Technology & Innovation

The British manufacturer Rolls-Royce has expanded its portfolio of MTU engines to include uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, based on Kinolt technology. Rolls-Royce bought Kinolt in 2020 and is marketing the firm’s flywheel energy storage and power supply systems under the name mtu Kinetic PowerPacks from February 1.

Wartsila and Huaneng Jiangsu, part of China Huaneng Group - one of the country’s largest utilities, have agreed to jointly develop sustainable power solutions. The aim is to enhance internal combustion engine (ICE) technology to integrate more renewable energy into the grid in Jiangsu province, north of Shanghai.

Siemens Energy has set up an Innovation Center at Shenzhen – next to the one in Suzhou – with a focus on advanced gas turbines, green hydrogen and smart energy. Benefiting from the local industrial base in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the center strives to scale-up and commercialise research results.

Siemens Energy has teamed up with Abu Dhabi state investment firm Mubadala to establish a hydrogen value-chain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Together with Masdar, they will build a demo plant powered by a solar PV electrolyser to produce hydrogen to fuel cars, planes and ships.

Edinburg-based Spectrolytic has developed an in-line measurement system for oil condition monitoring. The system streams key parametric data of the oil to a machine control centre, customer intranet or cloud which provides the customer with real-time process control.

Alkaline fuel cell producer AFC Energy is collaborating with Ricardo hydrogen applications. The two US-based companies agreed to jointly develop and commercialise hydrogen fuel cell products and services with an initial focus on marine, rail and stationary power generation.

Offshore wind will be harvested at an industrial scale to produce green hydrogen under a €120 million development by Siemens Energy and Gamesa. The companies intend to provide a full-scale offshore demo solution by 2025/26, supporting the German government’s goal to decarbonise transport and heavy industry.

British engine maker Rolls-Royce has introduced a new MTU Series 500 engine with a power range of 250 to 550 kilowatt and peak efficiencies of up to 42.6%. The genset will be initially available for natural gas, and from the end of 2021 also for biogas.

French utility ENGIE will work with NTU Singapore and infrastructure developer Surbana Jurong on storing energy in liquid air. Excess electricity from the grid is used to cool air, turning it into a liquid state that is 750 times more compact and has the energy density of a lithium-ion battery.

The Wärtsilä 31 engine, introduced in 2015, is now being upgraded to increase its power output while maintaining the physical footprint. The output range of 4.2 to 11 MW will be enhanced to 4.6 to 12 MW, with the engine’s fuel-flexible DF version also running on natural gas.

Sports car maker Porsche and Siemens Energy have launched a pilot project on synthetic climate-neutral fuels. The ‘Haru Oni’ project in southern Chile uses wind power to produce around 130,000 litres so-called E-fuels by 2022, with the output meant to rise towards 550 million litres by 2026.

Researchers in South Korea are striving to develop a hydrogen gas turbine burner for mixed and full combustion this year. The aim is to commercialise a 300 MW hydrogen-fuelled turbine by 2040 together with Doosan, the first Korean manufacturer to develop proprietary turbine technology.

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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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