Technology & Innovation

Siemens Energy has teamed up with Abu Dhabi state investment firm Mubadala to establish a hydrogen value-chain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Together with Masdar, they will build a demo plant powered by a solar PV electrolyser to produce hydrogen to fuel cars, planes and ships.

Edinburg-based Spectrolytic has developed an in-line measurement system for oil condition monitoring. The system streams key parametric data of the oil to a machine control centre, customer intranet or cloud which provides the customer with real-time process control.

Alkaline fuel cell producer AFC Energy is collaborating with Ricardo hydrogen applications. The two US-based companies agreed to jointly develop and commercialise hydrogen fuel cell products and services with an initial focus on marine, rail and stationary power generation.

Offshore wind will be harvested at an industrial scale to produce green hydrogen under a €120 million development by Siemens Energy and Gamesa. The companies intend to provide a full-scale offshore demo solution by 2025/26, supporting the German government’s goal to decarbonise transport and heavy industry.

British engine maker Rolls-Royce has introduced a new MTU Series 500 engine with a power range of 250 to 550 kilowatt and peak efficiencies of up to 42.6%. The genset will be initially available for natural gas, and from the end of 2021 also for biogas.

French utility ENGIE will work with NTU Singapore and infrastructure developer Surbana Jurong on storing energy in liquid air. Excess electricity from the grid is used to cool air, turning it into a liquid state that is 750 times more compact and has the energy density of a lithium-ion battery.

The Wärtsilä 31 engine, introduced in 2015, is now being upgraded to increase its power output while maintaining the physical footprint. The output range of 4.2 to 11 MW will be enhanced to 4.6 to 12 MW, with the engine’s fuel-flexible DF version also running on natural gas.

Sports car maker Porsche and Siemens Energy have launched a pilot project on synthetic climate-neutral fuels. The ‘Haru Oni’ project in southern Chile uses wind power to produce around 130,000 litres so-called E-fuels by 2022, with the output meant to rise towards 550 million litres by 2026.

Researchers in South Korea are striving to develop a hydrogen gas turbine burner for mixed and full combustion this year. The aim is to commercialise a 300 MW hydrogen-fuelled turbine by 2040 together with Doosan, the first Korean manufacturer to develop proprietary turbine technology.

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.

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%.

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.

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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.

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