Technology & Innovation

Britain’s Drax Group has agreed to license and use Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ (MHI) carbon capture solvent, KS-21 technology. With the Advanced KM CDR process, MHI will turn Drax Power Station into the largest “negative emissions” plant anywhere in the world.

Nearly half of energy companies surveyed by DNV expect to earn 10% of their revenue from hydrogen by 2025, and three quarters by 2030. Lack of infrastructure investment is seen as the “biggest hurdle to progress” as natural gas networks need to be converted for hydrogen use.

The solid-state battery market will grow to $8 billion by 2031, IDTechEx forecasts. With the larger electrochemical window of solid electrolytes – as opposed to liquid ones in lithium-ion batteries – high voltage cathode materials can be used. High-energy-density lithium metal anodes can push the energy density beyond 1,000 Watt-hours per litre (Wh/L).

Japan’s largest LNG importer and power producer JERA and IHI Corporation have received a government grant to set up a demonstration project for ammonia co-firing at thermal power stations in Japan. Ammonia does not emit carbon dioxide when burned, and the test runs are due to start in June 2021.

Brill Power, a spin-out of Oxford University, has had its new lithium-ion battery management technology verified by the classification society DNV. Simulations and testing at DNV’s laboratory in Arnhem, the Netherlands, confirmed a higher utilized pack capacity that could reduce lifetime cost.

Finish engine maker Wärtsilä, together with Soletair Power and Q Power, will showcase Power-to-X (P2X) technology at the upcoming World Expo in Dubai. A demo unit will capture CO2 from the air inside the Finnish pavilion and combine it with hydrogen split from water by electrolysis.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology is making in-roads at the Friedrichshafen plant of Rolls-Royce's Power Systems where a 250 kW demonstrator is being set up for testing. At the PowerLab, four low-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells are ready, containerised with separate compartments for fuel cells and batteries.

Siemens Energy and Mitsubishi Electric jointly develop high-voltage switchgear that substitutes sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) with clean air for insulation. Research starts with a 245-kV dead-tank circuit breaker, but once developed, the two OEMs will manufacture and sell the switchgear independently.

California-based Bloom Energy has agreed with Idaho National Laboratory to independently test the use of nuclear energy for electrolysis. Rather than ramping down baseload nuclear power plants, the surplus energy can be used cost-effectively to produce green hydrogen.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has decided to absorb the business of Mitsubishi Power effective October 1, 2021. Some aspects of the integration are already underway, as the Japanese manufacturer strives to promote the use of carbon-free fuels like hydrogen and ammonia at various demonstration plants around the world.

Cummins and KBR have joined forces to produce ammonia from renewables. The partners will use Cummins’ proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser as well as K-GreeN ammonia technology from KBR, with the aim to fuel 250+ MW power projects with both hydrogen and ammonia.

The Port of Rotterdam plans to take a financial investment decision on its H-Vision project this year, with a view to producing hydrogen from natural gas and refinery fuels gas by the end of 2026. Such fossil fuel-based, “blue” hydrogen projects, however, do not enjoy the same support as “green” hydrogen projects, based on renewables.

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News in Brief

CCUS market to reach nearly $3bn in 2025

Oct 25 – The global carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) market will grow from $1.30 billion in 2020 to $1.46 billion in 2021, according to ResearchAndMarket estimates. The rebound comes as companies return to normal operations and sales, after a pandemic-related slowdown. Analysts expect the market will keep growing at a rate of nearly 20% annually to reach $2.97 billion by 2025.

SDG&E accelerates drive towards Net Zero by 2045

Oct 20 – San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has set a new sustainability strategy, outlining new and accelerated goals to help meet its pledge to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. SDG&E it now seeks to operate a 100% zero emissions vehicle fleet by 2035 – five years earlier than planned.

B&W develops biomass-to-hydrogen plant in Australia

Oct 19 – B&W's Renewable segment and Port Anthony Renewables Ltd have started to develop a biomass-to-hydrogen energy project in Victoria, Australia, based on B&W’s BrightLoop technology. When completed, the plant is expected to be part of the largest green hydrogen hub in south-eastern Australia.

LNG prices rise faster than oil

Oct 18 – Liquefied natural gas and pipeline supplies have experienced an even sharper increase in prices in 2021 than oil, driven by a combination of circumstances that included a strong recovery in demand in North Asia, southeast Asia and Europe, unseasonal weather and planned and unplanned capacity outages.

Wärtsilä shaft gensets to power two LNG carriers

Oct 14 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to supply four shaft generators to provide electricity take-off from the main engines of two LNG carriers. The ships are being built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Korea on behalf of the Capital Gas Ship Management of Greece.

VoltH2 gets green light for large hydrogen plant

Oct 13 – Vision Hydrogen Corp has announced that its affiliate VoltHe has received building and environmental permits to realise its first large-scale hydrogen plant at the Dutch North Sea Port of Vlissingen. The 5 MW hydrogen plant is located near existing high voltage power and gas infrastructure as well as large wind power assets. Once operational, it will produce around 3,500 tons of green hydrogen per year and will be scalable to 100 MW or 14,000 tons.

Tesla overtakes German e-cars

Oct 12 – Sales of Tesla in Germany has overtaken that of leading German carmakers. In September, more electric Tesla Model 3s were registered in the country than leading domestic models, such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class combined.

EnerMech spends £500k on crane training tech

Oct 11 – EnerMech has invested £500,000 in new crane simulator training systems at its Luanda (Angola), Doha (Qatar) and Great Yarmouth (UK) facilities. The British company recently formed a joint venture with 3t Energy Group to bring the KraneSIM-6000 equipment to both Qatar and Angola and offer in-country training across client organisations globally.  

Germany finances green hydrogen projects abroad

Oct 8 – The German government has agreed to support green hydrogen projects in other countries with up to €350 million by 2024, the economy ministry said when publishing a directive with relevant guidelines. Moreover, financial support is given to projects that produce and process green hydrogen for storage, transport and use in countries outside the EU through investment grants worth up to €15 million each.

UK e-car sales surge 186%

Oct 6 – Sales electric cars in the UK have surged 186% to a total of 108,000 in 2020 during the pandemic, up from just 38,000 in the previous year. Latest statistics show there were nearly 300,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of August 2021, and more than 600,000 plug-in models if including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

FogHorn deploys AI software at Chugoku Electric Power in Japan

Oct 4 – FogHorn, developer of Edge AI software, has deployed its Internet of Things (IoT) software at the Chugoku Electric Power hydroelectric power plant. The AI solutions will make the power gen process more efficient and enhances workplace safety. Chugoku Electric Power employs nearly 9,200 workers across 114 power units in the western part of Honshū, the largest island of Japan.

Rolls-Royce supplies MTU engines for ferry propulsion

Oct 1 – Rolls-Royce's new MT engines, automation system, and MTU Go! tool for remote service have future-proofed the high-speed catamaran Avemar Dos, run by the Spanish operator Balearia. Four MTU 20V1163 M84 units replaced the previous 1163 units, taking the vessel to a "new level of ecological soundness," the manufacturer says.

GES appoints former Puma Energy Chairman as NED

Sept 30 – Global Energy Storage (GES) has appointed the former Puma Energy Chairman, Graham Sharp, as an NED. Graham will support GES on its ‘new energies’ strategy for the energy transition, focusing on hydrogen fuels and hydrogen carriers space.

Aggreko reaches 2 GW of live power gen capacity

Sept 29 – Aggreko has today announced it has reached 2GW of live global gas power capacity and growth in flare gas to power and stranded gas projects. This new record follows a milestone of exceeding 1GW of delivered flare gas power projects in 2020.

Wärtislä renews O&M agreement with Lafarge Africa

Sept 28 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has renewed a long-term Operation & Maintenance (O&M) agreement with Lafarge Africa, a large producer of building materials in Nigeria. The agreement covers the 100 MW Lafarge Ewekoro power plant, which provides a dedicated supply of electricity to the company’s concrete and cement manufacturing processes.

Rolls-Royce supplies MTU engines to Sanlorenzo

Sept 27 – Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems will become one of the leading engine suppliers for Sanlorenzo, delivering MTU 10V, 12V and 16V 2000 yacht engines with a compact IMO 3 solution. A framework contract from 2022 through 2024 has been signed at the Monaco Yacht Show.

Shell exits Permian Basin

Sept 24 – Royal Dutch Shell has sold all its upstream interested in US Permian Basin to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion in cash. Shell’s assets in the Permian include around 225,000 net acres with a current production of around 175,000 barrels per day equivalent.

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