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US DOE grants for industrial energy efficiency

Industrial-scale CHP and waste heat recovery could be set for a significant boost after a US Department of Energy (DOE) announcement that it wants America’s manufacturing and information technology sectors to do more with less energy. DOE is directing $256 million (€182 million) in stimulus package grants to help out.

The funding includes $50 million (€36 million) for projects that can lead to more energy efficient IT and communication technology, and another $50 million for developing advanced materials for clean energy technologies and energy intensive processes. But the largest portion is $156 million (€111 million) for projects to install CHP systems, waste energy recovery systems and more efficient industrial equipment.

DOE sees plenty of scope for new CHP installations. According to a 2008 report, roughly 9% of American factories that had CHP systems in 2006 produced about 500 GWh of electricity, or about 12% of all the power consumed that year. Growing the number of factories using CHP to 20% could save the same amount of power that is used by half the households in the country today, the report found.

New CHP installations could also generate $230 billion (€164 billion) in new investment, and create nearly one million jobs, making it a prime stimulus target.

District energy companies ‘should look to export markets’

US companies working in the district energy field which have not already looked overseas for work were urged to enter fast-growing export markets in the Middle East, China and India by Gary Locke, Secretary of the US Department of Commerce. Speaking at the second day of the International District Energy Association (IDEA) annual conference in Washington DC in June, Secretary Locke, was giving the Department of Commerce Export Achievement award to EVAPCO for its work in district cooling and ice storage in China.

The Department has already helped several US companies to win work in these areas, said Locke, adding that district energy can work just as well at a university in Beijing, and cogeneration can benefit an industrial site in Bangalore the same as a plant in the US.

Not that the US markets for district energy isn’t itself healthy, at least until the end of last year. District energy in the US has grown every year since 1990, said IDEA President Robert Thornton, with 130 new buildings connected in 2008 alone, most numerously in New York (18 buildings connected), Minneapolis (7), Philadelphia (12) and Detroit (5). But these figures are put into context by data from the Middle East. According to IDEA, projects in the UAE and Qatar connected slightly more than 3000 buildings in 2008, including what is thought to be the largest district cooling system in the world, in Qatar, which serves 73 million square feet (6.8 million m2) of space with 130,000 tonnes of cooling.

Whether the data for the US or the Middle East for 2009 will show a rise for yet another year will only be revealed this time next year. IDEA was celebrating its 100th annual conference and trade show in Washington DC.

North Africa telecoms project uses photovoltaics

Carmanah Technologies has received a follow-up order valued at approximately C$2.3 million (€1.5 million) from Lyon, France-based telecom provider TWIST – to supply solar power systems for a telecommunications project in North Africa. The project, facilitated by Solergitech, Carmanah’s distributor in the region, will power a network of telecommunications towers with the company’s stand-alone solar power systems.

This order follows an initial $1 million order last September as a part of an ongoing project with a total estimated value of up to $4 million over the next three years.

A solar installation at the Viterbo BMW dealership, near Rome
Click here to enlarge image

For this communications application, Carmanah is powering each of the remote telecom towers with a stand-alone solar power source that includes photovoltaic modules, controllers and batteries – all optimized for maximum performance within the region’s challenging geographic and environmental conditions.

PV systems power BMW dealership in Italy

Designer and installer of PV plants, Enerqos has commissioned a solar installation at the Viterbo BMW dealership, near Rome, Italy (left). The BIPV (building-integrated photovoltaic) installation, which covers the entire roof canopy of the showroom, has already started to produce electricity with a maximum output power of 121 kW.

The solar panels have been installed to cover the entire surface of the roof canopy (1200 m2) in order to maximize energy production. Perfectly adapted to the shape and form of the roof, these photovoltaic glass-glass modules create excellent luminosity and ensure an aesthetically pleasing finish, says Enerqos.

An integrated operating system enables the timely detection of operational anomalies, and performance can be monitored in real-time on a PC located within the building. This advanced service management system was implemented in order to guarantee efficiency, production and facilitate the intervention of technical teams should any problems arise.

The integrated installation will benefit from preferential ‘Conto energia’ (the fund which provides subsidies to promote clean energy in Italy) buy-back tariffs approved by the Italian Government in 2007. This fixed tariff is valid for 20 years and offers one of the highest rates in Europe.

Biogas generators supply power to US dairy farmers

Crave Brothers Farm in Waterloo, near Milwaukee, is the latest of several dairy farms in Wisconsin, US, to have biogas engines from GE Energy’s Jenbacher installed to generate renewable electricity for on-site power loads and for export to the local grid.

Crave Brothers is a family run dairy farm and on-site cheese plant that is nationally known for its progressive use of technologies to reduce the environmental impacts of its operations.

By converting manure to methane biogas and using it to generate electricity in the GE Jenbacher unit, less greenhouse gas is able to escape into the atmosphere. The system also is helping Crave Brothers lower its operational costs, including the sale of energy to the regional grid and more cost-effective manure management.

Crave Brothers had originally operated an older, less powerful biogas system to support some of the farm’s electricity requirements. However, the owners later installed GE Jenbacher technology after deciding they could be generating even more electricity with a more powerful engine.

In May, one of GE’s Jenbacher J312 biogas engines was commissioned at the site and is now generating 633 kW of electricity to support the site’s dairy operations. Surplus power from the engine is being sold to the regional grid in Wisconsin, which is aggressively supporting the expansion of renewable energy production, says GE.

First North American cogeneration plant for greenhouses

Large-scale CHP for greenhouses has arrived in Canada, where Great Northern Hydroponics, a division of Detroit-based Soave Enterprises, has installed a 12 MW plant at Soave’s 55 acre (22 ha) tomato greenhouse complex in Kingsville, Ontario. The complex is located near Lake Erie’s north shore, about 350 km west of Toronto and about 50 km east of Detroit.

The high-efficiency on-site power plant, powered by four of GE Energy’s Jenbacher gas engine cogeneration modules, was among seven natural gas-fuelled CHP projects approved by the Ontario Power Authority in 2006 to showcase how advanced cogeneration technologies could help make industrial plants more energy independent, improve local grid reliability and support Canada’s clean and renewable energy goals. Surplus power from the greenhouse power plant is being sold to the local grid under a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority.

In addition to generating power and heat to support greenhouse operations, the power plant also treats the gas engines’ exhaust, enabling carbon dioxide from the exhaust to be recycled and applied to enhance greenhouse crop production.

Coca-Cola to use fuel cell technology at NY production plant

UTC Power is to supply two of its new PureCell Model 400 fuel cell systems to provide on-site electricity and heat for Coca-Cola Enterprises’ production facility in Elmsford, New York. Together, the fuel cells will generate enough energy and heat for 30% of the facility’s overall operational needs, and will also serve as a back-up source of power in the case of a utility power outage.

UTC Power will own, operate and maintain the fuel cells as part of a 10 year energy services agreement, which were part funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Coca-Cola Enterprises is considering adding fuel cells at some of its 431 facilities across North America and Western Europe.

Stimulus funds for PV systems on Hawaii

The US Navy has awarded a $400,000 (€284,000) architectural and engineering contract to Honolulu-based SSFM International for photovoltaic power systems at facilities on the island. The PV systems will be mounted on the roofs of five large buildings at Pearl Harbor and 10 small buildings at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua’i, according to Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii.

Design documents are required for photovoltaic systems that will produce a combined 2.2 MW of continuous power during peak daylight hours in its first year, the Navy said, which is using federal stimulus funds to have the work done. The output is equal to about 5% of the Navy’s energy consumption on O’ahu.

During its 20-year service life, the system is expected to retain at least 80% of its first year output.

ORC technology to boost efficiency of on-site power projects

GE Energy and energy developer ECOS are to demonstrate an innovative industrial waste heat recovery system that will increase both the efficiency and output of a 7.2 MW biogas power plant in the eastern Slovenia town of Lendava, near the border with Hungary. GE’s new pilot Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) waste heat recovery system for gas engines is designed to make on-site power plants that use natural gas, landfill gas and other waste gases more cost-attractive to build.

The new system will allow ECOS to capture more waste heat created by its Bioplinarna Lendava biogas plant. The extra thermal power will be used to produce steam, which in turn will help generate enough electricity to support 300 European homes without using additional fuel, says GE.

The pilot ORC system will be installed on one of the three GE Jenbacher J420 biogas engines that have powered ECOS’ Bioplinarna Lendava plant since June 2008. The ORC technology will boost the Jenbacher unit’s electrical efficiency by an estimated five percentage points.

GE equipment for power and de-sal plant in Bahrain

GE Energy has signed contracts totalling more than $500 million (€355 million) to supply power generation equipment and long-term services for the Al Dur Independent Water and Power Project, under construction in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Developed to help meet Bahrain’s growing water and power requirements, the plant is located in the Al Dur area on the Kingdom’s south-eastern coast. The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Electricity and Water Authority is planning additional capacity expansions over the next 20 years to support the country’s reported power demand growth rate at 7%–10% per year.

When completed, the plant is expected to provide 1250 MW of power, which would account for 30% of the Kingdom’s existing electricity grid output, as well as 200 million litres of desalinated water per day.

GE Energy is supplying two steam turbines and four heavy duty Frame 9FA gas turbines, which are equipped with GE advanced emission control technologies. GE also has signed a 20-year contractual service agreement contract for the project, which will support the long-term operability and performance of the turbines.

Fujifilm uses on-site power and heat to cut carbon

Methane gas from a local community landfill site is to be used to fuel approximately 40% of the heating energy needs of the Fujifilm manufacturing complex located in Greenwood, South Carolina, US.

Fujifilm will use the gas in two of its specially equipped boilers with a dual burner system that can be switched back and forth between landfill source methane and natural gas purchased from the Commission of Public Works. The company plans to use 200 billion Btus of energy from the landfill per year.

This is one of several steps that Fujifilm Corporation is taking to reduce greenhouse emissions at its facilities worldwide. The company recently announced plans to develop a wind farm in Tilburg, the Netherlands, to supply a portion of the electricity needs of Fujifilm Manufacturing Europe, which makes colour photo paper and offset printing plates.

Greenwood County Council, the operator of the landfill site was facing a deadline imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce or eliminate methane emissions from the landfill. In the absence of a partner like Fujifilm, the county’s other option was to flare, or burn-off, the gas at the landfill.

On-site hydropower for Scottish Water treatment works

Operators of a water treatment works in Scotland have installed a 500 kW hydro turbine to generate electricity for use on-site, and to export surplus power to the main electricity grid. The new turbine, a key feature of Scottish Water’s investment at the Turret Water Treatment Works in Perthshire, will replace the existing turbine, which dates back over 25 years.

The new turbine, currently being tested and due to be commissioned later this summer, is located within the works itself, while a second hydro turbine station, located on the hillside is capable of generating a further 1400 kW.

New district heating power plant in Austria

After a two-year construction period, Siemens has handed over the new Timelkam combined-cycle power and district heating plant in Austria to Energie AG Oberösterreich and the Swiss Groupe E. The plant, with an installed capacity of 408 MW, will have an annual generating capacity of 2400 GWh. The plant’s maximum district heating capacity will be 100 MW.

With its advanced turbine technology, the plant will attain an efficiency of approximately 59% while at the same time producing low pollutant emissions, says Siemens.

The power plant is an SCC5-4000F1S single-shaft unit of the proven Siemens design, in which the main components – SGT5-4000F gas turbine, SST5-5000 steam turbine and generator – are arranged on a single line of shafting. The Timelkam power plant will be able to supply essential peak-load power.

Biogas fuel cell cogen unit supplies German brewery

Germany’s Erdinger Weisbrau brewery is now served by a new cogeneration fuel cell system, fuelled by biogas also produced on-site, from the Tognum MTU Onsite Energy. The HotModule HM300 distributed energy system generates 240 kW of electrical power and more than 200 kW of thermal energy. The brewery uses the thermal energy to heat the brewery buildings and to heat water for the brewing process.

Apart from its high degree of efficiency, the fuel cell’s additional strength is its extremely low emission levels. Nitrous and sulphur oxides are nearly non-detectable, says Tognum, and carbon monoxide emissions are almost 10 times lower than in engine-powered cogeneration systems. For this reason, the term ‘exhaust gas’ does not apply for the fuel cell: Tognum refers to exhaust air.

German brewery – now served by a cogeneration fuel cell system
Click here to enlarge image

Erdinger uses vast quantities of water at various temperatures for the brewing process and to clean the brewing equipment. Before being flushed into the public sewage system, the waste water is pre-conditioned via an in-house anaerobic pre-sewage treatment system. A by-product of this process is biogas with an 85% methane content, making it an excellent energy source for the fuel cell. At a temperature of approximately 650°C (1202°F), the biogas is then converted into hydrogen which reacts electrochemically with the airborne oxygen. Almost 50% of the biogas energy content is converted into electrical power, while more than 40% translates into waste heat, which has a temperature of roughly 400°C (752°F). Taken together, the result is an exceptionally streamlined overall efficiency of more than 90%.

Belarus aims to add six new CHP plants

The World Bank has approved a $125 million (€88 million) loan to Belarus to support a $190 million (€136 million) project aimed at improving the energy efficiency of heat and power generation in selected towns.

The project’s main objective is the conversion of six heat-only boiler plants to CHP plants in different localities across Belarus. Modern combined-cycle gas turbines and gas engines that will give an additional 90 MW of electrical capacity will be installed. The efficiency of heat and power generation at the project sites is expected to increase by about 30%. It is estimated that about 90 million m3 of natural gas will be saved annually, which would lead to the annual reduction of about 165,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The project will be carried out by the Belinvestenerhazberazhenne state enterprise, reporting to the Energy Efficiency Department under the State Standardization Committee, the agency responsible for the national energy efficiency programme.

In recent years, Belarus has made significant efforts to reduce energy intensity and improve efficiency. This project will start this year and will take five years to complete.

Capstone turbines across the world

A wastewater treatment plant outside Cossato, Italy, and a US government office in the southern US, are among the latest facilities to have on-site CHP systems installed, based on microturbines from Capstone.

At Cossato, a single CR200 turbine provides all the electrical power needed at the treatment plant, along with heat to make the plant’s digesters work at optimum efficiency. Previously, a flare burned continuously above the plant, fed by biogas that had been considered a nuisance by-product of the treatment process.

The simple, elegant system should serve as a model for similar projects at waste water treatment plants worldwide, says Capstone.

Meanwhile, a set of six C65 microturbines, each rated at 65 kWe, have significantly lowered the chance that hurricane winds or crippling power outages will once again shut down a key US government office in the south of the country. In the past, disasters have pummelled the office, which features a laboratory that analyzes items to ensure national security. Capstone installed its UPSource, an independent, IT-grade power source that doesn’t rely on the electrical utility and eliminates the need for large banks of DC-storage batteries. Even with the loss of a microturbine, the installation remains continuously running.

On-site wind turbine projects for Massachusetts

US-based distributed generation company Sustainable Energy Developments (SED) has completed the installation of a 600 kW wind turbine to supply power to the Williams Stone Company, East Otis, Massachusetts, US.

Construction of the 600 kW Vestas RRB wind turbine started in November 2008 and was completed at the end of May. Williams Stone Company was officially powered by wind less than a week later, after commissioning and interconnection was complete. The project cost $1.7 million (€1.2 million) and, with an estimated annual savings of $172,000, is expected to pay for itself in six to eight years.

SED’s first step was to apply for a design and construction grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC). The MTC, now the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (MRET) awarded the granite company with a grant in the amount of $500,000 that allowed SED to begin design tasks for the project.

Williams Stone Company is the fifth utility scale, on-site wind project that SED has installed in Massachusetts. Others are located at a ski resort, several schools and business premises.

California’s Sonoma County opts for fuel cell CHP system for county jail

Green power plant manufacturer FuelCell Energy has sold off a 1.4 MW ‘Direct FuelCell’ (DFC) power plant to California’s Sonoma County to supply 100% of the baseload electricity needed to operate a county jail and county office buildings in Santa Rosa.

The DFC1500 power plant will generate 1.4 MW of ultra-clean electricity, and its by-product heat will be recovered and used to replace approximately half the natural gas the county currently purchases to make hot water for space heating, cleaning, and cooking.

The state of California is one of the country’s leading environmental advocates, with over 75 different laws and incentive programmes to further the use of clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas production. Additionally, the California Air Resources Board’s CARB07 strictly regulates distributed generation power plants, specifying limits for nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. FuelCell Energy says that DFC fuel cells meet all of these limits.

The fuel cell installation is a major component of the $22 million (€16 million) Comprehensive Energy Project to make Sonoma County buildings energy efficient, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and meet the reduction targets established in the County’s Climate Protection Action Plan.

Sonoma County’s purchase of the DFC unit, through its site contractor AirCon Energy, was partially funded with a $3 million (€2.1 million) grant under California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program administered by Pacific Gas and Electric. The fuel cell power plant is scheduled to be in operation in spring of 2010.

Correction …

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is in Simi Valley, California, rather than Montana as we suggested in the caption to the cover photograph of the March-April issue of COSPP.

The photograph showed Capstone microturbines installed at the Library – these have been certified to meet the 2007 CARB standards for NOx emissions.

Jakarta’s on-site power plant installed for reliability

GE Energy has announced the start-up of a new Jenbacher gas engine on-site power plant, part of a multi-year expansion of Plaza Indonesia’s hotel, shopping and entertainment centre, office building and residential complex in the nation’s capital city of Jakarta.

For the mixed-use project in the heart of Jakarta’s business district, GE supplied nine of its JGS 620 GS-N.L generator sets, which will generate a total of 24.6 MW of electricity, with an efficiency of 42.1%. All of the electricity will be used to support the power requirements of the complex. GE suggests that the plant demonstrates how Indonesian companies are looking at innovative ways to ensure continuous power supplies for their operations, since the national grid is unable to meet the growing demand for electricity.

The project is one of the most prominent orders for GE Energy’s Jenbacher gas engines in Indonesia, a strong growth area for GE’s on-site power solutions due to the country’s abundant natural gas supply, combined with a growing demand by the commercial and industrial sectors for more reliable, cost-effective electricity.

Rolls-Royce to power giant shopping complex in Bangladesh

Rolls-Royce is to provide a 40 MW on-site power solution for what is said to become the biggest shopping and entertainment complex in Asia, now under development in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. Jamuna Builders have ordered six Rolls-Royce Bergen B35:40 gas engines to provide power for its Jamuna Future Park, a seven-floor project combining leisure, retail and exhibition facilities.

The six, 16 cylinder, gas-fuelled engines will generate electricity in power stations designed around a proven Rolls-Royce modular design concept that is highly efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective, says the power systems supplier.

The Rolls-Royce plant will provide power for facilities including 118 escalators, 26 large lifts, three mobile walkways, a hypermarket, hundreds of small shops, two swimming pools, entertainment centres and a children’s indoor theme park. Future expansion is set to incorporate a five-star hotel, a new hospital, offices, a mosque and media headquarters.

The power plants will be supplied in two phases. In the first phase, three engines will be delivered by the end of 2009, each driving an electrical generator to supply 6.8 MW of uninterrupted power, independent of the region’s grid. Three sets in the second phase will be delivered in 2010, which will take the total power supplied by Rolls-Royce at Jamuna to over 40 MW.

Scottish whisky makers supply district heating

Scottish distillers, makers of iconic Scotch whiskies, have agreed to ‘green’ their production processes by a series of measures including a couple of innovative on-site energy initiatives.

The North British Distillery has established an agreement with a local city council building a new high school to provide heat for the school. Northern has a 10-year agreement to provide hot water from its post-distillation process to the school, supplying 1.5 MW of thermal energy and keeping students and staff warm during the school year. The agreement will help the school displace about 1400 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

The same distillery is evaluating the potential introduction of an anaerobic digestive process, which would convert its post-distillation liquid stream into a renewable energy source. This will in turn be used to generate the distillery’s electricity energy requirements. The process could displace an estimated 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Lidl plans PV systems on rooftops throughout Europe

Germany-based discount food retailer Lidl Stiftung has entered into a framework agreement with Enfinity from Waregem, Belgium, and with SolarMarkt from Freiburg, Germany for the installation and maintenance of on-site solar power generation systems on logistics centres in seven countries in Europe. The project will be realized through a joint venture of SolarMarkt AG and Enfinity, based in Frankfurt.

Lidl, which owns numerous buildings used for logistics and sales purposes, is planning to make a very major investment in solar systems for the generation of electricity on the buildings of its European subsidiaries.

Enfinity and SolarMark will use special substructure systems and different solar module types for the large roof surfaces, which will guarantee the successful operation of the solar systems on a long-term basis, says SolarMark. Preparations for the installation of the solar systems are underway and the works will start in several countries in the coming months. In addition to Germany, systems will also be installed in Belgium, Italy, Spain, France, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.