Technology & Innovation

Japanese battery manufacturer TDK and the Israeli fuel cell maker GenCell agreed to invest $85 million into developing a low-cost approach for green ammonia. The new low temperature process is designed to produce carbon-free ammonia that could replace the 235 million tons of industrial ammonia produced today, worth an estimated $70 billion.

Cast Aluminum Solutions (CAS) has launched a new CAST-X high temperature heater with 1500 Watt electrical power that is capable to withstand operating temperatures of up to 1110°Fahrenheit, or 600°Celsius. Thanks to its isolated fluid path, the new device can safely heat natural gas, diesel fuel, jet fuel and various alcohols under high pressure.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has invested into the California-based hard tech startup C-Zero to upscale and commercialise of the firm’s drop-in decarbonisation technology. It produces hydrogen via methane pyrolyis, in a process often referred to as ‘turquoise hydrogen.’

Siemens Energy has agreed to commission a heat-to-power pilot plant in Alberta for TC Energy before the end of 2022. The plant will be based on Echogen Rankine Cycle technology, using supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) as working fluid to convert waste heat into power. This results in a 10% rise in compressor station efficiency.

Maersk Drilling has commissioned Siemens Energy to upgrade two CJ70 jack-up drilling rigs in the North Sea with hybrid power plants that include lithium-ion energy storage. The rigs – Maersk Intrepid and Maersk Integrator – were retrofitted with BlueVault batteries, allowing the operator to reduce the runtime of onboard combustion engines.

MAN Energy Solutions is targeting ASEAN and Africa with integrated LNG-to-Power solutions, with new projects under development in the Philippines as well as in North and West Africa. Business development manager Carsten Dommermuth said, “for the entire project cycle – until commercial start-up – we allocate a time frame of 3 to 5 years.”

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) plans to spend $3 billion each year in 2021 and 2022 to better mitigate wildfires. In a proposal filed to CPUC, the California energy regulator, PG&E said it will deploy weather stations and cameras throughout its service area to pre-empt risks.

A Franco-German cooperation on hydrogen has been set up by Siemens Energy and Air Liquide. Combining their expertise in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology, the two companies develop an industrial-scale electrolyser that will be piloted at the H2V Normandy project (200 MW).

Danish utility DIN Forsyning has commissioned MAN Energy Solutions to supply a turnkey solution for heat generation at the Port of Esbjerg. Two electro-thermal energy storage (ETES) units will be installed in a new 50 MW district heating plant, operating on the principle of a CO2-based heat pump.

ExxonMobil has set up a Low Carbon Solutions business, pledging to invest $3 billion on green energy and carbon capture storage (CCS) through 2025. The new unit, led by Joe Blommaert, is evaluating multiple projects in Southeast Texas and Wyoming, as well as the Porthos project in Rotterdam.

The British manufacturer Rolls-Royce has expanded its portfolio of MTU engines to include uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, based on Kinolt technology. Rolls-Royce bought Kinolt in 2020 and is marketing the firm’s flywheel energy storage and power supply systems under the name mtu Kinetic PowerPacks from February 1.

Wartsila and Huaneng Jiangsu, part of China Huaneng Group - one of the country’s largest utilities, have agreed to jointly develop sustainable power solutions. The aim is to enhance internal combustion engine (ICE) technology to integrate more renewable energy into the grid in Jiangsu province, north of Shanghai.

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News in Brief

B&W wins $13m new contracts in North America

Feb 25 – The thermal segment of Babcock & Wilcox has been awarded several energy-related projects in North America, worth approximately $13 million, as the market strengthens and projects continue to restart following delays in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.” We’re seeing customers now moving forward with necessary work that had been previously put on hold. The recent inclement weather also has forced higher loads within the utility sector and we anticipate stronger demand for parts and services going forward,” said B&W Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Morgan.

PIC Group to service 1.1 GW Hummel Power Station

Feb 24 – Atlanta-based PIC Group has been awarded an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) contract for the Hummel Power Station, a 1,124 MW combined-cycle plant operated by LS Power Group. Situated in Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania, the CCGT is equipped with three SGT6-5000F gas turbines, one SST6-5000 steam turbine, three SGen6-1000A air-cooled generators and one hydrogen-cooled SGen6-2000H generator.

Duke Energy claims natural gas is cheaper than energy storage

Feb 23 – Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas have both indicated in their latest integrated resource plans (IRPs) they view battery storage as potentially more costly than proven gas-fired generating technology. Market observers noted, however, that Duke’s estimates peg the capital costs of a 50 MW/200 MWh energy storage plant at $347 per kWh —far higher than the cost of units that entered commercial service in 2020, as per Lazard data.

EU emission rules could herald end of combustion engine

Feb 22 – Future EU emission rules for cars could mean the abrupt end of combustion engines and put many jobs at risk, the German engineering federation VDMA has warned in a position paper. The use of efficient combustion engines is “still important” – both for vehicles and small generators –VDMA President Karl Haeusgen stressed, especially since these engines can be operated in a climate-neutral manner with synthetic fuels or hydrogen.

Saudi cement producer renews Wärtsilä O&M deal

Feb 19 – The Saudi Arabian cement producer Umm AlQura Cement has signed a five year Operation and Maintenance (O&M) agreement with Wärtsilä for the customer’s captive power plant in Taif City. The 47 MW plant operates with five Wärtsilä 32TS engines. The initial three year maintenance agreement was signed in 2015, and thereafter renewed once.

Gazprom expands Sakhalin–Vladivostok gas pipeline

Feb 18 – The Russian major Gazprom is expanding the Sakhalin – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok gas trunkline at the section between Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Khabarovsk. More than 315 kilometers, or three quarters of its overall length, has been welded to date. Gazprom’s 2021-2025 investment programme will total RUB 5.49 billion ($70 million) – more than three times he money spent in 2016–2020. Planned projects include 14 inter-settlement gas pipelines, 9.3 kilometers of gas pipeline branches, and six gas distribution stations.

Enstor closes sale of Waha gas storage

Feb 17 – Houston-based Enestor Gas has completed the sale of its Waha Gas Storage assets in northwest Texas to WhiteWater Midstream. Waha Gas Storage assets have the capacity, when fully developed, to store approximately 10 Bcf of natural gas and include six underground caverns and permits for five additional caverns.

Technip Energies listed in Paris

Feb 16 – Today, Technip Energy has been listed at Euronext’s regulated market in Paris. CEO Arnaud Pieton said the company’s mission is to “serve the energy transition” through its leading position in LNG, hydrogen and ethylene. As growth areas, he singled out sustainable chemistry and CO2 management.

US renewable energy share to double by 2050

Feb 15 – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that the share of renewables in the U.S. electricity generation mix will increase from 21% in 2020 to 42% in 2050. Wind and solar generation are responsible for most of that growth, while nuclear and coal-fired generation decrease. The share of gas-fired generation will remain stable even though gas prices remain low at an estimated $3.50 per MMBtu, according to EIA projections.

Nikkiso to build electric-mechanical actuators

Feb 12 – The clean energy arm of Nikkiso Cryogenic Industries has bought the intellectual property to manufacture electric-mechanical actuators (EMA) and control panels. Coupled to a cryogenic pump, the system works without gearbox which reduces the size of these vertical pumps frequently used in the oil and gas industry.

Europe’s hydrogen projects outnumber current plants

Feb 11 – The number of hydrogen projects across Europe is almost double that of operational electrolysers as demand for the clean fuel is rising fast. According to research by DLA Piper and inspirata, there are 192 planned or announced hydrogen projects in Europe compared to 107 currently operational ones.

NTE to develop 5 GW clean energy projects

Feb 10 – Florida-based NTE Energy is working with investment partners to develop 1.2 GW of solar and 3.9 GW of battery energy storage systems (BESS) next to thermal power plants. “By co-locating renewable projects with thermal generation, we can offer customers access to affordable solar power options backed up by reliable natural gas,” said Steve Remen, NTE managing director. The company aims to bring 4 GW of its proposed clean energy projects into commercial operation by 2026.

Oil price bounces back

Feb 9 – The price of crude oil has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, after plunging to an all-time low last year. Brent crude oil prices for the front-month April were last seen trading at nearly $61 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for US oil, has risen above the $58 a barrel mark for the first time in over a year.

Equinor VP named co-chair of OGUK board

Feb 8 – Arne Gürtner, Senior Vice President UK & Ireland Offshore at Equinor has been appointed to co-chair the Oil & Gas UK board, as the sector strive to recover while meeting its net-zero targets for 2021. He will be working with Phil Simons, VP North Sea & Canada, Subsea 7.

Enagás to tap wind power for hydrogen

Feb 5 – The Spanish utilities Enagás and Naturgy are evaluating the potential of producing hydrogen from a 250 MW floating off-shore wind farm and a 100 MW on-shore wind farm in Asturias. The project is hoped to generate more than 1500 jobs during construction and operation, with developers applying for funding under the IPCEI scheme.

Turboden wins contract in the Philippines

Feb 4 – Italy-based Turboden, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has been awarded a contract by the Philippine utility EDC to supply a 20 MW geothermal power plant at Bacon-Manito, on the island of Luzon. The zero-emissions power unit is scheduled to start operations before the end of 2022, and will help lower the local grid’s dependence on fossil energy source.

DNV GL streamlines energy businesses

Feb 3 –Norwegian-German classification society DNV GL has combined its current Oil & Gas and Power & Renewables business. The new ‘Energy Systems’ unit employs over 4,000 experts as of February 1, 2021, providing certification, advisory and digital monitoring services across the entire energy value chain. By combining its expertise, DNV GL said it is “better equipped to support clients in tackling the energy transition.”

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