Technology & Innovation

Expanding its offering for distributed power in the low-Megawatt range, Siemens has introduced its new gas engine E-series with a power output of 2MW. The series includes the SGE-86EM for the 50-Hz market, and the SGE-100EM for the 60-Hz market. With this offering, the German manufacturer targets customers in Europe and North America – both have a need for distributed power plants to support the grid-integration of rising volumes renewable energy.

The International Energy Agency’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress (TCEP) has examined the progress of a variety of clean energy technologies towards interim 2°C scenario targets in 2025. Just three out of a total of 26 tracked technologies were classified as “advancing towards a sustainable energy transition”: onshore wind and solar, electric vehicles, and energy storage.

Tantalum, added composite molybdenum silicides helps boost material resilience of turbine blades, as tested by scientists at Kyoto University. Advanced compositions of molybdenum silicides improve the strength of blade materials at temperatures around 1,400 degrees Celsius (°C ). By contrast, nickel-based turbine blades, used in similar combustion systems, already melt at temperatures 200°C, or lower, and require significant air-cooling.

The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has introducing a hybrid and standalone energy storage to the market, combined with engine-based power generation. The company stated is sees “high market potential” in areas with remote microgrids and for solar PV integration.

Nest Learning Thermostat, which partners with utilities to provide residential Demand-Side Response (DRS), shows how bilateral contracts for flexibility services can be utilised for the integration of renewable resources. Their so-called ‘Rush hour rewards’ scheme offers end-customers a menu of contracts with different lead times (from on-demand to 24-hour advance notice), duration of adjustments in electricity consumption (30 mins to 4 hrs) and payments.

US power solutions provider Cummins has launched a new gas generator set across 50Hz regions. Supplying electrical efficiency of up to 43.8%, the upgraded QSK60 gas engine can reduce total cost of ownership for its customers and is particularly tailored towards combined heat and power (CHP) applications.

Siemens and Chromalloy Gas Turbine have joint forces and agreed to invest approximately $130 million to create a new joint venture called Advanced Airfoil Components. The JV will create up to 350 new jobs in the United States and will supply Siemens with turbine blade and vane cast components for power generation. Shipment of initial components is slated for 2018.

ActiveWall and Virtalis’ Visionary Render (VR) software has revolutionised processes at GE’s Swiss manufacturing site as it allows engineers to access and experience a real-time, collaborative, and immersive VR environment created from huge multi-source 3D datasets.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded Wärtsilä with an emissions compliance certificate for its 34DF dual-fuel engine family. The EPA Tier III, and the corresponding EIAPP certificate, were both issued in March covering engines manufactured until the end of 2017.

Durban, one of South Africa’s busiest port cities and a major manufacturing hub, has asked ABB to help connect more substations and remote terminal units (RTUs) across an industrial area of around 16 square kilometers. Wireless communication will enhance the reliability of electricity supply.

With new electric devices being developed at a rapid rate, electricity will make up about 25% of final energy consumption by 2040, according to IEA estimates. Brushing climate concerns aside, Richard Zhang, technology executive at GE’s Power Conversion says: “Future electrical machines will generate power with higher density, higher efficiency and allow for a higher degree of integration.”

LNG-to-energy solutions, notably for distributed power, have made Wärtsilä one of the biggest supplier of gas- and liquid fuel-fired power stations in the 5–600 MW range. Such baseload and/or grid stability plants are used predominately as ‘wind chasers’ and ‘sunset balancers’, compensating for intermittent supply of renewable energy – soon also on the island of Aruba.

Targeting customers in the offshore oil & gas industry, Siemens has introduced a new 38MW aeroderivative gas turbine that evolved from RB211 and Dresser-Rand legacies. Yet, the new SGT-A35 RB is a lightweight and has an up to 30% smaller footprint, with arguably the “highest power density in this class of turbines.”

Retirement of baseload power plants, spurred by increasingly stringent environmental regulations, as well as a rise in cross-border electricity trade is making the task of ensuring gird stability and productivity ever more complex. Dynamic voltage control helps address such challenges, says Patrick Plas, HVDC and FACTS general manager at GE Grid Solutions.

The electrical grid of tomorrow will require substantially more wind and solar power. Yet integrating intermittent renewable energy with energy-on-demand generation, as well as agile power T&D networks with energy storage, is “an engineering challenge”, says Dr. Steven Chu, who served as the 12th US Secretary of Energy.