Technology & Innovation

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.

Canadian construction and engineering firm SNC-Lavalin has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Charleton University to cooperate on protecting critical energy infrastructure. This initiative comes as electric power utilities are exposed to growing cyber-security threats through interconnectivity of generating assets and smart grids.

Getlink, formerly Groupe Eurotunnel, has asked GE to supply the largest STATCOM load balancer connected to a catenary traction system at the France/UK Channel Tunnel. Once completed by the end of 2019, the solution will allow Getlink to nearly double the traffic in the Channel Tunnel.

Acceleration of digitalization, as well as the convergence of IT and operational technology (OT), has left the Middle East region particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. In fact, cyber security breaches in the Middle East are widespread and frequently undetected with 30% of the region’s attacks targeting operational technology, a new study by Siemens and Ponemon Institute finds.

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.

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News in Brief

Dominion issues Scammer Alert

Dec 9 – Dominion Energy Ohio has reminded customers they will begin receiving the next U.S tax credits automatically, beginning in April 2020, in their monthly bills. Customers were warned not to provide banking details to scammers who claim such data is required to receive the federal tax credits.

BOL finances entire 220 MW plant in Nassau

Dec 6 – Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) has agreed to cover the entire costs to build a 220 MW power plant at the Clifton Pier site in Nassau, and transfer the assets to Shell North America. BPL and Shell had agreed to jointly develop a 220 MW power plant plus LNG regas terminal, but the Bahamas state utility later signed a $95 million contract with Wärtsilä to install a 132 MW engine-driven power plant at the same site.

Kepco to operate CCGT in Uruguay

Dec 5 – Kepco KPS has been awarded a contract to operate and maintain the recently commissioned combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant in Punta del Tigre, Uruguay. Under the O&M contract, Kepco said it expects to earn 17 billion Won in sales every year, for a maximum eight years.

Siemens to create thermal twin for Bajaj Energy plant

Dec 4 – Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd (LPGCL), part of Bajaj Group, has contracted Siemens to create a complete twin for its fossil power plant in Uttar Pradesh, India. The thermal twin, powered by thermodynamic analysis and machine learning, allows power plant operators to diagnose performance gaps for every asset in the cycle in real time.

Talks between Gazprom and Naftogaz continue

Dec 3 – Russia’s Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy have continued difficult negotiations about an extension of Russian gas supplies and transit after the current contract expires on December 31, 2019. The two state-run companies are embroiled in a legal dispute that still needs resolving, however, they confirmed talks are underway and focus on the technical aspects of transiting Russian gas to Europe from 2020 onwards.

Asia seen add 400 GW by 2030

Dec 2 – Asian nations are expected to add more than 400 gigawatts (GW) of electrical capacity to the grid over the next decade — equaling about twice the installed capacity of Germany. Much of the new capacity will be renewables, backed up by some 140 GW of dependable gas-fired capacity, according to GE Energy findings. Hence, the U.S. turbine manufacturer decided to invest up to US$60 million to convert its Singapore repair center into a HA engineering and development center.

Total starts up hybrid plant with energy storage

Nov 29 – Total Quadran has started up the largest hybrid power plant combined with energy storage to harness the ample solar power potential of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory. With an installed capacity of 16 MW-peak, the plant also features a 10 MW lithium-ion energy storage system. Combining of hybrid solar PV units and possibly gas-powered generator sets with energy storage balance out supply swings and enhances the reliability of the electricity grid.

Rolls-Royce, AVK partner on standby gensets

Nov 28 – AVK, Britain’s largest supplier of critical power solutions for data centres and the financial sector, has partnered with Rolls-Royce’s MTU brand for standby gensets in UK and Ireland. The deal covers MTU Series 2000 and 4000 diesel systems in a range from 825 to 4,000 kVA. In the past 30 years, AVK has developed into the largest solutions provider in the UK’s critical power market and has to date supplied gensets equipped with MTU engines with a total capacity of more than 3.5 GW.

Golar suffers setback amid restructuring

Nov 27 – Golar LNG, owner of a fleet of 27 vessels, has seen operating revenues plunge 20% to $98.67 million, in the first nine month of this year, while net losses amounted to over $236 million. Bermuda-registered Golar in May 2019 announced plans to spin off its LNG carrier fleet with the aim of becoming a gas project developer. It recently won a contract for the Barcarena power project (605 MW) in northeastern Brazil.

Burckhardt buys remaining share of Arkos

Nov 26 – Burckhardt Compression’s subsidiary in North America has purchased the remaining 60% of Arkos Group. The US has the world’s largest installed base of reciprocating compressors, and the integration of Burckhardt and Arkos Field Services, will turn the company into the only independent one-stop provider for equipment and service in the upstream, midstream and downstream business.

Gazprom’s exports to Austria reach fresh record

Nov 25 – Supplies of Russian gas to Austria and transits to Western Europe have already exceeded record levels set last year. From January 1 through November 21, 2019, Gazprom delivered over 12.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas – 33.5% more than in the same period in 2018. Austria’s OMV imports Russian gas under a long-term contract that was recently extended until 2040.

OGUK responds to Labour Party Manifesto

Nov 21 – The UK North Sea industry association Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) has warned of an investment hiatus in reaction to Labour’s pledge to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, if it wins the General Election on December 12. Responding to this, OGUK said any increase in tax rates would drive investors away, damage the competitiveness of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, and could potentially increase the country’s reliance on imports. OGUK underlined it has put in place a ‘Roadmap 2035 a blueprint for net zero emission’ and is investing in technology to achieve this goal.

France, Germany and UK led on demand-side flexibility

Nov 21 – France, Germany and the UK are leading on demand-side flexibility (DSF) and grid-integration of decentralized energy sources while Sweden, Spain and Portugal are lagging behind the rest of Europe, the consultancy Delta-EE and SmartEN finds. Areas covered by their new DSF monitoring tool include availability and accessibility of demand-side response, and its monetization across the gas value chain.

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.