Technology & Innovation

Siemens has launched a Frequency Stabilizer SVC Plus FS that combines static-var-compensation with supercapacitors. Capable to compensate voltage and frequency fluctuations, the device can feeds reactive power into the grid in less than 50 milliseconds. At the same time, the up to 200 megawatts of electric power stored in the supercapacitors can be transferred to the grid at full load.

Siemens and the South Korean manufacturer Iljin Electric have teamed up to develop an SF6-free gas-insulated switchgear (GIS)for the 170 kilovolt (kV) level, building on a similar Siemens application for up to 145 kV. The new GIS will use treated air, known as "Clean Air", instead of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) as the insulating medium.

Cat CG132B-16, Caterpillar’s new gas generator set, has been rated for continuous power at 1 MW for 50 Hz in natural gas applications. The gensets’ high power densitiy offers an outstanding price-performance, the manufacturer claims.

Dry and hybrid cooling is gaining ground in the U.S. power generation market, although over 61% of thermoelectric plants still use recirulating systems with cooling water. According to EIA figures, the 83 U.S. power plants that operate dry and hybrid cooling systems support about 20 gigawatts (GW) of steam-generating capacity.

The role of the grid is experiencing a pivotal change, amid rising requirements for grid balancing and renewable integration. Smart grids are forecasted to represent two-thirds of global net electricity by 2050. By then, an estimated $548 billion will be invested in battery capacity, says Seb Henbest at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

ABB, working through local distributor Consorcio AMESA, has won a $6.4 million contract to install 62 units of Elastimold switchgear along Paseo de la Reforma — Mexico City’s iconic boulevard. The rollout is part of a $150 million Comisión Federal de Electricidad project to upgrade stability of power supply to data-intensive banks, government offices and corporate headquarters that line the street.

Bentley Systems and Siemens have decided to strengthen their strategic alliance by increasing the innovation investment program from the initial €50 million funding to €100 million. Making use of Siemens’ technical expertise and project management tools the two partner aim to create a full Digital Twin for the engineering and construction world.

Agile, more efficient testing and product development for the marine, oil & gas and new energy sector will be facilitated at Wärtsilä’s new technology hub on Vaskiluoto island, near the Finish city of Vaasa. Wärtsilä will invest €83 million in modern testing and production technology for the hub, while total investment will amount to over €200 million.

Smart electrically-driven heating is a “valuable field in which to invest”, Delta-ee research finds, pointing at the substantial installed base of electrically-driven heating – 30 million units across Europe. In the UK, new business models are emerging providing heat-as-a-service, with the customer avoiding the need for buying fuel and appliances by simply buying the heat, and comfort that comes with it.

Cold energy, set free when LNG gets regasified through heat exchangers, can be utilized and monetised in different sectors, including the production of special gases through cryogenic air separation, desalination and also in the power sector. Hereby, the cold energy gets reused for inlet cooling of gas turbines.

Siemens has successfully 3D-printed and engine-tested a dry low emission (DLE) pre-mixer for its SGT-A05 aeroderivative gas turbine. From concept to engine test, the development took only seven months, which is impressive considering this component requires very tight tolerances and works in high load and temperature.

Dispatchable power generation capacity is shifting from flexible gas gensets to wind and solar technologies paired with energy storage. Excellent solar resources in the U.S. state of Arizona make First Solar confident that its 65MW solar farm and a 50MW/135MWh battery storage facility will outcompete gas peaking plants in terms of supplying electricity into the evening peak.

Eager to gain proprietary turbine technology, State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) of China has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ansaldo Energia this week to achieve mutually beneficial results in the heavy duty gas turbine area. The accord comes just weeks after Siemens and SPIC struck a technology cooperation in early June to enhance their heavy duty gas turbine programme.

China’s State Power Investment Corp (SPIC) and the Italian turbine manufacturer Ansaldo Energia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on developing a new gas turbine. The two partners stated the technical cooperation will focus on heavy-duty gas turbines and is aimed at setting up a “win-win partnership”.

Fivesgroup, an Italian industrial engineering group, has opened up its European test centre based in the Italy’s northern province of Piacenza. Claimed to be the largest combustion research centre in Europe, the centre will help Fives to reduce time-to-market of new systems through digital design processes.

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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.