EQUIPMENT

Bitburger brewery
Bitburger brewery gains from biogas CHP

Powered by GE gas engine technology, a combined heat and power (CHP) plant at Germany’s Bitburger Brauerei (brewery) has surpassed 50,000 hours of successful operation.

Based on an ecomagination-qualified Jenbacher J312 gas engine, the plant converts biogas (gas produced by biological breakdown of organic matter) into electricity, steam and hot water to meet the brewery’s process requirements.

Since it began operating in 2005, the CHP facility has improved electricity supply for the brewery, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by an equivalent of about 10,000 tonnes and demonstrated higher efficiency and economy compared with the site’s previous steam boiler technology by using biogas.

Biogas is created as a by-product during wastewater treatment following beer production. Its combustion in the Jenbacher engine has enabled the brewery to realise prime energy savings of about 10 per cent.

The project is an example of GE’s ecomagination commitment to provide innovative solutions that maximise resources, drive efficiencies and help make the world work better, said the company.

“The use of GE’s Jenbacher CHP technology enables us to meet our energy and environmental goals while also reducing costs. The project builds on a strong relationship between our companies that has included the purchase of several Jenbacher engines during the past 20 years,” said Dr Johannes Hankes, head of central engineering of the Bitburger Brewery.

“For example, two of GE’s Jenbacher engines are installed near the Jenbacher J312 gas engine, operating in mechanical drive applications.”

The Bitburger Brewery is located in Bitburg, Germany, near Trier and the Luxembourg border. Founded in 1817, today it ranks among Germany’s best selling breweries. The Bitburger Group operates five breweries in Germany and produced 7.5 million hectolitres of beer in 2011.

“Working with Bitburger allowed us to develop a customised technology solution that met their specific needs,” said Rafael Santana, president and CEO of Gas Engines for GE Energy. “Our gas engine technology provides a high degree of fuel flexibility with the capability to operate on a wide range of gases such as biogas or natural gas for the Bitburger brewery. Its proven reliability and availability are keys to achieving the successful 50,000-hour operating milestone.”

The Jenbacher J312 gas engine at the brewery produces 624 kW of electricity and 700 kW of thermal power, including 330 kW of steam. The option to run the engine either on biogas from the production process or natural gas allows the brewery to run independently and operate smoothly in case the grid fails.

Like the other members of GE’s type-3 gas engine group, the J312 offers low fuel consumption, ensuring maximum efficiency of up to 90 per cent, along with a high degree of technical maturity and reliability.

In all, GE has supplied about 2200 Jenbacher engines for on-site power projects in Germany, representing more than 18 per cent of GE’s globally installed Jenbacher fleet. Combined, these units generate electricity equivalent to the amount used by about 3 million average EU homes.

The collaboration at the Bitburger Brauerei (brewery) is an example of GE’s focus on the global food and beverage sector by bringing energy management, CHP and other waste-to-value solutions to the industry. The Bitburger Brewery project also illustrates how GE’s comprehensive suite of distributed power solutions – ranging from 100 kW to 100 MW – is helping customers worldwide to generate more reliable, on-site electricity and heat.

Breweries are a traditional segment for distributed power generation to meet on-site power needs. In general, CHP applications are growing in Germany.

Cummins genset range wins EPA approval

Cummins diesel gensets
Cummins diesel gensets have been awarded Tier 4 certification for the North American market

Cummins Power Generation Inc., a division of Cummins Inc., has announced that its entire 680-2750 kW stationary diesel generator set range, including the industry leading Mission Critical 2500 kW diesel generator set, has received Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 interim (Tier 4i) certification for the North American market.

“Cummins has been a leader in developing technologies that meet all emission regulations ahead of their implementation dates,” said Tony Satterthwaite, vice president, Cummins Inc., and president, Power Generation Business. “I am delighted to announce that our Tier 4 interim certified generator sets are Tier 4 Final ready and fully capable of meeting the most exacting EPA requirements three years ahead of schedule. Our customers’ operational flexibility is further enhanced with a clear roadmap to meeting EPA Tier 4 Final requirements in 2015.”

EPA mandates that all non-emergency applications be Tier 4i certified. Nonetheless, in certain locations, the local ordinances may require that emergency backup generators also adhere to stricter emissions limits. Because Cummins’ stationary diesel generator sets can be configured to meet requirements beyond Tier 4i if necessary, Cummins generator sets are available to comply with the most stringent emissions regulations, said the company.

Wood Group lands $15m Thailand deal

Wood Group has secured a 10-year maintenance deal worth $15 million with Sime Darby Power Company in Laem Chabang, Thailand.

The work covers new gas turbine parts supply, component repair and field services for three GE Frame 6B units across two power stations. Also included in the agreement is installation of Wood Group’s EcoValue power augmentation technology, designed to enhance gas turbine power output and improve heat rate.

Configured in both cogeneration and combined cycle modes, these gas fired power plants are capable of delivering a total output of 165 MW.

Wood Group has also been awarded an additional contract by Sime Darby for the overhaul of a GE Frame 6B compressor rotor at the Laem Chabang power station.

All work related to this contract will be performed within Wood Group’s existing workshops in Thailand.

Morgan Schaffer unveils online monitor

Morgan Schaffer has launched its latest multi-gas on-line transformer monitor in the Calisto Family.

The Calisto 9 uses gas chromatography technology, the only technology recognised by IEC-60657. Calisto 9 has the capability of detecting up to seven fault gases and two atmospheric gases and has an automatic daily self-calibration system that guarantees long term accuracy.

Features of the Calisto 9 include gas chromatography as per ASTM-3612 Method C; long-term accuracy guaranteed by calibration gas; minimal maintenance and versatile communication ports and protocols.

New process industry switches introduced by Delta Controls

A range of high quality process industry switches has been introduced by Delta Controls.

The Sentry range consists of pressure, differential pressure and temperature switches and is based on the company’s popular Sovereign series. The new switches offer better than 1 per cent set point repeatability and come with a five year warranty.

Switch enclosures are protected by a novel hinged lid with a single captive screw which allows quick access to terminals and set point adjustment. A safety vent protects users by eliminating the risk of the enclosure becoming pressurised if the sensor were to suffer damage from pressure overload.

As well as for general applications, the Sentry range is available with ATEX/IECEx Intrinsic Safety approval for use in Zone 0 hazardous areas, making them suitable for sectors such as oil and gas and petrochemicals.

The switches are available with SPDT or DPDT contacts, with an optional hermetically sealed configuration. The epoxy coated aluminium enclosure provides environmental protection to IP66/NEMA 4X. The pressure switch range covers 0-700 bar, the differential pressure range is 0-10 bar and the temperature switch range is 0-350 °C.

Norgren launches shale gas valve

Norgren, an international player in pneumatic motion and fluid control technologies, has unveiled its latest manual reset low-power solenoid valve for shale gas applications.

Norgren acknowledges that one of the biggest challenges facing the shale gas industry is the need to find actuation devices that consume very low power in order to be able to operate in remote areas with the only available source of power being the sun.

With a power consumption as low as 0.5 W – believed to be the lowest of any direct-acting or hydraulic valve on the market today – Norgren’s new manual reset solenoid valve is ideal for these low power, low pressure hydraulic actuation applications.

The new product boasts a <60 ms changeover speed and a 5 kg return spring – three times that of most other products on the market – which ensures 10x force, friction ratio (FFR). The full range is certified to ATEX Ex d IIC T6-T4 (-55 °C to +90 °C) and has an IP66/X8 and Nema 4X environmental rating. Its operating pressure range is 0-12 Bar (pneumatic and hydraulic) with each fully balanced valve delivering leak-tight performance.

The new product draws on Norgren’s Maxseal ICO technology, whose inherent reliability characteristics have provided safe and reliable performance, even in the most arduous environments, across the globe for more than 50 years.

Jon Taylor, gobal sector head of energy at Norgren, said: “The new valve has been optimised to combine minimal power consumption with optimised safety and all the key performance attributes the sector has come to expect from Norgren products. The range will be further enhanced later this year with a fully automatic solenoid valve ensuring complete coverage for all actuation methodologies in this emerging sector.”

Project update

GE gas turbines commissioned at Sakhalin

GE aeroderivative technology
GE aeroderivative technology is now boosting output at Russia’s Sakhalin plant

Two of GE’s aeroderivative gas turbines have been commissioned at a combined heat and power plant in Russia.

The two turbines make up the fifth generating block on-site at the plant in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, which is operated by OAO RAO Energy System of East.

The turbines have a total capacity of 91.2 MW and the commissioning represents the first major launch in thermal generation in Sakhalin in 30 years.

Before the launch of the fifth block, Sakhalin lacked the required reserve capacity and there were shortages when some generators were switched off. New power generating will provide the necessary reserve power capacity of 109 MW. In addition, this also will allow the phase out of obsolete generators at Sakhalin GRES power plant, where 12 MW will be decommissioned in this year.

The total project cost $102 million, which was fully funded by OAO RAO Energy System of East.

Sergei Tolstoguzov, general director of OAO RAO Energy System of East, said that the new generating unit would improve the reliability of power supply to Sakhalin residents, ensure the load distribution for quality scheduling of maintenance campaigns and create conditions for connecting of new consumers.Ron Pollett, president of GE in Russia, said: “This project emphasises our commitment to remain a strategic partner and supplier of reliable and innovative technology to our Russian customers engaged in modernisation and development of country’s energy infrastructure.”

First export cable laid at UK wind farm

Global Marine Energy has installed the first export cable at the Gwynt y Mor 576 MW offshore wind farm in the UK.

The cable was landed by GME’s recently launched vessel Cable Enterprise and is the first of four export cables to be installed at the project site. Each of the export cables are between 18 km and 22 km in length linking the north coast of Wales to the offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay.

Gwynt y Mor Offshore Wind Farm is one of the largest currently in construction in Europe and is being built by RWE npower Renewables.The project is a shared investment between partners RWE Innogy, Stadtwerke München GmbH, and Siemens. Once operational, Gwynt y Mor will have an installed capacity of 576 MW. Unlike traditional vessels, the Cable Enterprise is designed to ground on the beach, allowing operations to be carried out to the high water mark, seamlessly continuing the installation where shore-based vehicles finish.

Romanian wind power plant up and running

The Moldova Noua wind farm in Romania is now operational, according to a statement by developer, Enel Green Power.

Enel Green Power launched the first 25 MW of the 48 MW Moldova Noua wind farm late last year. Together with the Moldova Noua wind farm, Enel Green Power’s total installed capacity in Romania reached 292 MW. The company has another 206 MW under construction.

Work starts at 280MW Kenyan geothermal plant

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has started work on a 280 MW geothermal power plant in Olkaria, Naivasha.

The total cost of the project is $981m and has been financed by KenGen, the Kenyan government, German bank KfW and the World Bank.

The plant will be built by a consortium of South Korea’s Hyundai and Japan’s Tshusho, while transmission lines and substations are being constructed by KEC of India.

Once completed, it is anticipated that the plant will boost Kenya’s national grid by 25 per cent.

KenGen chief executive Eddy Njoroge said: “With such a huge boost from this clean, reliable and competitively priced form of electricity, consumer prices will ease as the country will require less generation of the more expensive modes of generation.”

Olkaria has huge steam potential which KenGen plans to further utilise with another geothermal project, which is expected to have a capacity of 520 MW.

By 2018 the company wants to provide half of Kenya’s electricity via geothermal.

Work starts on $1bn offshore wind farm in North Sea

Work has started on the first German wind farm to be fully financed by private investors.

Meerwind is around 50 km off the coast of Germany in the North Sea and will comprise 80 turbines in water depths of up to 26 metres. It will have a capacity of 288 MW.

The project is owned by WindMW, a joint venture between investment company Blackstone and Windland Energieerzeugungs.

The seabed at the site is being prepared for the installation of monopile foundations which will be followed early next year by the fitting of Siemens 3.6 MW-120 turbines.

A group of seven commercial lenders, including Commerzbank, KfW IPEX-Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Dexia, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Siemens Bank together with EKF, the export credit agency of Denmark, and KfW-Bankengruppe, have provided total financing of €822 million ($1 billion) for the project.

SAFETY TECHNOLOGY

Fauske & Associates claim nuclear breakthrough

Nuclear and chemical process safety company Fauske & Associates is claiming a significant nuclear safety breakthrough after its test chamber exceeded the peak temperature and pressure requirement for the AP1000 nuclear plant Harsh Environment Design Basis Accident (DBA) profile.

All safety equipment currently operating in – or set to be installed – in a nuclear plant needs to be qualified for the environment in which the equipment will reside.

The formal qualification process, called Equipment Qualification (EQ), ensures that the equipment will function even if an accident occurs at the plant. If the equipment to be used is already qualified to plant requirements, it can be used in a safety-related capacity without any additional actions. However, if the equipment to be used is new and/or not qualified, it must undergo a formal qualification process before use.

For AP1000 plants, such as those being built in China and the US, guidelines for the EQ process are specified in Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard 323-1974.

This standard specifies several methods for performing the EQ process, including type testing, operating experience, qualification by analysis, combined qualification and on-going qualification.

For AP1000 plants, the most severe location in which equipment can reside is called the harsh environment. The AP1000 harsh environment profile requires a rapid exposure of the equipment to a temperature of 437 °F (225 °C) and a pressure of 63 psig (434.4 kPa) within 19 seconds of the start of the transient.

“At FAI, we can simulate all aspects of the DBA profile,” Raines noted. Within the first hour following the initial transient for the AP1000 harsh environment, chemical sprays expose the equipment under qualification to a liquid or steam shower for 24 hours.

The Westinghouse AP1000 In-Core Instrumentation System (IIS) Cable and Connector Assemblies require EQ for the AP1000 harsh environment. The IIS cable and connectors connect to in-core thermocouples and detectors. In early 2012, Westinghouse awarded FAI the contract to qualify the IIS cable and connector assemblies for the AP1000 harsh environment DBA.

The IIS system is a large piece of equipment made predominately of stainless steel and insulation. The IIS System Equipment Under Test (EUT) weighs about 90 kg and, as configured for the DBA test, had a width of 1.2 metres, height of 0.9 metres and a length of 2.4 metres, which fits comfortably in the FAI DBA chamber. The burden of the large thermal mass and heat transfer area of the IIS EUT was not a challenge for the FAI DBA chamber. On 7 June 2012, in qualification testing of the IIS cable and connector assemblies, FAI exceeded the peak temperature and pressure requirement for the AP1000 harsh environment DBA profile. Raines stated, “The IIS EUT is currently undergoing accelerated aging for post-DBA conditions. The IIS EQ campaign will be completed in July 2012.”

The FAI DBA chamber is a state-of-the-art, stainless steel pressure vessel that is four feet by six feet with the ability to accommodate components up to 2.4 metres in length. Because it is a stainless steel vessel, the chance of particle contamination of the EUT from, for example, rust generated from a steel DBA chamber, is eliminated.

The FAI DBA chamber is capable of exceeding the AP1000, Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR), current- and next-generation nuclear plant DBA profiles. It is one of only a few DBA chambers that has met the AP1000 harsh environment profile. Along with EQ, the unique configuration of the DBA chamber’s, Super Heater heating system and controls provide the needed capability to perform: high temperature/pressure steam and super-heated steam tests and experiments, qualification of mechanical equipment (QME-1), rapid air blow down tests, valve testing and qualification and other related functions that use combinations of these unique capabilities.

Fauske & Associates, LLC is an affiliate of Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC. FAI is recognized in the nuclear industry for its expertise in modeling severe accident phenomena and conducting comprehensive plant evaluations. FAI’s Nuclear Systems Group helps its customers enhance the availability and reliability of their operating plants while maintaining regulatory compliance, extending plant life, and reducing operation and maintenance costs.

TECHNOLOGY

Glass offers improved means of storing nuclear waste

Intermediate level waste (ILW)
Intermediate level waste (ILW)

Researchers at the UK’s University of Sheffield have shown for the first time that a method of storing nuclear waste normally used only for High Level Waste (HLW), could provide a safer, more efficient, and potentially cheaper, solution for the storage and ultimate disposal of Intermediate Level Waste (ILW).

ILW makes up more than three quarters of the volume of material destined for geological disposal in the UK. Currently the UK’s preferred method is to encapsulate ILW in specially formulated cement. The waste is mixed with cement and sealed in steel drums, in preparation for disposal deep underground.

Two studies, published in the latest issues of The Journal of Nuclear Materials and European Journal of Glass Science and Technology Part A show that turning this kind of waste into glass, a process called vitrification, could be a better method for its long-term storage, transport and eventual disposal.

HLW is already processed using this technology which reduces both the reactivity and the volume of the waste. Until now, this method has not been considered suitable for ILW because the technology was not developed to handle large quantities of waste composed from a variety of different materials.

The research programme, funded by the UK’s NDA and led by Professor Neil Hyatt in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, at the University of Sheffield, tested simulated radioactive waste materials – those with the same chemical and physical makeup, but with non-radioactive isotopes – to produce glass and assess its suitability for storing lower grades of nuclear waste.

The process used to produce the glass waste storage packages is straightforward: the waste is dried, mixed with glass forming materials such as iron oxide or sodium carbonate, heated to make glass and finally poured into a container. For certain wastes – for example radioactively contaminated sand – the waste is actually used in the glass-making process.

A key discovery made by the Sheffield team was that the glasses produced for ILW proved to be very resistant to damage by energetic gamma rays, produced from the decay of radioactive materials. “We found that gamma irradiation produced no change in the physical properties of these glasses, and no evidence that the residual radiation caused defects,” says Professor Hyatt. “We think this is due to the presence of iron in the glass, which helps heal any defects so they cannot damage the material. For large volumes of waste that need to be stored securely, then transported to and eventually disposed of, vitrification could offer improved safety and cost effectiveness.”

Dr Darrell Morris, Research Manager, NDA said: “We welcome this fundamental research demonstrating a possible alternative means of treating ILW. We look forward to seeing further progress on the applicability of this technology to the UK’s waste inventory.”

TTS ties up with Y&F on collaborative solutions

Turbine Technology Services Corporation (TTS), a full-service gas turbine engineering services firm based in Orlando, Florida, US, has formed a strategic partnership with Young & Franklin (Y&F), a leading hydraulic and electric fluid control component and systems manufacturer.

A common problem encountered by gas turbine users managing fluid control systems is the obsolescence of their pneumatic and hydraulic systems in an environment where operators’ limited technical expertise in manual tuning can be coupled with the mechanical wear due to many years in service.

The collaborative solution provided by Y&F involves modern electrically driven servo motor actuators mounted to newer and more compact fuel control valves. TTS then provides updates in the way PLC based turbine control system meters control the fuel flow to the gas turbine, usually by eliminating the unnecessary pre-control valve pressure regulation which has been a gas turbine standard.

“The solution is completely electric and eliminates the need for hydraulic and pneumatic actuation systems,” said Pat Begley, vice-president of sales for the EMEA region at TTS. “This innovative solution greatly simplifies the overall fuel gas system, improving unit reliability and availability.”

Rotork clinches actuator deal for Chinese nuclear plant

Rotork

Taishan nuclear power station, which is being built in China’s Guangdong Province, is expected to be one of the largest in the world.

It is also China’s first nuclear power plant to adopt the European EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) third generation reactor technology. The first phase of the project involves the construction of two EPR power plants, each with the world’s largest capacity of 1750 MW.

On the station’s conventional island project, flow control company Rotork has supplied more than 100 IQ intelligent electric valve actuators for Velan wedge gate and parallel slide valves.

Manufactured in sizes up to 36 inches (0.9 metres) and pressure ratings up to Class 1500, these valves will perform feed water and steam isolation duties. The contract included 16 high speed IQ91 actuators with secondary IS gearboxes fitted to 36 inch Class 900 parallel slide valves for feed water isolation. Weighing in at over 14 tonnes each, these are the largest pressure seal valves that Velan has ever manufactured. The Rotork IQ actuators were specified for this contract and supplied through Rotork Controls Canada.