Technology & Innovation

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.

Servitization – a process where a manufacturer provides its expertise throughout the life of its product – can help CCGTs meet the challenges of a changing energy market. Alexander Bill, service manager at Alstom's Power Division underlined that "When you've got combined product design experience, manufacturing experience and service experience all in one, you can compete in different ways than an independent service provider or a third party can."

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.

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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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