Technology & Innovation

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has begun the commissioning of T-Point 2, its new combined cycle power plant validation facility at Takasago Work, Japan. The CCGT will test the performance and reliability of the 1650℃-class JAC gas turbine and other ultrahigh-temperature models.

Japanese manufacturers Marubeni and IHI Corp are conducting a feasibility study on ammonia co-firing in thermal power plants run by JERA, Japan’s leading LNG importer and power producer. Ammonia stores hydrogen at low cost and can be directly used as a fuel to generate electricity.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power System (MHPS) has been striving to combine is solid oxide fuel cell, called MEGAMIE, with a micro gas turbine to stabilize and increase power output. “The toughest challenge,” researcher Yoshinori Kobayashi recalled, "was to figure out how to build a robust power unit with ceramics which are essential for such fuel cells to function.”

Rising need for renewables grid-integration will propel up the market value of gas turbines beyond $10 million by 2026. According to Global Market Insights, turbine technology with 70 MW to 200 MW capacity will be particularly in high demand and see annual installments exceed 10 GW over the next five years.

Investment in energy access accelerates with nearly $2.1 billion corporate monies spent on off-grid power generation capacity between 2010 and 2019. However, this Capex might still not be enough to reach universal electricity access globally by 2030.

Greenidge Generation, a gas-fired power plant operated by Atlas Holding in upstate New York, is using ‘behind-the-meter’ electricity to mine the crypto-currency bitcoin. With 7,000 mining rigs, using 14 MW of on-site power, the plant can generate up to 5.5 bitcoins per day worth about $45,000.

The Russian gas giant Gazprom plans to order Russian-manufactured LNG-powered trucks to transport liquid helium from the Amur Gas Processing Plant, where Russian gas gets treated prior to being fed into the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline to China. The first 18 trucks will go on the road in 2021.

The HyPER project (Bulk Hydrogen Production by Sorbent Enhanced Steam Reforming), led by Cranfield University, will build a 1.5 MWth pilot plant to test hydrogen technology invented by GTI. The research is funded by a £7.5 million grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and gets support from U.S.-based GTI and Doosan Babcock.

Mýa, a digital interface launched by MAN Energy Solutions, enables the exchange of data in a controlled and secure manner among participating Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), power plant operators and asset owners. The aim is promote collaborations among the marine, power generation, and energy industries.

MAN Energy Solution has launched an intelligent constant monitoring device for industrial lube oil. The certified device has recorded over 18,000 test hours on pilot industrial sites and complies with CE standards. It also received its first order is for third-party equipment in the Pacific region.

Green hydrogen, produced with renewables using electrolysers, is hoped to become the ‘new oil’ and develop into one of the most essential vectors in the decarbonisation process. “The technology already exists to make it possible; the next step is to scale it up to enable it to serve the common interest,” argues the French author Thierry Lepercq.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and NTK Spark Plug have joint forces to manufacture and sell cylindrical cell stacks – a key element used in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). The new joint venture CECYLLS will use NTK’s ceramic knowledge to produce the cell stacks that can efficiently utilize heat.

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News in Brief

New York body rejects William’s plans for gas pipeline expansion

May 21 – New York’s and New Jersey’s state bodies for environmental conservation have rejected Williams’ plans for the Northeast Supply Enhancement project, designed to transport 400 million cubic feet per day of gas from Pennsylvania to New York. The state bodies had already denied wetland permits in 2019, but Williams pipeline subsidiary Transco filed another application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), arguing firm services under the project were agreed with UK’s National Grid for customers in New York City districts of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.

UK inflation at 4-year low amid falling energy costs

May 20 – The rate of inflation in the UK has fallen to a four-year low as the pandemic pushed down global oil and fuel prices which translate into lower wholesale power prices. The consumer price index fell to an annual rate of 0.8% in April, down from 1.5% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Deficit grows in German green energy fund

May 19 – German regional grid operator TransnetBW has warned of a growing shortfall in the country’s fund for green energy sources, financed under the so-called renewable energy (EEG) levy. TransnetBW, the TSO in southwest Germany, said “due to the EEG cost allocations defined for 2020, we anticipate there will be a negative year end bank account balance in the high three-digit million euro range for 2020.”

Spanish gas companies ‘resilient’

May 18 – Spain’s regulated gas companies “should prove to be resilient” to external shocks arising from coronavirus containment measures, Standard & Poor’s analysis finds, calculating with an average drop in EBITBA at less than 3% in 2020. A new remuneration framework for 2021-2026, recently enacted by the Spanish government, provides enhanced visibility rated grid operators amid the pandemic.

German electricity prices second highest in EU

May 15 – Taxes and the renewable energy surcharge have pushed up Germany’s household electricity prices to the second highest level in Europe, topped only by prices in Denmark. While Danish households paid 29.2 Euros per 100 kWh on average in the second half of 2019, prices in Germany averaged 28.7 Euros, according to the EU statistics office Eurostat.

Calpine’s Q1 earnings fall

May 14 – Calpine, America’s largest generator of electricity from gas and geothermal, has reported a net income of $128 million for the first quarter of 2020, down from $175 million in the prior year period. Lower commodity margins and unfavourable change in income taxes were partially offset by earnings from hedge positions for the three month ending March 31.

Siemens to supply hybrid plant in the Philippines

May 13 – Berkley Energy has contracted Siemens Energy to build a hybrid power project on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. The project links 16 MW wind power with battery storage, stabilizing energy supply in a remote location with a weak link to the grid and reducing its dependence on diesel.

U.S. energy emissions fall

May 12 – Energy-related carbon emissions in the United States have fallen more than energy consumption, down 2.8% over the course of last year to 5,130 million metric tons (MMmt). Power sector emissions were down 145 MMmt, due to a switch from coal to gas and renewables. In April 2020, emissions experienced another unprecedented fall in due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

MAN expands Omincare concept

March 11 – MAN Energy Solutions’ service brand has extended its ‘PrimeServ Omnicare’ concept from turbomachinery to the marine and power segments. The one-stop service solution is now also applicable for maintenance of third-party machinery, including engines, turbochargers and related auxiliaries.

MIVOLT launches cooling fluid

May 7 – MIVOLT, part of the British company M&I Materials, has launched two specialist fluids to improve cooling efficiency at data centres. The electricity demand of data centres is forecast to rise to 20% of global supply to accommodate lifestyle changes like 5G internet network, autonomous vehicles and bitcoin mining.

Germany adds 1,300 km to power grid

May 6 – Germany has made progress in expanding its strained power grid. According to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), over 1,300 kilometres of new power transmission lines have been built and another 830km approved. A further 3,600km are planned to be built by 2030 to alleviate grid bottlenecks and allow transporting rising volumes of offshore wind southbound.

 

 

 

Oman nationalizes first IPP

May 5 – Manah Power, the first privately-run Independent Power Project (IPP) in Oman, has been transferred to state ownership, following the expiry of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between United Power Company and state-owned OPWP. Manah IPP was developed under Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model, which stipulates an eventual nationalization of the assets – a feature absent in subsequent IPPs.

U.S inventories at record highs

May 4 – Inventories for crude oil and natural gas have reached a new record high in the United States, as fuel demand declines both for transport and the electric power sector. From March 13 – when a national emergency was declared due to the Covid-19 pandemic – to April 24, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 74 million barrels, or 16%, according to government figures. The acute scarcity of crude storage on April 20 led to a sell-off of future contracts at negative prices.

Wärtsilä to service Argentinean power plant

May 1 – Wärtsilä has signed a 10-year maintenance and service agreement with one of Argentina’s upstream companies. Under the deal, Wärtsilä provides a guaranteed performance for a 57.6 MW onsite power plant in the southern part of Argentina, with excess power sold to the national grid.

Zink-Air batteries for NY

April 30 – Zinc8 Energy Solutions has entered a cooperation with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to install a zinc-air battery energy storage, backed by $2.55 million in state funding over a three year period. The Zinc8 ESS units can deliver power in the range 20-50 MW, with capacity of 8 hours of storage duration. The project will help New York State achieve its goal of installing 3 GW of energy storage by 2030.

UK again ‘coal-free’

April 29 – The UK continues to break its coal-free record as thermal coal-fired power plants currently remain off the system, according to National Grid data. Faltering demand due to the pandemic and high renewable energy supply radically altered the energy mix in many developed countries, with power in-feed from solar PV reaching 10 GW in Britain at the start of this week. “Coal is due off the system by 2025 and renewables have shown they are cost competitive with a viable route to market,” Delta-EE director Andy Bradley commented.

China’s fuel demand to rebound in Q2

April 28 – China’s demand for refined fuel is forecast to rebound in the second quarter, nearly reaching year-ago levels, as lockdowns to contain the coronavirus get lifted. Analysts at SIA Energy in Beijing expect second quarter demand for the three main transportation fuels to increase by 1.1 million barrels per day compared with the first quarter of 2020.