Technology & Innovation

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) at its March meeting on Monday approved a Weather-Sensitive Emergency Response Service pilot scheme prior to the upcoming summer that will expand its options to reduce electricity use during the peak summer season when power demand is high and supplies are tight.

The gas-fired Peterhead Project in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and the coal-fired White Rose Project in Yorkshire, England have been announced as the two preferred bidders for the UK's £1 billion Carbon Capture and Storage Commercialisation Programme Competition. The UK government will now seek to come to terms by the summer with the two preferred bidders for Front End Engineering Design (FEED) studies due to last 18 months, before a final investment decision is taken in early 2015.

Wärtsilä has launched a new product called the GasReformer for turning gas associated with the production of oil into energy. Traditionally such gases would be flared and wasted but the GasReformer uses steam reforming technology to convert gases rich in hydrocarbons into a methane rich product which can be used as fuel in gas fuelled engines.

A combined heat and power (CHP) plant being built in Düsseldorf is to achieve new records in efficiency, power, output and heat extraction. "The new CHP power plant in Lausward (Düsseldorf), starting commercial operation in 2016, will be a landmark for the future of power generation in Germany and beyond and emphasizes the role of CHP combined cycle power plants as an engine of the energy system transition," said Lothar Balling, Head of Gas Turbine Power Plant Solutions, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia at Siemens Fossil Power Generation Division.

Wood Group GTS has consolidated its heavy frame activities in Duncan, South Carolina, naming the facility there as its center of excellence for heavy frame industrial gas turbine fuel nozzle and combustor repairs, including standard and Dry Low NOx (DLN) systems.

Utilising Smart Power Generation (SPG) technology, designed by Wartsila, can help electricity grid operators cope with intermittent power supply from renewables, which impacts markets and operations, as well as achieve cost savings, show simulations conducted by KEMA Inc. on the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).

Capstone Turbine Corp has installed two C30 LNG MicroTurbines to provide onboard power to the MTS Argonon, a dual fuel Type-C Tanker commissioned by Dean Shipping. The Capstone microturbines have an output of 30kW each and fulfil all onboard electricity needs for the ship.

Genalta Power CEO Graham Illingworth told Gas to Power Journal that its new produced-gas-to-power plant in Alberta which help reduce gas flaring by making use of the gas associated with Shell's bitumen production in its Peace River oil sands leases.

Johnson Matthey's Stationary Emissions Control (SEC) LLC announced that it has sold oxidation or CO catalysts with a combined capacity of more than 2 GW within 2 years, for simple and combined-cycle gas turbine applications.

Emerson Process Management has replaced the controls on the Nikiski Generation Plant's GE Frame 6B gas turbine with its Ovation control technology. The replacement of the controls was part of phase one of a two phase initiative to increase generation capacity with a minimal increase in fuel consumption by converting the 40MW simple-cycle power plant into a 60MW combined-cycle facility.

Unison Industries has signed an agreement with Turbine Technics Inc. to act as a worldwide distributor for their marine and stationary land-based gas turbine engine components and services.

Enhancing the complementary use between renewables and gas is crucial to achieve Europe's targets on ensuring sustainable, secure and affordable energy supply, Dong Energy, Shell, GE and First Solar have formed an Energy Partnership, Jasper Vis, Head of Regulatory Affairs, DONG Energy said in Brussels today.

Alstrom Grid has set a new record for a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) circuit breaker by interrupting currents exceeding 3000 amperes in less than 2.5 milliseconds at a testing facility in France. The new circuit breaker helps pave the way for so-called "meshed" smart grids for direct current that will require the interconnection of several points.

Siemens has won a contract to supply a single-shaft power island with a H-Class turbine, with up to 61% operational efficiency, to power Cengiz Enerji's proposed gas-fired combined-cycle power plant (600 MW) in Samsun, Turkey.

The Mississippi Senate has approved two bills (HB 894 and HB 1134) already passed by the state's Lower Chamber which will help Mississippi Power Co. recover costs from its coal gasification power plant project.

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News in Brief

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.

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.