Technology & Innovation

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).

Danish utility DIN Forsyning has commissioned MAN Energy Solutions to supply a turnkey solution for heat generation at the Port of Esbjerg. Two electro-thermal energy storage (ETES) units will be installed in a new 50 MW district heating plant, operating on the principle of a CO2-based heat pump.

ExxonMobil has set up a Low Carbon Solutions business, pledging to invest $3 billion on green energy and carbon capture storage (CCS) through 2025. The new unit, led by Joe Blommaert, is evaluating multiple projects in Southeast Texas and Wyoming, as well as the Porthos project in Rotterdam.

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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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