Technology & Innovation

Gas-fuelled, cryogenic barges – designed by the Canadian naval architect Robert Allen and Hidrovias do Brazil – will be used to transport LNG to remote locations in northern Brazil. The first project benefiting from the solution will be the 1.67 GW Vila-do-Conde gas-fired power plant in Baracena, in Brasil's northern state of Pará.

MAN Energy Solutions and Orcan Energy agreed to collaborate on waste heat recovery. PACK technology, developed by Oran, uses waste heat from the engine to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. The solution is now available to all of MAN’s customers for retrofitting their engines.

Rolls-Royce and Lab1886, an innovation lab within the Mercedes-Benz group, have joint forces to test the use of vehicle fuel cells for stationary power supply. The aim is to develop an MTU solution for sustainable off-grid generation.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) is showcasing its hydrogen-fuelled turbines and fuel cells during the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid. The Japanese manufacturer has successfully tested a large-scale turbine that runs on a 30% hydrogen fuel mix.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D-printing, is making inroads in the energy sector. According to Global Data, power utilities and equipment manufacturers are “witnessing a huge opportunity in 3D printing to make their operations more efficient.” Early adopters of this technology are GE, Siemens, Rosatom and Westinghouse.

The technology of Siemens’s new SGT6-9000HL engine, first installed for the customer Duke Energy, builds on four generations of technologies and five previous models, including the H-class. “But it’s the combustion system where the magic happens,” explains Peter DeHaan, who is leading development of the 9000HL.

Alternative use of gas pipelines for green hydrogen, combined with technologies like enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) could turn the UK North Sea into a “global leader for the energy transition,” a survey finds, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Oil & Gas UK.

U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil and GE Power have teamed up to develop the new Mobil SHCTM 918 EE gas turbine oil, capable of improving the efficiency of turbine bearings by up to 15% compared to conventional oils. The newly launched lubricant oil is designed for use in multi-shaft 7HA, 9HA, 6FA.01 and 7FA GE turbines.

Global ECP contractor Worley, in partnership with the software company Arundo, has launched DataSee as one of the initial products of its wider Data Refinery technology that brings new speed and accuracy to processing engineering diagrams for energy infrastructure projects.

Siemens has launches its new Grid Diagnostic Suite at the European Utility Week (EUW) in Paris today, helping grid operators cope with new challenges from the expansion of e-mobility and increasing infeed of volatile generating capacity. Four cloud-based applications collect data from devices installed anywhere in the grid for better distribution automation and power quality.

The Canadian power producer ENMAX has asked GE to upgrade and hybridize an LM6000 gas turbine at the Crossfield Energy Center in Alberta. Coupled with GE’s battery energy storage system (BESS) and hybrid controls, the turbine will supply backup energy starting from the third quarter of 2020.

General Electric has decided to invest up to US$60 million (S$81.4m) over ten years to turn its global repair center in Singapore into an engineering and development center – the first of its kind outside the Americas. The enlarged facility will add 160 advanced manufacturing jobs to GE’s team in Singapore starting from early 2021.

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News in Brief

Tokyo Gas snaps up US shale assets

July 31 – The Japanese utility Tokyo Gas has agreed to raise its stake in the U.S. firm Castleton Resources to 70 percent from 46 percent to increase its foothold in shale gas production in Texas and Louisiana.  Castleton Resources holds acreage in the Haynesville and Cotton Valley formations. The transaction is scheduled to be completed on August 14.

Electrical PE market to grow 1.7% through 2027

July 30 – The market for electrical protective equipment (PE) in North America, valued at $2,787 million in 2019, is forecast to rise at an annual rate of 1.7 percent to reach $3,163 million by 2027. Main growth drivers, according to ResearchandMarkets, are ongoing power transmission projects in the context with U.S. LNG export infrastructure expansions.

GE wins turbine order from Italian paper mill

July 29 – DS Smith Paper Italia has ordered a GE LM6000PF aero-derivative gas turbine for its paper mill in Lucca, Italy. The paper mill is currently powered by two aero-derivative turbines, and the additional unit will increase plant efficiency by 2%, while assuring steam supply for the industrial process.

Aceleron secures £2m green energy investment

July 28 – UK battery developer Aceleron today announced receipt of a £2 million equity investment from BGF and Mercia Asset Management. Aceleron is BGF’s second investment into a pure clean technology, signalling a shift in behaviour as more and more fund managers support a green recovery and the UK’s policy of net-zero carbon by 2050.

NRG buys Centrica’s North American arm for over $3.6bn

July 27 – U.S. utility NRG Energy has agreed with Centrica to acquire the latter’s North American subsidiary Direct Energy for $3.625 billion in an all-cash transaction. The transaction will diversify NRG’s earnings by adding more than three million retail customers and generate an estimated $740 million in adjusted EBITDA upon closing.

Siemens rolls out Comfy app

July 24 – Siemens is deploying its workplace experience solution Comfy across its global offices, including major utility customers. The aim is to equip approximately 600 company locations by October 2020.

BlackRock puts $18bn into sustainable investment

July 23 – Sustainability aspects are poised to bring about "fundamental change" to the way financial market actors operate, said Philipp Hildebrand, vice head of U.S. investment company BlackRock. About 18 billion dollars have been put into BlackRock's sustainable investment products since the beginning of 2020, he told the German business daily FAZ, arguing this would be "only the beginning" of a much larger shift in investment practices.

Vaca Muerta output slows

July 22 – Argentina has resorted to importing LNG for the Southern Hemisphere winter as domestic production at the vast Vaca Muerta shale formation fell in the first half of 2020. State-owned IEASA purchased 28 LNG cargoes at average prices of $2.87 million British thermal units (mmBtu).

GE to implement air quality control systems in India

July 21 – GE Power India Ltd (GEPIL) has won three contracts with a combined value of $112.57 million to supply air quality control systems. One semi-dry flue-gas desulfurization (FDG) unit will be installed for Hindalco Industries’ 1x150MW power plant at the Aditya aluminium smelter in Sambalpur. A wet FDGs system will be installed on behalf of NTPC for their Feroze Gandhi Unchahar thermal power plant (2x210MW plus 2x210 MW plus 1x210MW units) in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh.

Wärtsilä CEO sees “tough” H2 ahead

July 20 – Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola has told analysts he sees a “tough second half of the year ahead,” as the Finish manufacturer seeks to mitigate Covid-related business disruptions. In the segment of up to 500 MW, Wärtsilä’s market share fell from 9% to 8%, while orders for gas- and liquid- power plants increased by 1% to 17.8 GW during the twelve-month period ending in March 2020.

GE launches update to digital plant software

July 17 – GE Digital has unveiled updates to its digital power plant software: Proficy Plant Applications, Proficy Operations Hub, Proficy Historian, and Proficy CSense. The software accelerates digitization for industries and integrates related onsite power generation units.

Germany EEG fund slips into the red

July 16 – Germany's green energy fund, funded through the renewable energy surcharge (EEG levy), has slipped into the red for the first time since 2013, according to TSO data. The account, funded by end-customers through a surcharge on their power bill, fell from about €2 billion in available funds to €-1.16 billion in the first six months of 2020.

China seen overtake Japan as worlds’ largest LNG buyer by 2025

July 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects China to overtake Japan as the world’s biggest LNG buyer with imports of 128 Bcm a year by 2025, equivalent to around 174 million tonnes. However, IEA analysts cautioned this scenario is “highly dependent on China’s future policy direction” and whether that includes an ongoing push for coal-to-gas switching for industry, residential heating and power generation.

IEA stages Clean Energy Transitions Summit

July 14 – Ministers from dozens of countries, accounting for over 80% of the world economy, have participated in the first Clean Energy Transitions Summit organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said there “clearly is momentum” behind a sustainable recovery from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants agreed to reconvene in mid-2021.

Siemens Energy to exit coal

Jul 13 – Newly formed technology company Siemens Energy wants to phase-out any operations and technology to related to coal-fired power generation, CEO Joe Kaeser said, without giving a specific timeline. Siemens had been harshly criticised earlier this year for participating in the Adani coal mine project in Australia.

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

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