Technology & Innovation

Washington State’s largest utility, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), has signed a joint development agreement with Mitsubishi Power Americas to implement large-scale hydrogen generation and hydrogen-fired turbines, renewables and battery energy storage into PSE’s service territory. The aim is for PSE to become a “Beyond Net Zero Carbon” energy company by 2045.

US engine maker Cummins and PLUS, developer of self-driving vehicles, are working on a driver-in, supervised truck, powered by compressed gas engines. The engines will be provided by Cummins and have been certified to near-zero emissions. Deployment is due in 2022.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Shell, Vattenfall and Wärme Hamburg – the founding four of Hamburg’s Green Hydrogen Hub – have teamed up with Airbus and ArcelorMittal and another six firms to form the ‘Hamburg Hydrogen Network’. As of 2026, the partners aim to curb CO2 emissions in Hamburg by 170,000 tons each year.

Christian Bruch, Siemens Energy CEO has underlined the role of hydrogen in decarbonising industry and vowed the company will scale up its proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser to 1 GW by 2030. Together with Air Liquide, Siemens is developing an industrial-scale electrolyser that will be piloted at the 200 MW green hydrogen project, H2V Normandy.

Rolls-Royce has set up a research network with Purdue and Carnegie Mellon University to enhance product security of propulsion and power systems. The first research project is already underway and looks at the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for intrusion detection in resource-limited embedded systems.

Japanese manufacturer Marubeni and Kansai Electric have entered an agreement to promote the “Sanda Satoyama Smart City” – a digitally transformed new urban development designed to “shift the flow of people in the post-corona era.” Electrification of transport along with digital offices for remote working are meant to improve people’s quality of life.

Works for the HyPER project, a 1.5 MWth pilot plant on bulk hydrogen production by sorbent enhanced steam reforming, are underway at Cranfield University. Supported by GTI and Doosan Babcock, the project will test new technology based on £7.4 million ($10.35m) in UK government funding.

Total and Siemens Energy have joint forces to study new technology to curb emissions at LNG facilities and associated power generators. The aim is to deliver industrial-size solution on combusting hydrogen in gas turbines, all-electrical liquefaction, and integrating renewables with LNG-fuelled power units.

MAN Energy Solutions has awarded an order to Meggitt for the supply of Printed Circuit Heat Exchangers (PCHE). The devices will be used for the “first ever commercial application” of an electrothermal energy-storage system (ETES) that decarbonises the heat supply at the Danish port of Esbjerg.

Israel’s fuel cell manufacturer GenCell has raised $14.3 million in debt capital from a group of institutional investors. BNP Paribas Energy Transition Fund led the round with $8 million, followed by TDK Ventures who just entered a partnership with Gencell to develop green ammonia. 

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has invested in Starfire Energy, a Colorado-based developer of chemical plants for the production of hydrogen and green ammonia. MHI said it wants to scale up Starfire’s patented ammonia cracking and purification technology, with the aim of producing zero-carbon fuel for utility-scale gas turbines.

Supercomputers at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia will be cushioned by 12 mtu Kinetic PowerPacks. The systems, equipped with rotating energy accumulators, will provide the data center with uninterruptible power, acting as an “energy backbone.”

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News in Brief

Howden powers methanol plant

July 29 – Howden will deliver a hydrogen compressor to Johnson Matthey to serve the world’s first methanol plant that harnesses energy from the wind, in Patagonia, Chile. The Haru Oni project will deliver around 900,000 litres per year of e-methanol as early as 2022 and will be scaled up to 550 million litres of e-fuels per year by 2026.

Bloom SOFCs to power micro plant in South Korea

July 28 – California-based Bloom Energy, in cooperation with SK ecoplant, will install solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Donghae City, South Korea. The CHP will provide heat and warm water for the nearby Bukpyung sports center. Construction on the project is slated to start this autumn.

Shanghai Electric to digitalise factories

July 27 – Shanghai Electric has entered a partnership with AI Investment Fund at the WAIC 2021 conference to provide digital solutions to industrial parks and medical institutions. Yang Hong, Vice President of Shanghai Electric said the aim is to help industries to minimise emissions and waste while maintaining low unit costs.

Slow LNG uptake in Africa

July 26 – In Africa, the uptake of LNG imports to new markets has been slow. Both Ghana’s 1.7 million tons per annum (mtpa) Tema LNG and Senegal’s 1.0 mtpa Dakar Powership are still awaiting their first LNG deliveries, though their respective FSRUs Vasant and Karmol LNGt Powership Africa have been in place since June.

Growth in turbine air filtration tops 3%

July 22 – The turbine air filtration market is expected to grow 3.27% annually from $1.92 billion in 2020 to reach $2.29 billion in 2026. Demand from the oil & gas industry and electric utilities had plunged during the corona crisis and subsequent economic downturn, but the latest trend towards clean energy is driving robust growth for turbine air filtration which can be widely and easily applied in the power sector.

US oil exports stay high

July 21 – Despite volatile prices, U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high in 2020 and remained strong this year, averaging 3.51 million barrels per day (b/d). Expanded ports at Houston and Corpus Christi allow for oil to be exported from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Basin.

CVEC to be converted to hydrogen

July 20 – Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) is taking steps to run the  combined-cycle plants on hydrogen. Works to convert the plant will be carried out by GE and are scheduled to start in late 2022. One of three GE 7F.05 gas turbines at CVEC will be introduced to a 5% hydrogen blend with natural gas.

MAN ETES labelled solar impulse efficient

July 16 – MAN Electro-Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) was attributed the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” label by independent auditors. In January, the German manufacturer supplied to ETES heat pumps to DIN Forsyning for a heat and power plant in the Danish port city Esbjerg.

Electricity sales to US industry rebounds

July 14 – Economic recovery has caused a 5.1% rise electricity sales to US industry this year, dwarfing 2.8% more retail sales and a 2.1% rise in the commercial sector as many office workers continue working from home. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) acting administrator, Steve Nalley, called the rebound in electricity sales to industry a “strong sign of rising levels of economic output as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.”

Solar PV to triple in Asia by 2030

July 13 – Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic capacity could triple to 1,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, China will add 619 GW of mainly utility-scale capacity while most other nations in Asia prefers distributed solar due to land constraints. Solar PV tends to be backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage, forming hybrid power units.

Kinder Morgan closes on Stagecoach assets

July 12 – US energy infrastructure major Kinder Morgan has closed its acquisition of Stagecoach Gas Services. The deal include 4 gas storage facilities with a 41 bcf working gas capacity and a transmission network with multiple interconnects to major interstate pipelines, including Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The Stagecoach assets add to Kinder Morgan’s approximately 83,000 miles of pipelines and 144 terminals.

Dortmund cancels electrotechnik fair

July 9 – The elektrotechnik fair, planned for 29 September to 1 October 2021, will now not be taking place in Dortmund due to requests from the industry. The next trade fair for building, industrial, energy and lighting technology will now open its doors again in spring 2023.

Hitachi to change name of ABB Power Grids

July 7 – Hitachi ABB Power Grids will become Hitachi Energy in October. The Japanese manufacturer bought a controlling stake in ABB’s grid business a year ago and is about to fully take the name of the merged company while expanding its direction towards e-mobility and data centres.

Tapping wind energy for hydrogen

July 6 – Spanish utility Naturgy and the gas grid operator Enagás are evaluating the use of 350 MW offshore and onshore wind capacity to produce green hydrogen. The fuel will be used to decarbonise the steel industry and shipyard in northwest Spain.

EU seeks to expand Green Deal to Africa

July 5 – The European Green Deal should be expanded to also include African states as partners, the German development minister Gerd Müller said. Green hydrogen production in Africa, in his view, should be a “cornerstone for economic cooperation with the Europe.”

Decom Engineering updates PCR

July 2 – Northern Ireland-based Decom Engineering has invested more than £700,000 to develop tools for repurposing and clean decommissioning of energy infrastructure. Through updated Pipe Coating Removal (PCR) equipment, decommissioned or surplus pipelines can be cleaned of multiple coatings, so they can be repurposed for used on other projects.

Cummins buys half of Momentum Fuels

July 1 – Cummins has signed a letter of intent to acquire a 50% equity interest in Momentum Fuel Technologies from Rush Enterprises. The transaction is expected to close before year-end, and the combined venture will produce Cummins-branded natural gas fuel delivery systems for the commercial vehicle market in North America.

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