Technology & Innovation

Pennsylvania Power Company (PennPower), part of FirstEnergy Corp., is installing 120 new ‘TripSaver’ automated reclosing devices on its transmission lines across Crawford, Lawrence and Mercer counties in an effort to limit the frequency and duration of service interruptions. The device works like a circuit breaker and can also re-energize the power line within seconds.

With biogas becoming increasingly popular, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed novel polymer membrane material that can dramatically improve the efficiency of gas purification. Contaminants, such as CO2, are inherent in both natural gas and biogas to various degrees, so it needs to be purified before it can be burnt as fuel.

Siemens and Chronicle, an Alphabet company, have partnered to monitor the energy industry’s critical infrastructure and protect it from cyber threats. The offering will leverage Chronicle’s Backstory platform and Siemens’ strength in analytics and artificial intelligence to give customers operational insights on malware targeting industrial and power plants.

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. has agreed to cooperate with the American private energy firm Midland Cogen Venture (MCV) on gas turbines, renewables and hybrid combined-cycle gas power and energy storage solutions. The aim is strengthen Doosan’s position in the U.S. market for gas turbine aftermarket services.

U.S. micro-turbine manufacturer Capstone has been awarded two patents to expand its use of high-fame speed fuels, such as hydrogen. CEO Darren Jamison said the patents will help Capstone develop new fuel types for its C65 Signature Series product line.

Heat ReCycle technology, just launched by Siemens and Turboden, combines the simplicity of the ORC technology and the proven performance of gas turbines. The solution is applicable for decentralized power plants in the range up to 100 MWe. It helps recover the waste heat to reduce operating costs.

Australia, in its third consecutive year of record-breaking emission levels, has finally started to promote the use of electric vehicles. Research, led by the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC), finds if Australia extensively adapts to an electric-powered mobility system it can eliminate 16 million barrels of imported oil every year by 2030.

Partners of the HYPOS alliance – a German consortium including VNG, Ontras and the Fraunhofer Institute – have launched a platform to store renewable hydrogen in a salt cavern in Bad Lauchstädt, Saxony-Anhalt. The plan is to build Europe’s first hydrogen storage and operate it for research purposes.

Engine+ Hybrid Energy, Wärtsilä's latest technology solution, pairs gas-fuelled engines with energy management systems and storage. It forms a fully integrated system that provides reliable power supply for operators and power producers of islanded grids. Payback periods can be as short as two years, the Finish manufacturer claims.

Six partners – Ansaldo Thomassen, Delft University, OPRA Turbines, Vattenfall, Nouryon and EMMTEC – have been granted €500 million by the Dutch Government for research into ‘High Hydrogen Gas Turbine Retrofit to Eliminate Carbon Emissions’. The aim is to develop a CO2-free hydrogen value chain, in line with the EU Energy Roadmap 2050.

General Electric has installed its first DLN1.0+ Ultra Low NOx combustion upgrade globally at nine GE 9E gas turbines at five power stations in Shenzen Province, China. The upgrade reduces NOx emissions from about 25ppm to about 7.5ppm, in line with the Shenzhen government’s ‘Blue Sky’ campaign.

Engineers at GE, together with the Southwestern Research Institute (SwRI) have designed, built and tested what is said to be the highest-temperature supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) turbine in the world. The turbine, featuring a multi-stage axial flow sCO2 hot gas turbo-expander, was developed with a $6.8 million U.S. government grant on top of $3 million industry funding.

Manufacturers of power generation equipment like MAN Energy Solutions see hydrogen as a future alternative fuel source for its gas turbines, though switching from methane to hydrogen a conversion of the turbine combustion chamber to allow for higher firing temperatures. Demand for H2-solutions keeps rising as states like California aim for 100% clean energy by 2045.

Intermittency issues of wind and solar power supply are feared to jeopardize the stability of the U.S. power grid. To remedy this issue scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an “air-breathing” battery storage that, at the cheapest, run about $100/kWh and functions only in certain locations.

Swiss-based ABB and Rolls-Royce of the UK have entered a global partnership on microgrid technology and advanced automation, particularly for hybrid power systems. Mircogrids are critical to integrate rising volumes of renewable energy and benefit utilities and industrial users alike.

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News in Brief

Bonny Train-7 to cost $6.5bn

Sept 16 – Nigeria LNG is preparing to add a seventh processing train to Bonny LNG, bringing total capacity from 22 million tons per annum (mtpa) to 30 mtpa. Estimated to cost $6.5 billion, Bonny Train-6 will include a new liquefaction unit, a storage and a condensate tank as well as three gas turbine generators.

Schneider to complete L&T takeover by early 2020

Sept 13 – Venturing into India, Schneider Electric hopes to finalise the Rs 14,000 crore acquisition of Larsen & Toubro's electrical and automation business by early 2020. After the transaction is completed, Schneider will have a 65% stake in L&T, while the remainder will be held by Temasek.

MHI to advice China on energy conservation

Sept 12 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems, part of MHI, has set up a joint venture withan affiliate of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) to perform technical consulting for energy conservation projects in China. The focus of SGCC lies on building new decentralized power stations, biomass-derived power gensets and energy saving solutions.

Tender extended

Sept 11 – Turkmengas has extended a tender for the overhaul of the gas turbine engines of the NK-12ST and NK-14ST brands. Bidders need to pay to receive the tender documents, and then submit a written application to Turkmenistan’s state gas company.

Gas power units to buffer Germany’s coal exit

Sept 10 – Electricity output of Germany’s fleet of gas-fired power plants has risen to a over 13,5 billion kilowatt-hours in the three months from June to August, Fraunhofer ISE figures show. These productivity gains put CCGTs in pole position to balance supply swings in connection with the German coal exit.

Power of Siberia gas flows to start on Dec 1

Sept 9 – Russian gas supplies to China via the eastern route are going to start on December 1, 2019, Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller told his counterpart at CNPC in Beijing. The huge Chayandinskoye field, containing some 1.2 trillion cbm of gas, had already been connected to the 38 Bcm per year ‘Power of Siberia’ gas pipeline in August.

Hurricane Dorian causes havoc in the Bahamas

Sept 6 – In the aftermath of Hurricane Doran, a Category 5 storm, Bahamas Power and Light has said there is a total blackout in New Providence, the most populous island of the archipelago. Dorian made landfall twice on Sunday, ripping off roofs and electricity lines. In most parts, electricity has not been restored.

LNG cargoes via Bab-el Mandeb decrease

Aug 30 – Northbound LNG shipments via Bab el-Mandeb, a sea route chokepoint between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, have fallen over the past three years as Egypt imports less natural gas from the Persian Gulf. In 2015 and 2016, both Jordan and Egypt imported up to 1.4 Bcf/d of LNG into Red Sea ports but these shipments fell sharply following the development of large gas finds in the Mediterranean.

Hokuriku Electric buys LNG cargo

Aug 29 – Japanese utility Hokuriku Electric has purchased an LNG cargo for delivery in November as soaring temperatures drew down gas in storage for the autumn. The cargo is understood to be scheduled for delivery in the second half of November from Malaysia’s Petronas and may well be destined for Hokuriku Electric’s first LNG-fired power generation unit,  the Toyama Shinko plant.

Technip spins off LNG activities

Aug 28 – TechnipFMC, has decided to spin off its European-based engineering and construction operations into a separate business, leaving the American half of the firm as an equipment supplier to the oil and gas sector. The split is due to be completed in the first half of 2020.

FLNG power market to top $930m by 2023

Aug 27 – The global market for floating LNG power vessel is projected to reach $ 931.6 million by 2023, up from $ 860.1 million seen last year, according to ReportsnReports. Major vendors of FLNG power vessels are Siemens, MAN, Wärtsilä, Caterpilar and GE which are targeting to use the technology to supply decentralized power to island nations in Southeast Asia and along the coast of sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

EIA monitors grid hourly

Aug 26 – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has launched a beta release of its hourly electric grid monitor. The enhanced version analyses hourly generation by energy source and hourly sub-regional demand for certain balancing authorities in the Lower 48 states.

Hiroshima waste-to-energy plant gets upgrade

Aug 23 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has been chosen to upgrade and refurbish the combustion facilities at a waste to energy plant in Hiroshima. The Naka plant in Minamiyoshijima, Naka-ku, has a total waste treatment capacity of 600 tonnes per day and generates 15.2 MW of electricity to power the equipment in the factory, while selling the remainder to the grid.

China eases ban on coal power

Aug 22 – The Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) has allowed 11 provinces to resume building coal power plants in a move that lies bare the country’s dependency on thermal coal even after several hundred billion dollars were invested cleaner energy sources, notable wind, solar and natural gas. Areas earmarked by NEA for new coal power plants include Qinghai, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou and Henan.

Blackout after Didcot demolition

Aug 21 – Yet another blackout hit thousands of British households early Sunday after the demolition of cooling towers at the disused Didcot-A power station in Oxfordshire. Moments after the explosion at 7am to bring down the cooling towers some nearby electricity poles and overhead transmission lines caught fire, causing a sudden loss of electricity that lasted for one hour and twenty minutes.

Fuel cell vehicle market gathers speed

Aug 20 – Sales revenue from fuel cell vehicles will soar to $255.2 billion in 2032, up from just $400 million last year, driven by fast growth in China and wider Asia. Hydrogen fuel cells achieve an energy conversion efficiency of 50% to 60% amid zero emissions and a low maintenance cost thanks to the engine’s modular design.

Tohoku Electric tenders for LNG cargo

Aug 19 – Tohoku Electric Power, the fourth-largest electric utility in Japan in terms of revenue behind Tepco, Kepco and Chubu, is understood to be seeking an LNG cargo for delivery in September. A tender process is ongoing.