Technology & Innovation

Munich-based MTU Aero Engines has launched a new brand called MTU Power, consolidating its gas turbine engineering, manufacturing and aftermarket expertise from its business units Aero Solutions, Brush Seals and MTU Maintenance. The launch of the new brand was first announced at the 2018 Western Turbine Users, Inc. (WTUI) conference, taking place this week in Palm Springs, California.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) heavy-duty H100 gas turbine (118 MW) achieved full qualification status by Shell’s technical team based in The Hague. Following intense scrutiny and test runs, Shell awarded the full mechanical drive qualification to the 2-shaft turbine, equipped with a low NOx (single digit ppm) combustion system.

Turkey's Karadeniz Energy Group has selected Gas Enec of South Korea to supply LNG regasification systems to be installed on three of its power barges. Karpowership recently started to develop floating regas units (FRUs) to their existing Powerships to make them suitable for LNG intake directly from a storage vessel.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), has developed the ‘Q-ton Circulation,’ an air-source circulation type heat pump, jointly with Chubu Electric Power. The new heat pump will be marketed by MHI starting from August.

Stanford Strategic Energy Alliance has been granted $20 million in funding over five years by ExxonMobil for research and development (R&D) on low-carbon energy solutions. The alliance’s other suitor is Bank of America which committed $7.5 million to clean energy research. Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, which will manage the industry funded R&D program, is in advanced talks with other energy companies to join the alliance.

Britain’s Newcastle-based Northern Powergrid has launched a six-stage programme aimed at reducing losses on its electricity network that includes the analysis of smart meter data. The programme will enhance the understanding of technical losses and help reduce such losses across the TSO’s electricity network, serving 3.9 million customers.  

Mazoon Electricity Company (MZEC) is an electric power distributor serving 1.5 million customers in the northeast of Oman, is using Siemens’ Scalance device as the backbone of its communication infrastructure between the individual stations and the control center in Muscat.

Researchers from Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) and B&B Agema have been looking at a novel design approach – Nekomimi film cooling – to further increase temperatures at the combustor exit and high-pressure turbine stage inlet. The aim is to boost efficiency without putting too much strain on vanes and blades, considering that modern turbine stage inlet temperatures exceed the melting points of turbine blade materials.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will explore enabling technologies for the future of clean energy, energy digitization, and existing energy infrastructure at the 2018 MIT Energy Conference, to be held at Boston on March 2nd & 3rd.

Falling costs for renewables and energy storage will squeeze out gas-fired generation in some markets as early as 2025. South Australia's peak loads are currently managed by open-cycle gas turbine (OCGT) plants; but by 2025, battery storage will be cheaper than OCGTs – even at gas price of A$7/mmbtu, a WoodMackenzie study finds.

The first GT36-S5 model gas turbine produced at Ansaldo Energia's Genoa production facility was unveiled on Friday. With the ongoing support of Shanghai Electric Group, Ansaldo Energia’s Chinese partner, the first GT36 maxi gas turbines will be installed in two power generation plants in the Shanghai area.

Competition amongst battery producers is heating up: they have to shorten their time to market, improve their flexibility, quality and efficiency. To help boost the efficiency of large-scale battery production, Siemens has launched portfolio of cloud-based software solutions that help optimize every step of battery production and thus improve the competitiveness of battery manufacturers.

Funding of about $44 million has been freed up by the US Department of Energy (DOE) for design and testing of advanced carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. Selected projects include engineering-scale testing of transformational solvent- or membrane-based CO2-capture, and the design of a commercial-scale, post-combustion CCS system at an existing coal power unit.

Future use of hybrid energy will lead to a consistent baseload, without the need for top-up via fossil fuels, anticipates Francesco Falco, chief commercial officer at GE Power Conversion. "When using Silicon Carbide (SiC), – a diamond-like substance – instead of traditional silicon chips in a solar inverter, its high power density feature can reduce power losses by up to 50%," he explained.

At the Munich Security Conference today, Siemens and eight partners from industry have signed the first joint charter for greater cybersecurity while seeking to advance digitalization. Co-signatories of the charter are Airbus, Allianz, Daimler Group, IBM, NXP, SGS and Telekom.

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News in Brief

Japan starts electricity futures trading

Sept 19 – Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) has launched trading in electricity futures to advance price competition in Japan’s liberalized energy market. The East Area peakload electricity contract for October delivery first traded at 10.9 Yen per kWh, lower than the standard price of 11 Yen set by TOCOM in advance.

Duke to reduce rates in 2020

Sept 18 – Duke Energy Florida (DEF) customers will see lower bills in 2020. The utility filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission to reduce rates for electricity and gas by more than 3% while adding more solar power and making grid improvements.

Myanmar approves three power projects

Sept 17 – Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy has given the green light to plans for a 1,230 MW gas-fired power plant in Kanpauk, Taninthayi region, a 377 MW gas-fired unit in Ahlon, Yangon region and a 1,390 MW thermal plant in Milaunggyine in Ayeyawady region. The conflict-ridden country is currently producing electricity from 5,600 MW installed capacity, derived both from state- private-owned power stations.

Bonny Train-7 to cost $6.5bn

Sept 16 – Nigeria LNG is preparing to add a seventh processing train to Bonny LNG, bringing total capacity from 22 million tons per annum (mtpa) to 30 mtpa. Estimated to cost $6.5 billion, Bonny Train-6 will include a new liquefaction unit, a storage and a condensate tank as well as three gas turbine generators.

Schneider to complete L&T takeover by early 2020

Sept 13 – Venturing into India, Schneider Electric hopes to finalise the Rs 14,000 crore acquisition of Larsen & Toubro's electrical and automation business by early 2020. After the transaction is completed, Schneider will have a 65% stake in L&T, while the remainder will be held by Temasek.

MHI to advice China on energy conservation

Sept 12 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems, part of MHI, has set up a joint venture withan affiliate of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) to perform technical consulting for energy conservation projects in China. The focus of SGCC lies on building new decentralized power stations, biomass-derived power gensets and energy saving solutions.

Tender extended

Sept 11 – Turkmengas has extended a tender for the overhaul of the gas turbine engines of the NK-12ST and NK-14ST brands. Bidders need to pay to receive the tender documents, and then submit a written application to Turkmenistan’s state gas company.

Gas power units to buffer Germany’s coal exit

Sept 10 – Electricity output of Germany’s fleet of gas-fired power plants has risen to a over 13,5 billion kilowatt-hours in the three months from June to August, Fraunhofer ISE figures show. These productivity gains put CCGTs in pole position to balance supply swings in connection with the German coal exit.

Power of Siberia gas flows to start on Dec 1

Sept 9 – Russian gas supplies to China via the eastern route are going to start on December 1, 2019, Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller told his counterpart at CNPC in Beijing. The huge Chayandinskoye field, containing some 1.2 trillion cbm of gas, had already been connected to the 38 Bcm per year ‘Power of Siberia’ gas pipeline in August.

Hurricane Dorian causes havoc in the Bahamas

Sept 6 – In the aftermath of Hurricane Doran, a Category 5 storm, Bahamas Power and Light has said there is a total blackout in New Providence, the most populous island of the archipelago. Dorian made landfall twice on Sunday, ripping off roofs and electricity lines. In most parts, electricity has not been restored.

LNG cargoes via Bab-el Mandeb decrease

Aug 30 – Northbound LNG shipments via Bab el-Mandeb, a sea route chokepoint between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, have fallen over the past three years as Egypt imports less natural gas from the Persian Gulf. In 2015 and 2016, both Jordan and Egypt imported up to 1.4 Bcf/d of LNG into Red Sea ports but these shipments fell sharply following the development of large gas finds in the Mediterranean.

Hokuriku Electric buys LNG cargo

Aug 29 – Japanese utility Hokuriku Electric has purchased an LNG cargo for delivery in November as soaring temperatures drew down gas in storage for the autumn. The cargo is understood to be scheduled for delivery in the second half of November from Malaysia’s Petronas and may well be destined for Hokuriku Electric’s first LNG-fired power generation unit,  the Toyama Shinko plant.

Technip spins off LNG activities

Aug 28 – TechnipFMC, has decided to spin off its European-based engineering and construction operations into a separate business, leaving the American half of the firm as an equipment supplier to the oil and gas sector. The split is due to be completed in the first half of 2020.

FLNG power market to top $930m by 2023

Aug 27 – The global market for floating LNG power vessel is projected to reach $ 931.6 million by 2023, up from $ 860.1 million seen last year, according to ReportsnReports. Major vendors of FLNG power vessels are Siemens, MAN, Wärtsilä, Caterpilar and GE which are targeting to use the technology to supply decentralized power to island nations in Southeast Asia and along the coast of sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

EIA monitors grid hourly

Aug 26 – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has launched a beta release of its hourly electric grid monitor. The enhanced version analyses hourly generation by energy source and hourly sub-regional demand for certain balancing authorities in the Lower 48 states.

Hiroshima waste-to-energy plant gets upgrade

Aug 23 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has been chosen to upgrade and refurbish the combustion facilities at a waste to energy plant in Hiroshima. The Naka plant in Minamiyoshijima, Naka-ku, has a total waste treatment capacity of 600 tonnes per day and generates 15.2 MW of electricity to power the equipment in the factory, while selling the remainder to the grid.

China eases ban on coal power

Aug 22 – 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.