Technology & Innovation

Eddyfi Technologies, a Canadian developer of inspection technology based in Québec, has launched Spyne – a non-destructive ECA-adaptable screening and testing screening tool that can detect cracks, fatigue and corrosion faster and with a higher probability than traditional tools. Spyne is applicable on pipelines, vessels or power generation equipment.

With more than a third of Germany’s electricity generated by renewables, the number of Power-to-X projects has surged in a bid to make use of this intermittent energy supply. Over 35 plants with over 50 kW of installed electrolysis capacity will be in operation by 2022 in Germany alone, according to forecasts by certification service provider TÜV SÜD.

As renewable energy combined with batteries are becoming part of modular power networks, natural gas the ideal fossil fuel source to supplement these power networks, says Craig Wilkins, Director Prime Power at Cummins. Headquartered in Indiana, U.S., the manufacturer has responded to the intermittency challenge of renewable power supply with the launch of its HSK78G gas-powered generator.

SSE, one of the UK’s Big Six energy companies with more than 7 million customers, has chosen Contigo’s energy nomination and scheduling platform, enVoy, for electronic data transfer with National Grid. Since going live, the system already handled approximately two million submissions.

Surface coating developer Hardide has announced that testing – commissioned by EDF Energy and carried out by the British National Physical Laboratory (NPL) – indicates nanostructured chemical vapour deposition (CVD) coating can extend the life of steam turbine blades. The CVD coating made the tested FV520B turbine blades more resistant to erosion and cracking.

Leading LNG players like ExxonMobil, Shell and Total, as well as the engineering contractor Bechtel, have all completed qualification studies on Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems' H-100 gas turbine (120 MW) for use as the mechanical driver together with MHI compressors. Encouraged by this customer acceptance, MHI group is now marketing their H-100-driven liquefaction solution in single, stand-alone 1x100% strings or multi-unit large scale trains.

Caterpillar Energy Solutions’ new Cat G3512 generator series set is now EPA-certified for use at 1 g/bhp-hr NOx emissions.  Rated for standby or continuous power at 750 ekW, or 1000 ekW at 60 Hz, the new genset series conforms to ISO 8528-5 G3 load acceptance criteria, improving transient and steady state performance.

Edison has signed a 300 million Euros contract with Ansaldo Energia to create a new H-class GT36 gas turbine for use in combined-cycle mode at the Marghera Levante power station, striving to turn it into the most efficient plant in Europe. The new turbine will have a total capacity of 780 MW and an energy performance of 63%.

The Swiss equipment manufacturer ABB has expanded its portfolio of source-to-socket electrification following its $2.6 billion acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions. ABB said the takeover helps boost its competitiveness in the North American market and strengthens its position in electrification.

MAN Energy Solutions' new digital platform CEON collects and evaluates operating and sensor data to enables real-time monitoring of power-plant engines, turbines and compressors. Integrating data from MAN machinery and its operational environment, the new digital platform uses intelligent analysis tools for evaluation and forecasting.

The German car makers BMW and Porsche have teamed up with Siemens in the ‘FastCharge’ research project, working with Allego and Phoenix Contact E-Mobility, to create super-fast chargers for electric vehicles. The prototype of a charging station with a capacity of up to 450 kW was inaugurated in Jettingen-Scheppach, a small town in southwest Bavaria.

From 2025, Clean Energy Fuels Corp. will make Redeem renewable natural gas (RNG), produced organic from waste, available at all of its fueling stations in North America. By transitioning exclusively to RNG, the California-based supplier wants to achieve zero-carbon intensity to outcompete fossil fuels and electric vehicles, which are unlikely to hit that mark unit 2045.

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News in Brief

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.

PowerPHASE converts gas peakers into storage engine

June 18 – U.S. emergency power provider PowerPHASE has developed an upgrade to convert 7F gas turbine-based peaking plants (350 MW each) to a so-called Storage Engine (400 MW). The unit would be able to store 3500 MWh daily and discharge 4800 MWh daily. CEO Bob Kraft claims utility customers could dispatch the Storage Engine, despite its lower heat rate (4000), ahead of higher heat rate options (9000 for gas peakers) in a competitive market like ERCOT in Texas.

Cummins names Davis head of New Power unit

June 17 – Cummins has appointed Amy Davis as Vice President and President of the company’s New Power Segment, effective July 1. The new unit includes Cummins’ electrified powertrains, battery design and assembly, battery management, fuel cell and hydrogen generation.

GE powers USS Zumwalt

June 16 – The US Navy has taken delivery of the USS Zumwalt, its first full-electric power and propulsion ship, equipped by GE’s Power Conversion. The ship features a high-voltage system, propulsion drive trains with multi-phase VDM25000 power converters and advanced induction motors. Kevin Byrne, head of GE’s North America marine segment said “the full-electric power and propulsion ship has the flexibility to direct energy where it is needed on the platform.”

New England power prices down 40%

June 15 – Spot electricity prices in New England (NE) has fallen since winter 2019/20 when it stood at an average $28/MWh, down 40% from an average $47/MWh in the previous winter. Low natural gas prices, warmer-than-normal temperatures, lower loads, and reduced needs to run expensive peakload generators were the cause for the substantial drop in NE’s winter electricity prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds.