Technology & Innovation

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.

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.  

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News in Brief

Wärtsilä wins contract in Barbados

Jan 24 – Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd (BLPC) has contracted Wärtsilä to fast-track the supply of a 33 MW flexible power plant, as an EPC project. The plant, set to run on four Wärtsilä-32 engines, will be built at a site adjacent to BLPC’s 10 MW solar photovoltaic plant at Trents, St. Lucy, located on the northwestern coast of Barbados.

Azito power plant takes FID

Jan 23 – Globeleq and IPS have reached financial close on a 253 MW expansion of the Azito gas-fired power plant near Abidjan. An MXL3 upgrade will boost the capacity of the combined-cycle plant from 460 MW currently to 713 MW, equaling about 30 percent Ivory Coast’s total capacity installed.

Climate risks become urgent

Jan 22 – Adaptation to climate change is now “urgent,” McKinsey claims, suggesting there would be “many adaptation opportunities.” Climate science shows that the risk from further warming can only be stopped by achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions through renewable built-out and energy storage.

India’s electricity demand may triple, IEA finds

Jan 21 – Energy demand in India is set to double by 2040, and its electricity demand may triple, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Oil consumption in India is seen grow faster than that of any other major economy, making energy security a key priority, the IEA said in its first in-depth review of India’s energy policies. Amid strong growth, renewables now account for almost 23 percent of India’s installed capacity, while energy efficiency improvements helped avoid 15 percent of India’s additional energy demand, oil and gas imports, and air pollution.

Regulators approve CCGT in Wisconsin

Jan 20 – State regulators have approved a permit for Dairyland Power Cooperative to build a $700 million combined-cycle gas power plant in northwestern Wisconsin. The Nemadji Trail Energy Center will produce 625 MW and is scheduled to begin operations by 2025.

ExxonMobil enhances turbine oils

Jan 17 – New high performance turbine oils, developed by ExxonMobil Lubricants, are  entering the market which are formulated to prevent build-up of lacquer, varnish and deposits. The oils are designed to protect against thermal and oxidative degradation, one of the root causes of deposit build-up.

Wärtsilä signs O&M deals in the Bahamas

Jan 16 – Following the commissioning of a Wärtsilä-built 132 MW power plant in Bahamas in December, the Finish manufacturer now signed a two-year operation and maintenance (O&M) accord with the plant owner, the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL). Wärtsilä will transition, train, and develop the owner’s Bahamian work force and provide key performance guarantees.

China, S'Korea curtail coal to tackle air pollution

Jan 15 – Beijing city government’s aggressive approach to tackling air pollution is working and South Korea’s spring coal-fired curtailments show some success in cutting seasonal emissions. According to Wood Mackenzie, this should benefit LNG, particularly while spot prices remain low.

Sri Lanka at brink of power shortages

Jan 14 – Sri Lanka could face power cuts by March, after plans for a large-scale coal power plant were been cancelled just prior to start of construction, and a tender for a 300 MW diesel plants ended up in court. On the demand side, pressure is building up as the region is moving into the dry season in February and March. Weather warnings say the island is likely to receive lower than average rainfall in the first quarter of 2020.

Caterpillar’s new genset comply with UK & German grid codes

Jan 13 – Caterpillar Inc. has launched a series of new generator sets that comply with the new G99 United Kingdom, VDE-AR-N 4110 German and Belgium C10/C11 grid codes. The following gensets – G3500H, CG132B, CG170, and CG260 (rated from 280-4,500kVA) – have been verified to be able to accommodate different reactive power modes, active power functions, and connection conditions for normal operation or reconnection after mains decoupling.

Transneft launches battery-based power supply for ILI tools

Jan 10 – Transneft Diascan, the largest Russian inspection service provider for pipelines, has developed and put into operation a power supply system for in-line inspection (ILI) tools based on rechargeable batteries. Flaw detectors performing inspections of trunk oil pipelines, gas pipelines and oil product pipelines can now use the energy from rechargeable batteries, which helps save time and reduces the cost of in-line inspection.

Pavilion starts trading LNG out of Madrid

Jan 9 – Singapore-based Pavilion Energy has completed the acquisition of all gas and LNG assets of the Spanish utility Iberdrola. From its new European headquarters in Madrid, Pavilion said has launched 2020 LNG trading operations with supplies focusing on Spain and the UK market.

Gazprom extends gas transits via Belarus until 2021

Jan 8 – Gazprom and Gazprom Transgaz Belarus have sealed additional agreements to extend the contracts for gas supplies to and gas transportation across Belarus until 2021. According to the newly-signed documents, the contractual supply and transit volumes in 2020 will remain at the level of 2019.

EastMed pipeline to take FID by 2022

Jan 7 – Greece, Cyprus and Israel have signed an agreement to build the 1,900-kilometre EastMed pipeline at an estimated cost of 6 billion Euros. The subsea pipeline, spanning over 1,900-kilometres would initially carry 10 Bcm of gas per annum from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and into the European gas network via Italy. A final investment decision (FID) is meant to be reached in 2022, given that the pipeline is scheduled for completion by 2025.

U.S. energy-related emissions drop over 2%

Jan 6 – Fewer emissions from coal consumption, combined with lower energy demand, have helped to significantly reduce the overall energy-related carbon emissions in the United States. According to government statistics, energy-related CO2 emissions fell 2.2 percent last year, and the downward trend is forecast to continue into 2020.

Brent crude prices surge

Jan 3 – North Sea Brent crude prices have risen to their highest level since September 2019, up nearly $3 per barrel because of Middle East tensions coupled with improved Chinese economic forecasts. Brent crude futures for March 2020 delivery were last seen trading at 69.21 per barrel the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). This bullish price sentiment will feed through to oil-indexed natural gas contracts and LNG deliveries, linked to the Japanese crude cocktail (JCC) basket price.

IEA says coal’s fate tied to Asia

Dec 23 – Rapid rise of wind and solar power in many parts of the world has pushed coal-fired power generation into steep decline in most developed countries. "But this is not the end of coal, since demand continues to expand in Asia," analysts at the International Energy Agency commented: "The region’s share of global coal power generation has climbed from just over 20 percent in 1990 to almost 80 percent in 2019, meaning coal’s fate is increasingly tied to decisions made in Asian capitals."