Technology & Innovation

Growing complexity and changing regulations within the Nordic energy market, has prompted Denmark’s largest utility HOFOR to replace its in-house trading system. Also known as Greater Copenhagen Utility, HOFOR selected Contigo’s enTrader for managing its energy portfolio, which includes Nordic power, coal, carbon emissions and FX.

A central bank in a major EU economy has installed ABB’s smart circuit breakers Emax 2 to upgrade the backup power at its headquarters, increasing security and system resilience. “From a power perspective, a bank is a plant that must never shut down,” commented Fabio Monachesi, global product manager at ABB’s Protection and Connection unit.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has handed an Emerging Technology Award to Siemens for the first successfully 3D- printed and fully tested gas turbine blades. Vetting what they call “ascending technologies”, ASME said the award winning products and processes have “left the breakthrough stage, crossed the commercialization valley of death, and are poised to reshape the industries where they compete.”

What’s in your fuel, and how to get the most out of it? Gas Power Technology Journal visited Wärtsilä in Vaasa, Finland to talk with its specialist team, responsible for developing new systems and tools to analyse fuel composition and behaviour. Through careful analysis, Wartsila’s multi-disciplinary Fuel Laboratory Services team can adapt engines to run more efficiently on whatever fuel is available – from the most exotic biofuels to unpredictable mixes of different gases. The team makes a difference to thousands of gas and liquids-fuelled engines and this impact keeps growing the more fuels are tested and approved for usage.

Spark Cognition, a global artificial intelligence (AI) technology leader, and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas are working together to advance AI applications in MHPS-Tomoni. This new digital platform from MHPS optimizes power plant processes through cognitive analytics, prioritizing customer collaboration.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has just disclosed that customers in Asia, the U.S., Mexico and South America have technically selected the M501JAC for their projects 26 times, representing over 14 GW of new power projects. MHPS's new JAC-class turbine has unprecedented statistics – 99.5% reliability while approaching 65% efficiency.

Gemma Power System has selected Matrix North American Construction (Matrix NAC) as a subcontractor to carry out critical equipment erection work during for Exelon West Medway II – a 200 MW dual-fuel simple cycle power plant in Medway, Massachusetts. As the EPC contractor for the Medway II project, Gemma has commissioned Matrix to install the plant’s centerline and erect the stacks and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system.

Decentralized generation, independent power production, and microgrids are vital enablers to drive reliable power supply in both emerging economies. To that end, EnPro Industries company Fairbank Morse introduced  at POWER-GEN International a PoweReliability-as-a-Service platform, powered by its new Trident OP engine that is based on a fuel-efficient opposed piston architecture.

Advances in additive manufacturing and combustion breakthroughs have helped GE Power achieve 64% efficiency in combined-cycle application at its largest gas turbine – the 9HA.02. This rate, according to the manufacturer, is “higher than any other competing technology today.”

Cost and performance of battery technologies will not only be shaping customer acceptance of electric vehicles in the coming years, but also determine how easy it will be to integrate renewable energy into the grid. Tracking the relation between the dramatic drop in prices for batteries and their usage, IEA analysts say “for each doubling of output, lithium ion battery prices have been getting 19% cheaper.”

MIT researchers have developed a membrane-based system that can convert power plant emissions into fuels for cars, trucks and planes, as well as chemical feedstocks. The membrane – made of a compound of lanthanum, calcium, and iron oxide – allows oxygen from a stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) to migrate through, leaving carbon monoxide (CO) behind. Combined with hydrogen or water, this CO can be turned into syngas.

Success of the UK’s green energy revolution hinges on the quality of the power transmission cable that underpins the grid connection of new wind, solar and gas power projects. Yet an estimated 20% of all cables throughout the British Isles are either sub-standard, counterfeit or non-approved, according to Eland Cables’ director Jean-Sébastien Pelland. “For a project, this can result in downtime, reliability issues and ballooning maintenance costs at best and major safety hazards at worst, as well as potential environmental damage,” he told Gas to Power Journal.

Siemens has extended the scope of application of its Simotics SD Add low-voltage motors, helping power transmissions system operators (TSOs) reduce drain on the grid due to low start-up currents. The revamped motors are compatible are also compatible for use in process industries, or in sensitive industrial applications that require enhanced grid stability.

Nova Analytical Systems, part of Tenova Goodfellow, in June received an order from Ametek Reading Alloys for six DuraNOVA continuous process oxygen gas analyzers. These six units were commissioned in late October at Amtek's milling plant for titanium-based specility powders.

The technology group Wärtsilä is witnessing the growing importance of utilities as a customer segment, alongside independent power producers. “Utility-scale solar projects with a full Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) are growing fast, and gas-fired power plants remains stable,” the Finnish manufacturer said. Geographically, it sees the highest demand growth the demand for EPC contractors in Africa and South-America.

Page 17 of 66

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.