Technology & Innovation

Loccioni, a developer of automated control systems, is implementing a Smart Carbon project that allows operators of fossil power plants to monitor and regulating the coal combustion process to add economic value to operations and reduce their carbon footprint.

Gas turbine fuel expenditure can be reduced by as much as 4.6% when compressing LNG from natural gas, research by a team of scientists at the department of power and propulsion at Cranfield University shows.  “The Technoeconomic and Environmental Risk Analysis (TERA) tool was created to analyze the operation of gas turbine engines used in LNG production and cut the power needed when compressing LNG from natural gas,” Matteo Maccapani, lead researcher on the project told Gas to Power Journal.

Flexible engine-based power plants may save up to €30,000 per day compared with combined-cycle gas turbine plants when operating under variable load, according to research from Finnish equipment manufacturer, Wärtsilä.

Carbon capture reduces the efficiency of the combined-cycle gas turbine power plant (CCGT) by 11%-point, a study by Sari Siitonen, Gasum Oy and Leena Pirhonen ÅF-Consult shows. The study analyses how the integration of pre-combustion carbon capture technology in the gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant affects the efficiency, power-to-heat ratio, CO2 emissions and costs of the power plant.

A joint research study by the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Italy promises to deliver new optimization techniques for power plant gas turbines, potentially improving efficiency by several percentage points. “Industrial implementation can be almost instant, once the reliability of the simulation models has been ascertained,” Hamid Asgari, a researcher on the project told Gas to Power Journal.

To fill the gap between its 40+MW aeroderivative LM6000s and 600+MW industrial gas turbines, GE has the LMS100. It takes the low pressure compressor designed for the Frame 6FA GT, runs the air through an intercooler, and then into a supercore which is based on the LM6000. "In combination, this provides 100 MW of power and ten minute start times," said Phil Tinne, GE's LMS100 product manager.

New filtration technology for gas turbines developed by equipment manufacturer, Vokes Air, offers the potential for more efficient gas turbine operation,extending turbine efficiency by around 0.2%. “Macrogen GT Duo filters are a low cost and simple method of lowering the pressure loss of a turbine air intake with no retrofit required,” Tom Winsper, a spokesman for Vokes Air told Gas to Power Journal.

Advanced manufacturing technologies are seen to have an unrivalled impact on the design of gas turbines and power plants. "In the future, we'll be able to achieve new levels of intricacy in parts using laser melting technology," forecast Willibald Fischer, Head of Product Management for Gas Turbines at Siemens.

New variable valve trains from equipment manufacturer ABB offer the potential to cut gas turbine start-up times by 50%. ABB estimates that its new Valve Control Management (VCM) system can deliver fuel savings of around $200,000 per year for a typical 10MW gas engine.

Silicon Valley based start-up, Nirvana Energy Systems, has developed a new micro CHP solution that delivers 90% efficiency and can provide significant savings on residential power costs. The company’s first product, the 'Power Stick', produces between 1-4 kW of electrical power, and 15kW of thermal power.    

For all but rarely used peaking plants, combined cycle designs deliver greater fuel efficiency and returns on initial capital investment. For new projects, there are two options to choose from – single- and multi-shaft. Though greater flexibility in plant design can be achieved with multi-shaft arrangements, single-shaft has lower capital costs, modelling from Lahmeyer International shows.

A prototype of a new small-scale electric generator offers the potential to capture untapped power from natural gas pipelines using a device known as a Tri-Axial Generator (TAG). Justin Michael Wyatt, co-founder of Magnetar, the company behind the design, told Gas to Power Journal that TAG is a new type of small hydroelectric generator which operates in existing pipelines and uses the fluid's kinetic energy to spin our open-centre impeller to produce electricity.

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News in Brief

Siemens and GREEN Solar turn German town CO2-free

July 8 – GREEN Solar and Siemens Energy are jointly developing a concept for making Herzogenrath CO2-free. The plan is to provide an energy-efficient and economical combination of solar power plants, wind turbines, batteries, CHP and combined cycle power plants, as well as heat and hydrogen storage. The hybrid system will be built on the grounds of Nivelsteiner Sandwerke and will be large enough to cover the city’s entire energy demand with zero CO2 emissions by 2030.

Denmark paves the way for Nord Stream 2

July 7– Denmark on late Monday gave the Nord Stream 2 consortium permission to utilize pipe-laying vessels with anchors in Danish waters, paving the way for the Gazprom-led consortium to complete the interconnector. Construction of the 1,230-kilometre pipeline is nearly complete, except for a final stretch of about 120-kilometers in Danish waters. The project was halted in December when the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying company Allseas suspended works over threats of U.S. sanctions.

EPRI tests early warning system

July 6– The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting trial tests with multiple utilities across the United States of an early warning system. It can detect an off-gassing event as a precursor to thermal runaway up to 30 minutes prior to a cascading failure. This gives plant operators time to mitigate the problem or shut down the system.

KKR buys stake in First Gen

July 3 – Valorous Asia Holdings, owned by KKR investment funds, has bought a 11.9% stake in First Gen through a voluntary tender offer. First Gen, one of the Philippines’ largest independent power producers with 3,492 MW installed capacity, is owned by First Philippine Holdings which is controlled by the Lopez family. KKR’s acquisition of the First Gen stake is worth nearly $192.3 million.

Gazprom’s ‘BBB’ rating affirmed

July 2 – S&P Global Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have affirmed Gazprom's long-term credit ratings as part of their annual reviews. The ‘BBB’ ratings for Gazprom from S&P and Fitch are in line with the sovereign credit rating of the Russian Federation, while Moody's ‘Baa2’ rating is a notch higher.

MHIEC to refurbish WtE plant in Kushiro

July 1 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental & Chemical Engineering Co (MHIEC) has received an order from the Kushiro Wide-Area Federation to repair and improve the core equipment at the local Waste-to-Energy plant in Takayama. The WtE plant has a capacity of 240 tonnes per day (tpd). Renovation will increase the energy efficiency of the fluidized bed type gasification and ash melting furnace facility, reducing emissions by around 15% annually. Works are due completed in September 2023.

Nigeria: Only two of six power projects on target

June 30 – Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises has disclosed that only two out of six privatized power plants were delivered on target. Only Transcorp Power Ltd and Geregu Power Ltd out of the six privatised electricity generation companies (GENCOs) were said to have met their performance targets since taking over.

German investors prefer solar over wind

June 29 – Energy infrastructure investors are keen to build solar power projects in Germany, but shun wind parks. In the latest solar power auction, investors offered to build almost 450 MW of capacity – more than four times the 96 MW of volume on offer– with the average successful bid at 5.27 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh). The wind auction, in contrast, was undersubscribed: The German network agency  (BNetzA) tendered around 826 MW, but successful bids only totalled 464 MW, at an average price of 6.14 ct/KWh.

MAN ventures into synthetic fuels

June 26 – MAN Energy Solutions has entered the hydrogen economy with the recent pro rata acquisition of H-TEC SYSTEMS, an electrolysis tech firm. The German OEM also committed itself to upgrading its gas turbines to run on 100% hydrogen by 2030.

Varegro starts using Cummins gas genset

June 25 – Belgian-based horticultural company Varegro, has started to use a Cummins HSK78G gas generator to power its greenhouses in Oostrozebeke, West Flanders. Varegro said it selected the Cummins HSK78G genset to produce combined heat and power (CHP) on its premises at a competitive cost for use in energy-intensive greenhouse facilities.

GE names Deloitte as independent auditor

June 24 – GE’s audit committee has selected Deloitte as the company’s independent auditor for the 2021 fiscal year, replacing KPMG. The selection of Deloitte concludes GE’s latest audit tender process.

Northern German states push for hydrogen pilot cluster

June 23 – Northern German states are pushing for greater hydrogen use with a pilot project cluster. Some 12 large demonstration plants for the production and use of green hydrogen are meant to be realised in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The aim is to demonstrate how 75% of CO2 emissions can be saved in the region by 2035.

Wärtsilä to design and equip battery-powered ferries

June 22– The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to design and equip two new zero-emissions ferries on behalf of the Norwegian operator Boreal Sjö. For each ferry Wärtsilä will supply the thruster motors, batteries, onboard and shore-based battery charging equipment, the back-up generators, and various electrical systems. The equipment is scheduled for delivery to the yard in early 2021 for the ships to start commercial operations in autumn 2021.

Subsidy cut slashes Chinese wind turbine margins

June 19 – China’s wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) could have their gross profit margins halved due to subsidy cuts, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Commissioned onshore wind power capacity is expected to drop by more than 16% to 19 gigawatts (GW) from 2020 to 2021 as government subsidies were terminated. This could also lead to a 27% drop in turbine prices over the next five years, slashing OEMs’ gross profit margins by half.

PowerPHASE converts gas peakers into storage engine

June 18 – U.S. emergency power provider PowerPHASE has developed an upgrade to convert 7F gas turbine-based peaking plants (350 MW each) to a so-called Storage Engine (400 MW). The unit would be able to store 3500 MWh daily and discharge 4800 MWh daily. CEO Bob Kraft claims utility customers could dispatch the Storage Engine, despite its lower heat rate (4000), ahead of higher heat rate options (9000 for gas peakers) in a competitive market like ERCOT in Texas.

Cummins names Davis head of New Power unit

June 17 – Cummins has appointed Amy Davis as Vice President and President of the company’s New Power Segment, effective July 1. The new unit includes Cummins’ electrified powertrains, battery design and assembly, battery management, fuel cell and hydrogen generation.

GE powers USS Zumwalt

June 16 – The US Navy has taken delivery of the USS Zumwalt, its first full-electric power and propulsion ship, equipped by GE’s Power Conversion. The ship features a high-voltage system, propulsion drive trains with multi-phase VDM25000 power converters and advanced induction motors. Kevin Byrne, head of GE’s North America marine segment said “the full-electric power and propulsion ship has the flexibility to direct energy where it is needed on the platform.”

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