Technology & Innovation

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has received the first order for its pressurized power generation system, integrating solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stacks with micro gas turbines. The hybrid system is being installed in the Marunouchi building in Tokyo, owned by Mitsubishi Estate Co.

A firing test, using a 30% hydrogen fuel mix, has been successfully passed by one of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power System’s (MHPS) large-scale gas turbines. Test conditions called for a turbine inlet temperature of 1,600℃, equivalent to 700-MW of output, using the premix combustor of J-Series gas turbines.

Facing disruptions on multiple fronts, Europe’s energy companies can harness artificial intelligence to adapt to smaller-scale, distributed electricity generation by active energy “prosumers.” The age of utilities simply selling kilowatt-hours is coming to an end. To remain “relevant,” Thulium CEO Tamara McCleary recommends power providers to become platforms, offering services to improve peoples' lives, as well as helping to regulate supply.

Precisely geared to the tasks of users in the control room of a power station, Siemens’ latest instrumentation and control systems SPPA-T3000 Cue is proving a “risk-free means” for operators around the world to cut costs and reduce plant downtime.Customers embrace the new system, so SPPA-T3000 was already sold to a three-digit number of power station operators within just a few months after the launch.

“Green chemistry” is what Evonik and Siemens are envisaging by using electricity from renewable sources and bacteria to convert carbon dioxide into specialty chemicals. Based on €2.8 million funding from Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the two companies just launched a 2-year research project, called ‘Rheticus’, on electrolysis and fermentation processes.

Dominion Voltage Inc. (DVI), a subsidiary of Dominion Energy and leader in Volt/VAR optimization "VVO" solutions, will work with energy companies in Ontario, Canada, to help avoid energy losses in power distribution systems in line with the government's Long-Term Energy Plan. Navigant estimates the inclusion of front of the meter conservation (IFMC) will reduce annual power demand by 185-MW and save up to 1,130 gigawatt hours (GWh), once implemented.

As the use of 690 V energy efficient motors continues to grow within industrial applications, ABB has launched its new range of EQ A44 three phase 690 V high-functionality electricity meters, which deliver outstanding performance for the reliable metering of energy usage.The new meters are suitable for use in a wide range of applications including the processing industry, decentralized energy, mining, docks and harbours, wind turbines, water and waste water management.

Rapid changes in the energy landscape also drive businesses to adapt and update their existing trading platforms and systems. “We see a huge shift in digital innovation from aggregation of renewable generation, storage and emerging supply businesses that will significantly impact energy trading,“ said Tim Rogers, Contigo's head of sales and business development.Trayport affiliate Contigo, a vendor of Energy Trading and Risk Management (ERTM) software, will demonstrate its products at E-World, Essen in early February.

Energy storage technologies like batteries create an “unusual combination of cost and revenue streams,” according to EIA analysts, given that they can serve as both energy suppliers and consumers at different times. Thanks to their versatile functionality, about 700 MW of new utility-scale batteries has been added to the US power grid over the past three years.

Vortex’s hybrid fire suppression system utilizes water and nitrogen in a combined suspension to suppress fires in power plants. The suspension liquid both cools the hazard area and removes the oxygen that sustains the fire using high velocity and low pressure.

Cooperative Energy, a member-owned electric cooperative based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, has awarded a Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contract to Wärtsilä to deliver a 22.7-MW power plant based on two gas-fired 31SG engines. With an output of 11,400-kW at 60Hz, the 20-cylinder Wärtsilä 31SG gas engines are one of the most efficient in its class.

Summit Power International (SPI), Singapore, has awarded a 15-year contract to PSA Marine, to provide a floating LNG storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in Bangladesh. This project is part of SPI's $1 billion investment programme to deliver 1,000-MW of power and gas in Bangladesh.

Power-to-gas technology developed by the German equipment manufacturer Viessmann has the potential to significantly decarbonise the gas grid. “Our solution takes micro-organisms and CO2 - natural by-products of anaerobic digestion - and introduces them to hydrogen, converting it into synthetic methane which can in turn be injected into the natural gas grid,” explains Christian Engelke, technical director at the firm.

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has certified the Greensmith GEMS Site Controller as a Remote Intelligent Gateway (RIG) for direct telemetry of participating generators and loads within the CAISO balancing authority area. Metering and telemetry are mandatory tools used to ensure operational visibility and accurate revenue accounting for the grid operator.

Shifting focus on digitalization, Siemens has opened a new MindSphere Application Center for Power Generation Services in Berlin. With this new center, the German OEM seeks to set the stage for more co-creation in direct involvement with its energy customers. Featuring a broad portfolio of digital services and tools, the MindSphere centre allows customers, software engineers and Siemens experts to come together to explore the value-added by digital services tools and solutions.

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News in Brief

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.

EIB defers ban on fossil projects

Oct 17 – Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB) has bowed to pressure from Germany and the European Commission and deferred its decision to ban loans to fossil-fuel projects until mid-November. Germany wants the bank to keep financing gas-fired power projects as it views the cleaner-burning fossil fuel as a vital backup for renewable energy sources.

Brexit will not impact UK gas supply

Oct 16 – Security of power and gas supply in the UK will not be jeopardized this winter by the country’s imminent departure from the European Union, even in the event of a hard Brexit, National Grid said. In its assessment, the TSO factored in a halt to flows via the Belgium and Dutch gas interconnectors “from EU exit day one”, but said ongoing deliveries from Norway, the UK Continental Shelf and storage will continue as usual.

Ferrybridge C gets demolished

Oct 15 – Four cooling towers at the Ferrybridge Power Station have been taken down as the coal-fired power station will make way to a new, high-efficiency gas power station. Operator SSE shut down the 500 MW Ferrybridge C unit in March 2016 and now started to tear it down.

Global energy storage tops 10 GW by 2025

Oct 14 – The global market for grid-connected energy storage will grow by 6,900 MW, or 16.6% to reach over 10,500 MW by the end of 2025, according to Reportlinker.com. Germany will add over 267 MW energy storage installations over the next five to six years, while 330 MW will come from other European markets. These numbers are dwarfed by China, where up to 1,200 MW energy storage units could be connected to the grid by 2025.

Wärtsilä services EDL plant

Oct 11 – Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) of Australia has awarded Wärtsilä a service contract for gas engine-based baseload power plant at the McArthur River zinc mine in Northern Territory. The maintenance approach for the 53 MW onsite power plant is no longer pre-planned and scheduled but has been changed to condition-based and predictive maintenance, with an advisory contract.

EPH buys CCGT in Galway

Oct 10 – The Czech energy company EPH has received regulatory approval to purchase an 80% stake in the 400 MW Tynagh Energy combined-cycle gas power plant in Galway, Ireland. Mountainside Partners will continue to own the remaining stake in the CCGT, which operates based on a security-of-supply contract from the Irish TSO based on guaranteed power prices.

ITM gets £38m boost from Linde

Oct 9 – Sheffield-based ITM Power, maker of electrolysers for hydrogen production, has been boosted by a £38 million cash injection, as Linde acquired a 20% stake in ITM at 40 pence per share. Looking ahead, ITM said it is seeking to raise £14 million from new and existing institutional investors.

Drax to convert two power units

Oct 8 – Drax Group has received government approval to convert up to two coal-fired generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire to run on natural gas. With this ruling, the UK regulator overturned objections by ClientEarth, stressing some fossil power is vital for the UK to backup intermittent renewable power source.

Storage use tops 80% in key U.S. regions

Oct 7 – Gas storage utilization in the United States is rising in the autumn, with net injections topping 112 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the first week of October. According to EIA figures, underground storages are at least 80% full in the East, Midwest, and South Central non-salt regions, allowing for seasonal withdrawals to help meet peak-day gas demand throughout the upcoming winter.

Maine, NY aspire to 100% clean energy

Oct 4 – Three U.S. states—Maine, New York, and Ohio—have updated their renewable portfolio standards (RPS), since May 2019. As a result, Maine and New York joined California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia in requiring 100% clean electricity by 2050.

TransAlta to built CHP in Alberta

Oct 3 – Canada-based Transalta and SemCAMS Midstream have agreed to develop, construct and operate a new cogeneration facility at the Kaybob South No. 3 sour gas processing plant in Alberta. To be built at a cost of some 105 million, the CHP will have an installed capacity of 40 MW. Start of commercial operation is targeted for late 2021.

GE’s 100th HA turbine sold in Greece

Oct 2 – Greek industrial firm Mytilineos has ordered a GE 9HA.02 gas turbine to be the heart of the 826 MW Agios Nikolaos combined-cycle gas power plant. This deal also marks the 100th unit of GE’s HA gas turbine sold. Construction of the CCGT is due to start before the end of the year.

ABB launches M4M analyzer

Oct 1 – Swiss technology firm ABB has launches its first Bluetooth-equipped network analyzers, called M4M. The system gathers data from distribution grids and connects them to a cloud-based control system, allowing users to react on energy consumption and on-site power generation trends.

Microsoft invests in wind power

Sept 30 – Microsoft and ENGIE have entered a long-term solar and wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in the United States. The deal will see Microsoft purchase a total of 230 MW from two ENGIE projects in Texas, bringing Microsoft’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,900 MW.

Gazprom tackles issue of ownerless gas grid

Sept 27 – Gazprom, the main supplier of pipeline gas to Europe, is trying to settle the issue of ownerless gas pipelines – a relic of the former Soviet Union. Abandoned gas transmission pipeline spanned 6,651 kilometers as of March 1, with the issue seen as “especially acute” in the North Caucasus region where half of this infrastructure is located. If no owner registers these facilities within three months, Gazprom will take over to ensure reliability and safety.

Investors flock to Myanmar

Sept 26 – Fitch Ratings has singled out Myanmar’s power sector as one of the largest beneficiaries of foreign direct investments (FDI) worldwide. Nearly $21.2 billion was poured into power generation and energy infrastructure projects thus far in 2019, which is 27% of total FDI under the Myanmar Investment Law.