Technology & Innovation

UK-based bolting solution provider Hydratight will provide Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) with a new multi-stud tensioning system, designed in cooperation with Yokohama Engineering Services. The system was launched following six month of close cooperation with MHPS, providing a tailored bolting solution for their 501J series gas turbine.

At Hanover Messe, Siemens is presenting its enhanced Digital Enterprise portfolio for Industrie 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution. The offering includes solutions for digital twins, used to create a holistic virtual model of the value chain, as well as the company’s open, cloud-based IoT operating system MindSphere. A virtual model of the real power plant – a so-called "digital twin" – provides the operator with enough flexibility to react quickly to changing market requirements.

Black-start technology, supplied by Siemens, is providing 300MW critical backup power for San Francisco via the upgraded Trans Bay Cable (TBC). The project includes a 53-mile HVDC cable that runs under the San Francisco Bay, capable to swiftly restore power supply in the event of a network outage.

To meet tomorrow’s market needs, Siemens has adapted the electrical and mechanical design of the Sinamics frequency converters, giving the units a smaller footprint and up to 60% lower width. The new Sinamics S120 Chassis-2 and Sinamics S120 Cabinet Modules-2, according to Siemens, address changing requirements in the field of high-performance drives.

Synthetic fuels like hydrogen are vital for a successful energy transition, experts at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue agreed, calling for a regulatory framework to ensure large-scale development in Europe against competitors in Asia. “China has done solar, has done batteries… it’s over. There’s one thing where it’s not over: that’s hydrogen,” said Thierry Lepercq, executive vice president at ENGIE in charge of Research & Technology.

Swiss technology group ABB has launched a single-phase device for Uninteruptible Power Supply (UPS), aimed at applications up to 30 kW. The new PowerValue 11T G2 employs ABB’s double conversion technology: incoming AC is first converted to DC, from which the output AC is then synthesized – giving a clean sinusoid.

Works to build the EU-funded H2FUTURE project, an EU-funded 6MW pilot plant, have kicked off in the Austrian town of Linz. The project consortium – Voestalpine, Siemens and the Austrian utility VERBUND – has now officially given the go-ahead for works on the world's largest pilot plant for the production of "green" hydrogen. The plant will be fully operational by spring 2019.

With households and businesses now capable to generate their own electricity and sell it back to the grid, the one-directional stream of energy from producer to consumer has ended. “Electric utilities must adapt to this new reality by creating a flexible infrastructure that works for a new generation of customer,” says Tobias Pantwich, Digital Workflow Advisor at Bentley Systems.

UK hydrogen specialist ITM Power is preparing to carry out a multi-MW power-to-gas (P2G) feasibility study for the Massachusetts region, backed by a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The project is due to start in Q2-2018 and has a duration of 12 months.

Eka Software Solutions announced a large American retail trading cooperative, including over 200 independent associations, has implemented Eka's Energy Trading and Risk Management software (ETRM) software to manage currency and energy related risks. The customer is a retail trading co-op active in many industries, including energy where it upgrades, refines, and markets petroleum products.

Setting another Additive Manufacturing milestone, Siemens has fitted the first replacement parts – two oil sealing rings that were 3D-printed from metal – for an industrial steam turbine operating in India. The oil sealing rings help keep oil separated from steam inside the turbine, using pressurized air.

MTU Yuchai Power, a joint venture between Rolls-Royce Power Systems and the Chinese diesel engine manufacturer Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Company, have launched series production of MTU Series 4000 engines in China. The first MTU Series 4000 engine has already been manufactured in Yulin, Guangxi province.

Electricity will make up about 25% of final energy consumption by 2040, according to IEA estimates, as new electric devices are being developed at a rapid rate. Brushing climate concerns aside, Richard Zhang, technology executive at GE’s Power Conversion stressed electrification offers significant cost and efficiency savings: “Future electrical machines will generate power with ever higher density, efficiency and allow for a higher degree of system integration.”

Bonaire in the Caribbean and the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic: these two self-sustaining islands are setting standards in integrating renewable energy sources, supported by MAN Diesel & Turbo gensets. On the Faroe Island, four MAN 9L51/60 four-stroke engines are being installed to expand the existing Sund power plant near the capital Tórshavn.

Dresser-Rand, part of Siemens Group, has commissioned an LNGo-HP (high-pressure) micro-scale natural gas liquefaction system for Altagas Ltd. in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada. Producing approximately 30,000 gallons of LNG per day since January 25, 2018, the Dawson Creek facility allows Altagas to scale production in line with demand. The LNGo-HP system converts diesel and other fuels to natural gas, enabling users to monetize stranded gas deposits.

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News in Brief

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.

MAN, Daewoo, HSD partner on engine digitalization

July 16 – MAN Energy Solutions, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and HSD Engine (HSD) have signed a strategic agreement to cooperate in the field of marine engine systems digitization. The three companies also work together on auxiliary systems and data analysis, aiming to apply part of their know-how to power generation and related sectors.

Canada launches first utility-scale smart microgid

July 15 – The Ontario-based municipal utility North Bay Hydro Services is cooperating with the smart grid solutions firm S&C Electric to launch Canada’s first utility-scale microgrid system. Among some solar power, the 789KW microgrid system will be powered by two 265kW natural gas generators.

Macquarie funds Mexican power plant

July 12 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

B&V launches distributed energy group

July 11 – Black & Veatch has launched a dedicated distributed energy group to place its conventional power business in the context of the global energy transition. The distribute energy group will look into new fuel sources such as hydrogen and aspires to “re-power the more-than-century-old power industry.”

Funding secured for Kazah CHP project

July 10 – Kazinform Erg has committed to spend $500 million on a gas cogeneration station that will provide heat and electricity to the south of Kazakhstan. Over 87% of Kazakhstan’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels, and in 2018 the country produced 107,060 billion kWh of electricity, a 3.8% increase over the previous year and enough to cover total power use of 103,228 kWh.

Bitcoin mining uses much energy

July 9 – Estimates of bitcoin’s electricity consumption are wide-ranging, on the order of 20‑80 TWh annually. According to George Kamiya, digital energy analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), bitcoin mining consumed around 45 TWh in 2018 although this has risen significantly this year. Through the first six months of 2019, bitcoin mining has already consumed an estimated 29 TWh.

Coal exit doesn’t impact Germany's supply security

July 8 – Electricity supply security in Germany is set to stay “very high” even as the country begins to phase out coal-fired power generation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) said in a monitoring report. “Energy supply is adequately ensured”, the ministry said, in all scenarios examined up to 2030. Thereafter, things are less clear but the German Coal Commission is adamant that its proposal to exit coal power by 2038 is feasible and won’t seriously impact reserve margins.

Hydrogen demo plant starts in Adelaide

July 5 – The Australian Gas Networks (AGN), part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), has received A$4.9 million in government funding for an A$11.4m hydrogen electrolyser demonstration project at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. At the test site, AGN plans to blend 5% renewable hydrogen with natural gas for supply to customers using its existing gas distribution networks. The project is based on a Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, running based on wind and solar power.

Wärtsilä forms biogas solution

July 4 – Wärtsilä Puregas Solutions, specialists in biogas upgrading technology, has merged with Wärtsilä’s biogas liquefaction team to create a one-stop-shop service for biofuel production. Having installed the world’s largest bioLNG facility in Skogn, Norway, Wärtsilä will deliver two more bio-LNG plants to customers in Scandinavia. The company’s Puregas CA process recovers more than 99.9% of the biomethane present in raw biogas.

PNM to close San Juan Generating Station

July 3 — New Mexico's largest energy holding, PNM Resources, has filed an application to the Public Regulation Commission to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. For replacement power, PNM said the preferred option was a mix of gas power plants, solar and wind farms and new battery storage facilities. The utility strives to be ‘emissions-free’ by 2040.

ADB opens office in Singapore

July 2 — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to open an office in Singapore. The lean office with twelve staff will focus on the expansion of its private sector operations, e.g. through Public-Private Partnerships. “We estimate that developing Asia will need $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure investments until 2030 to maintain the region’s growth momentum,” commented Singapore’s finance minister Heng Swee Keat.

Testing starts at Haliade-X

July 1 – Technology testing has started at GE’s Haliade-X, the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine. The 12 MW nacelle and 107-metre long blade was shipped to the UK as part of an advanced technology testing program, focused on enhancing the platform before it enters into serial production in 2021.

Tata to build UK’s first CCUS plant

June 28 – Tata Chemicals has announced plans to build the UK’s first industrial-scale Carbon Capture, Usage and Demonstration plant at its Northwich industrial site. The CCUD unit will be built at an estimated cost of£16.7 million and is planned to start operation in 2021. It will make use of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants and turn it into sodium bicarbonate, which can then be sold to pharmaceutical industries.