Technology & Innovation

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions (ESS) has started a survey to develop applications and use of its hydrogen-based H2One energy supply system, targeting isolated regions on islands in Indonesia and the Philippines. H2One utilizes renewable energy and hydrogen-powered fuel cells to deliver CO2-free electricity and hot water supply.

Silent-Power Project, a Swiss technology start-up, is producing of CO2-neutral electricity from methanol. CEO Urs Weidmann told Gas to Power Journal the company aims to achieve an annual production of 1 million liters of carbon neutral methanol with its first synthesis plant by 2020.

DynaGridCenter, developed by Siemens and partners in industry and research, has been launched as a next-generation control system. Prof. Dr. Rainer Krebs, head of operation and protection of Power Grids at Siemens Energy said: "In the future, we'll need control centers that can independently regulate the highly dynamic power grid with an autopilot functionality and keep it stable." A dynamic control center is therefore an “indispensable part of a successful energy transition.”

Turboden has been contracted by Brescia’s municipal dairy producer to install its first high-temperature cogeneration, Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbogenerator-based power plant in the world. With an efficiency of more than 90% and high prevalence of steam content, the steam & power ORC system has been developed especially for the manufacturing industry.

Oxidation, discovered with a single blade component of GE turbines, have forced Exelon Corp to idle four units in a gas-fired power station in Texas. GE Power CEO Russel Stokes disclosed the oxidation could affect over 50 of its high-efficiency HA turbines and 75 of 9FB gas turbines, with the news casting a further shadow over the manufacturer’s ailing turbine business.

Siemens and E.ON have reached a milestone in the area of 3D-printing, with the world's first 3-D printed burner for an SGT-700 gas turbine having been in operation for one year at E.ON's combined-cycle power plant in Philippsthal, Germany. “The results are impressive,” Siemens said given that “the burner has been operating for over 8,000 hours with no reported issues.”

Finland-based technology group Wärtsilä has launched the next SparkUp Challenge for start-ups. This time the focus is on Power-to-X technologies, running under the name: ‘Towards a 100% renewable energy future’.

GE Power’s Monitoring and Diagnostics Center assists power plant operators at risk of being struck by a hurricane. The analytics and remote service ability of the centre helps utilities run their turbines safely and efficiently with a goal of fewer power disruptions due to a major storm.

Researchers at MIT, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and BMW’s Battery Technology Lab have found the vibrational frequency of lithium can be fine-tuned by tweaking its lattice structure through chemical substitution to alter structural arrangements of atoms. The new concept provides a powerful tool for developing new, better-performing materials that could increase the amount of electricity stored in a battery.

GE’s Power Services has announced the launch of its first 6B repowering solution when signing the first agreement for the solution with a global chemical company in Asia. The accord stipulates the repowering of three 6B gas turbines which is expected to help the customer save significant amounts of fuel.

General Electric and CGI, a global IT consultancy based in Montreal, have agreed to jointly develop and implement power grid software in North America. Bridging IT and operational technology (OT), the partners said they will focus on real-time grid operations and controls, critical infrastructure and cybersecurity.

Methane-laden waters of Ruanda’s Lake Kivu, if left untapped, can accumulate to a gas bubble and trigger an explosion that poses a deadly risk for more than 2 million people living along the lake’s shores. The U.S. energy services firm ContourGlobal assessed this risk before starting to extract methane from the lake for power generation.

Siemens has commissioned the second block of the 500 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) back-to-back link in Bheramara, Bangladesh, linking the country’s power grid with the one of its bigger neigbour India. With block 1 & 2 operating in parallel the Bheramara HVDC link can transport up to 1000 MW of electricity, helping to stabilize electricity supply in the region.

Siemens has launched a Frequency Stabilizer SVC Plus FS that combines static-var-compensation with supercapacitors. Capable to compensate voltage and frequency fluctuations, the device can feeds reactive power into the grid in less than 50 milliseconds. At the same time, the up to 200 megawatts of electric power stored in the supercapacitors can be transferred to the grid at full load.

Siemens and the South Korean manufacturer Iljin Electric have teamed up to develop an SF6-free gas-insulated switchgear (GIS)for the 170 kilovolt (kV) level, building on a similar Siemens application for up to 145 kV. The new GIS will use treated air, known as "Clean Air", instead of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) as the insulating medium.

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News in Brief

Smart grid market to top $70bn by 2027

April 24 – The global Smart Grid Market is expected to reach around $70 billion, growing at an annual rate of 15.56% in the coming years through to 2027.North America is forecast to see the largest revenue growth, according to ResearchNester, while Europe also shows promising growth in smart grids due to high awareness for decentralized power generation, battery storage and conserving energy.

China eases ban on coal power

April 23 – The Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) has allowed 11 provinces to resume building coal power plants in a move that lies bare the country’s dependency on thermal coal even after several hundred billion dollars were invested cleaner energy sources, notable wind, solar and natural gas. Areas earmarked by NEA for new coal power plants include Qinghai, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou and Henan.

$500m Birdsboro plant gets powered up

April 17 – Birdsboro Power, a subsidiary of EmberClear of Canada, is in the process of commissioning the $500 million Birdsboro open-cycle gas power plant. Built on a site of the former Amourcast steel foundry, and driven by a GE 7H02 turbine, the new power unit will generate about $500,000 in revenue for the Reading Area Water Authority and another $125,000 city of Reading, Pennsylvania. All electricity will be supplied into PJM Interconnection, the power grid operator in the U.S. Northeast.

Gas now dominant fossil fuel in Europe

April 17 – Rising cost of carbon emissions and closures of coal power stations throughout Europe have led to gas-fired generation overtaking the output of other fossil fuels for the first time. According to EnAppSys figures, gas power plants in the EU produced 117 TWh of electricity in the first quarter of 2019, compared with a combined 110.9 TWh from coal, lignite and gas-to-coal plants.

ABB, Porsche co-develop electric vehicle chargers

April 16 – ABB and Porsche have agreed to develop electric vehicle chargers for Porsche Japan’s new electric vehicles, including Tayan – the carmakers’ first fully electric car due to be launched in 2020. Under the deal, Porsche will install ABB chargers at its public facilities across Japan, creating a network of fast-charging stations for its electric vehicles. The first installation is set to go live in mid-2020.

Power gen from biomass flatlines

April 15 – Increases of U.S. electricity generation from biomass have stopped after a decade of growth. Power produced from biomass totaled 70.6 million megawatthours (MWh) in 2018, or about 2% of total U.S. electricity generation, according to EIA figures. Having grown from 2004 through 2014, and the 2018 output was 2% below its peak generation of 71.7 million MWh.

Aeroderivative GT market to top $3.5bn by 2024

April 12 – The global market for aeroderivative gas turbines is seen grow at a 7% rate to surpass $3.5 billion by 2024. A main growth driver, according to Global Markets Insight, will be the rising adoption of small-scale turbine-driven cogeneration plant and the trend towards decentralized energy supply.

Lumenaza creates regional green power grids

April 11 – Utility-in-a-box software, developed by Lumenaza, creates a regional green power grid by connecting producers and consumers of locally produced wind and solar energy. The system monitors renewable power output, balances supply and demand, and can help organize the billing process. Pilot projects have been implemented with two of Germany’s big utilities, E.ON and EnBW as well as with various smaller players.

MHPS licenses H-25 turbine production to Chinese manufacturer

April 10 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has agreed to license production technology for its H-25 series gas turbines to the Chinese manufacturer CSIC Longjiang GH Gas Turbine Co. The agreement will establish a small local supply chain which helps expands MHPS’ share in the Chinese market, the Japan-based company stated. So far, MHPS received five orders for H-25 Series gas turbines, or nine units in total, from Chinese power plant developers.

SIEW 2019 to focus on energy transformation

April 9 – “Accelerating Energy Transformation” will be the theme for the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2019. This theme has been chosen by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) of Singapore to address mounting challenges in Asia over meeting climate change commitments against a backdrop of continuously rising energy demand.

ENGIE launches 1st mini-grid in Zambia

April 8 – The French utility ENGIE has inaugurated its first PowerCorner – an off-grid renewable energy solution – in the Zambian village of Chitandika. Located in the East of Zambia, Chitandika counts 1500 inhabitants who previously had no access to electricity.

Global gas engine market to reach $4.4 billion by 2020

April 5 – Over the next five years, the global gas turbine market is forecast to grow 11.1% annually in terms of revenue, reaching a market size of $24,100 million by 2024, up from $14,300 million in 2019. Market-leading companies include: GE, Siemens, Ansaldo Energia, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Shanghai Electric Group.

EDAC, Siemens seek ‘industrial app’ for 3D-printing

April 4 – Siemens is intensifying its cooperation with the EDAG Group, an independent engineering company for the automotive industry, to promote industrial applications of additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing. The companies’ joint "NextGenerationSpaceframe 2.0" project is on show at the Hannover Messe this week.

ABB electrifies Lodi campus of Milan University

April 3 – The Swiss manufacturer ABB will ensure smarter, safer and more reliable electricity supply for students at the Milan University’s new campus in Lodi. Covering an area of 20,000 square meters, the campus has installed ABB’s UniSec switchgear and main distribution switchboard solution, System pro E power.

Chevron launches $90m Fund VII

April 2 – Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) has set up Fund VII, a new $90 million fund focused on venture capital investment across the energy industry. Investments target early- to mid-stage companies as well as limited partnership funds with the aim of supporting breakthrough technologies that have the potential to improve Chevron’s oil and gas business performance.

Siemens to implement VW Industrial Cloud

April 1 – The German carmaker Volkswagen has chosen Siemens as integration partner for the VW Industrial Cloud. Based on Siemens’ MindSphere system, the VW Industrial Cloud will link production systems, machinery and equipment of various manufacturers at the 122 Volkswagen manufacturing plants worldwide. The resulting data transparency and analysis is meant to enhance productivity at the sites.

Marubeni, 4R Energy to deploy large refurbished batteries

March 29 – Marubeni Corp and 4R Energy, along with SIGNET EV have achieved a Proof of Concept (PoC) using 4RE’slarge refurbished batteries for the development of the world’s first mass-productional EV charger in Namie-machi, Fukushima-Prefecture. The installation, with an output of more than 50kW, helps the community reduce electricity demand from the central power grid, which saves costs.