Technology & Innovation

Distributed generation is growing as utilities increasingly rely on wind and solar power installations, backed up by flexible gas- or diesel-fuelled generator sets. Remote monitoring of such decentralized assets – through the newly launched CAT Connect – moves beyond Caterpillar's SCADA system of supervisory control and data acquisition.

Italgas, Europe’s third largest gas distributor, has contracted Turboden to install 650 kWe gas expanders to increase the efficiency of gas pressure reduction stations at Rome’s main pipeline network. The expanders produce electricity from the pressure differentials between mainline and transmission pipelines.

Today’s data centers consume about 3% of the total energy generated globally, and INNIO’s new gas generator delivers that electricity in a more reliable way. The fast-start Jenbacher J620 genset can power up to 3 MW in less than 45 seconds.

Critical power distribution, designed by ABB, allows GIGA’s data center in North Carolina reduce customers’ operating costs by 31% compared to rival facilities. ABB’s aim was to maximize scalability while achieving an ultra-low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating.

Italian turbine manufacturer Ansaldo Energia and the Norwegian energy company Equinor have joined forces on validitation tests for the use of hydrogen for gas-fired power plant turbines. Equinor agreed to co-fund these full scale, full pressure combustor tests on Ansaldo’s GT36 and GT26 turbines.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries has obtained Approval in Principle (AiP) from the classification society DNV GL for its floating LNG power plant, driven by a combined-cycle gas turbine. The approval is based on DNV GL’s latest ‘Gas Power Plant Rules.’

Utilities, particularly in China and Europe, are retrofitting their gas turbines with combustor enhancements to make assets more cost-effective. To support this market, Ansaldo Energia affiliate PSM developed a Low Emission Combustor (LEC-III) and new FlameSheet combustor retrofit for B, E and F-class gas turbines.

Evonik and Siemens have launched the second phase of Rheticus in Marl, Germany, based on €3.5 million in government funding. The test plant contains a bioreactor and electrolyzers to turn water and CO2 into valuable chemicals, making use of excess electricity from renewable sources.

Global energy utilities are facing a growing risk of cyberattacks with potentially severe financial damage. A survey by Siemens and the Ponemon Institute finds that 54% of utility respondents fear an attack on critical infrastructure in the next 12 months. To mitigate this risk, utilities need to improve the interface between Operational Technology (OT) and IT systems.

General Electric has installed an evaluation of its HA turbine at Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) Dania Beach Clean Energy Center near Fort Lauderdale. The newly launched 7HA.03 has the lowest cost conversion of gas to electricity for 60-hertz customers.

High-tech firm Leonardo will provide cyber security solution for Ansaldo Energia’s ‘Lighthouse Plant’ for the production of gas and steam turbines. As the first of Italy’s four intelligent factories, the project will benefit from state funding under the Industry 4.0 plan.

GE Grid Solutions is investing tens of millions of dollars to expand its range of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)-free substation equipment. By 2025, the offering will include SF6-free gas-insulated substations and instrument transformers up to 420 kV, as well as circuit breakers up to 550 kV.

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News in Brief

B&W wins $20m installation contract

Dec 4 – Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) has been awarded a contract, worth more than $20 million, to install replacement boiler pressure parts for a power plant in North America. As part of the deal, B&W will install new superheaters and furnace panels starting from February 2021.

Orbital signs MSA with Midwestern utility

Dec 3 – Orbital Energy has signed a master service agreement (MSA) with a US Midwestern investor-owned utility. The accord is expected to generate monthly revenues from the fourth quarter and increase revenues by 30% on an annualised basis.

Wärtsilä to use Shell engine oils

Dec 2 – The Finish engine maker Wärsilä has selected Shell as its test oil partner for engines during stress tests and fine-tuning at engine manufacturing sites. Shell’s Mysella, Argina and Gadinia range of engine oils have been developed to provide top class engine cleanliness, enhanced wear protection, long oil life, and high system efficiency.

Hamburg CHP runs fully on hydrogen

Dec 1 – Field testing has started for HanseWerk’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Hamburg to run fully on hydrogen. The converted 1 MW pilot plant, powered by Jenbacher engines, provides district heating equal to 13,000 MWh/year to 30 residential buildings, a sports facility, a daycare center, and the Othmarschen Park leisure centre.

Oil majors in the red

Nov 30 – For most oil majors worldwide, higher prices are needed to get their business out of the red. Breakeven prices for Saudi Arabia are $85 per barrel, around $64/bbl for Iraq, $49/bbl for Kuwait and as little as $40/bbl for Russia. As business confidence plummets, major oil companies have already slashed planned CAPEX spending by almost $89 billion in first quarter of 2020, with further cuts being made throughout the summer and autumn.

EU invests into battery cells

Nov 27 – Germany's EU Council Presidency has pledged Europe should develop an integrated value creation chain for battery cells, starting with the processing of raw materials over battery cell production to recycling. Germany is investing 3 billion Euros into the two projects that foster novel methods of battery production.

Rolls-Royce wins order from Hinkley Point C

Nov 26 – Rolls-Royce has been awarded an order from Hinkley Point C to deliver 140 Bibloc pressure transmitters for the two EPR nuclear reactors currently under construction in Somerset, UK. The transmitters will measure the flow, level and pressure of the Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS).

CHP industry to grow 14.4% through 2025

Nov 25 – The combined heat and power (CHP) market, evaluated at $12.152 billion, is expected to expand nearly 14.4% per year to reach $27.196 million by 2025. Growth is primarily driven by government funding and subsidy schemes. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the country aims to install 40 GW of new, cost-effective CHP to save $10 billion per year, compared to current energy use.

Rolls-Royce opens US customer center

Nov 24 – Rolls-Royce has opened its latest US customer support center in Savannah, Gerogia. The 62,000 square feet facility houses a power plant completion center, a wing services repair unit and a warehouse, all under one roof.

Lithium Werks grows manufacturing

Nov 23 – US-Dutch manufacturer Lithium Werks is growing the output and sales fuel cells and battery modules for use as power, pulse, and stand-by applications. The company’s 26650 Nanophosphate cells are used as single cells, as well as to build cell-packs and modules like Lithium Werks P40-24 battery modules. The Austin and Enschede-based company said it can “produce millions of 18650 and 26650 cells a month in China.”

AGL plans 1,000 MWh battery

Nov 20 – Australian power producer and retailer ALG wants to realise a large grid-connected battery storage unit of up to 250 MW rated output and four hours’ duration of storage, equalling 1,000 MWh. The battery will be built in stages on the site of Torrens Island Power Station in South Australia. AGL vowed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but is currently still operating some 40 GW of coal-fired generation.

Fusion demo plant to be designed in Canada

Nov 19 – Vancouver-based General Fusion has entered a partnership with the architecture firm AL_A to design a demonstration plant, based on magnetized target fusion (MTF). Once operational, the demo plant will showcase MTF technology under power plant-relevant conditions.

Toshiba opens H2One fuelling station

Nov 18 – Toshiba has opened the first ‘H2OneMulti Station’ which fills fuel cell vehicles with green hydrogen and supplies for green electricity at Tsuruga City in Fukui prefecture. The station consists of H2One ST Unit and H2One, using hydrogen produced from wind and solar power sources.

Shale gas market grows at 7% rate

Nov 17 – Unconventional gas markets are poised to grow by $41.76 billion through 2024, rising at a rate of almost 7%. According to Technavio, about 87% of the supply growth this year is coming from the Americas.

Agua Blanca pipeline expanded

Nov 16 – Austin-based WhiteWater Midstream and MPLX have completed a 1.8 billion cubic-feet-per-day (Bcf/d) expansion of their joint venture Agua Blanca pipeline system. Christer Rundlof, CEO of WhiteWater CEO, said the expansion will be brought into service ahead of schedule. Testing and commissioning will begin this month, for the new pipeline stretch to be brought into full service in early 2021.

Wärtsilä integrates clean energy

Nov 13 – Finish technology group Wärtsilä strives to integrate variable clean power sources to achieve a 100% renewable energy future. The necessary operational flexibility will come from gas generation assets running on synthetic renewable fuels and by the extended use of energy storage.

First German-Belgium power link to start operation

Nov 12 – The two TSOs Amprion and Elia are preparing to launch the first electric interconnector between Germany and Belgium. The 1,000 MW interconnector stretches between Aachen and Lüttich, from where it links to the Rhineland region and Wallonia. It will go into operation as of 18 November, with intraday capacities to begin trading on 8 December.

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