Project Update

Volkswagen CHP plant marks Chinese first for MAN Diesel

A new gas-fired combined heat and power plant has been officially opened in China.

The plant runs on four sets of MGT 6200, the latest range of gas turbines by MAN Diesel & Turbo, and powers a car manufacturing facility operated by SAIC Volkswagen Automotive Co.

Prof Jochen Heizmann, president of Volkswagen Group China, said: “The inauguration of this combined heat and power system is a landmark for our car production in China.”

“The new plant not only provides steam and electricity for our Car Plant 3 here at SAIC Volkswagen, it also means we no longer use coal boilers so CO2 emissions will be reduced by 59,308 tonnes each year.”

The plant also marks the first market entry of MAN Diesel’s latest gas turbine series in China. The company says that additional use of the waste heat for producing process steam increases the plant’s overall efficiency to more than 80 per cent. The steam is used at the production works of the Volkswagen joint venture in China.

Dr Uwe Lauber, chief executive of MAN Diesel & Turbo, said: “We have inaugurated a gas-fired power plant that covers almost 25 per cent of the energy needs of one of the biggest car production sites in the country, which is low in greenhouse gas emissions and utilizes more than 80 per cent of the invested fuel energy.”

Weir wins controls contract for EDF’s French nuclear reactors

A French subsidiary of the UK-headquartered engineering group Weir has won a multi-million euro contract to replace pneumatic controls for the main steam isolation valves on 28 EDF nuclear reactors in France.

Weir Power & Industrial France said the deal covers design, prototyping and testing, plus the supply of 84 new items and their installation and commissioning.

The company said the seven-year modification programme “will ensure future safety and integrity of flow control equipment throughout the enhanced operational lifetime of the EDF reactors”.

Weir added that the programme will be rolled out simultaneously across seven sites with an estimated 18,000 man hours.

Weir Power & Industrial France’s nuclear director for Europe, Stephane Lamotte, said the project was “a significant milestone for our French nuclear business and reflects our capabilities to offer a safe, competitive and comprehensive flow control technology which will significantly upgrade the main steam isolation valve controls across EDF’s French fleet”.

REG Bio-Power utilizes used cooking oil to run Cat engines

REG Bio-Power has now spent over a year successfully producing carbon neutral power from used cooking oil at an 18 MW plant in the UK.

The plant in Whitemoor, North Yorkshire, uses 10 Finning Cat 3516 BHD engines to produce power. The engines are fuelled with used cooking oil, which is collected by REG from restaurants, food processing plants and household waste recycling centres in partnership with local councils and waste contractors.

After being collected, the used oil is taken to a REG recovery facility where it is filtered into a proprietary biofuel called LF100. Once the biofuel has been produced it is transported to REG’s Whitemoor facility where it is burned in the Cat engines and the electricity is fed into the National Grid.

“While the engines supplied by Finning are standard, off-the-shelf units, the fuel system is specially designed,” says Mark Radford, project manager at Finning.

“Reliability is also a major concern for REG as the Whitemoor site has been contracted to supply the UK’s Short-Term Operating Reserve programme, which is designed to supply the National Grid with enough power to cope with unexpected spikes in demand.”

The Whitemoor site itself is unmanned most of the time, with the control system being remotely managed by Finning. When the generators need to be started up, Finning engineers can run them from a central control room and let REG know that the operation was successful.

Once a call comes in from the National Grid that power from the site is needed, the Finning operators need to have the generators running at full load in just four minutes. The engines need to start on demand and must also go off load at a set time, or REG may be subject to penalties.

Finning – which is the sole distributor of Caterpillar engines in the UK – has also agreed an operation and maintenance contract with REG that will last until 2022, covering not just the engines but also the site’s boilers, pumps and high voltage equipment.

Technology Update

Above Surveying flies into the solar inspection market

UK solar developer Push Energy has joined forces with camera drone manufacturer Buzzflyer to form Above Surveying, an aerial thermographic inspection service company specializing in solar PV.

Above Surveying says that it combines its self-developed technology and unmanned aerial vehicle platform, “unique inspection method and specially-designed analysis software to provide an accurate, consistent and valuable service which goes beyond the limits of traditional ground-based thermography and eyeball inspection typically relied upon throughout the industry”.

The company says its technology allows asset owners and O&M technicians “to quickly understand, pinpoint and resolve anomalies and defects across vast areas of solar panels, so ensuring optimum performance”.

Above Surveying’s Geo-referencing Aerial Pyranometer technology allows the company to capture irradiance data which is then combined with thermographic imagery and temperature gradient information to categorize changes and defects “right down to the cell level across an entire solar plant”.

The company claims this brings a new level of precision to aerial thermographic surveying.

Above Surveying managing director Will Hitchcock said: “Our experience shows that even a solar plant with zero string errors and a healthy performance ratio will almost certainly have a surprising number of defective modules. Our unique technology allows us to identify and categorize these defects with speed and efficiency so they can be addressed and optimum performance restored.”

NM Group sees Patrol+ helicopter service take off

NM Group, a solutions provider to utilities, has launched Patrol+, a helicopter inspection service.

Using latest imaging systems and lightweight LiDAR technology alongside NM Group’s processing technology, the service collects geospatially-located asset information and enables accurate and cost-effective detection of hardware defects on wooden poles and steel structures, safety issues on the line or corridor, and accurate location of structures.

NM says the service enhances existing patrols by taking the geospatially located data from the aircraft and exporting it through a series of analyses to provide a simple set of intelligent defect reports. These are then used to more effectively manage risk and reliability on the network. The results are presented in such a way that they can be actioned via a work management system and integrated into an asset management system.

E.ON develops energy storage system with Solarwatt

E.ON is developing an energy storage system with German company Solarwatt.

Munich-headquartered E.ON said today that the first models of the domestic system designed to store electricity from rooftop solar panels will be rolled out in a few months.

E.ON said the potential for electricity storage devices in Germany “is enormous. In just a few years nearly 100 per cent of solar arrays may be sold with a storage device. In addition, the country’s more than 1.5 million existing solar arrays offer huge potential for retrofitting with storage devices.” The deal with Dresden-based Solarwatt is the first step in what E.ON board member Bernhard Reutersberg said was a plan “to become a leading provider of electricity storage systems in Germany”.