Technology & Innovation

Israel-based GenCell has designed a non-metal based catalyst, following 6 years of research to reduce cost. In the process, GenCell removed the noble metal platinum from its nickel-based catalyst compound, CEO Rami Reshef explained. Instead, it developed a cracker that extracts hydrogen from liquid ammonia to generate electricity by means of alkaline fuel cells.

Cummins and Cummins Westport have launched the ISX12N+Endurant HD N powertrain for heavy-duty customers, combining a near-zero emissions gas engine and the Endurant HD N 12-speed automated transmission from Eaton Cummins. The solution is designed for lower emissions of regional haul fleets.

MAN Energy Solutions aims for climate-neutral fuels such as e-methane to replace marine diesel and natural gas or coal used for power generation. “By 2030, sustainable technologies should make up the majority of our company's business,” CEO Uwe Lauber said, though a global CO2 price is vital for the marine and transport sectors to truly embrace green fuels.

The Finish energy and marine technology group Wärtsilä has agreed to provide another €1 million in seed funding to Soletair Power Oy, a Finish start-up focussed on Power-to-X. Soletair developed a new concept to capture CO2 from the air and convert it into a synthetic renewable fuel that can be used for power generation.

From today through March 23, Mitsubishi Power will take part in the “Virtual Japan Pavilion: Innovation for 2050 net-zero,” an online exhibition organised by Japan’s environment ministry. Mitsubishi Power will showcase its hydrogen gas turbines, R&D on producing carbon-free hydrogen and ammonia, as well as capturing CO2 and converting it to synthetic fuels.

For the first time in Belgium, hydrogen will be used at a commercial-scale gas cogeneration plant situated at INEOS’ Phenol chemical park in Doel, just north of Antwerp in East-Flanders. The gas turbine will initially be 10% co-fired with hydrogen but the aim is to increase the feed to 20% hydrogen.

Japanese battery manufacturer TDK and the Israeli fuel cell maker GenCell agreed to invest $85 million into developing a low-cost approach for green ammonia. The new low temperature process is designed to produce carbon-free ammonia that could replace the 235 million tons of industrial ammonia produced today, worth an estimated $70 billion.

Cast Aluminum Solutions (CAS) has launched a new CAST-X high temperature heater with 1500 Watt electrical power that is capable to withstand operating temperatures of up to 1110°Fahrenheit, or 600°Celsius. Thanks to its isolated fluid path, the new device can safely heat natural gas, diesel fuel, jet fuel and various alcohols under high pressure.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has invested into the California-based hard tech startup C-Zero to upscale and commercialise of the firm’s drop-in decarbonisation technology. It produces hydrogen via methane pyrolyis, in a process often referred to as ‘turquoise hydrogen.’

Siemens Energy has agreed to commission a heat-to-power pilot plant in Alberta for TC Energy before the end of 2022. The plant will be based on Echogen Rankine Cycle technology, using supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) as working fluid to convert waste heat into power. This results in a 10% rise in compressor station efficiency.

Maersk Drilling has commissioned Siemens Energy to upgrade two CJ70 jack-up drilling rigs in the North Sea with hybrid power plants that include lithium-ion energy storage. The rigs – Maersk Intrepid and Maersk Integrator – were retrofitted with BlueVault batteries, allowing the operator to reduce the runtime of onboard combustion engines.

MAN Energy Solutions is targeting ASEAN and Africa with integrated LNG-to-Power solutions, with new projects under development in the Philippines as well as in North and West Africa. Business development manager Carsten Dommermuth said, “for the entire project cycle – until commercial start-up – we allocate a time frame of 3 to 5 years.”

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News in Brief

Tula dDSF helps curb NOx emissions by 74%

April 15 – Tula Technologies, a leader in propulsion technology, and Cummins have showcased the results of a study on the effectiveness of Tula’s diesel Dynamic Skip Fire (dDSF) in reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 74% and carbon dioxide emissions by 5% on a Cummins X15 HD Efficiency Series diesel engine. In comparison with current engine technologies and modifications to the thermal management techniques, use of the dDSF system saved 20% in fuel and related costs.

Marubeni starts EPC works for Rabigh IPP

April 14 – Japan’s Marubeni Corp has been granted limited-recourse financing for the 300 MW Rabigh solar IPP project in Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Province. The loan was granted by Mizuho Bank, Al Rajhi Banking and Investment and Japan’s Bank for International Cooperation. EPC work on the project is scheduled to start in early May. All electricity from the Rabigh IPP will be sold to the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) for 25 years starting with the plant’s commissioning.

BASF’s power demand set to triple

April 13 – Chemicals group BASF expects its electricity consumption will triple to over 44 TWh per year by 2035, rising from 14.7 TWh last year. The growth estimate is based on demand forecasts for Ludwigshafen, the group’s biggest site, where energy demand is anticipated to rise from 6 TWh to around 20 TWh. Currently, BASF meets most of its electricity needs with combined-cycle power stations, many of which are installed on or nearby its chemical production sites. The company has site in 390 locations worldwide.

Romgaz pulls the plug on Iernut CCGT

April 12 – Romania’s Romgaz has terminated a contract for the construction of a 430 MW combined-cycle power plant in Iernut, in Romania’s central Transylvania region. The construction consortium consisted of DuroFelguera and Romelectrico.

Wärtsilä test bio LNG fuel at Coast Guard vessel

April 9 – Gasum, Finland’s state gas company and biogas refiner is supplying Wärtsilä with green fuels that are currently being tested in a Coast Guard patrol vessel. The 96 metre long ship, the named ‚Turva’, is fitted with Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. Use of Bio LNG, a 100% renewable fuel, emits no particulate matter, and close to zero nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) when burnt and has over 90% lower CO2 emission compared to conventional fuels.

ACWA Power signs PPA for Kom Ombo plant in Egypt

April 8 – Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power has finalised a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) for the 200MW Kom Ombo PV plant. Financial close is now scheduled for Q3-2021, developers said, provided they will obtain $40 million in debt financing and a $14 million equity bridge loan from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as well as a $27.2 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Scottish network charges keep rising

April 7 – Network charges payable by Scottish generators continue to rise. According to National Grid’s 5-year view Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges, annual TNUoS costs for a typical 40 MW onshore wind site in Northern Scotland will rise to £1.28 million by 2025-26 – a 180% increase in nine years. Critics warn some developers see these costs as a potential investment barrier which could undermine the UK’s path to net zero emissions.

LYTT launches well visualisation dashboard

April 6 – The British software and analytics company LYTT has launched a cloud-based visualization dashboard, enabling operators of oil & gas wells to visualise the operation and resource base of reservoirs, Insights are derived from acoustic and temperature data sourced from fiber optic sensors that allow oil & gas to “see exactly what is happening downhole.“

PIC Group to staff North Valmy Generating Station

April 1 – Atlanta-based NV Energy has awarded PIC Group the staffing services agreement to help with the selection of key personnel at its 552 MW North Valmy Generating Station in Valmy, Nevada through 2025. Under the agreement, PIC Group will also provide Operation & Maintenance (O&M) services up until the plant’s staggered retirement starting from 2022.

MHIET launches new 2,000 kVA genset

March 31 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engine & Turbocharger (MHIET) has developed a 2,000 kVA diesel generator with the highest output level in a Japanese-made packaged generator. The genset is designed for use in critical infrastructure such as factories, hospitals and data centers. Sales of the new system will officially begin on April 1.

NextDecade sells $10m of Series C stock

March 30 – Houston-based NextDecade Corp has agreed to sell $10 million of Series C preferred stock in a private placement to OGCI Climate Investments. Earlier this month, NextDecade announced its subsidiary NEXT Carbon Solutions is developing one of the largest CCS projects in North America at Rio Grande LNG, designed to enable the capture and permanent geologic storage of more than five million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Linde to help Gazprom advance Amur GPP

March 29 – German engineering and industrial gases company Linde has been contracted by Gazprom to help fast-track works at the Amur Gas Processing Plant (GPP) in the Russian Far East and build a new natural gas liquefaction and GPP at Ust-Luga west of St. Petersburg. Gazprom underlined the Ust-Luga complex will be “the largest in northwest Europe in terms of LNG production at 13 mtpa” and a gas processing capacity of up to 45 Bcm of gas per year.

Spectrolytic improves turbine oil monitoring

March 29 – Edinburg-based Spectrolytic has developed an in-line measurement system to monitor turbine oils by streaming key operating data to a cloud-based control centre which provides the customer with real-time process control. Called Fieldkit, the plug-and-play system can be integrated into the main oil flow of the engine or in a bypass flow from the oil sump or tank.

Toshiba recycles CO2 into carbon monoxide

March 26 – Toshiba has developed the world’s most efficient electro-catalyst technology for converting CO2 into carbon monoxide (CO), a raw material for fuel and chemicals. The electro-catalyst has the size of a C5 envelope, operates at room temperature, and can process up to 1 ton of CO2 a year.

Gazprom and TMK/ChelPip discuss future cooperation

Mar 25 – The heads of Gazprom and TMK, one of Russia's largest producers of steel pipe coatings, are in talks about their future cooperation following TMK’s merger with ChelPip. Alexey Miller and Dmitry Pumpyansky discussed how the merged company could best meet Gazprom’s needs with regards to pipeline supplies for wells and transportation of hydrocarbons, as well as technical maintenance and support and repair services.

ADM develops Barracuda oil and gas field

Mar 24 – ADM Energy has agreed to invest up to US$1.3 million in developing the Barracuda oil and gas condensate field by acquiring a 51% interest in K.O.N.H. UK. Named OML 141, the field is situated in shallow waters offshore Nigeria. Developers said they intend to provide or procure funding in return for 235% of approved Capex to be recovered plus a 15% net profit interest (NPI) from the field.

Wärtsilä services engines at NYK’s LNG carriers

Mar 23 – Japan-based NYK LNG Ship Management has awarded Wärtsilä two long-term Optimised Maintenance agreement. The 15-year contracts cover Wärtsilä’s 50DF dual-fuel engines and other equipment installed on two LNG carrier vessels. The deal took effect from January 2021.

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