Technology & Innovation

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power System (MHPS) has been striving to combine is solid oxide fuel cell, called MEGAMIE, with a micro gas turbine to stabilize and increase power output. “The toughest challenge,” researcher Yoshinori Kobayashi recalled, "was to figure out how to build a robust power unit with ceramics which are essential for such fuel cells to function.”

Rising need for renewables grid-integration will propel up the market value of gas turbines beyond $10 million by 2026. According to Global Market Insights, turbine technology with 70 MW to 200 MW capacity will be particularly in high demand and see annual installments exceed 10 GW over the next five years.

Investment in energy access accelerates with nearly $2.1 billion corporate monies spent on off-grid power generation capacity between 2010 and 2019. However, this Capex might still not be enough to reach universal electricity access globally by 2030.

Greenidge Generation, a gas-fired power plant operated by Atlas Holding in upstate New York, is using ‘behind-the-meter’ electricity to mine the crypto-currency bitcoin. With 7,000 mining rigs, using 14 MW of on-site power, the plant can generate up to 5.5 bitcoins per day worth about $45,000.

The Russian gas giant Gazprom plans to order Russian-manufactured LNG-powered trucks to transport liquid helium from the Amur Gas Processing Plant, where Russian gas gets treated prior to being fed into the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline to China. The first 18 trucks will go on the road in 2021.

The HyPER project (Bulk Hydrogen Production by Sorbent Enhanced Steam Reforming), led by Cranfield University, will build a 1.5 MWth pilot plant to test hydrogen technology invented by GTI. The research is funded by a £7.5 million grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and gets support from U.S.-based GTI and Doosan Babcock.

Mýa, a digital interface launched by MAN Energy Solutions, enables the exchange of data in a controlled and secure manner among participating Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), power plant operators and asset owners. The aim is promote collaborations among the marine, power generation, and energy industries.

MAN Energy Solution has launched an intelligent constant monitoring device for industrial lube oil. The certified device has recorded over 18,000 test hours on pilot industrial sites and complies with CE standards. It also received its first order is for third-party equipment in the Pacific region.

Green hydrogen, produced with renewables using electrolysers, is hoped to become the ‘new oil’ and develop into one of the most essential vectors in the decarbonisation process. “The technology already exists to make it possible; the next step is to scale it up to enable it to serve the common interest,” argues the French author Thierry Lepercq.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and NTK Spark Plug have joint forces to manufacture and sell cylindrical cell stacks – a key element used in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). The new joint venture CECYLLS will use NTK’s ceramic knowledge to produce the cell stacks that can efficiently utilize heat.

Stranded gas wells at the Marcellus Basin in Pennsylvania are being tapped via mobile trailor-mounted liquefaction units. Initial operations were launched and are set to last until at least 2020, Edge LNG announced, stressing the technology allows to “reap economic benefits on assets unreachable by pipeline.”

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) will conduct joint research with Indonesia's Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) analyzing big data from local power plant operations on the island of Java to advance clean energy technologies. The aim is to probe new fuels like ammonia and hydrogen.

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News in Brief

Zhonghua’s profits halve

April 1 – Hong Kong-listed Zhonghua Gas Holdings has recorded a staggering 46.7% fall in profit, citing a lower margin for LNG supplies and reduced subsidies, although full-year revenue rose by 7.3%. In December, Zhonghua partnered with Shanghai Shenergy to supply LNG in the Yangtze River Delta region, and also has strong business relationships with Tractebel Engineering and Tianjin Jinre Heat-Supply Group.

Endesa donates $28m to fight coronavirus

March 31 – Endesa has created a 25 million euros ($27.8 million) fund to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Spain. The Spanish utility, subsidiary of Enel, said the fund will be designated for purchases of protective equipment for health-care workers.

 

MAN develops liquid methane terminal in Swedish port

March 30 – OxGas has commissioned MAN Energy Solutions to act as ‘owners engineer’ to develop and build a liquefied methane-based fuels terminal in the Swedish Port of Oxelösund. The terminal will feed both LNG and green methane derived from bio gas to SSAB ’s local steel production, and to re-distribute it via train and trailers to other parts of Sweden for use in the steel industry and decentralized power generation.

American ISOs to delay grid investments

March 27 – North America’s independent system operators (ISO) are considering delaying investments in grid upgrades and enhancement as electricity demand weakens due to industry shutdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic. PJM Interconnection, the largest U.S. bulk power market which spans 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states, revised its daily forecast of about 100,000 MW of load but actual demand came in at 95,500 MW.

Wärtsilä starts combustion trials using ammonia

March 26 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has initiated combustion trials using ammonia in an effort to reduce emissions. Based on initial results, the tests will be continued on both dual-fuel and spark-ignited gas engines, followed by field tests in collaboration with ship owners from 2022, and potentially also with energy customers.

Xodus sees growth in cable services

March 25 – Xodus Group has stepped up services related to subsea power cables over the last twelve months. The number of new consulting assignments grew by more than 50%, resulting in more than 70 active work streams that are handled by more 30 permanent staff.

Electricity “more indispensible than ever”

March 24 – Disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis lay bare how much modern societies rely on electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IAE). Millions of people are mandated to stay home, causing a surge in teleworking, e-commerce and video streaming which pushes up domestic electricity use.

U.S. frackers cut Capex

March 23 – Sharp cuts in capital spending among Appalachian gas producers are now being replicated in other U.S. basis, with Energy Aspects anticipating the deepest impact on production and earnings to take place starting from the second half of 2020. So far, E&P companies just hedged 52% of this year’s expected production even though some Appalachian producers are seen “lock in some pure gas volumes at prices above the curve.”

EV makers face bankrupcy

March 20 – Electric vehicles (EVs) remain particularly exposed to the corona effect of supply-side constraints and demand erosion. Gigafactory facilities are likely to be delayed and fledging EV manufacturers could face bankruptcy, Wood Mackenzie warns. On the flip side, declines in EV sector demand may be gains for the stationary energy storage segment.

Manufacturing rebounds in Asia

March 19 – Asian-dominant supply chains for solar and energy storage are gradually rebounding after contractions in February. Moving forward, Wood Mackenzie expects near-term development activity and local logistics in leading European and North American markets will outweigh lingering supply issues.

Italy’s gas demand plunges

March 18 – Corona-struck Italy has seen demand for natural gas plunge 8% from the previous week, with similar declines likely in other EU countries as national governments impose lockdowns to contain the virus. Industrial demand is “particularly volatile,” while gas generators will bear the brunt of demand loss, Wood Mackenzie says, as a carbon price decline is bolstering thermal coal.

Nexif raises funds for Rayong CHP

March 17 – Nexif Energy, a joint venture between Singapore-based Nexif and Denham Capital, has raised project financing for the Rayong gas-fired cogeneration project in Thailand. The 92 MW plant is being developed project with Ratch Group, based on 25-year power purchase agreement with Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

ADB provides $10m loan for Afghan IPP

March 16 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide $10 million in debt financing for a gas-fired power unit in Mazari Sharif with a capacity of nearly 60 MW. Phase-1 of the Independent Power Project (IPP) will get another $10 million loan from the Leading Asia's Private Sector Infrastructure Fund (LEAP).

IEA models 50% Carbon-Free Generation

March 13 – Analysts at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have drawn up the 50% Carbon-Free Generation case - assuming a stark shift in state-level policies. In this event, the U.S. would have 19% more nuclear power generation, 10% more wind power and 17% more solar PV contribution than in its Annual Energy Outlook 2020 (AEO2020) reference case.

E-charging market to top $15bn by 2030

March 12 – By 2030, the U.S. market for energy-optimisation in support of charging electric-vehicles could be worth $15 billion per year, McKinsey finds. The consultancy expects high demand for home-charging appliances as residential power tariffs are comparatively cheap and most charging can happen overnight when off-peak electricity prices are lower.

Oversupply builds up

March 10 – Energy Aspects’ end-March forecast has added on another 100+ billion cubic feet of natural gas supply while demand remains subdued. In the U.S., the seasonal decline in heating degree days nearly halved the natural gas withdrawal rate. Gas-burn in the power sector and residential/commercial demand are forecast to fall by 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) and 4.0 bcf/d, respectively.

Small-scale LNG cuts cost for power plants

March 10 – Decentralized gas power plants in remote locations can source cheaper fuel from small-scale LNG regas terminals than from trucking the super-chilled gas across long distances. “Trucking LNG further inland would entail additional costs as well as logistical challenges,” IEA analysts noted. For example, a 100 MW baseload power plant would require, on average, around 20 daily deliveries from tanker trucks.