Technology & Innovation

Partners of the European Turbine Network (ETN) are looking to flexibilize combined-cycle power units by partly running them on green hydrogen or ammonia. Energias de Portugal (EDP) will demonstrate the concept of hydrogen co-firing at its 1.2 GW Ribatjo power plant near Lisbon.

The U.S. Department of Energy has freed up $28 million in funding for research on ultrahigh temperature materials that can operate in high stress environments of a gas-turbine blade. Novel alloys and coatings are meant to further enhance turbine efficiency.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems’ (MHPS) fleet of 43 J-series gas turbines worldwide have reached one million hours of commercial operation, nearly double that of similar-sized turbines from competitors. Launched in 2011, the J-series delivers 99.5% reliability and efficiency greater than 64%.

Germany’s largest utility Uniper and Siemens have agreed to jointly produce green hydrogen, derived from renewable energy, for use in Uniper’s existing gas turbines and gas storage units. The share of hydrogen co-firing is meant to be gradually increased in both gas- and converted coal-fired power plants.

Nokia is deploying the world’s first 450 MHz private wireless LTE network for the Polish power grid operator PGE Systems to enable wireless connectivity for up to 14 million smart meters and 35,000 SCADA connections. The 450 MHz band is being adopted across Europe.

The world’s first SGT6-9000HL gas turbine has been fired up at Duke Energy’s Lincoln Combustion Turbine Station near Denver, North Carolina. Siemens achieved first fire on April 6, and the turbine is now in full commercial operation at the new 402 MW simple-cycle unit.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has begun the commissioning of T-Point 2, its new combined cycle power plant validation facility at Takasago Work, Japan. The CCGT will test the performance and reliability of the 1650℃-class JAC gas turbine and other ultrahigh-temperature models.

Japanese manufacturers Marubeni and IHI Corp are conducting a feasibility study on ammonia co-firing in thermal power plants run by JERA, Japan’s leading LNG importer and power producer. Ammonia stores hydrogen at low cost and can be directly used as a fuel to generate electricity.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power System (MHPS) has been striving to combine is solid oxide fuel cell, called MEGAMIE, with a micro gas turbine to stabilize and increase power output. “The toughest challenge,” researcher Yoshinori Kobayashi recalled, "was to figure out how to build a robust power unit with ceramics which are essential for such fuel cells to function.”

Rising need for renewables grid-integration will propel up the market value of gas turbines beyond $10 million by 2026. According to Global Market Insights, turbine technology with 70 MW to 200 MW capacity will be particularly in high demand and see annual installments exceed 10 GW over the next five years.

Investment in energy access accelerates with nearly $2.1 billion corporate monies spent on off-grid power generation capacity between 2010 and 2019. However, this Capex might still not be enough to reach universal electricity access globally by 2030.

Greenidge Generation, a gas-fired power plant operated by Atlas Holding in upstate New York, is using ‘behind-the-meter’ electricity to mine the crypto-currency bitcoin. With 7,000 mining rigs, using 14 MW of on-site power, the plant can generate up to 5.5 bitcoins per day worth about $45,000.

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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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