Technology & Innovation

Much ado has been made over an oxidation issue at GE HA turbine blades at Exelon’s Colorado Bend power plant near Houston. Keen to limit the reputational damage, the top management of GE Power underlined the issue is limited to 9FB and HA gas turbine Stage 1 Blades. Not impacted are Advanced Gas Path (AGP) upgrades for the B/E/F-fleets, and the new HA or 9F.05 order.

With the launch of P9394GSI S5, rated at 2,500 horsepower, GE Distributed Power is adding another model to its Waukesha VHP Series-5 family of rich-burn gas engines. The new S5 engine has an improved cylinder head, piston/ring design, Miller-cycle combustion and Waukesha’s latest ESM-2 engine controls.

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions (ESS) has started a survey to develop applications and use of its hydrogen-based H2One energy supply system, targeting isolated regions on islands in Indonesia and the Philippines. H2One utilizes renewable energy and hydrogen-powered fuel cells to deliver CO2-free electricity and hot water supply.

Silent-Power Project, a Swiss technology start-up, is producing of CO2-neutral electricity from methanol. CEO Urs Weidmann told Gas to Power Journal the company aims to achieve an annual production of 1 million liters of carbon neutral methanol with its first synthesis plant by 2020.

DynaGridCenter, developed by Siemens and partners in industry and research, has been launched as a next-generation control system. Prof. Dr. Rainer Krebs, head of operation and protection of Power Grids at Siemens Energy said: "In the future, we'll need control centers that can independently regulate the highly dynamic power grid with an autopilot functionality and keep it stable." A dynamic control center is therefore an “indispensable part of a successful energy transition.”

Turboden has been contracted by Brescia’s municipal dairy producer to install its first high-temperature cogeneration, Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbogenerator-based power plant in the world. With an efficiency of more than 90% and high prevalence of steam content, the steam & power ORC system has been developed especially for the manufacturing industry.

Oxidation, discovered with a single blade component of GE turbines, have forced Exelon Corp to idle four units in a gas-fired power station in Texas. GE Power CEO Russel Stokes disclosed the oxidation could affect over 50 of its high-efficiency HA turbines and 75 of 9FB gas turbines, with the news casting a further shadow over the manufacturer’s ailing turbine business.

Siemens and E.ON have reached a milestone in the area of 3D-printing, with the world's first 3-D printed burner for an SGT-700 gas turbine having been in operation for one year at E.ON's combined-cycle power plant in Philippsthal, Germany. “The results are impressive,” Siemens said given that “the burner has been operating for over 8,000 hours with no reported issues.”

Finland-based technology group Wärtsilä has launched the next SparkUp Challenge for start-ups. This time the focus is on Power-to-X technologies, running under the name: ‘Towards a 100% renewable energy future’.

GE Power’s Monitoring and Diagnostics Center assists power plant operators at risk of being struck by a hurricane. The analytics and remote service ability of the centre helps utilities run their turbines safely and efficiently with a goal of fewer power disruptions due to a major storm.

Researchers at MIT, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and BMW’s Battery Technology Lab have found the vibrational frequency of lithium can be fine-tuned by tweaking its lattice structure through chemical substitution to alter structural arrangements of atoms. The new concept provides a powerful tool for developing new, better-performing materials that could increase the amount of electricity stored in a battery.

GE’s Power Services has announced the launch of its first 6B repowering solution when signing the first agreement for the solution with a global chemical company in Asia. The accord stipulates the repowering of three 6B gas turbines which is expected to help the customer save significant amounts of fuel.

General Electric and CGI, a global IT consultancy based in Montreal, have agreed to jointly develop and implement power grid software in North America. Bridging IT and operational technology (OT), the partners said they will focus on real-time grid operations and controls, critical infrastructure and cybersecurity.

Methane-laden waters of Ruanda’s Lake Kivu, if left untapped, can accumulate to a gas bubble and trigger an explosion that poses a deadly risk for more than 2 million people living along the lake’s shores. The U.S. energy services firm ContourGlobal assessed this risk before starting to extract methane from the lake for power generation.

Siemens has commissioned the second block of the 500 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) back-to-back link in Bheramara, Bangladesh, linking the country’s power grid with the one of its bigger neigbour India. With block 1 & 2 operating in parallel the Bheramara HVDC link can transport up to 1000 MW of electricity, helping to stabilize electricity supply in the region.

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News in Brief

Tohoku Electric tenders for LNG cargo

Aug 19 – Tohoku Electric Power, the fourth-largest electric utility in Japan in terms of revenue behind Tepco, Kepco and Chubu, is understood to be seeking an LNG cargo for delivery in September. A tender process is ongoing.

Cost for decarbonizing industry tops $21tr

Aug 16 – Total costs to fully decarbonize the four most polluting industries – cement, steel, ammonia and ethylene – are estimated to amount to $21 trillion between today and 2050. McKinsey said this could be lowered to about $11 trillion if zero-carbon electricity prices come down further compared to fossil fuel prices. In this event, industry could switch to using electricity for heating processes.

Co-firing Braskem plant with hydrogen

Aug 15 – Siemens is making fossil energy greener at the Braskem onsite power plant in Brazil. In this modernization project two SGT-600 gas turbines are co-fired up to 60% with hydrogen, enhancing efficiency for the production process of the adjacent the petrochemical complex.

Canada's CO2 tax to hit CCGTs

Aug 5 – Change in Canada’s carbon emissions tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could significantly lower the profitability of gas generation and could prompt SaskPower reconsider its planned Moose Jaw gas power station.

GE CFO steps down

Aug 2 – Jamie S. Miller, General Electric’s chief financial officer, has decided to quit after two years in the job and 11 years with the company. Having overseen GE’s fiscal activities during a period of intense restructuring, Miller will remain in office while the GE board is looking for a successor.

Siemens HR boss quits

Aug 1 – Janina Kugel, Siemens chief HR officer, is leaving the company amid an apparently scattered working relationship and stark personal differences with CEO Joe Kaeser. Her contract will expire by mutual agreement on January 31, 2020.

ABB standardizes eBus chargers

July 31 – Zurich-based ABB, a member of the ASSURED consortium, is working on standardizing the specifications for automatic charging of heavy vehicles. The aim is to drive down the total cost of ownership for electric fleet operators, helping increase adoption of eBuses and eTrucks. Conformance and interoperability tests will be carried out in Q4-2019.

U.S. Senate helps fund EV charging stations

July 30 – The need for expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure is greater than expected given that there had been over 1.75 million electric vehicles (EV) in North America at the end of 2018, a nearly 60% increase from the previous year. To help fund additional charging stations, among other things, the U.S. Senate approved the $287 billion America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA).

PNOC, Lloyds to develop merchant LNG-to-Power projects

July 29 – Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lloyds Energy to develop a 1,200 MW LNG-fuelled power plant in partnership with Mitsubishi. Dubai-based Lloyds Energy is looking at ways to develop integrated LNG import facilities and gas power plants on a merchant basis in Bataan and Batangas provinces.

Macquarie finances CCGT in Mexico

July 26 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

Naturgy cashes in on gas network

July 25 – Spanish gas utility Naturgy has posted a 7% rise in core earnings for the first half of the year due to strong gains from its gas network business that helped offset falling revenues from power generation and slimmer LNG margins.

French court rejects appeal against Total CCGT

July 24 – Judges at an appeal court in Nantes have thrown out an appeal by environmentalist against Total’s planned Landivisiau combined-cycle gas power plant in Brittany. The 440 MW project, initiated by Direct Energy which was since acquired by Total, is over two years behind schedule. The French grid operator RTE has singled out the Landivisiau CCGT as “critical” in guaranteeing supply security in winter 2020/21 due to the planned shutdown of four coal power plants.

U.S. gas production falls in wake of ‘Barry’

July 23 – Shut-ins related to Hurricane Barry have scaled back U.S. gas production by 1.6 billion cubic feet per day, compared to last week, while power sector gas demand rose by just over 2.0 bcf/d. Consequently, there is significantly less gas available for storage so the injection rate has halved, according to Energy Aspects figures.

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.