RWE launches power-to-gas plant in Germany
RWE has launched a state-of-the-art power-to-gas plant in Germany.
RWE Deutschland believes that the plant’s energy storage technology “will become an essential element of our future electricity system”, while MEP Markus Pieper said the plant “is a further key step on the road to transformation of the European energy industry”.
The plant, located in Ibbenbüren in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), is part of new system that links together the supply of local electricity, natural gas and district heating.
Any superfluous electricity from renewables is converted into hydrogen so it can be stored within the natural gas network. From there it can later be recalled for use in electricity production.
RWE said that the power-to-gas process is one of the key technologies for tomorrow’s energy supply.
Dr Arndt Neuhaus, chief executive of RWE Deutschland, said that energy storage solutions “will become an essential element of our future electricity system, where, according to German government plans, in fifteen years’ time, renewable energy sources will cover 50 per cent of the country’s power needs – or almost double the current rate”.
Neuhaus added: “Our electricity grid will have to perform at an even higher level than before to achieve this.
“Under these changed conditions, the power-to-gas technology will be an exemplary solution, as it makes it possible for us to respond immediately to fluctuating volumes of incoming power.”
A central element of the power-to-gas plant is an electrolyser the size of a shipping container, which was built by the UK firm ITM Power.
The electrolyser converts into hydrogen any power from renewable sources such as solar panels or wind turbines that is not immediately required. It is then mixed into the natural gas network via a gas pressure regulation station where the waste heat of the electrolyser is also utilized.
In times of low renewable power production, the previously stored natural gas can be siphoned off from the storage facility and used in a cogeneration plant within the RWE district heating network in Ibbenbüren to generate power.
RWE said that the combined heat and power generation system used there also leads to much better power utilization thanks to the new system solution.
The plant has a rated power output of 150 kW and creates hydrogen under 14-bar pressure.
Dr Joachim Schneider, chief technology officer of RWE Deutschland, said: “In order to be able to pick up excess electricity from renewable sources onto our grid, we need alternatives to conventional grid expansion methods.
“This was the driving force behind our decision to embrace this new technology.
“The hydrogen that is created by electrolysis can be stored and later used to generate power. The benefit of this form of electricity storage is the enormous infrastructure already offered by the natural gas network – which has huge storage capacity and a high-performing network.”
Schneider added that “with a utilization rate of 86 per cent, this power-to-gas plant is the most efficient of its kind in Germany.”
NRW Minister of Economics Garrelt Duin said: “This ultra-modern power-to-gas plant is further evidence of the fact that NRW is the number one energy region in Germany.
“The option of storing excess eco-power locally and later using it when it is needed is an innovative and technological feat of the highest order. This process has potential to play a key role in the transformation of the energy industry.”
Martifer to build solar quartet in Jordan
Portugal-based Martifer Solar is to build a 57 MW portfolio of solar PV projects in Jordan.
Four projects have been awarded with power purchase agreements under Round 1 of Jordan’s National Renewable Energy Plan.
Of the 57 MW portfolio, there are three projects with an individual capacity of 11 MW, located near the city of Ma’an in south-central Jordan – Al Ward Al Joury, Al Zahrat Al Salam and Al Zanbaq. The fourth project, Jordan Solar One, will have a capacity of 24 MW and will be built near the northern town of Mafraq.
Martifer Solar will provide the EPC services for the projects and perform all subsequent operation and maintenance for them. The firm’s chief executive, Henrique Rodrigues, said: “Jordan currently imports 95 per cent of its power needs, which costs approximately a fifth of the country’s GDP, and the development and construction of renewable energy projects such as these will be essential for its future.”
The International Finance Corporation acted as the lead arranger for the funding of the projects, together with a syndicate of other financers including Bahrain’s Arab Bank, the European Arab Bank, FMO, FinnFund and OPEC’s Fund for International Development.
Emerson automates China hydropower project
Emerson Process Management is automating the Shehong Liushu hydropower project in China’s Sichuan province.
Hydropower development, particularly small hydropower, has been gaining traction in China as a clean energy source that can supplement thermal power sources and electrify rural areas.
This project by Tuopai Power Development consists of three 16 MW units to help meet the growing energy needs of the Shehong region in southwest Sichuan.
The first unit is expected to be operational in March 2016.
Emerson will provide its Ovation control and SCADA technology to manage hydropower operations.
Tuopai Power Development is among the first hydropower generators in China to adopt distributed control system technology that provides tighter overall control, enhanced diagnostics, improved plant efficiency, reliable grid synchronization, enhanced cybersecurity and more efficient operator deployment.
Ovation technology will directly control primary plant equipment and processes, perform automatic voltage regulation, and manage information from the 24 spillways. Emerson will also supply its Rosemount pressure and level transmitters.
GE in biggest Jenbacher sale to ‘groundbreaking energy transition’ plant
A power plant at Kiel in Germany is to take delivery of 20 Jenbacher J920 Flextra gas engines with a power output of 190 MW, which represents the largest sale in the history of the Jenbacher company, according to GE.
The gas-fired power plant is to serve a district heating system in Kiel. General contractor Kraftanlagen München (KAM) will build the plant on behalf of municipal utility Stadtwerke Kiel. The new power plant will replace the existing coal-fired community power plant.
The company said that balancing energy and the integration of an electrode boiler (power-to-heat) during periods of low electricity prices provide a flexible and economical solution. This ensures not only the regional supply, but also guarantees operational cost-effectiveness. Compared with the previous coal-fired power plant, CO2 emissions are reduced from 1.8 million tonnes to approximately 540 000 tonnes.
“The new gas-fired thermal power plant in Kiel is a groundbreaking example for the successful realization of the energy transition plan by employing highly efficient combined heat and power generation,” said Gerrit Koll, business unit leader, energy and power plant technology at KAM.
The greatest possible flexibility was a primary requirement of the new Stadtwerke Kiel plant, said GE.
Due to the high proportion of wind-generated electricity in the regional grid, the power plant has to be able to feed full power into the local electrical grid within a short period in order to offset the volatility of the wind level, thus ensuring stability of the grid.
The Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engines can be called up to their full capacity in just a few minutes.
The initial project involves the planning and construction of the pump house to connect to the district heating system, the electrode boiler and heat storage as well as scheduling and obtaining operating approval for the entire system, including gas engines. The second phase of the project, including construction of the gas engine power plant, is scheduled to be underway starting in May 2016.
AkzoNobel in coatings deal for new German plant
AkzoNobel’s performance coatings business is working with Siemens to provide coatings and corrosion protection for the expansion of a major power plant in Germany.
Siemens is the EPC contractor for the new Fortuna Block of the Lausward Power Plant in Dusseldorf, which is due to start operations next year.
AkzoNobel will supply several thousand litres of high-performance coatings from its International range for the plant’s structural steel and pipework.
Gerard de Vries, business director for North Europe at AkzoNobel’s protective coatings business, said: “Being able to provide the corrosion protection and aesthetic coating system for this new cutting-edge facility is something we are very proud of and we look forward to making a further contribution to the protection of these important assets.”
Mario Leitsch, Siemens project engineer, added: “To protect our plants from corrosion, we need to ensure that only the highest quality coating products and fit-for-purpose systems are used and installed. We are very satisfied with AkzoNobel’s quality and ongoing support.
Alstom wins Vietnam CFB boiler deal
Alstom has been awarded a contract to design and supply two 300 MW circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boilers for the Thang Long thermal power plant.
Once installed, Alstom says that the CFB boilers will be the largest of their kind in Vietnam.
The boilers will burn local anthracite, which Alstom says will help “to reach the regulatory limits for NOx and SOx emissions without the need for additional back-end flue gas treatment such as SCR or FGD systems”.
Once operational, the plant is expected to contribute over 4000 GWh of electricity to the national power grid annually. Thang Long is being developed by Thang Long Power Plant JSC, a local power generation company based in Hanoi. The turnkey contractor is China’s Wuhan Kaidi Electric Power Engineering Co.
CWind wins London Array vessel contract
CWind, which provides integrated services to the wind industry, has been awarded a contract for the supply of two crew transfer vessels to the London Array offshore wind farm in the UK.
London Array is located 20 km off the Kent coast in the outer Thames Estuary. Both vessels – the CWind Alliance and CWind Artimus – will be used for supporting operation and maintenance activities.
Bruce Clements, business development manager at CWind, said: “We are delighted to have won this contract following a challenging competitive tender process and we look forward to working with London Array and its partners over the coming years.”
Danish wind power company Vestas has appointed a new group senior vice-president.
Nils de Baar is currently vice-president for global customer accounts at Swedish communication company Ericsson.
He will join Vestas on 1 September, when he will also become president of Vestas Central Europe.
Vestas chief sales officer Juan Araluce said that de Baar’s “solid commercial background and extensive international experience” would “develop and strengthen our competitive position”.
De Baar succeeds Christoph Vogel, who has left Vestas for personal reasons.
EthosEnergy names new power solutions president
EthosEnergy has appointed Kevin Taylor as President of Power Solutions.
He will have responsibility for leading the strategic direction of engineering, procurement and construction activities and expanding the company’s fast-track equipment solutions and services.
Taylor joins EthosEnergy from North American Energy Services (NAES) where was senior vice-president of engineering and construction.
EthosEnergy chief executive Mark Dobler said Taylor’s appointment “represents both a confirmation of our customers’ need for flexible, fast-track power generation EPC as well as our commitment to offer true lifecycle capability”.
He added that Taylor’s “excellent industry knowledge and wealth of experience… will position us well to deliver on our vision of materially increasing the lifecycle value of our customers’ assets”.