Technology & Innovation

The Finish energy and marine technology group Wärtsilä has agreed to provide another €1 million in seed funding to Soletair Power Oy, a Finish start-up focussed on Power-to-X. Soletair developed a new concept to capture CO2 from the air and convert it into a synthetic renewable fuel that can be used for power generation.

From today through March 23, Mitsubishi Power will take part in the “Virtual Japan Pavilion: Innovation for 2050 net-zero,” an online exhibition organised by Japan’s environment ministry. Mitsubishi Power will showcase its hydrogen gas turbines, R&D on producing carbon-free hydrogen and ammonia, as well as capturing CO2 and converting it to synthetic fuels.

Mitsubishi Power, part of MHI Group, has started to develop a MW-class gas turbine that will be 100% fuelled by ammonia (NH3), producing no emissions in the combustion process. The first NH3-fired, carbon-free gas turbine will be based on the H-25 Series turbine, and is targeted to be ready for commercialization by 2025.

For the first time in Belgium, hydrogen will be used at a commercial-scale gas cogeneration plant situated at INEOS’ Phenol chemical park in Doel, just north of Antwerp in East-Flanders. The gas turbine will initially be 10% co-fired with hydrogen but the aim is to increase the feed to 20% hydrogen.

Japanese battery manufacturer TDK and the Israeli fuel cell maker GenCell agreed to invest $85 million into developing a low-cost approach for green ammonia. The new low temperature process is designed to produce carbon-free ammonia that could replace the 235 million tons of industrial ammonia produced today, worth an estimated $70 billion.

Cast Aluminum Solutions (CAS) has launched a new CAST-X high temperature heater with 1500 Watt electrical power that is capable to withstand operating temperatures of up to 1110°Fahrenheit, or 600°Celsius. Thanks to its isolated fluid path, the new device can safely heat natural gas, diesel fuel, jet fuel and various alcohols under high pressure.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has invested into the California-based hard tech startup C-Zero to upscale and commercialise of the firm’s drop-in decarbonisation technology. It produces hydrogen via methane pyrolyis, in a process often referred to as ‘turquoise hydrogen.’

Siemens Energy has agreed to commission a heat-to-power pilot plant in Alberta for TC Energy before the end of 2022. The plant will be based on Echogen Rankine Cycle technology, using supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) as working fluid to convert waste heat into power. This results in a 10% rise in compressor station efficiency.

Maersk Drilling has commissioned Siemens Energy to upgrade two CJ70 jack-up drilling rigs in the North Sea with hybrid power plants that include lithium-ion energy storage. The rigs – Maersk Intrepid and Maersk Integrator – were retrofitted with BlueVault batteries, allowing the operator to reduce the runtime of onboard combustion engines.

MAN Energy Solutions is targeting ASEAN and Africa with integrated LNG-to-Power solutions, with new projects under development in the Philippines as well as in North and West Africa. Business development manager Carsten Dommermuth said, “for the entire project cycle – until commercial start-up – we allocate a time frame of 3 to 5 years.”

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) plans to spend $3 billion each year in 2021 and 2022 to better mitigate wildfires. In a proposal filed to CPUC, the California energy regulator, PG&E said it will deploy weather stations and cameras throughout its service area to pre-empt risks.

A Franco-German cooperation on hydrogen has been set up by Siemens Energy and Air Liquide. Combining their expertise in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology, the two companies develop an industrial-scale electrolyser that will be piloted at the H2V Normandy project (200 MW).

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News in Brief

Enel’s Q1 investment up 8.8%

May 7 – Italy’s state-dominated utility Enel has stepped up investment in renewables and power transmission grids in the first quarter by 8.8% to €2,035 million in a further shift to green energy. Revenues fell by -14.4% to €17,107 million over the same period, largely due to losses in thermal generation and trading activities in Italy and Spain as well as lower volumes of electricity sold into the Spanish end-user market.

Germany advances Net Zero target to 2045

May 6 – The German government has pulled forward the date for Net Zero emissions to 2045 in a move designed to accelerate and intensify efforts to reduce emissions from the transport and power sector. The new target is to curb emissions by 65% by 2030 (up from the previous 55% goal) and reach a 88% reduction by 2040, followed by Net Zero five years later.

Cummins Q1 revenues up 22%

May 5 – Cummins today posed a 22% rise in first quarter revenues to $6.1 billion. Sales in North America increased 7% while international revenues surged 45% largely due to strong new product sales in China and India.  Based on latest developments, Cummins raised its full year 2021 revenue guidance to 20-24%, a considerable rise from previous 8 - 12% forecasts.

Actis vows to help Egypt divest Siemens-built CCGT

May 4 – Egypt’s sovereign wealth fund is cooperating with the private equity firm Actis to sell a 25-year concession to operate three 4.8 GW combined-cycle power plants built by Siemens under a €6 billion contract. The three CCGTs are owned by the Egyptian Electricity Holding, and Actis CEO Ayman Soliman promised to help selling one of the three plants.

RIX launches mobile hydrogen system

April 30 – California-based RIX Industries has launched an industry-first mobile hydrogen generation unit, part of its M2H2-Series of scalable Methanol-to-Hydrogen systems. Able to generate hydrogen onboard and on demand, the system is applicable for ships and remote small-scale production of the green fuel with the aim of replacing diesel for power generation. The M2H2 systems, combined with fuel cells, can produce electricity without any NOx, SOx, or particulate matter and Net Zero CO2 emission with renewable methanol.

US gas future hit 7-year high

April 28 – US natural gas futures have increased over 2% to a seven-week high as LNG exports go from strength to strength, while domestic production eased off slightly. Moreover, a return of colder-than-average weather has pushed up gas demand for heating significantly so that utilities had to withdraw gas from storage, which is rather unusual in April.

Zhongyu Gas bucks the trend

April 27 – Zhongyu Gas, a pioneer in the Chinese gas industry, has achieved remarkable growth during the pandemic. The Hong-Kong headquartered TSO recorded a turnover of approximately HK $8,544 million in 2020, up 4.9% year-on year, while profit attributable to owners of the group was HK $1,057 million, a staggering 145.7%. At the end of 2020, the turnover of Zhongyu’s value-added gas services segment recorded HK $636 million, a year-on-year increase of 54.2%. To date, Zhongyu Gas has 18,777 industrial customers and 3.96 million residential users.

Germany agrees higher renewable goals for 2022

April 26 – The German parliament has voted in favour of higher tender volumes for next year’s wind and solar PV installations. However, parliamentarians did not yet agree on a new renewable target for 2030, even though this has become necessary after the EU raises its overall emission reduction target to 55%.

Rolls-Royce to deliver 16V 8000 engines to Taiwan

April 23 – British engineering giant Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 16-cylinder engines of the MTU Series 8000 to a customer in Taiwan. The shipyard CSBC will install the two engines, capable to deliver 7,280 kilowatts of power each, in new patrol vessels for the Taiwanese Coast Guard. The 16V engines‘ „big brother“ - 20V 8000 has been the best-selling engine in its power class since its introduction around 20 years ago, Rolls-Royce noted.

Rolls-Royce to deliver 16V 8000 engines to Taiwan

April 23 – British engineering giant Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 16-cylinder engines of the MTU Series 8000 to a customer in Taiwan. The shipyard CSBC will install the two engines, capable to deliver 7,280 kilowatts of power each, in new patrol vessels for the Taiwanese Coast Guard. The 16V engines‘ „big brother“ - 20V 8000 has been the best-selling engine in its power class since its introduction around 20 years ago, Rolls-Royce noted.

GE to equip Verbund’s pump storage power plant

April 22 – GE Power Conversion has been selected to equip Verbund’s new fully-fed pump storage power plant  Reißeck II+ in Kärnten, Austria. For the new 45 MW unit, GE will supply three MV7616 converters which are water cooled fully fed converters with an electrical voltage of 6.6kV each. In the wider Kärnten area, Verbund operates a total of 1,460 MW of hydropower plants that are often used for pump-water energy storage.

Fluxys takes stake in Brazilian TSO

April 21 – Belgian gas company Fluxyis, the operator of the Zeebrugge LNG import terminal and stakeholder in Dunkirk LNG and the TAP pipeline, has bought a minority stake in a Brazilian gas transmission system operator. The deal is for a stake in Transportadora Brasileira Gasoduto Bolívia-Brasil (TBG), the owner and operator of a 2,600-kilometres pipeline system that links the southern part of Brazil with neighbouring Bolivia. Fluxyis said the equity transfer was made via the US investment fund, EIG Global Energy Partners.

MHI launches 90MPa hydrogen booster pump

April 20 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has developed an ultra-high pressure liquid hydrogen booster pump for hydrogen fuelling stations. With 90 megapascal (MPa), the new unit achieves considerably higher pressure than the earlier 40 MPa unit. It is located at MHI’s research & innovation center in Nagasaki District, Japan.

New EU target may force Germany to achieve 68% emissions cut

April 19 – European Union leaders’ decision to raise the bloc’s 2030 target for cutting emissions by “at least 55%” means that Germany needs to step up its efforts and may have to cut emissions by 62% to 68% over 1990 levels, researchers say. Policymakers in Berlin initially aimed for a 55% reduction by 2030 but this is now no longer enough to comply with stricter rules.

Trafigura co-sponsors MAN’s ammonia engine

April 16 – Trafigura, a global commodity trading house, has agreed to co-sponsor the development of MAN Energy Solutions ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels. The ammonia engine is expected to be commercially available for large-scale ocean-going ships by 2024, followed by a retrofit package for existing maritime vessels by 2025. In the future, ammonia-fuelled engine are also meant to be used for power generation.

Tula dDSF helps curb NOx emissions by 74%

April 15 – Tula Technologies, a leader in propulsion technology, and Cummins have showcased the results of a study on the effectiveness of Tula’s diesel Dynamic Skip Fire (dDSF) in reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 74% and carbon dioxide emissions by 5% on a Cummins X15 HD Efficiency Series diesel engine. In comparison with current engine technologies and modifications to the thermal management techniques, use of the dDSF system saved 20% in fuel and related costs.

Marubeni starts EPC works for Rabigh IPP

April 14 – Japan’s Marubeni Corp has been granted limited-recourse financing for the 300 MW Rabigh solar IPP project in Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Province. The loan was granted by Mizuho Bank, Al Rajhi Banking and Investment and Japan’s Bank for International Cooperation. EPC work on the project is scheduled to start in early May. All electricity from the Rabigh IPP will be sold to the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) for 25 years starting with the plant’s commissioning.

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