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Reduce, reuse, recycle … energy

The United States throws away a staggering amount of energy which could be cheaply and easily captured and used, according to the latest issue of World Watch magazine.

Waste energy recycling – which captures smokestack waste and other wasted energy and puts it to work – currently contributes about 10,000 MW of electric power to the US national total each year. But a recent study estimates if the energy content of all US smokestack waste were recycled, it could replace roughly 30% of the electricity produced by fossil fuels. Elsewhere it is widely used: Russia gets over 30% of its electricity from waste energy recovery, while Denmark gets more than 50%, says the Worldwatch Institute.

In the report: Bridge to a Renewable Energy Future, authors Robert Ayres and Ed Ayres explore this under used technology and its ability to bridge the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, noting expanding these technologies is often a boon for the investor’s bottom line and the environment.

‘As atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide also rise – and as public concerns about the global energy dilemma also rise – private investment in the energy transition bridge may shift from tentative to robust,’ they write. ‘The key … is that in many cases, such investments can bring the double dividends of both corporate and social benefits, often with a rapid return on investment.’

Despite their potential, these proven technologies – predominantly cogeneration and on-site power generation using ‘waste’ fuels – have been seriously underused to date.

Dalkia to build district energy system for Barcelona

Paris-based Dalkia has won the international call for tenders to build and operate for 30 years a new district heating and cooling system for south Barcelona. The system, which will serve the La Marina, the Marcabarna wholesale market, the international exhibition centre in Gran Vía de L’Hospitalet and the City Metropolitana, will be the first district heating and cooling network to provide centralized air conditioning for domestic use, says the company.

The Barcelona City Hall, Enagás, the Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE) and the Catalan Energy Institute (ICAEN) are all partners in the operation.

The project is based on recovering and recycling ‘cold’ energy from the Enagás regasification plant and on energy recovery from the thermal treatment of vegetation residue from the parks and gardens of Barcelona. With this proposed solution, Dalkia will reduce primary energy consumption of fossil fuels by 67,000 MWh per year, equivalent to the consumption of a city of 60,000 people, and cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 13,000 tonnes per year.

Over the lifetime of the project, the energy plants will produce more than 2.9 TWh of power, 56% of this amount from renewable or recycled energy sources.

To keep pace with the district’s development, Dalkia has proposed a flexible solution, with modular infrastructure whose output will increase in step with rising energy demand. Initially, the company will build a cogeneration plant using biomass from the parks and gardens of Barcelona. In the La Marina district, it will build a power plant and local district heating and cooling system to supply the first clients, particularly in the La Marina residential neighbourhood as well as the new pavilions for La Fira (Barcelona International Fair), the Porta Firal buildings and the Mercabrana wholesale market.

GE turbine generators to operate at –60ºC in Russia

GE Oil & Gas has designed a unique gas turbine generator which can operate in temperatures down to –60ºC (-76°F) for a power plant project at the Vankor oil field in the Krasnoyarsk region of Russia, owned by Rosneft oil company. The 210 MWt gas turbine power station at the Vankor oil field will become the only complete source of power and heat used for life support and oil and gas production.

As part of its continuing cooperation with Rosneft, GE Oil & Gas is supplying eight gas turbine generators based on MS5001PA gas turbines. To ensure reliable operation of the equipment in extreme climatic conditions, the company has developed a special turbine design and used automated heating systems to transport and store the equipment on the site.

Four units were delivered to the customer in August 2007 and another four in March 2009. GE will also train experts to provide technical maintenance of the gas turbines on the site.

Alexander Chuvayev, GE Oil & Gas region sales executive for Russia and CIS, said: ‘This contract acknowledges the utmost reliability of our product structured equipment which can be customized to withstand operations in the world’s harshest climatic conditions, for example, from -60°C in Siberia to +60°C (140°F) in Africa and the Middle East.’

The MS5001PA is a 26.3 MWt industrial-type single-shaft gas turbine. Over 2500 MS5001 turbines are in operation worldwide, says GE.

Geothermal district heating planned for Madrid

Australian geothermal energy company Petratherm has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Spanish federal government and the Madrid regional government to progress its 8 MW Madrid geothermal district heating (GDH) project. The agreement will see a committee with members from both governments and Petratherm which will work toward making the project viable.

The committee will now work on an agreement with customers for the supply of heat, and an assessment of potential subsidy and financing options available, among other functions. It will be backed by a €87,000 contribution from the Spain’s federal government toward a feasibility study.

The Madrid GDH project has been highlighted as one of six renewable energy projects of interest within the Madrid regional government’s Renewable Energy Cluster Project, which is seeking to advance renewable energy projects in the Madrid region.

New CHP plant for the University of Liverpool

EMCOR Group (UK) has reached a milestone in its infrastructure upgrade project at the University of Liverpool in north-west England, by topping out the new £14 million (€16 million), CHP-based energy centre at the site. The 47 metre chimney is the highest point of the development.

The heating infrastructure project comprises both a new energy centre and an upgrade of the existing campus energy infrastructure. The new energy centre will produce power for the University of Liverpool at a more economical rate than buying it commercially, and will supply heat to most of the University’s buildings. The installation of a gas powered CHP unit and associated combination boiler will provide electricity and high-temperature heat. In addition, the project will centralize the heating infrastructure of the entire university campus and will decommission the existing plant and demolish the boiler house.

The new energy centre will enable the University to meet its energy and environmental objectives, reducing its annual energy consumption by over 13,000 MWh and carbon dioxide emissions by over 1500 tonnes, says EMCOR.

Whisky by-product to fuel Scottish CHP plant

Helius Energy and the Combination of Rothes Distillers (CoRD) have announced the creation of a joint venture called Helius CoRDe, which is to build and operate a 7.2 MWe CHP plant, to be fuelled with whisky distillery by-products, to reduce the carbon footprint of the whisky industry on Speyside, Scotland.

The proposed £50 million (€57.2 million) project will use the by-product to fuel a ‘GreenSwitch’ biomass CHP plant and a ‘GreenFields’ plant which will turn the liquid co-product of whisky production, known as Pot Ale, into a concentrated organic fertiliser and an animal feed for use by local farmers.

Helius CoRDe builds on the ongoing cooperation between biomass-to-power company Helius Energy and CoRD by creating a company responsible for the financing, construction and operation of the new plant. The project could save more than 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year when compared to CoRD’s current energy use.

Microturbine order for Brazilian wastewater plant

US-based energy system supplier Capstone Turbine Corporation has received an order for three C800 microturbine systems for a large wastewater treatment plant in Brazil. The total order value is in excess of $2 million and represents the first sale of Capstone C800 microturbines in South America.

Fluxo Servicios de Petroleo, Capstone’s distributor in Brazil, ordered the microturbines for a wastewater treatment plant that serves two cities. The microturbines will run on methane created during the treatment process.

The plant, which treats 4,500 litres of sewage per second, will use the ultra low-emission microturbines in a combined heat and power (CHP) application.

In addition to producing 2.4 MW of electricity to power the plant’s equipment and buildings, the excess heat produced by the methane-fuelled microturbines will help maintain the proper temperature in the plant’s on-site digester used to breakdown the sewage.

Waste-fuelled power station for Cheshire, UK

A proposed 95 MW power plant capable of turning 600,000 tonnes of waste each year into electricity and heat is to be built at Ince in Cheshire, after winning UK planning approval.

The waste, which would have otherwise gone to landfill, will instead be used to generate electricity to power a new Resource Recovery Park at the site. Excess electricity will also be exported to the electricity grid.

The approval follows a public inquiry held into both the power plant and the Resource Recovery Park, which recommended that consent should be granted for the construction and operation of the plant.

Mini-CHP system for UK retirement village

Electricity, space heating and hot water for domestic services at a retirement village in southern England are all generated by a new gas-fired mini-CHP system from EC Power, which are marketed in the UK by SAV Systems. The CHP system is linked with other SAV System products – including instantaneous hot water generation and underfloor heating.

The rugged CHP machine, with its ultra-reliable Toyota gas-fired engine, can provide 6–15 kW of electricity and 17–30 kW of heat. And there is no need to export spare electricity to the grid – there is no spare electricity, as the modulating system ensures that electricity generation matches load over each 24 hour period.

Waste heat generated by the mini-CHP unit is fed through a heat exchanger and used to heat water, which is stored in a thermal store at around 80°C (176°F). Water from the store can be drawn off to provide heating and hot water services as required.

Cummins trials solid oxide fuel cell technology

Stationary on-site power units based on solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and with a generation capacity of around 100 kW will be commercially available in 7–10 years, according to Xin Li, a Technical Specialist with Cummins Power Generation. SOFC products for transport applications ready for market much sooner.

The company’s history with fuel cells dates back as far as the 1960s but was renewed in late 2001, when the company began an association with the US Department of Energy’s Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) programme. Cummins elected to focus its research and development on SOFC technology due to its potential to be cost effective while operating cleanly and efficiently on existing hydrocarbon fuels – as well as hydrogen as it becomes more widely available.

The resulting SOFC power system (developed with Versa Power) has the potential to directly replace its diesel powered generator sets in many applications and can provide virtually silent power with significantly lower fuel consumption and exhaust emission than existing generator sets. Additional benefits projected include higher reliability and lower maintenance than today’s systems, says Cummins.

CHP energy services for London homes

Over 550 people are moving into new ‘eco-homes’ in London rated as ‘excellent’ under Britain’s Code for Sustainable Homes, thanks to a partnership between utility E.ON and house builder Barratt. Instead of getting gas from the national grid, residents will be supplied by a district heating network which should reduce carbon emissions by up to 25% and cut heating and hot water bills by up to 23%.

The mixed development in Hackney, East London, is supplied with heat from an on-site energy centre powered by gas-fired CHP units, along with biomass boilers and gas-fired back-up boilers, providing 5 MW of heating and hot water and 185 kW of power.

Each home or business is equipped with a heat meter to measure the amount of heat delivered, rather than the amount of gas used. Equipped with smart technology, the meters are read remotely and residents will receive a monthly bill in the normal way. Residents will receive electricity via the National Grid; however the library and retail units will receive electricity generated in the energy centre by the CHP units.

Under an energy services company agreement, E.ON Sustainable Energy Solutions will manage and operate the decentralized energy centre.

Guascor engines operate with biodiesel

Spain-based engine manufacturer Guascor has released a range of engine generators that can operate with up to 100% biodiesel, while giving the same thermal efficiency as conventional diesel, but with greater specific consumption depending on properties of the biodiesel used.

The engines have been added to the list of approved biodiesel-use products based on successful tests with blended fuels and going up to 100% biodiesel. The company believes that growing use of biodiesel as a fuel is a strategic market advantage for both original equipment manufacturers and end users.


Gas-Fired CHP Plant for Malmö

German utility E.ON has opened a state-of-the-art Öresundsverket CHP plant in Malmö, Sweden, which has a power-only efficiency of 58% – making it one of the most efficient power plants in Europe – and, at full cogeneration, an efficiency as high as 90%.

The flagship project is a technologically-advanced 440 MW gas-fired CHP plant. The plant will produce 3 TWh of electricity for the southern Swedish market per year, and 1 TWh of district heat for Malmö, meeting 40% of the city’s heating needs.

The plant’s electricity production will replace older coal-fired generation in the energy system in northern Europe, thereby reducing emissions of carbon dioxide by an estimated one million tonnes per year, says E.ON.

The total investment figure for the project was €300 million.


Top 20 US organizations using on-site renewables

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named the top 20 partners in its Green Power Partnership that are generating their own renewable energy on-site. Combined, the top 20 partners are generating more than 736 GWh of renewable energy on-site each year.

Leading the list are Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, the City of San Diego, the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant, and CalPortland, a cement company.

Cities and sanitation districts tend to generate methane at their wastewater treatment plants and can convert that methane to energy, accounting for much of the green power generated by the California cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose, while CalPortland has its own wind power facility.

The top 20 partners also draw on biomass energy sources, solar power, and small hydropower to meet their energy needs.