Technology & Innovation

Germany’s federal state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has freed up €200,000 in funding to evaluate MAN ETES energy storage. The still-untested technology offers a CO2-free alternative to large-scale heat supply and the study is a prerequisite for building a pilot unit near Aachen in 2021.

Ansaldo Energia has today unveiled the first GT36 gas turbine, the highest performing H-Class turbine ever built in Italy. The GT36 left the workshop in Genoa, en route to Edison’s Porto Marghara combined-cycle power plant where it will increase capacity to 780 MW at 63% energy efficiency.

General Electric will apply lean operating principles to transform its PT GE Nusantara Turbine Services (PT GENTS) in Bandung, Indonesia, into a global B- and E- Repair Center of Excellence (CoE). The facility has already shipped its first set of repaired turbine blades to a customer.

Petrochemical factories are hard-pressed to lower operating costs and emissions, hence Siemens Energy and Linde have teamed up to develop technology and equipment to decarbonise the industry. Optimizing power and steam is in focus, as well as cleaner steam crackers to produce olefins.

Tenerife will be home to Spain’s first green substation, based on GE’s Green Gas for Grid (g³) technology – an alternative to sulfur hexafluoride (SF₆) insulating gas. The development of g³ has taken more than ten years of work by GE’s research teams in France and Switzerland, together with 3M.

US manufacturer Cummins has received a federal grant, worth $4.6 million, to advance commercialization of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The aim is to develop a system that would produce electricity at a price below $1,000/kW, with testing scheduled to start in 2021.

Producing “blue” hydrogen from natural gas along with carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) can cost around 22% less when using a process launched by Shell Catalysts & Technologies. With CO2 costing $25–35/t, “blue” hydrogen becomes competitive with “grey,” unabated one, even with its higher capital costs.

In Berlin, Siemens Energy has inaugurated a pilot production and testing facility for 3D-printed gas turbine components. The aim is to enhance series production of laser-based powder bed fusion, also known as additive manufacturing, which lowers production costs and halves time-to-market.

National Grid and gas distribution networks evaluate hydrogen blending and point-of-use separation to transport hydrogen through the existing grids. The aim is to decarbonise energy for heat, transport, industry and power generation as the UK targets net zero carbon by 2050.

Siemens Energy and Bentley Systems have launched APM4O&G, an asset performance management system for oil and gas, which helps enhance operations, eliminates unplanned asset downtime, and reduce maintenance costs.

Cummins’ HSK78G gas generators have achieved an installation capacity of more than 80 MW, equivalent to powering around 52,000 homes. Since its launch in March 2019, the gas gensets provide organisations across all industries with lower-carbon intensive electricity.

Mitsubishi Power has signed a memorandum with PLN Group and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) to jointly promote biomass co-firing at coal and gas power plants in Indonesia. Financial support frameworks will set up by September 2021, followed by some pilot projects.

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News in Brief

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

VELO distributes Sapphire Metal 3D-Printers in the US

Dec 18 – California-based VELO3D has formed a distribution partnership with GoEngineer for Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and controls. GoEngineer will be VELO’s only distributor in the United States.

Indian electric boats to achieve zero emissions

Dec 17 – Cochin Shipyard, India’s largest shipbuilder, has asked Siemens Energy to equip India’s first fleet of 23 boats with electric propulsion drive train, integrated with batteries and vessel automation. Combining the electric propulsion drive trains, energy storage, and automation systems is expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Terna BESS auction six times oversubscribed

Dec 16 – A pilot auction, held by the Italian TSO Terna, for battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide reserve grid services has been six times oversubscribed. The auction was held with an expectation that around 230 MW would be on offer, but Terna received 1,327 MW worth of bids and eventually awarded contracts for 249.9 MW.

New £150m link to UK’s Easington terminal

Dec 15 – National Grid has completed a gas pipeline under the River Humber, build in 18 months and at a cost £150 million, as new link to the import terminal at Easington. Following commissioning, the pipeline is now operational and can now transport between 70 to 100 million cubic metres - around a quarter of Britain's gas needs.

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