Technology & Innovation

Energy security, diversity and local reliability for cities and industries are critical features of clean energy infrastructure. An often overlooked feature, however, is the summer CHP load, which could be waste heat absorption chilling to prevent power use and to reduce fuel consumption, Manfred Klein, former chairman of the Industrial Applications of Gas Turbines (IAGT) Committee told Gas to Power Journal.

The use of Tomo-Lithographic Molding (TOMO) manufacturing technology, developed by Mikro Systems, in a range of gas turbine machinery improves the cooling capabilities of gas turbines and increases overall efficiency."[When] applied to gas turbines, [TOMO technology] enables more sophisticated airfoil designs with improved cooling characteristics, which leads to higher operating temperatures and improved efficiency," Tim Rokita, Siemens representative told Gas to Power Journal.

A crowd sourcing initiative to map the world's thermal power plants known as the Ventus Project has been launched by Arizona State University (ASU) under the lead of Dr. Kevin Robert Gurney. The initiative encourages users to contribute information about power plants including location, fuel type and CO2 emissions via pin placements on Google Maps and form filling.

Investing in higher efficiency filters can help improve turbine performance in cogeneration units by reducing fouling, Jim Benson, senior product engineer at Camfil Farr Power Systems told Gas to Power Journal at COGEN Canada's annual seminar in Calgary. "The operator can make up for the cost and pressure drop of a higher quality filter through the operational benefits provided by the product," he said.

Pre-engineered combined heat and power (CHP) systems can provide customers with a variety of benefits when compared to customized CHP systems, Mike McElligott, sales engineer at European Power Systems (EPS) told Gas to Power Journal at COGEN Canada's annual seminar in Calgary. "The standardized design means that there is no custom work necessary. Because there are thousands of these units out there, the standardized unit is proven and the customer is not going to be in the position of having to work the bugs out of a custom system," he said.

The key challenge in choosing an engine or turbine for a combined heat and power (CHP) system is to efficiently bring together thermal energy demand with systems that produce mechanical or electrical power, Manfred Klein, independent energy consultant and former Canadian federal government staffer, told Gas to Power Journal at this year's COGEN Canada annual seminar in Calgary.

"One question that the plant operator needs to ask is to what degree the plant is a thermal operation or a power operation? In this sense, managing heat demand will ultimately determine overall system efficiency," he said.

The world's largest concentrating solar plant – the 280 MW Solana Generating Station– is being built about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona, in close proximity to a substantial fossil backup plant – the 2,334 MW gas-fired combined-cycle Gila River Power Station.
As a rising volume of intermittent renewable power sources are being added to the grid, power producers have a growing interest in combining it with realising new fossil power plant project, particularly gas-fired ones.

At two US-based gas-fired combined cycle plants, controllability at the plants was a major issue, the responsible plant manager told Gas to Power Journal on condition of anonymity. Large natural gas swings caused large boiler pressure swings, which "created a situation where the load was swinging around a lot more than it needed to be".

A total of 11 European companies have joined together in a project initiated by energy consulting and testing & certification company DNV KEMA to develop the concept of Power-to-Gas (P2G) in the newly established North Sea Power to Gas Platform. P2G is a method of converting surplus renewable electricity into gaseous energy carriers such as hydrogen or methane that can be stored in the natural gas grid.

The successful deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS) in power generation will be crucial to achieving the UK's climate change goal of an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, says a new report from Carbon Connect. "Electricity supply will likely need to rise significantly by 2050, and decarbonising the power sector beyond 2030 without CCS would be expensive and politically challenging," the report reads.

Success in the micro Combined Heat and Power (CHP) market is dependent on having a standardised, efficient and cost effective generation unit, Jean-Pierre Van Wingen, General Manager of E. Van Wingen (EVW) told COGEN Europe's annual conference in Brussels. "It is essential that you have a standard product. It needs to be competitive and have a low price and that is only possible when you have a concept that can be produced in volume," he said, adding that "production in volume also allows you to have standardized service and decrease marketing costs."

MAN Diesel & Turbo has supplied a custom-made steam turbine for the 100MW Shams 1 solar thermal power plant in Abu Dhabi, owned by the Shams Power Company – a joint venture between Masdar, Total and Abengoa Solar. Unlike conventional solar plants using photovoltaics where solar cells convert the sun's energy directly into electricity, the plant utilises concentrated solar power (CSP) technology to work with fossil fuels.

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News in Brief

Growth in turbine air filtration tops 3%

July 22 – The turbine air filtration market is expected to grow 3.27% annually from $1.92 billion in 2020 to reach $2.29 billion in 2026. Demand from the oil & gas industry and electric utilities had plunged during the corona crisis and subsequent economic downturn, but the latest trend towards clean energy is driving robust growth for turbine air filtration which can be widely and easily applied in the power sector.

US oil exports stay high

July 21 – Despite volatile prices, U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high in 2020 and remained strong this year, averaging 3.51 million barrels per day (b/d). Expanded ports at Houston and Corpus Christi allow for oil to be exported from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Basin.

CVEC to be converted to hydrogen

July 20 – Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) is taking steps to run the  combined-cycle plants on hydrogen. Works to convert the plant will be carried out by GE and are scheduled to start in late 2022. One of three GE 7F.05 gas turbines at CVEC will be introduced to a 5% hydrogen blend with natural gas.

MAN ETES labelled solar impulse efficient

July 16 – MAN Electro-Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) was attributed the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” label by independent auditors. In January, the German manufacturer supplied to ETES heat pumps to DIN Forsyning for a heat and power plant in the Danish port city Esbjerg.

Electricity sales to US industry rebounds

July 14 – Economic recovery has caused a 5.1% rise electricity sales to US industry this year, dwarfing 2.8% more retail sales and a 2.1% rise in the commercial sector as many office workers continue working from home. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) acting administrator, Steve Nalley, called the rebound in electricity sales to industry a “strong sign of rising levels of economic output as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.”

Solar PV to triple in Asia by 2030

July 13 – Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic capacity could triple to 1,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, China will add 619 GW of mainly utility-scale capacity while most other nations in Asia prefers distributed solar due to land constraints. Solar PV tends to be backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage, forming hybrid power units.

Kinder Morgan closes on Stagecoach assets

July 12 – US energy infrastructure major Kinder Morgan has closed its acquisition of Stagecoach Gas Services. The deal include 4 gas storage facilities with a 41 bcf working gas capacity and a transmission network with multiple interconnects to major interstate pipelines, including Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The Stagecoach assets add to Kinder Morgan’s approximately 83,000 miles of pipelines and 144 terminals.

Dortmund cancels electrotechnik fair

July 9 – The elektrotechnik fair, planned for 29 September to 1 October 2021, will now not be taking place in Dortmund due to requests from the industry. The next trade fair for building, industrial, energy and lighting technology will now open its doors again in spring 2023.

Hitachi to change name of ABB Power Grids

July 7 – Hitachi ABB Power Grids will become Hitachi Energy in October. The Japanese manufacturer bought a controlling stake in ABB’s grid business a year ago and is about to fully take the name of the merged company while expanding its direction towards e-mobility and data centres.

Tapping wind energy for hydrogen

July 6 – Spanish utility Naturgy and the gas grid operator Enagás are evaluating the use of 350 MW offshore and onshore wind capacity to produce green hydrogen. The fuel will be used to decarbonise the steel industry and shipyard in northwest Spain.

EU seeks to expand Green Deal to Africa

July 5 – The European Green Deal should be expanded to also include African states as partners, the German development minister Gerd Müller said. Green hydrogen production in Africa, in his view, should be a “cornerstone for economic cooperation with the Europe.”

Decom Engineering updates PCR

July 2 – Northern Ireland-based Decom Engineering has invested more than £700,000 to develop tools for repurposing and clean decommissioning of energy infrastructure. Through updated Pipe Coating Removal (PCR) equipment, decommissioned or surplus pipelines can be cleaned of multiple coatings, so they can be repurposed for used on other projects.

Cummins buys half of Momentum Fuels

July 1 – Cummins has signed a letter of intent to acquire a 50% equity interest in Momentum Fuel Technologies from Rush Enterprises. The transaction is expected to close before year-end, and the combined venture will produce Cummins-branded natural gas fuel delivery systems for the commercial vehicle market in North America.

Gazprom evaluates cost of grey hydrogen

June 30 – Scientific studies by Gazprom and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) seek to solve technical challenges in producing grey hydrogen through steam reforming in the most cost-efficient way, as well as transporting the fuel to end-users. The findings of the studies will be factored into Gazprom's sustainable development scenarios up to 2050.

Redox about to overtake Li-ion batteries

June 28 – Li-ion batteries have dominated the energy storage field, but are expected to lose their leading role in stationary applications. According to IDTechEx findings, Redox flow batteries are gaining traction and are likely to overtake the installed Li-ion battery energy capacity before the end of 2030.

B&W proceeds with waste-to-energy projects

June 25 – Babcock & Wilcox’s (B&W) renewable segment has received limited notice to proceed for a waste-to-energy project in Europe as it finalizes terms for a $24 million contract with the customer. Ohio-based B&W said it looks to capitalize on an estimated addressable market of more than $7 billion in Europe over the next three years.

Japan’s gas-burn on the rise

June 24 – LNG imports for power generation in Japan have rebounded with steady volumes from the Middle East and Australia and higher cargo numbers from Russia and the US, though LNG deliveries were outpaced by thermal coal shipments. The May 2021 LNG shipments amounted to 4.95 million tonnes, or around 73 cargoes, a 8.2% rise on volumes received in May 2020, according to trade figures by the Japanese finance ministry.

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