Technology & Innovation

Chinese equipment manufacturer Shanghai Electric has upgraded its digital platform SEunicloud to match industrial energy demand with supply from wind farms and distributed thermal power units. The platform integrates various energy sources and energy storage.

Field trials are underway at the world's first industrial-scale power-to-X-to-power demonstrator, where Engie, Siemens, Centrax, Arttic and DLR produce renewable hydrogen to fire a SGT-400 turbine at a French cogeneration plant. The CHP currently runs on a mix of natural gas and hydrogen, targeting full hydrogen operation by 2023.

Rolls-Royce and Daimler Truck plan to cooperate on stationary fuel-cell generators for data centers, hospitals and other safety-critical infrastructure. These fuel-cell gensets will offer emission-free alternatives to diesel generators, currently used as emergency units to cover peak loads.

Fast adoption of floating LNG technology across Asia is opening up new gas markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. According to Black & Veatch, gas-fired power projects are “attractive for emerging markets” due to advantages in price, reliability and fuel access over developing technologies such as battery storage.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has again grabbed the leadership for gas turbine orders in 2020, according to the McCoy Report. First quarter orders of 2,638 MW brought MHPS’ market share to 28.5% globally, driven by sales of heavy-duty JAC and aero-derivative gas turbines.

Italian grid operator Terna has asked GE to provide two synchronous condensers and flywheel units for the Brindisi substation. The units supply a combined 500 MVAr reactive power and 3500 MWs inertia to help stabilize Italy’s grid and support the integration of more renewables.

The 3000th gas genset of Rolls-Royce's MTU-branded Series 4000 natural gas engine has rolled off the production line, set to be delivered to VPower Group for a project in Myanmar. Series 4000 gas engines are part of MTP since October 2004 and are being produced in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Despite the recent oil market shock, a fifth of industry leaders said in a DNV GL survey their companies have entered the hydrogen market, anticipating the synthetic fuel will be a big part of the energy mix by 2030. DNV GL is involved in pilot projects in Norway, the Netherlands and the UK.

Energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) budgets have increased by 4% worldwide to reach $20.9 billion. Low-carbon research accounts for 94% of the overall budgets in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) member countries, though the Covid-19 pandemic caused a noticeable shift in focus to business streamlining and cost-cutting.

Wärtsilä is working on a new combustion process to allow its gas engine burn solely hydrogen fuel. The Finish technology group has already tested its engines with blends of up to 60% hydrogen and 40% natural gas, having proven that the engines can run on synthetic carbon-neutral methane.

U.S. developer PowerPHASE has launched a Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) Plant, designed to enable grid-scale energy storage of renewable power. CEO Bob Kraft said the company is working with a couple utilities in the United States to install the first reference unit.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has achieved a market share of 37.2% for flue gas desulfurization (FGD) by delivering systems with a combined output of 51,010 MW, according to the McCoy Power Report. FGD systems are installed in thermal power gen units with output of 5 MW and above.

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News in Brief

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

VELO distributes Sapphire Metal 3D-Printers in the US

Dec 18 – California-based VELO3D has formed a distribution partnership with GoEngineer for Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and controls. GoEngineer will be VELO’s only distributor in the United States.

Indian electric boats to achieve zero emissions

Dec 17 – Cochin Shipyard, India’s largest shipbuilder, has asked Siemens Energy to equip India’s first fleet of 23 boats with electric propulsion drive train, integrated with batteries and vessel automation. Combining the electric propulsion drive trains, energy storage, and automation systems is expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Terna BESS auction six times oversubscribed

Dec 16 – A pilot auction, held by the Italian TSO Terna, for battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide reserve grid services has been six times oversubscribed. The auction was held with an expectation that around 230 MW would be on offer, but Terna received 1,327 MW worth of bids and eventually awarded contracts for 249.9 MW.

New £150m link to UK’s Easington terminal

Dec 15 – National Grid has completed a gas pipeline under the River Humber, build in 18 months and at a cost £150 million, as new link to the import terminal at Easington. Following commissioning, the pipeline is now operational and can now transport between 70 to 100 million cubic metres - around a quarter of Britain's gas needs.

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