Technology & Innovation

The world's largest concentrating solar plant – the 280 MW Solana Generating Station, located in southwest of Arizona, US – is being built beside a substantial fossil backup plant – the 2,334 MW gas-fired combined-cycle Gila River Power Station.

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".

GE has launched a new corrosion protection technology for refinery steam systems, based on its Steamate low salt amine (LSA) product series that have been specifically designed for refinery boiler and steam condensate systems.

Alstom has been awarded a €120 million contract by Centrica Energy for gas turbine maintenance services at the 1260MW South Humber Bank combined-cycle power plant (CCPP) in North East Lincolnshire, England. The agreement covers five Alstom GT13E2 gas turbines installed at the plant over the next seven years.

Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) could be used to reliably and cost effectively repair steam turbine and industrial gas turbine components, Roger Fairclough, Principal Engineer at TWI Ltd, told Gas to Power Journal at this year's IMechE Steam Turbine and Generator User Group in Coventry. "If the LMD process is further developed for power station applications, it will be able to produce a good useable component for steam or industrial gas turbines, making it feasible for applications where the spare part needed is not available, out of production, quite expensive or the repair is relatively small compared to the initial cost of the component," he said.

Both horizontal and vertical heat recovery steam generators (HRSG) have their own specific advantages, which makes it important for power plant operators to choose the best HRSG for their facility based on the circumstances appropriate for each type, Pascal Fontaine, CMI Energy Marketing Manager told Gas to Power Journal in an interview. In general, horizontal HRSGs are best suited for cogeneration while vertical HRSGs are best suited for combined-cycle duty although both can be used in either.

Servitization – a process where a manufacturer provides its expertise throughout the life of its product – can help CCGTs meet the challenges of a changing energy market. Alexander Bill, service manager at Alstom's Power Division underlined that "When you've got combined product design experience, manufacturing experience and service experience all in one, you can compete in different ways than an independent service provider or a third party can."

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) at its March meeting on Monday approved a Weather-Sensitive Emergency Response Service pilot scheme prior to the upcoming summer that will expand its options to reduce electricity use during the peak summer season when power demand is high and supplies are tight.

The gas-fired Peterhead Project in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and the coal-fired White Rose Project in Yorkshire, England have been announced as the two preferred bidders for the UK's £1 billion Carbon Capture and Storage Commercialisation Programme Competition. The UK government will now seek to come to terms by the summer with the two preferred bidders for Front End Engineering Design (FEED) studies due to last 18 months, before a final investment decision is taken in early 2015.

Wärtsilä has launched a new product called the GasReformer for turning gas associated with the production of oil into energy. Traditionally such gases would be flared and wasted but the GasReformer uses steam reforming technology to convert gases rich in hydrocarbons into a methane rich product which can be used as fuel in gas fuelled engines.

A combined heat and power (CHP) plant being built in Düsseldorf is to achieve new records in efficiency, power, output and heat extraction. "The new CHP power plant in Lausward (Düsseldorf), starting commercial operation in 2016, will be a landmark for the future of power generation in Germany and beyond and emphasizes the role of CHP combined cycle power plants as an engine of the energy system transition," said Lothar Balling, Head of Gas Turbine Power Plant Solutions, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia at Siemens Fossil Power Generation Division.

Wood Group GTS has consolidated its heavy frame activities in Duncan, South Carolina, naming the facility there as its center of excellence for heavy frame industrial gas turbine fuel nozzle and combustor repairs, including standard and Dry Low NOx (DLN) systems.

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News in Brief

Oman inaugurates 500 MW solar plant

Jan 26 – ACWA Power has inaugurated Ibri 2, an $417 million solar power plant with a capacity of 500 MW. The large IPP will sell solar power to Oman’s national grid over a 15-year period, backed up by flexible gas power plants.

GenCell raises funds

Jan 24 – Israel-based fuel cell maker GenCell Energy has raised $35.9 million in its latest funding round. CEO Rami Reshef said the fresh capital will accelerate developments in the field of green ammonia, pursued with TDK, as well as charging stations for electric vehicles.

German utilities invest record amounts

Jan 21 – Energy companies in Germany invested a record €20.5 billion in 2021, and the industry association BDEW expects capital expenditure will stay high throughout 2022. Out of the total sum, €4.3 billion were invested in electricity generation plants, €9.9 billion in transmission and distribution plants and €1.2 billion in other assets, such as metering points and information technology.

H2-powered plant for French Guiana

Jan 20 – Siemens Energy will set up a hybrid plant to supply stable baseload electricity to 10,000 households in French Guiana. An intelligent combination of 55 MW photovoltaics, an electrolyser to produce green hydrogen, fuel cells and energy storage is scheduled to be commissioned in the autumn of 2023.

Decarbonising UK homes

Jan 19 – Just 9 million hot water cylinders are currently installed in British homes, leaving a gap of 18 million homes whose heating would need to be decarbonised for the UK to meet Net Zero. According to the trade body HWA, the political focus of decarbonising heating has been solely on the heat source; such as boilers and heat pumps – while little to no focus has been on hot water cylinder. This gap in in government policy, which could result in unnecessary costs to consumers.

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.