Technology & Innovation

Energy security, diversity and local reliability for cities and industries are critical features of clean energy infrastructure. An often overlooked feature, however, is the summer CHP load, which could be waste heat absorption chilling to prevent power use and to reduce fuel consumption, Manfred Klein, former chairman of the Industrial Applications of Gas Turbines (IAGT) Committee told Gas to Power Journal.

The use of Tomo-Lithographic Molding (TOMO) manufacturing technology, developed by Mikro Systems, in a range of gas turbine machinery improves the cooling capabilities of gas turbines and increases overall efficiency."[When] applied to gas turbines, [TOMO technology] enables more sophisticated airfoil designs with improved cooling characteristics, which leads to higher operating temperatures and improved efficiency," Tim Rokita, Siemens representative told Gas to Power Journal.

A crowd sourcing initiative to map the world's thermal power plants known as the Ventus Project has been launched by Arizona State University (ASU) under the lead of Dr. Kevin Robert Gurney. The initiative encourages users to contribute information about power plants including location, fuel type and CO2 emissions via pin placements on Google Maps and form filling.

Investing in higher efficiency filters can help improve turbine performance in cogeneration units by reducing fouling, Jim Benson, senior product engineer at Camfil Farr Power Systems told Gas to Power Journal at COGEN Canada's annual seminar in Calgary. "The operator can make up for the cost and pressure drop of a higher quality filter through the operational benefits provided by the product," he said.

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.

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News in Brief

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.

Central Hudson links solar farms to VPP

July 9 – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp has established its distributed generation program within the broader context of New York State’s energy plan. Together with Sensus and their Remote Telemetry Module (RTM-III), the Central Hudson will monitor decentralized solar PV backed up by flexible gas gensets.

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.

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