Technology & Innovation

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.

CEON, a new digital platform launched by MAN Energy Solutions, intelligently collects and evaluates operating and sensor data, and enables the 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.

Marubeni Corp and the energy-tech firm LO3 Energy have launched a pilot project in Japan whereby LO3 Energy will administer a virtual energy market place, using blockchain to connect several of Marubeni’s power production facilities and test simulated transactions.

McCoy Reports has singled out Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) as the 2018 market leader on global orders wins for heavy duty gas turbines (>100 MW). The J-series gas turbine, with its industry-leading 64% plus efficiency rating, was instrumental for MHPS’ heavy duty turbine business segment to capture over 41% market share globally.

Today’s power grids are becoming increasingly complex as more decentralized power sources are added, requiring the network to carry bulk power in ways it was never designed to do. Recent order wins for GE’s Fixed Series Compensation (FSC) total over $60 million as TSOs turn to the technology to enhance flexibility of the grid.

On the market for nearly a decade, the Siemens H-class gas turbine has now exceeded one-million fired hours in commercial operation. The output rating of the SGT5-8000H turbine has grown over the years from 375 MW to 450 MW, with efficiency improvements to over 61% in combined cycle operation.

Burning hydrogen (H2) in a combined-cycle power plant is a step towards dispatchable, totally CO2-free power generation. However, the main challenge of H2 combustion lies in its properties, notably its increased reactivity. In contrast to natural gas, the flame position moves upstream during H2 combustion, which increases the risk of flashback.

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News in Brief

Smart grid market to top $70bn by 2027

April 24 – The global Smart Grid Market is expected to reach around $70 billion, growing at an annual rate of 15.56% in the coming years through to 2027.North America is forecast to see the largest revenue growth, according to ResearchNester, while Europe also shows promising growth in smart grids due to high awareness for decentralized power generation, battery storage and conserving energy.

China eases ban on coal power

April 23 – The Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) has allowed 11 provinces to resume building coal power plants in a move that lies bare the country’s dependency on thermal coal even after several hundred billion dollars were invested cleaner energy sources, notable wind, solar and natural gas. Areas earmarked by NEA for new coal power plants include Qinghai, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou and Henan.

$500m Birdsboro plant gets powered up

April 17 – Birdsboro Power, a subsidiary of EmberClear of Canada, is in the process of commissioning the $500 million Birdsboro open-cycle gas power plant. Built on a site of the former Amourcast steel foundry, and driven by a GE 7H02 turbine, the new power unit will generate about $500,000 in revenue for the Reading Area Water Authority and another $125,000 city of Reading, Pennsylvania. All electricity will be supplied into PJM Interconnection, the power grid operator in the U.S. Northeast.

Gas now dominant fossil fuel in Europe

April 17 – Rising cost of carbon emissions and closures of coal power stations throughout Europe have led to gas-fired generation overtaking the output of other fossil fuels for the first time. According to EnAppSys figures, gas power plants in the EU produced 117 TWh of electricity in the first quarter of 2019, compared with a combined 110.9 TWh from coal, lignite and gas-to-coal plants.

ABB, Porsche co-develop electric vehicle chargers

April 16 – ABB and Porsche have agreed to develop electric vehicle chargers for Porsche Japan’s new electric vehicles, including Tayan – the carmakers’ first fully electric car due to be launched in 2020. Under the deal, Porsche will install ABB chargers at its public facilities across Japan, creating a network of fast-charging stations for its electric vehicles. The first installation is set to go live in mid-2020.

Power gen from biomass flatlines

April 15 – Increases of U.S. electricity generation from biomass have stopped after a decade of growth. Power produced from biomass totaled 70.6 million megawatthours (MWh) in 2018, or about 2% of total U.S. electricity generation, according to EIA figures. Having grown from 2004 through 2014, and the 2018 output was 2% below its peak generation of 71.7 million MWh.

Aeroderivative GT market to top $3.5bn by 2024

April 12 – The global market for aeroderivative gas turbines is seen grow at a 7% rate to surpass $3.5 billion by 2024. A main growth driver, according to Global Markets Insight, will be the rising adoption of small-scale turbine-driven cogeneration plant and the trend towards decentralized energy supply.

Lumenaza creates regional green power grids

April 11 – Utility-in-a-box software, developed by Lumenaza, creates a regional green power grid by connecting producers and consumers of locally produced wind and solar energy. The system monitors renewable power output, balances supply and demand, and can help organize the billing process. Pilot projects have been implemented with two of Germany’s big utilities, E.ON and EnBW as well as with various smaller players.

MHPS licenses H-25 turbine production to Chinese manufacturer

April 10 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has agreed to license production technology for its H-25 series gas turbines to the Chinese manufacturer CSIC Longjiang GH Gas Turbine Co. The agreement will establish a small local supply chain which helps expands MHPS’ share in the Chinese market, the Japan-based company stated. So far, MHPS received five orders for H-25 Series gas turbines, or nine units in total, from Chinese power plant developers.

SIEW 2019 to focus on energy transformation

April 9 – “Accelerating Energy Transformation” will be the theme for the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2019. This theme has been chosen by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) of Singapore to address mounting challenges in Asia over meeting climate change commitments against a backdrop of continuously rising energy demand.

ENGIE launches 1st mini-grid in Zambia

April 8 – The French utility ENGIE has inaugurated its first PowerCorner – an off-grid renewable energy solution – in the Zambian village of Chitandika. Located in the East of Zambia, Chitandika counts 1500 inhabitants who previously had no access to electricity.

Global gas engine market to reach $4.4 billion by 2020

April 5 – Over the next five years, the global gas turbine market is forecast to grow 11.1% annually in terms of revenue, reaching a market size of $24,100 million by 2024, up from $14,300 million in 2019. Market-leading companies include: GE, Siemens, Ansaldo Energia, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Shanghai Electric Group.

EDAC, Siemens seek ‘industrial app’ for 3D-printing

April 4 – Siemens is intensifying its cooperation with the EDAG Group, an independent engineering company for the automotive industry, to promote industrial applications of additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing. The companies’ joint "NextGenerationSpaceframe 2.0" project is on show at the Hannover Messe this week.

ABB electrifies Lodi campus of Milan University

April 3 – The Swiss manufacturer ABB will ensure smarter, safer and more reliable electricity supply for students at the Milan University’s new campus in Lodi. Covering an area of 20,000 square meters, the campus has installed ABB’s UniSec switchgear and main distribution switchboard solution, System pro E power.

Chevron launches $90m Fund VII

April 2 – Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) has set up Fund VII, a new $90 million fund focused on venture capital investment across the energy industry. Investments target early- to mid-stage companies as well as limited partnership funds with the aim of supporting breakthrough technologies that have the potential to improve Chevron’s oil and gas business performance.

Siemens to implement VW Industrial Cloud

April 1 – The German carmaker Volkswagen has chosen Siemens as integration partner for the VW Industrial Cloud. Based on Siemens’ MindSphere system, the VW Industrial Cloud will link production systems, machinery and equipment of various manufacturers at the 122 Volkswagen manufacturing plants worldwide. The resulting data transparency and analysis is meant to enhance productivity at the sites.

Marubeni, 4R Energy to deploy large refurbished batteries

March 29 – Marubeni Corp and 4R Energy, along with SIGNET EV have achieved a Proof of Concept (PoC) using 4RE’slarge refurbished batteries for the development of the world’s first mass-productional EV charger in Namie-machi, Fukushima-Prefecture. The installation, with an output of more than 50kW, helps the community reduce electricity demand from the central power grid, which saves costs.