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Technology & Innovation

As the US gas turbine fleet grows older, more and more plant managers consider Human Machine Interface (HMI) upgrades, according to Frank Hoegler, vice president sales Americas for Turbine Technology Services (TTS) "Aging HMI hardware can become a burden on plant operations, so plant managers are actively seeking to avoid these issues by upgrading their HMIs," he told Gas to Power Journal.

With south-east Asia's energy demand set to increase 40% by 2020, with 90% of the increase happening in SE Asia, technology like advanced gas path (AGP) helps enhance installed and new power generation assets, says Fintan Tuffy, general manager for fleet analytics and performance management at GE Power & Water. GE expanded its AGP technology to 9F-3, 9E gas turbines – the backbone of most of its installations in Southeast Asia.

A new circulating fluidised bed (CFB) boiler was introduced by Alstom at Power-Gen Asia in Thailand, Wednesday. The unit offers 660 MW or more in output, based on the type of fuel used, and relies on the efficiency of ultra-supercritical (USC) steam conditions and the flexibility of circulating fluidised beds.

Setting a new industry benchmark, the Siemens gas turbine SGT6-5000F has demonstrated NOx emissions as low as 25 ppm when running on fuel oil, beating the current standard of 42 ppm for other OEM F-Class gas turbines.

As renewable, intermittent wind and solar energy replaces traditional base load coal-fired and nuclear energy in Europe, the need for substantial sources of fast-start and cost-effective backup gas power increases, says Swift Tarbell, PW Power Systems Area Director for Europe. Following the sale of the first FT4000 SWIFTPAC to Exelon, PWPS is showcasing the technology in Europe.

Gas turbine lifetimes could double thanks to new sensor monitoring technology developed by researchers at Cambridge University. The tested sensors monitor turbine operation at higher temperatures more accurately and help reduce fuel consumption between 0.5% and 1.5% as "improved accuracy allows greater control over the amount of fuel ingress," project lead Dr Michele Scervini told Gas to Power Journal.

Varying fuel gas composition presents a challenge to gas-to-power equipment such as internal combustion (IC) engines, gas turbines and fuel cell based machines as it impacts performance and component lifetime as well as meeting emissions regulations. By measuring the optical fingerprints of C1-C5 alkanes, the Precisive 5 Gas Analyzer enables real-time and high-accuracy fuel gas analysis, says founder and president, Vidi Saptari.

 

Gina McCarthy, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has laid down the first nationwide limits on carbon emissions for new power plants in the Climate Action Plan, with CCS requirements handing new gas-fired projects a win over coal. The new rule caps emissions of carbon dioxide for large gas-fired turbines at 1,000 lb/MWh, while it caps new coal plants and small natural gas-fired turbines at 1,100 lb/MWh.

Using CO2 to generate natural gas on industrial scales is a step closer thanks to new technology developed by the Austrian firm, Krajete. The process can convert electricity to methane and has passed initial trials demonstrating the potential for industrial production.

Funding has been announced to develop new technology focused on carbon capture and storage (CCS) specifically for gas-powered UK plants. A request for proposals has been announced by the Energy Technologies Institute, a public-private partnership, to invest in a project which is expected to start in the middle of next year.

A pilot power-to-gas (PTG) project in Germany is being undertaken by E.ON, that converts renewable electricity into hydrogen gas. The gas is injected into the regional gas grid, easing the heavy loading of wind and solar power on electric grids, such as is present in Germany and around Europe, at the same time providing 'renewable' gas feed.

Fuel cells have traditionally been associated with renewable technologies, as a means of offsetting generation intermittency problems, but as technology has reached maturity the range of applications and technologies has grown. Fuel cells increasingly provide opportunities for distributed downstream electricity, heat and gas generation and support local production, as well as easing grid requirements securing overall supply stability.

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News in Brief

Tokyo Gas snaps up US shale assets

July 31 – The Japanese utility Tokyo Gas has agreed to raise its stake in the U.S. firm Castleton Resources to 70 percent from 46 percent to increase its foothold in shale gas production in Texas and Louisiana.  Castleton Resources holds acreage in the Haynesville and Cotton Valley formations. The transaction is scheduled to be completed on August 14.

Electrical PE market to grow 1.7% through 2027

July 30 – The market for electrical protective equipment (PE) in North America, valued at $2,787 million in 2019, is forecast to rise at an annual rate of 1.7 percent to reach $3,163 million by 2027. Main growth drivers, according to ResearchandMarkets, are ongoing power transmission projects in the context with U.S. LNG export infrastructure expansions.

GE wins turbine order from Italian paper mill

July 29 – DS Smith Paper Italia has ordered a GE LM6000PF aero-derivative gas turbine for its paper mill in Lucca, Italy. The paper mill is currently powered by two aero-derivative turbines, and the additional unit will increase plant efficiency by 2%, while assuring steam supply for the industrial process.

Aceleron secures £2m green energy investment

July 28 – UK battery developer Aceleron today announced receipt of a £2 million equity investment from BGF and Mercia Asset Management. Aceleron is BGF’s second investment into a pure clean technology, signalling a shift in behaviour as more and more fund managers support a green recovery and the UK’s policy of net-zero carbon by 2050.

NRG buys Centrica’s North American arm for over $3.6bn

July 27 – U.S. utility NRG Energy has agreed with Centrica to acquire the latter’s North American subsidiary Direct Energy for $3.625 billion in an all-cash transaction. The transaction will diversify NRG’s earnings by adding more than three million retail customers and generate an estimated $740 million in adjusted EBITDA upon closing.

Siemens rolls out Comfy app

July 24 – Siemens is deploying its workplace experience solution Comfy across its global offices, including major utility customers. The aim is to equip approximately 600 company locations by October 2020.

BlackRock puts $18bn into sustainable investment

July 23 – Sustainability aspects are poised to bring about "fundamental change" to the way financial market actors operate, said Philipp Hildebrand, vice head of U.S. investment company BlackRock. About 18 billion dollars have been put into BlackRock's sustainable investment products since the beginning of 2020, he told the German business daily FAZ, arguing this would be "only the beginning" of a much larger shift in investment practices.

Vaca Muerta output slows

July 22 – Argentina has resorted to importing LNG for the Southern Hemisphere winter as domestic production at the vast Vaca Muerta shale formation fell in the first half of 2020. State-owned IEASA purchased 28 LNG cargoes at average prices of $2.87 million British thermal units (mmBtu).

GE to implement air quality control systems in India

July 21 – GE Power India Ltd (GEPIL) has won three contracts with a combined value of $112.57 million to supply air quality control systems. One semi-dry flue-gas desulfurization (FDG) unit will be installed for Hindalco Industries’ 1x150MW power plant at the Aditya aluminium smelter in Sambalpur. A wet FDGs system will be installed on behalf of NTPC for their Feroze Gandhi Unchahar thermal power plant (2x210MW plus 2x210 MW plus 1x210MW units) in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh.

Wärtsilä CEO sees “tough” H2 ahead

July 20 – Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola has told analysts he sees a “tough second half of the year ahead,” as the Finish manufacturer seeks to mitigate Covid-related business disruptions. In the segment of up to 500 MW, Wärtsilä’s market share fell from 9% to 8%, while orders for gas- and liquid- power plants increased by 1% to 17.8 GW during the twelve-month period ending in March 2020.

GE launches update to digital plant software

July 17 – GE Digital has unveiled updates to its digital power plant software: Proficy Plant Applications, Proficy Operations Hub, Proficy Historian, and Proficy CSense. The software accelerates digitization for industries and integrates related onsite power generation units.

Germany EEG fund slips into the red

July 16 – Germany's green energy fund, funded through the renewable energy surcharge (EEG levy), has slipped into the red for the first time since 2013, according to TSO data. The account, funded by end-customers through a surcharge on their power bill, fell from about €2 billion in available funds to €-1.16 billion in the first six months of 2020.

China seen overtake Japan as worlds’ largest LNG buyer by 2025

July 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects China to overtake Japan as the world’s biggest LNG buyer with imports of 128 Bcm a year by 2025, equivalent to around 174 million tonnes. However, IEA analysts cautioned this scenario is “highly dependent on China’s future policy direction” and whether that includes an ongoing push for coal-to-gas switching for industry, residential heating and power generation.

IEA stages Clean Energy Transitions Summit

July 14 – Ministers from dozens of countries, accounting for over 80% of the world economy, have participated in the first Clean Energy Transitions Summit organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said there “clearly is momentum” behind a sustainable recovery from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants agreed to reconvene in mid-2021.

Siemens Energy to exit coal

Jul 13 – Newly formed technology company Siemens Energy wants to phase-out any operations and technology to related to coal-fired power generation, CEO Joe Kaeser said, without giving a specific timeline. Siemens had been harshly criticised earlier this year for participating in the Adani coal mine project in Australia.

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

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