Technology & Innovation

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.

Cat CG132B-16, Caterpillar’s new gas generator set, has been rated for continuous power at 1 MW for 50 Hz in natural gas applications. The gensets’ high power densitiy offers an outstanding price-performance, the manufacturer claims.

Dry and hybrid cooling is gaining ground in the U.S. power generation market, although over 61% of thermoelectric plants still use recirulating systems with cooling water. According to EIA figures, the 83 U.S. power plants that operate dry and hybrid cooling systems support about 20 gigawatts (GW) of steam-generating capacity.

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News in Brief

Evol LNG helps power Australian gold mine

June 18 – Kirkalocka Gold Mine in Western Australia will use Evol LNG to fuel Zenith Energy’s 14.5 MW power station with regasified natural gas starting from September 2019. The mine is run by Adaman Resources and had been relying on diesel to cover its energy needs. Based on the current diesel price, Adaman Resources expects to reduce fuel costs by more than A$13 million (US$9 million) during the first six years of operation of the new onsite LNG-to-Power plant.

Shell Energy ordered to refund overcharged UK customers

June 17 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has ordered Shell Energy Retail to refund around 12000 customers who were overcharged after the Government’s cap on gas and electricity prices came into force in January. Shell Energy Retail s agreed to refund these customers by paying £29,000 in compensation (£5 per fuel), and also pay an additional £200,000 into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund.

BASF enters battery market

June 14 – German chemical company BASF is using NGK Insulators’ sodium sulfur batteries as its entry point into the energy market. The Japanese manufacturer NGK is currently the only maker of the large-scale sodium sulfur (NAS) batteries, capable to store several hours of energy. A joint project in northern Germany uses NAS batteries that store energy for five hours, while a recently completed project in Abu Dhabi using 108MW / 648MWh of the systems with a full six hours storage duration.

CNPC boosts domestic gas production

June 13 – China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the largest Chinese oil and gas company, has announced plans for domestic natural gas output to reach 55% of overall domestic supply by 2025. Last year, CNPC managed to boost production by 5.9% to reach 138.02 billion cubic metres, while also increasing imports of pipeline gas and LNG.

Gazprom taps new gas deposits for Nord Stream 2

June 12 – Gazprom is fast-tracking hydrocarbon production in northwest Russia to boost reserves for export through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (55 Bcm/y), currently being built through the Baltic Sea. At a meeting with Nord Stream shareholders, Gazprom noted that its Yuzhno-Russkoye field has yielded about 276 Bcm of natural gas, including 0.9 Bcm of hard-to-recover Turonian gas, since the start of operations. Turonian gas reserves, consisting of about 99% methane with no heavy residues, lie at a depth of 800–850 meters in reservoirs with low permeability. Commercial production at the Turonian deposit is scheduled to start in late 2019.

PG&E turns off electricity to avoid wild fires

June 11 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has turned off electricity for some Californian communities at risk of a wildfire during the lastest heat wave. The authorized blackout started on Saturday in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, with electricity being gradually restored over the course of Monday. Approximately 16,000 customers have been affected.

Gazprom to build power plants in Serbia

June 10 – Gazprom Energoholding has signed an Agreement of Intent (AoI) to build an upgrade several gas-fired power plants in Serbia. Together with Novi Sad, Gazprom Energoholding is already building a CCGT with some 200 MW capacity near a refinery in the Serbian town of Pancevo.

U.S. fund splashes out $4bn to buy El Paso Electric

June 7 – Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIF), a private investment vehicle within J.P. Morgan Inc., has agreed to acquire the U.S. utility El Paso Electric Co for $68.25 per share in a cash transaction. The enterprise value on the transaction is estimated at $4.3 billion. El Paso Electric customers will receive a total $21 million in bill credits over three years.

Caterpillar gensets back up Finnish data center

June 6 – The Swedish telecom giant Telia has ordered 12 Caterpillar gensets to provide standby emergency power to back up operations at its new data center in Helsinki. The Cat dealer Witraktor figured a system which includes eight Cat 3516B and four 3516E generator sets. The Telia Helsinki Data Center is the largest such facility in Finland, and its primary electric power supply comes from a combination of wind, hydroelectric and biomass.

Capstone wins orders in Iraq

June 5 – Micro-turbine producer Capstone has secured an order for two C600 Signature Series microturbines to provide 1.2 MW of energy to power a triethylene glycol (TEG) dehydration facility near Basra, in southern Iraq. The contract also includes Capstone’s new self-cleaning pulse filtration system, allowing the turbines to better withstand hot and sandy conditions with minimal maintenance.

Gas to supply record 43% of US power needs

June 4 – This summer, natural gas is forecast to cover between 40% and 43% of 2019 peak electricity demand in all U.S. states except Texas, according to projections by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Gas demand soared to nearly 10,700 billion cubic feet (Bcf) last summer, a 16% rise from 2017 levels. Should there be another heat wave this year, that record may well be broken. Capacity wise, natural gas is on course to top its 45% share in the U.S. power mix.

Lukoil to upgrade CHP at Krasnodar

June 3 – Russia’s oil and gas company Lukoil has received government approval to modernize and expand three combined heat and power units in Krasnodar. The gas-fired CHP units have more than 400,000 hours and ran an average 74% utilization rate, the operator said. The upgrade will add 150 MW of power generation capacity and Lukoil said it expects the revamped power plant to be ready for commissioning as early as 2022.

GE commissions Al-Qudus CCGT in Iraq

May 31 – GE Power has installed and commissioned a new 9E gas turbine at the Al-Qudus combined-cycle gas power plant, run by the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity’s (MoE). The CCGT was previously capable of generating up to 1,125 MW and the turbine upgrade adds another 125 MW of capacity.

Groundbreaking takes place for Ohio CCGT project

May 30 – This Thursday morning, groundbreaking will take place for the $500 million Long Ridge Energy Generation Project in Hannibal, Ohio. Long Ridge, a 485 MW combined-cycle power project, is being developed by Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors (FTAI). It will create up to 350 construction jobs and some 25 permanent jobs. The CCGT is expected to open in 2021.

Asia to spend more on renewables than oil & gas by 2020

May 29 – Utilities in Asia-Pacific region will invest more in renewables than on oil and gas exploration by 2020. Total capital expenditure in renewables will rise above $30 billion in the region by 2020, according to forecast of the consultancy Rystad Energy. India, Australia, Japan, Vietnam and South Korea will led the way in Asia’s green energy transition.

Ichthys LNG looses court claim against power sub-contractor

May 28 – JKC Australia LNG consortium, developer of the US$34 billion Inpex-built Ichthys LNG plant near Darwin, has lost a US$1.9 billion court case claim against a power station sub-contractor. Construction of the power station was subcontracted to UGL-led group which CIMIC took over in 2016 and subsequently cancelled the Ichthys power contract. The Western Australian Supreme Court in Perth now dismissed an application by JKC Australia LNG for upfront payment of damages. The power plant’s five gas turbines have already been handed over to Inpex, and KBR aims for the plant to be ready for commissioning this autumn.

San Miguel Energy claims $6.19bn subsidy for Ilijan plant

May 24 – South Premier Power Corp. (SPPC), San Miguel Energy’s development vehicle for the 1,200-MW Ilijan gas power project, has claimed that it already paid $6.19 billion in subsidies to state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM) for its financial obligations as independent administrator. The build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract for the Ilijan plant will expire in 2022; and by that time, SPPC will get ownership of the plant.