Technology & Innovation

Engine+ Hybrid Energy, Wärtsilä's latest technology solution, pairs gas-fuelled engines with energy management systems and storage. It forms a fully integrated system that provides reliable power supply for operators and power producers of islanded grids. Payback periods can be as short as two years, the Finish manufacturer claims.

Six partners – Ansaldo Thomassen, Delft University, OPRA Turbines, Vattenfall, Nouryon and EMMTEC – have been granted €500 million by the Dutch Government for research into ‘High Hydrogen Gas Turbine Retrofit to Eliminate Carbon Emissions’. The aim is to develop a CO2-free hydrogen value chain, in line with the EU Energy Roadmap 2050.

General Electric has installed its first DLN1.0+ Ultra Low NOx combustion upgrade globally at nine GE 9E gas turbines at five power stations in Shenzen Province, China. The upgrade reduces NOx emissions from about 25ppm to about 7.5ppm, in line with the Shenzhen government’s ‘Blue Sky’ campaign.

Engineers at GE, together with the Southwestern Research Institute (SwRI) have designed, built and tested what is said to be the highest-temperature supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) turbine in the world. The turbine, featuring a multi-stage axial flow sCO2 hot gas turbo-expander, was developed with a $6.8 million U.S. government grant on top of $3 million industry funding.

Manufacturers of power generation equipment like MAN Energy Solutions see hydrogen as a future alternative fuel source for its gas turbines, though switching from methane to hydrogen a conversion of the turbine combustion chamber to allow for higher firing temperatures. Demand for H2-solutions keeps rising as states like California aim for 100% clean energy by 2045.

Intermittency issues of wind and solar power supply are feared to jeopardize the stability of the U.S. power grid. To remedy this issue scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an “air-breathing” battery storage that, at the cheapest, run about $100/kWh and functions only in certain locations.

Swiss-based ABB and Rolls-Royce of the UK have entered a global partnership on microgrid technology and advanced automation, particularly for hybrid power systems. Mircogrids are critical to integrate rising volumes of renewable energy and benefit utilities and industrial users alike.

The Indian manufacturer ELGi Equipments is showcasing its new AB ‘Always Better’ air compressor series, a breakthrough in oil free compressed air technology, at Hannover Messe ComVac 2019 this week. Air Alert, an IoT-based, machine-monitoring platform is also on display at the trade show.

Siemens is supporting a study by the German Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics (IEE), and the French Grenoble Ecole de Management, on SF6 and F-gas free alternatives for medium voltage (MV) gas-insulated switchgear installations in Europe. The research – funded by Siemens and Schneider Electric Industries – has started in mid-March and is running until early 2020.

Uniper, formed in 2016 as a spin-off of E.ON's fossil power plant assets, has started producing methane gas from excess wind and solar power through electrolysis at its Falkenhagen Power-to-Gas (P2G) plant. The project demonstrates it is feasible to produce entirely green energy with qualities identical to natural gas.

MAN Energy Solutions is targeting ASEAN and Africa with its new integrated LNG-to-Power solutions. “We have new projects under development mainly in Asia and western- and northern Africa. But this is a business we are still building,” said business development manager Carsten Dommermuth. “For the entire project development up to the commercial operating date we allocate a time frame of 3 to 5 years.”

U.S. engine manufacturer Cummins will present its newly launched HSK78G gas generators at the Energy Hannover trade show on April 1-5, where the series will be showcased in Europe for the first time. With a power density from 1.6 to 2.0 MW from a 78L engine, the HSK78G generator can reach up to 44.2% electrical efficiency on 50Hz models.

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News in Brief

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

Central Hudson links solar farms to VPP

July 9 – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp has established its distributed generation program within the broader context of New York State’s energy plan. Together with Sensus and their Remote Telemetry Module (RTM-III), the Central Hudson will monitor decentralized solar PV backed up by flexible gas gensets.

Siemens and GREEN Solar turn German town CO2-free

July 8 – GREEN Solar and Siemens Energy are jointly developing a concept for making Herzogenrath CO2-free. The plan is to provide an energy-efficient and economical combination of solar power plants, wind turbines, batteries, CHP and combined cycle power plants, as well as heat and hydrogen storage. The hybrid system will be built on the grounds of Nivelsteiner Sandwerke and will be large enough to cover the city’s entire energy demand with zero CO2 emissions by 2030.

Denmark paves the way for Nord Stream 2

July 7– Denmark on late Monday gave the Nord Stream 2 consortium permission to utilize pipe-laying vessels with anchors in Danish waters, paving the way for the Gazprom-led consortium to complete the interconnector. Construction of the 1,230-kilometre pipeline is nearly complete, except for a final stretch of about 120-kilometers in Danish waters. The project was halted in December when the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying company Allseas suspended works over threats of U.S. sanctions.

EPRI tests early warning system

July 6– The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting trial tests with multiple utilities across the United States of an early warning system. It can detect an off-gassing event as a precursor to thermal runaway up to 30 minutes prior to a cascading failure. This gives plant operators time to mitigate the problem or shut down the system.

KKR buys stake in First Gen

July 3 – Valorous Asia Holdings, owned by KKR investment funds, has bought a 11.9% stake in First Gen through a voluntary tender offer. First Gen, one of the Philippines’ largest independent power producers with 3,492 MW installed capacity, is owned by First Philippine Holdings which is controlled by the Lopez family. KKR’s acquisition of the First Gen stake is worth nearly $192.3 million.

Gazprom’s ‘BBB’ rating affirmed

July 2 – S&P Global Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have affirmed Gazprom's long-term credit ratings as part of their annual reviews. The ‘BBB’ ratings for Gazprom from S&P and Fitch are in line with the sovereign credit rating of the Russian Federation, while Moody's ‘Baa2’ rating is a notch higher.

MHIEC to refurbish WtE plant in Kushiro

July 1 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental & Chemical Engineering Co (MHIEC) has received an order from the Kushiro Wide-Area Federation to repair and improve the core equipment at the local Waste-to-Energy plant in Takayama. The WtE plant has a capacity of 240 tonnes per day (tpd). Renovation will increase the energy efficiency of the fluidized bed type gasification and ash melting furnace facility, reducing emissions by around 15% annually. Works are due completed in September 2023.

Nigeria: Only two of six power projects on target

June 30 – Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises has disclosed that only two out of six privatized power plants were delivered on target. Only Transcorp Power Ltd and Geregu Power Ltd out of the six privatised electricity generation companies (GENCOs) were said to have met their performance targets since taking over.

German investors prefer solar over wind

June 29 – Energy infrastructure investors are keen to build solar power projects in Germany, but shun wind parks. In the latest solar power auction, investors offered to build almost 450 MW of capacity – more than four times the 96 MW of volume on offer– with the average successful bid at 5.27 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh). The wind auction, in contrast, was undersubscribed: The German network agency  (BNetzA) tendered around 826 MW, but successful bids only totalled 464 MW, at an average price of 6.14 ct/KWh.

MAN ventures into synthetic fuels

June 26 – MAN Energy Solutions has entered the hydrogen economy with the recent pro rata acquisition of H-TEC SYSTEMS, an electrolysis tech firm. The German OEM also committed itself to upgrading its gas turbines to run on 100% hydrogen by 2030.

Varegro starts using Cummins gas genset

June 25 – Belgian-based horticultural company Varegro, has started to use a Cummins HSK78G gas generator to power its greenhouses in Oostrozebeke, West Flanders. Varegro said it selected the Cummins HSK78G genset to produce combined heat and power (CHP) on its premises at a competitive cost for use in energy-intensive greenhouse facilities.

GE names Deloitte as independent auditor

June 24 – GE’s audit committee has selected Deloitte as the company’s independent auditor for the 2021 fiscal year, replacing KPMG. The selection of Deloitte concludes GE’s latest audit tender process.

Northern German states push for hydrogen pilot cluster

June 23 – Northern German states are pushing for greater hydrogen use with a pilot project cluster. Some 12 large demonstration plants for the production and use of green hydrogen are meant to be realised in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The aim is to demonstrate how 75% of CO2 emissions can be saved in the region by 2035.

Wärtsilä to design and equip battery-powered ferries

June 22– The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to design and equip two new zero-emissions ferries on behalf of the Norwegian operator Boreal Sjö. For each ferry Wärtsilä will supply the thruster motors, batteries, onboard and shore-based battery charging equipment, the back-up generators, and various electrical systems. The equipment is scheduled for delivery to the yard in early 2021 for the ships to start commercial operations in autumn 2021.

Subsidy cut slashes Chinese wind turbine margins

June 19 – China’s wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) could have their gross profit margins halved due to subsidy cuts, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Commissioned onshore wind power capacity is expected to drop by more than 16% to 19 gigawatts (GW) from 2020 to 2021 as government subsidies were terminated. This could also lead to a 27% drop in turbine prices over the next five years, slashing OEMs’ gross profit margins by half.

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