Technology & Innovation

Switching to synthetic e-fuels – like carbon-neutral methanol or bio-ethanol – will not be a solution to decarbonise transport in Germany, simply because not enough e-fuel is available. “We will predominantly need e-fuels for aviation,” the transport minister Volker Wissing said, suggesting the public can drive in a carbon-neutral way using e-mobility.

Remote telemetry units (RTUs) monitor the grid-connection of conventional 1 GW power stations, but these RTUs need to get smaller to control the vast range of renewable options like solar, biomass and wind that are measured in kilowatts. On-site, the RTU fine-tunes the plant’s operation in coordination with the local TSO and relays information to the asset owner.

Capturing carbon emissions directly from the air requires a lot of electricity, hence the German government prioritises the renewable build-out. “Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) with direct air capture should only be used once renewables have reached a share of more than 80% of power supply,” analysts at the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) stressed.

JERA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will get Japanese government funding to develop a novel technology that will increase the rate of ammonia co-firing at boilers in thermal power stations. Burning ammonia is carbon-free and the JERA-MHI team vowed to verify co-firing with at least 50% ammonia at two different boiler types by 2028.

Honeywell has entered a licensing arrangement with University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latter’s new Advent Solvent technology to capture CO2 more efficiently. Carbon pricing accelerates retrofits in the power sector and Honeywell says applying advanced solvent CCS to a typical 650 WM plant allows to capture about 3.4 million tons of CO2 annually.

BASF New Business and Boston-based Advent Technologies have teamed up to boost the manufacturing scale of fuel cell membranes, used to separate hydrogen from gas mixtures. The German chemical giant aims to improve the stability of its Celtec membrane and push up the production capacity with the help of Advent’s fuel cell systems and membrane electrode assembly.

ESG Clean Energy has applied for new patents on capturing CO2 from small-scale gensets while producing water or recycled plastic. The US-based company is about to complete its first 4.2 MW plant that utilizes these technologies to feed electricity into the local grid and provide distilled water from the carbon by-products.

Oxford-based NGO Carbon Gap has urged governments in Europe and the UK to support the scale-up of technologies that can remove CO2 directly from the air. Researchers highlight the strong need to invest in R&D for carbon removal, provide deployment incentives and develop standards and clear target to incentivise utilities to start delivering net-negative emissions.

GenCell Energy, an Israeli maker of alkaline-based hydrogen fuel cells, has launched a backup power unit with extended runtime. Named GenCell REX, it helps European TSOs meet obligations of maintaining enough redundancy to guarantee 24 hours emergency power capacity.

Hydrogen-ready solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are being introduced to the British wholesale power market by Bloom Energy, Conrad Energy and Electricity North West. The trio agreed to jointly develop, build and operate behind-the-meter (Btm) projects to bring Bloom’s SOFC platform to UK with first orders hoped to materialise in December 2021.

South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy’s refining unit Hyundai Oilbank has agreed to import liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Saudi Aramco to produce blue hydrogen, made through steam methane reforming with subsequent carbon capture. This blue H2 will be sold as a fuel to Korean power generators.

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) and GE Gas Power have agreed to develop a roadmap to reduce emissions from EGA’s operating fleet of gas turbines by turning to hydrogen as well as carbon capture, utilisation, and storage solutions (CCUS). The aim is to retrofit EGA’s turbines to partially run on clean hydrogen and capture most gas-based emissions.

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News in Brief

Cresta to fund Lapis Energy’s CCS projects

Jan 18 – Texas-based Cresta Fund Management has agreed to finance Lapis Energy’s CCS and clean hydrogen projects. The two partners are now looking to identify, design and develop projects for the permanent sequestration of CO2, targeting customers within the heavy industry and petrochemical companies.

GE to repower Long Lake plant

Jan 17 – GE will modernize four generors at the Long Lake hydropower plant in northwest US, operated by Avista Utilities. Once refurbished, the plant will have an installed capacity of more than 100 MW. The first modernized Long Lake unit is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2024 and the last one in 2029

mtu to power Romania’s largest data center

Jan 14 – mtu Series 4000 gas generators will provide electricity heat and cooling for Romania’s largest data center. ClusterPower is building a 273,000-squaremetre technology campus near Craiova by 2025, where it will host five data centers with a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.1

Green hydrogen from Quebec

Jan 13 – Charbone has agreed to provide the US propane distributer Superior with green hydrogen from its Sorel-Tracy facility in Quebec, Canada, starting from the third quarter of 2022. The hydrogen will be delivered directly from Charbone’s H2 plant to Superior’s customers which include mining, power generation, transportation and industrial energy users. 

Cresta to fund Lapis Energy’s CCS projects

Jan 12 – Texas-based Cresta Fund Management has agreed to finance Lapis Energy’s CCS and clean hydrogen projects. The two partners are now looking to identify, design and develop project for the permanent sequestration of CO2, targeting customers within the heavy industry and petrochemical companies.

US rivals Australia as world’s largest LNG exporter

Jan 11 – Analysts at the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) are confident that the growth in US LNG exports could see America’s liquefaction and send-out capacity exceed that of Australia and Qatar – the world’s two largest LNG exporters. Looking ahead, the EIA expects US exports of the super-chilled gas will rise 17% from 2021 levels to average 11.1 Bcf/d from December through March.

Africa’s first FLNG plant arrives in Mozambique

Jan 10 – Coral Sul FLNG, Africa’s first-ever floating LNG facility has arrived in Mozambican waters. The plant is critical to develop the US$7 billion Coral South project, led by the Italian oil and gas company Eni. Some of the produced gas will be used for power generation in Mozambique, though most will be liquefied and sold to global markets.

GE snaps up Opus One Solutions

Dec 23 – GE Digital has agreed to acquire Opus One Solutions Energy Corp, a Californian software company that helps utilities integrate renewables and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) at scale across the electric grid. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days, GE stated without disclosing what price was paid for the takeover.

Qatar invests in Rolls-Royce’s nuclear power business

Dec 22 – Qatar Investment Authority, the state’s sovereign wealth fund, has agreed to invest £85 million in Rolls-Royce SMR, the company’s new technology for small-scale, low carbon nuclear power. UK business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng called the investment a “clear vote of confidence” in the UK’s nuclear innovation. It follows £210 million Qatari investment in the development in Small Modular Reactors. Now fully funded, Rolls-Royce SMR business also received £490 million through commercial equity and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant funding. 

JERA helps Japanese film producer curb emissions

Dec 20 – Toho, a Japanese film producer and entertainment company, will get support from the country’s largest power producer JERA to reduce CO2 emission from film production. To that end, JERA will supply zero-emissions energy to Toho and draw up a roadmap to decarbonise the media company as a whole.

Tractebel develop concept to store H2 offshore

Dec 17 – Tractebel Overdick and partners have developed an offshore infrastructure and processing facilities concept that relies on the storage of hydrogen (H2) in offshore caverns. The design study outlines a scalable offshore platform for the compression and storage of up to 1.2 million cubic meters of hydrogen.

Ethatec uses CO2-free power to produce ethanol

Dec 15 – ESG Clean Energy has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Ethatec to use ESG’s patented CO2-free gensets to its ethanol production. Ethatec uses waste from bakeries and pizza factories which is being crushed and then mixed with water and enzymes and heated in a multi-stage mashing process to saccharify the starch. It is then cooled and fed into fermentation tanks, where yeast is added. for alcoholic fermentation of the sugar. After 72 hours, the mixture is fed to a distillation system where ethanol is obtained.

Anax helps Magellan mine bitcoin under US$12m deal

Dec 16 – Ohio-based Magellan Scientific has entered a long-term accord, worth US$12 million, with Anax Power to generate zero-emission electricity from natural gas flows for Magellan’s distributed data centres, using 500 kW Anax turboexpanders. This green power will be used to lower the carbon-intensity of bitcoin mining and help US interstate pipeline operators and utilities accelerate their net-zero emission goals.

Cryogenic insulation market to top $4.6m by 2026

Dec 14 – The global market for cryogenic insulation is forecast to reach $4,659.85 million by 2026, expanding at an annual rate of 8.76% over the next five years. According to ResearchandMarkets, companies need to keep investing in R&D to deliver more efficient products at a lower cost and improve product durability.

Industry wary about new German energy policy

 Dec 13 – The German industry is closely watching how the new coalition government will implement its clean energy policies.  Security of supply is a major issue given that the coal exit date has been pushed forward by eight years to 2030, while electrification of transport and hard to abate industries is set to push up demand substantially. To decarbonise traffic, over 15 million electric cars are meant to be on the roads by the end of this decade.

ADNOC awards FEED contract to Technip

Dec 10 – Technip Energies has been awarded a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) contract to integrate carbon capture technology to ADNOC’s Ghasha mega project in Abu Dhabi. The Ghasha Concession is the world’s largest offshore sour gas development, where ADNOC together with Eni, Wintershall Dea, OMV and Lukoil aim to develop up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of natural gas, as well as condensate and oil.

US gas-burn down 3.6% on mild weather

Dec 9 – Natural gas used in the US power sector has fallen by 3.6%, or 1.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) over the past week amid mild weather conditions, although industrial sector consumption was up 0.5%, or 0.1 Bcf/d over the same period. Natural gas exports to Mexico increased 3.6%, or 0.2 Bcf/d . Natural gas deliveries to U.S. LNG export facilities (LNG pipeline receipts) averaged 12.0 Bcf/d, or 0.3 Bcf/d higher week-on-week, according to government data.