Technology & Innovation

Where no pipeline or electrical grid exists, Chart offers solutions enabling clients to access natural gas, through LNG for on-site power generation. For a Canadian client, the operator of a diamond mine, six of Chart’s horizontal regas tanks provide almost half a million of LNG storage for seven 2.1 MW gas-fuelled power generator sets and despite the extreme climatic conditions, the project in Canada was completed on schedule.

Technology changes that come with the energy transition are far-reaching, notably for power grid operators tasked with having to keep the balance between supply and demand. “Of course, target we are aiming for is a “full 3D” system, i.e. a system that is 100% decentralized, 100% decarbonized and 100% digitalized,” says Thierry Lepercq, executive vice president at ENGIE in charge of Research & Technology.

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.”

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News in Brief

AI predicts peak in power use

Nov 20 – ABB and Verdigris Technologies have developed machine-learning algorithms to predict unplanned peaks in electricity consumption and help avoid them. The Energy Forecasting app will enable users to reduce their electricity bills by reducing peak demand charges.

India’s first UHVDC link commissioned

Nov 19 – GE Grid Solutions has commissioned Pole-3 - the ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line in India, capable to transmit 4,500 MW of electricity. Once completed the Champa-Kurukshetra UHVDC project will be expanded to transmit 6,000 MW of electricity at 800 kV, serving customers in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.

COP25 urged to step up climate efforts

Nov 18 – The COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid is urged to enshrine greater commitments from the world's industrialised nations to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. “Europe will have to play a key role in this regard,“ environment minister Svenja Schulze said, adding Germany's recently announced climate package marks a "restart" in the country's climate policy.

Wärtsilä launches ‘Expertise Centre’ in Singapore

Nov 15 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has chosen Singapore as the location for its latest Expertise Centre (EC) that provides operational support and dynamic maintenance planning, both for marine and energy business customers. All of Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centres combined currently monitor some 900 installations with more than 2,000 engines around the world.

U.S. storage injection hits record high

Nov 14 – Near-record volumes of natural gas have been placed into storage in the United States in the current injection season. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the amount of gas held in storage in 2019 surged from a relatively low value of 1,155 billion cubic feet (Bcf) at the beginning of April to 3,724 Bcf at the end of October.

SaskPower proceeds with Moose Jaw project

Nov 13 – Canadian utility SaskPower has taken a significant step towards realizing a 350 MW gas power plant at Moose Jaw. The project was first proposed in 2017, but in the Canadian federal government June last year introduced new regulations for gas generation coming online after January 1, 2021, which stalled the plans. Having completed its regulatory review, Sask Power was now granted permission to proceed from the municipality of Moose Jaw. Major Fraser Tolmie said “this $700-million investment into the city of Moose Jaw, will ensure we have base-load power in the province of Saskatchewan and to maintain our power independence.”

Sembcorp powers up first BESS unit in the UK

Nov 12 – Sembcorp Energy UK, part of Singapore-based Sempcorp Group, has started to operate the first 60 MW unit of its battery energy storage system (BESS) fleet, supplied by GE. Combined, the three storage units in Leicestershire and Cheshire will bring Sembcorp Energy UK’s total energy portfolio to 973 MW.

Global gas glut may clear in 2021

Nov 11 – Economics of exporting American liquefied natural gas to Europe no longer add up. With Henry Hub spot prices around $2.7/MMBtu, moving LNG cargoes from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe is “not workable,” BP analysts said, indicating that production shut-ins could help clear the massive supply overhang towards the end of 2021.

Gazprom reassures Germany of Ukraine gas transits

Nov 8 – Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, has been trying to reassure the German government commissioner Georg Graf Waldersee that Russia was ready to signing a new transit contract with Naftogaz if both companies mutually waive claims. Before gas flows can proceed, however, Ukraine will have to create an independent gas transmission operator by January 1, 2020.

GE makes gains in wind power

Nov 7 – GE Power is gradually turning away from its loss-making fossil power segment to focus on the fast-growing renewable business. This week, GE struck a deal for its new Haliade-X turbines to be used at Dogger Bank Wind Farms. The three 1.2 GW Dogger Bank projects, situated offshore the UK’s Yorkshire coast, are expected to trigger approximately £9 billion of capital investment between 2020 and 2026.

PetroVietnam eyes LNG-to-Power project

Nov 6 – PetroVietnam has signed an agreement with B.Grimm Power Public Company (BGRIM) to jointly study the development of an integrated LNG import and power generation project. The aim is to build a 3,000 MW gas-fuelled power plant and an adjacent LNG import terminal. The location of the project has not been disclosed.

ABB launches ‘Smart City’

Nov 5 – Electrification specialists of the Swiss manufacturer ABB have designed an interactive ‘Smart City’ that contains smart buildings, e-mobility, energy management and data centers. The use of smart technologies and digitalization are encouraged by the United Nations as a way to help decarbonize cities around the world.

Gazprom, BASF cooperate on sulfur separation

Nov 4 – The Russian major Gazprom and the German chemical company BASF have agreed to devise a comprehensive solution for separation of sulfur from natural gas. The aim is to  enhance eco-efficiency of the Astrakhan gas processing plant and improve operational efficiency of BASF’s amine gas treatment units at the Orenburg gas-fired power plant.

Germany’s emission fall ‘markedly’

Nov 1 – Germany is headed for second consecutive year of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, amid a sharp drop in coal-burn in the power sector and an overall decline in energy use in 2019. If this trend continues, the country could get much closer to its 2020 climate target than widely anticipated.

Exmar to refinance Tango FLNG

Oct 31 – Exmar, the Belgian shipping company, is trying to refinance the Tango FLNG vessel, moored offshore Argentina on behalf of YPF. The aim is to generate around $60 million in additional capital, Exmar said, suggesting a deal will likely be struck in the first months of 2020.

Petronet doubles net profit

Oct 30 – Indian LNG importer Petronet has nearly doubled its net profits in the third quarter although revenues fell by 13%. Net profits came in at 1,089 crore rupees ($153.6m), an increase of 90% on the same period in 2018 as the company benefited from India’s lower corporate tax rates. Third-quarter revenues, in contrast, fell to 9,449 crore rupees ($1.33 billion).

Wildfires spread around LA

Oct 29 – Thousands of Los Angeles residents have been evacuated as wildfires spread fast around the metropolis and power outages brought life close to a standstill. The risk of fires caused by overland transmission lines prompted Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to prolong precautionary blackouts that could last up to three days.