Technology & Innovation

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.

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.

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News in Brief

CCUS market to reach nearly $3bn in 2025

Oct 25 – The global carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) market will grow from $1.30 billion in 2020 to $1.46 billion in 2021, according to ResearchAndMarket estimates. The rebound comes as companies return to normal operations and sales, after a pandemic-related slowdown. Analysts expect the market will keep growing at a rate of nearly 20% annually to reach $2.97 billion by 2025.

SDG&E accelerates drive towards Net Zero by 2045

Oct 20 – San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has set a new sustainability strategy, outlining new and accelerated goals to help meet its pledge to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. SDG&E it now seeks to operate a 100% zero emissions vehicle fleet by 2035 – five years earlier than planned.

B&W develops biomass-to-hydrogen plant in Australia

Oct 19 – B&W's Renewable segment and Port Anthony Renewables Ltd have started to develop a biomass-to-hydrogen energy project in Victoria, Australia, based on B&W’s BrightLoop technology. When completed, the plant is expected to be part of the largest green hydrogen hub in south-eastern Australia.

LNG prices rise faster than oil

Oct 18 – Liquefied natural gas and pipeline supplies have experienced an even sharper increase in prices in 2021 than oil, driven by a combination of circumstances that included a strong recovery in demand in North Asia, southeast Asia and Europe, unseasonal weather and planned and unplanned capacity outages.

Wärtsilä shaft gensets to power two LNG carriers

Oct 14 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to supply four shaft generators to provide electricity take-off from the main engines of two LNG carriers. The ships are being built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Korea on behalf of the Capital Gas Ship Management of Greece.

VoltH2 gets green light for large hydrogen plant

Oct 13 – Vision Hydrogen Corp has announced that its affiliate VoltHe has received building and environmental permits to realise its first large-scale hydrogen plant at the Dutch North Sea Port of Vlissingen. The 5 MW hydrogen plant is located near existing high voltage power and gas infrastructure as well as large wind power assets. Once operational, it will produce around 3,500 tons of green hydrogen per year and will be scalable to 100 MW or 14,000 tons.

Tesla overtakes German e-cars

Oct 12 – Sales of Tesla in Germany has overtaken that of leading German carmakers. In September, more electric Tesla Model 3s were registered in the country than leading domestic models, such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class combined.

EnerMech spends £500k on crane training tech

Oct 11 – EnerMech has invested £500,000 in new crane simulator training systems at its Luanda (Angola), Doha (Qatar) and Great Yarmouth (UK) facilities. The British company recently formed a joint venture with 3t Energy Group to bring the KraneSIM-6000 equipment to both Qatar and Angola and offer in-country training across client organisations globally.  

Germany finances green hydrogen projects abroad

Oct 8 – The German government has agreed to support green hydrogen projects in other countries with up to €350 million by 2024, the economy ministry said when publishing a directive with relevant guidelines. Moreover, financial support is given to projects that produce and process green hydrogen for storage, transport and use in countries outside the EU through investment grants worth up to €15 million each.

UK e-car sales surge 186%

Oct 6 – Sales electric cars in the UK have surged 186% to a total of 108,000 in 2020 during the pandemic, up from just 38,000 in the previous year. Latest statistics show there were nearly 300,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of August 2021, and more than 600,000 plug-in models if including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

FogHorn deploys AI software at Chugoku Electric Power in Japan

Oct 4 – FogHorn, developer of Edge AI software, has deployed its Internet of Things (IoT) software at the Chugoku Electric Power hydroelectric power plant. The AI solutions will make the power gen process more efficient and enhances workplace safety. Chugoku Electric Power employs nearly 9,200 workers across 114 power units in the western part of Honshū, the largest island of Japan.

Rolls-Royce supplies MTU engines for ferry propulsion

Oct 1 – Rolls-Royce's new MT engines, automation system, and MTU Go! tool for remote service have future-proofed the high-speed catamaran Avemar Dos, run by the Spanish operator Balearia. Four MTU 20V1163 M84 units replaced the previous 1163 units, taking the vessel to a "new level of ecological soundness," the manufacturer says.

GES appoints former Puma Energy Chairman as NED

Sept 30 – Global Energy Storage (GES) has appointed the former Puma Energy Chairman, Graham Sharp, as an NED. Graham will support GES on its ‘new energies’ strategy for the energy transition, focusing on hydrogen fuels and hydrogen carriers space.

Aggreko reaches 2 GW of live power gen capacity

Sept 29 – Aggreko has today announced it has reached 2GW of live global gas power capacity and growth in flare gas to power and stranded gas projects. This new record follows a milestone of exceeding 1GW of delivered flare gas power projects in 2020.

Wärtislä renews O&M agreement with Lafarge Africa

Sept 28 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has renewed a long-term Operation & Maintenance (O&M) agreement with Lafarge Africa, a large producer of building materials in Nigeria. The agreement covers the 100 MW Lafarge Ewekoro power plant, which provides a dedicated supply of electricity to the company’s concrete and cement manufacturing processes.

Rolls-Royce supplies MTU engines to Sanlorenzo

Sept 27 – Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems will become one of the leading engine suppliers for Sanlorenzo, delivering MTU 10V, 12V and 16V 2000 yacht engines with a compact IMO 3 solution. A framework contract from 2022 through 2024 has been signed at the Monaco Yacht Show.

Shell exits Permian Basin

Sept 24 – Royal Dutch Shell has sold all its upstream interested in US Permian Basin to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion in cash. Shell’s assets in the Permian include around 225,000 net acres with a current production of around 175,000 barrels per day equivalent.

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