Technology & Innovation

Pre-engineered combined heat and power (CHP) systems can provide customers with a variety of benefits when compared to customized CHP systems, Mike McElligott, sales engineer at European Power Systems (EPS) told Gas to Power Journal at COGEN Canada's annual seminar in Calgary. "The standardized design means that there is no custom work necessary. Because there are thousands of these units out there, the standardized unit is proven and the customer is not going to be in the position of having to work the bugs out of a custom system," he said.

The key challenge in choosing an engine or turbine for a combined heat and power (CHP) system is to efficiently bring together thermal energy demand with systems that produce mechanical or electrical power, Manfred Klein, independent energy consultant and former Canadian federal government staffer, told Gas to Power Journal at this year's COGEN Canada annual seminar in Calgary.

"One question that the plant operator needs to ask is to what degree the plant is a thermal operation or a power operation? In this sense, managing heat demand will ultimately determine overall system efficiency," he said.

The world's largest concentrating solar plant – the 280 MW Solana Generating Station– is being built about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona, in close proximity to a substantial fossil backup plant – the 2,334 MW gas-fired combined-cycle Gila River Power Station.
As a rising volume of intermittent renewable power sources are being added to the grid, power producers have a growing interest in combining it with realising new fossil power plant project, particularly gas-fired ones.

At two US-based gas-fired combined cycle plants, controllability at the plants was a major issue, the responsible plant manager told Gas to Power Journal on condition of anonymity. Large natural gas swings caused large boiler pressure swings, which "created a situation where the load was swinging around a lot more than it needed to be".

A total of 11 European companies have joined together in a project initiated by energy consulting and testing & certification company DNV KEMA to develop the concept of Power-to-Gas (P2G) in the newly established North Sea Power to Gas Platform. P2G is a method of converting surplus renewable electricity into gaseous energy carriers such as hydrogen or methane that can be stored in the natural gas grid.

The successful deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS) in power generation will be crucial to achieving the UK's climate change goal of an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, says a new report from Carbon Connect. "Electricity supply will likely need to rise significantly by 2050, and decarbonising the power sector beyond 2030 without CCS would be expensive and politically challenging," the report reads.

Success in the micro Combined Heat and Power (CHP) market is dependent on having a standardised, efficient and cost effective generation unit, Jean-Pierre Van Wingen, General Manager of E. Van Wingen (EVW) told COGEN Europe's annual conference in Brussels. "It is essential that you have a standard product. It needs to be competitive and have a low price and that is only possible when you have a concept that can be produced in volume," he said, adding that "production in volume also allows you to have standardized service and decrease marketing costs."

MAN Diesel & Turbo has supplied a custom-made steam turbine for the 100MW Shams 1 solar thermal power plant in Abu Dhabi, owned by the Shams Power Company – a joint venture between Masdar, Total and Abengoa Solar. Unlike conventional solar plants using photovoltaics where solar cells convert the sun's energy directly into electricity, the plant utilises concentrated solar power (CSP) technology to work with fossil fuels.

Increased market penetration of energy efficient Combined Heat and Power (CHP) installations can help the EU reduce its energy imports and drive economic recovery, Paul Hodson, Head of Unit Energy Efficiency at the European Commission's DG Energy told this year's COGEN Europe annual conference in Brussels.

The world's largest concentrating solar plant – the 280 MW Solana Generating Station, located in southwest of Arizona, US – is being built beside a substantial fossil backup plant – the 2,334 MW gas-fired combined-cycle Gila River Power Station.

At two US-based gas-fired combined cycle plants, controllability at the plants was a major issue, the responsible plant manager told Gas to Power Journal on condition of anonymity. Large natural gas swings caused large boiler pressure swings, which "created a situation where the load was swinging around a lot more than it needed to be".

GE has launched a new corrosion protection technology for refinery steam systems, based on its Steamate low salt amine (LSA) product series that have been specifically designed for refinery boiler and steam condensate systems.

Alstom has been awarded a €120 million contract by Centrica Energy for gas turbine maintenance services at the 1260MW South Humber Bank combined-cycle power plant (CCPP) in North East Lincolnshire, England. The agreement covers five Alstom GT13E2 gas turbines installed at the plant over the next seven years.

Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) could be used to reliably and cost effectively repair steam turbine and industrial gas turbine components, Roger Fairclough, Principal Engineer at TWI Ltd, told Gas to Power Journal at this year's IMechE Steam Turbine and Generator User Group in Coventry. "If the LMD process is further developed for power station applications, it will be able to produce a good useable component for steam or industrial gas turbines, making it feasible for applications where the spare part needed is not available, out of production, quite expensive or the repair is relatively small compared to the initial cost of the component," he said.

Both horizontal and vertical heat recovery steam generators (HRSG) have their own specific advantages, which makes it important for power plant operators to choose the best HRSG for their facility based on the circumstances appropriate for each type, Pascal Fontaine, CMI Energy Marketing Manager told Gas to Power Journal in an interview. In general, horizontal HRSGs are best suited for cogeneration while vertical HRSGs are best suited for combined-cycle duty although both can be used in either.

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News in Brief

Hiroshima waste-to-energy plant gets upgrade

Aug 23 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has been chosen to upgrade and refurbish the combustion facilities at a waste to energy plant in Hiroshima. The Naka plant in Minamiyoshijima, Naka-ku, has a total waste treatment capacity of 600 tonnes per day and generates 15.2 MW of electricity to power the equipment in the factory, while selling the remainder to the grid.

China eases ban on coal power

Aug 22 – 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.

Blackout after Didcot demolition

Aug 21 – Yet another blackout hit thousands of British households early Sunday after the demolition of cooling towers at the disused Didcot-A power station in Oxfordshire. Moments after the explosion at 7am to bring down the cooling towers some nearby electricity poles and overhead transmission lines caught fire, causing a sudden loss of electricity that lasted for one hour and twenty minutes.

Fuel cell vehicle market gathers speed

Aug 20 – Sales revenue from fuel cell vehicles will soar to $255.2 billion in 2032, up from just $400 million last year, driven by fast growth in China and wider Asia. Hydrogen fuel cells achieve an energy conversion efficiency of 50% to 60% amid zero emissions and a low maintenance cost thanks to the engine’s modular design.

Tohoku Electric tenders for LNG cargo

Aug 19 – Tohoku Electric Power, the fourth-largest electric utility in Japan in terms of revenue behind Tepco, Kepco and Chubu, is understood to be seeking an LNG cargo for delivery in September. A tender process is ongoing.

Cost for decarbonizing industry tops $21tr

Aug 16 – Total costs to fully decarbonize the four most polluting industries – cement, steel, ammonia and ethylene – are estimated to amount to $21 trillion between today and 2050. McKinsey said this could be lowered to about $11 trillion if zero-carbon electricity prices come down further compared to fossil fuel prices. In this event, industry could switch to using electricity for heating processes.

Co-firing Braskem plant with hydrogen

Aug 15 – Siemens is making fossil energy greener at the Braskem onsite power plant in Brazil. In this modernization project two SGT-600 gas turbines are co-fired up to 60% with hydrogen, enhancing efficiency for the production process of the adjacent the petrochemical complex.

Canada's CO2 tax to hit CCGTs

Aug 5 – Change in Canada’s carbon emissions tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could significantly lower the profitability of gas generation and could prompt SaskPower reconsider its planned Moose Jaw gas power station.

GE CFO steps down

Aug 2 – Jamie S. Miller, General Electric’s chief financial officer, has decided to quit after two years in the job and 11 years with the company. Having overseen GE’s fiscal activities during a period of intense restructuring, Miller will remain in office while the GE board is looking for a successor.

Siemens HR boss quits

Aug 1 – Janina Kugel, Siemens chief HR officer, is leaving the company amid an apparently scattered working relationship and stark personal differences with CEO Joe Kaeser. Her contract will expire by mutual agreement on January 31, 2020.

ABB standardizes eBus chargers

July 31 – Zurich-based ABB, a member of the ASSURED consortium, is working on standardizing the specifications for automatic charging of heavy vehicles. The aim is to drive down the total cost of ownership for electric fleet operators, helping increase adoption of eBuses and eTrucks. Conformance and interoperability tests will be carried out in Q4-2019.

U.S. Senate helps fund EV charging stations

July 30 – The need for expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure is greater than expected given that there had been over 1.75 million electric vehicles (EV) in North America at the end of 2018, a nearly 60% increase from the previous year. To help fund additional charging stations, among other things, the U.S. Senate approved the $287 billion America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA).

PNOC, Lloyds to develop merchant LNG-to-Power projects

July 29 – Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lloyds Energy to develop a 1,200 MW LNG-fuelled power plant in partnership with Mitsubishi. Dubai-based Lloyds Energy is looking at ways to develop integrated LNG import facilities and gas power plants on a merchant basis in Bataan and Batangas provinces.

Macquarie finances CCGT in Mexico

July 26 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

Naturgy cashes in on gas network

July 25 – Spanish gas utility Naturgy has posted a 7% rise in core earnings for the first half of the year due to strong gains from its gas network business that helped offset falling revenues from power generation and slimmer LNG margins.

French court rejects appeal against Total CCGT

July 24 – Judges at an appeal court in Nantes have thrown out an appeal by environmentalist against Total’s planned Landivisiau combined-cycle gas power plant in Brittany. The 440 MW project, initiated by Direct Energy which was since acquired by Total, is over two years behind schedule. The French grid operator RTE has singled out the Landivisiau CCGT as “critical” in guaranteeing supply security in winter 2020/21 due to the planned shutdown of four coal power plants.

U.S. gas production falls in wake of ‘Barry’

July 23 – Shut-ins related to Hurricane Barry have scaled back U.S. gas production by 1.6 billion cubic feet per day, compared to last week, while power sector gas demand rose by just over 2.0 bcf/d. Consequently, there is significantly less gas available for storage so the injection rate has halved, according to Energy Aspects figures.