Technology & Innovation

The 3000th gas genset of Rolls-Royce's MTU-branded Series 4000 natural gas engine has rolled off the production line, set to be delivered to VPower Group for a project in Myanmar. Series 4000 gas engines are part of MTP since October 2004 and are being produced in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Despite the recent oil market shock, a fifth of industry leaders said in a DNV GL survey their companies have entered the hydrogen market, anticipating the synthetic fuel will be a big part of the energy mix by 2030. DNV GL is involved in pilot projects in Norway, the Netherlands and the UK.

Energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) budgets have increased by 4% worldwide to reach $20.9 billion. Low-carbon research accounts for 94% of the overall budgets in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) member countries, though the Covid-19 pandemic caused a noticeable shift in focus to business streamlining and cost-cutting.

Wärtsilä is working on a new combustion process to allow its gas engine burn solely hydrogen fuel. The Finish technology group has already tested its engines with blends of up to 60% hydrogen and 40% natural gas, having proven that the engines can run on synthetic carbon-neutral methane.

U.S. developer PowerPHASE has launched a Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) Plant, designed to enable grid-scale energy storage of renewable power. CEO Bob Kraft said the company is working with a couple utilities in the United States to install the first reference unit.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has achieved a market share of 37.2% for flue gas desulfurization (FGD) by delivering systems with a combined output of 51,010 MW, according to the McCoy Power Report. FGD systems are installed in thermal power gen units with output of 5 MW and above.

Partners of the European Turbine Network (ETN) are looking to flexibilize combined-cycle power units by partly running them on green hydrogen or ammonia. Energias de Portugal (EDP) will demonstrate the concept of hydrogen co-firing at its 1.2 GW Ribatjo power plant near Lisbon.

The U.S. Department of Energy has freed up $28 million in funding for research on ultrahigh temperature materials that can operate in high stress environments of a gas-turbine blade. Novel alloys and coatings are meant to further enhance turbine efficiency.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems’ (MHPS) fleet of 43 J-series gas turbines worldwide have reached one million hours of commercial operation, nearly double that of similar-sized turbines from competitors. Launched in 2011, the J-series delivers 99.5% reliability and efficiency greater than 64%.

Germany’s largest utility Uniper and Siemens have agreed to jointly produce green hydrogen, derived from renewable energy, for use in Uniper’s existing gas turbines and gas storage units. The share of hydrogen co-firing is meant to be gradually increased in both gas- and converted coal-fired power plants.

Nokia is deploying the world’s first 450 MHz private wireless LTE network for the Polish power grid operator PGE Systems to enable wireless connectivity for up to 14 million smart meters and 35,000 SCADA connections. The 450 MHz band is being adopted across Europe.

The world’s first SGT6-9000HL gas turbine has been fired up at Duke Energy’s Lincoln Combustion Turbine Station near Denver, North Carolina. Siemens achieved first fire on April 6, and the turbine is now in full commercial operation at the new 402 MW simple-cycle unit.

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News in Brief

Thermoelectrics enters fast track

Aug 2 – Thermoelectrics cools, heats, makes electricity and sense. ID TechEx sees a real possibility of thermoelectric generators becoming viable in geothermal energy and other high-power applications. New research scrutinizes 90 companies involved, from patents to research papers, product offerings, and financials.

Mining site used for solar PV

July 30 – German lignite operator Leag takes advantage of the country's coal phase-out by using part of the Jänschwalde opencast mine to build a 400 MW solar power. Construction for the ‘Energy Park Bohrau’ is slated to begin in 2023 with a view to go into operation in 2024.

Howden powers methanol plant

July 29 – Howden will deliver a hydrogen compressor to Johnson Matthey to serve the world’s first methanol plant that harnesses energy from the wind, in Patagonia, Chile. The Haru Oni project will deliver around 900,000 litres per year of e-methanol as early as 2022 and will be scaled up to 550 million litres of e-fuels per year by 2026.

Bloom SOFCs to power micro plant in South Korea

July 28 – California-based Bloom Energy, in cooperation with SK ecoplant, will install solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Donghae City, South Korea. The CHP will provide heat and warm water for the nearby Bukpyung sports center. Construction on the project is slated to start this autumn.

Shanghai Electric to digitalise factories

July 27 – Shanghai Electric has entered a partnership with AI Investment Fund at the WAIC 2021 conference to provide digital solutions to industrial parks and medical institutions. Yang Hong, Vice President of Shanghai Electric said the aim is to help industries to minimise emissions and waste while maintaining low unit costs.

Slow LNG uptake in Africa

July 26 – In Africa, the uptake of LNG imports to new markets has been slow. Both Ghana’s 1.7 million tons per annum (mtpa) Tema LNG and Senegal’s 1.0 mtpa Dakar Powership are still awaiting their first LNG deliveries, though their respective FSRUs Vasant and Karmol LNGt Powership Africa have been in place since June.

Growth in turbine air filtration tops 3%

July 22 – The turbine air filtration market is expected to grow 3.27% annually from $1.92 billion in 2020 to reach $2.29 billion in 2026. Demand from the oil & gas industry and electric utilities had plunged during the corona crisis and subsequent economic downturn, but the latest trend towards clean energy is driving robust growth for turbine air filtration which can be widely and easily applied in the power sector.

US oil exports stay high

July 21 – Despite volatile prices, U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high in 2020 and remained strong this year, averaging 3.51 million barrels per day (b/d). Expanded ports at Houston and Corpus Christi allow for oil to be exported from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Basin.

CVEC to be converted to hydrogen

July 20 – Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) is taking steps to run the  combined-cycle plants on hydrogen. Works to convert the plant will be carried out by GE and are scheduled to start in late 2022. One of three GE 7F.05 gas turbines at CVEC will be introduced to a 5% hydrogen blend with natural gas.

MAN ETES labelled solar impulse efficient

July 16 – MAN Electro-Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) was attributed the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” label by independent auditors. In January, the German manufacturer supplied to ETES heat pumps to DIN Forsyning for a heat and power plant in the Danish port city Esbjerg.

Electricity sales to US industry rebounds

July 14 – Economic recovery has caused a 5.1% rise electricity sales to US industry this year, dwarfing 2.8% more retail sales and a 2.1% rise in the commercial sector as many office workers continue working from home. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) acting administrator, Steve Nalley, called the rebound in electricity sales to industry a “strong sign of rising levels of economic output as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.”

Solar PV to triple in Asia by 2030

July 13 – Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic capacity could triple to 1,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, China will add 619 GW of mainly utility-scale capacity while most other nations in Asia prefers distributed solar due to land constraints. Solar PV tends to be backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage, forming hybrid power units.

Kinder Morgan closes on Stagecoach assets

July 12 – US energy infrastructure major Kinder Morgan has closed its acquisition of Stagecoach Gas Services. The deal include 4 gas storage facilities with a 41 bcf working gas capacity and a transmission network with multiple interconnects to major interstate pipelines, including Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The Stagecoach assets add to Kinder Morgan’s approximately 83,000 miles of pipelines and 144 terminals.

Dortmund cancels electrotechnik fair

July 9 – The elektrotechnik fair, planned for 29 September to 1 October 2021, will now not be taking place in Dortmund due to requests from the industry. The next trade fair for building, industrial, energy and lighting technology will now open its doors again in spring 2023.

Hitachi to change name of ABB Power Grids

July 7 – Hitachi ABB Power Grids will become Hitachi Energy in October. The Japanese manufacturer bought a controlling stake in ABB’s grid business a year ago and is about to fully take the name of the merged company while expanding its direction towards e-mobility and data centres.

Tapping wind energy for hydrogen

July 6 – Spanish utility Naturgy and the gas grid operator Enagás are evaluating the use of 350 MW offshore and onshore wind capacity to produce green hydrogen. The fuel will be used to decarbonise the steel industry and shipyard in northwest Spain.

EU seeks to expand Green Deal to Africa

July 5 – The European Green Deal should be expanded to also include African states as partners, the German development minister Gerd Müller said. Green hydrogen production in Africa, in his view, should be a “cornerstone for economic cooperation with the Europe.”

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