the country produced 107,060 billion kWh of electricity, a 3.8% increase over the previous year and enough to cover total power use of 103,228 kWh.

Bitcoin mining uses much energy

July 9 – Estimates of bitcoin’s electricity consumption are wide-ranging, on the order of 20‑80 TWh annually. According to George Kamiya, digital energy analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), bitcoin mining consumed around 45 TWh in 2018 although this has risen significantly this year. Through the first six months of 2019, bitcoin mining has already consumed an estimated 29 TWh.

Coal exit doesn’t impact Germany's supply security

July 8 – Electricity supply security in Germany is set to stay “very high” even as the country begins to phase out coal-fired power generation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) said in a monitoring report. “Energy supply is adequately ensured”, the ministry said, in all scenarios examined up to 2030. Thereafter, things are less clear but the German Coal Commission is adamant that its proposal to exit coal power by 2038 is feasible and won’t seriously impact reserve margins.

Hydrogen demo plant starts in Adelaide

July 5 – The Australian Gas Networks (AGN), part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), has received A$4.9 million in government funding for an A$11.4m hydrogen electrolyser demonstration project at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. At the test site, AGN plans to blend 5% renewable hydrogen with natural gas for supply to customers using its existing gas distribution networks. The project is based on a Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, running based on wind and solar power.

Wärtsilä forms biogas solution

July 4 – Wärtsilä Puregas Solutions, specialists in biogas upgrading technology, has merged with Wärtsilä’s biogas liquefaction team to create a one-stop-shop service for biofuel production. Having installed the world’s largest bioLNG facility in Skogn, Norway, Wärtsilä will deliver two more bio-LNG plants to customers in Scandinavia. The company’s Puregas CA process recovers more than 99.9% of the biomethane present in raw biogas.

PNM to close San Juan Generating Station

July 3 — New Mexico's largest energy holding, PNM Resources, has filed an application to the Public Regulation Commission to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. For replacement power, PNM said the preferred option was a mix of gas power plants, solar and wind farms and new battery storage facilities. The utility strives to be ‘emissions-free’ by 2040.

ADB opens office in Singapore

July 2 — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to open an office in Singapore. The lean office with twelve staff will focus on the expansion of its private sector operations, e.g. through Public-Private Partnerships. “We estimate that developing Asia will need $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure investments until 2030 to maintain the region’s growth momentum,” commented Singapore’s finance minister Heng Swee Keat.

Testing starts at Haliade-X

July 1 – Technology testing has started at GE’s Haliade-X, the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine. The 12 MW nacelle and 107-metre long blade was shipped to the UK as part of an advanced technology testing program, focused on enhancing the platform before it enters into serial production in 2021.

Tata to build UK’s first CCUS plant

June 28 – Tata Chemicals has announced plans to build the UK’s first industrial-scale Carbon Capture, Usage and Demonstration plant at its Northwich industrial site. The CCUD unit will be built at an estimated cost of£16.7 million and is planned to start operation in 2021. It will make use of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants and turn it into sodium bicarbonate, which can then be sold to pharmaceutical industries.