Technology & Innovation

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.

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.

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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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