News digest

Allweiler reports: Allweiler AG closed out the year 2003 with sales of g144m, and is expecting a slight sales increase in 2004. The company reported a 17.3 per cent increase in profits over 2002, with centrifugal pumps and screw pumps being important sales drivers.

B&W boilers: Babcock & Wilcox Beijing Company Ltd. sold six 600 MW once-through supercritical-type utility boilers in 2003, the company has reported. The units all include B&W’s latest low NOx burners with staged combustion, and have delivery dates ranging from 2006 to 2009.

BC Hydro field trial: BC Hydro has developed a fuel cell based emergency backup system for utility applications and is installing a field trial of the system at its office in Burnaby, Canada. The system is powered by Ballard Power Systems’ Nexa RM Series fuel cell modules, and has the potential to replace battery-based backup systems in hundreds of applications.

Genoray purchases: Genoray Advanced Technologies has agreed to buy 50 per cent of SG Hydro Combustion Corp. (SGHC), an engineer of fluidized bed gasification units which can be operated on a wide variety of biomass fuels. Genoray was previously a licensee of SGHC’s technology.

KWI partners Toshiba: KWI, a provider of trading and risk management software for the energy industry, has entered into a partnership with Toshiba Corp. to develop the first Japanese-language energy trading and risk management packaged application. The two companies have been working together over the last year to develop the product, called Power Trader, and will jointly deploy the system in Japan.

MTU opens new centre: MTU Friedrichshafen has opened a new electronics centre employing 260 employees working in the areas of development, production and sales of electronic products. At the heart of the product range are components for controlling and monitoring engines and complete drive systems.

Sulzer orders up: Sulzer has reported that its order intake increased in the first half of 2004 with an increase of nine per cent over the same period in 2003. The company’s order intake rose to CHF1095m in the first half, with all core divisions performing well. Sulzer expects the trend to continue in the second half.

Tyco installation: Plug Power has signed an agreement with Tyco Electronics Installation Services under which Tyco will install and service Plug Power’s GenCore fuel cell systems throughout the USA. Tyco will provide installation, engineering and maintenance services to Plug Power customers in the backup power market.

UN recognises sustainability

The United Nations Centre for Human Settlement (UN Habitat) has given recognition to the work of renewable energy company EHN, grading the company’s operations as one of the best in terms of improving peoples’ living conditions on an international level. The company will now be included in the UN’s Best Practices Database to Improve the Living Environment.

EHN’s work will be disseminated internationally through the Best Practices Database. The recognition is part of the UN’s Best Practice Competition, which aims to highlight and disseminate schemes that have a great positive impact on peoples’ living conditions in terms of sustainability.

To gain the recogition, EHN submitted a proposal describing its contribution to the development of renewable energy in Navarre, Spain, and how its initiatives have turned the region into an international benchmark in the use of clean energy.

GE Energy completes gasification purchase

GE Energy has announced that it has completed the acquisition of ChevronTexaco’s gasification business. Financial details have not been disclosed.

The purchase was announced last year and will enable GE to develop gasification technologies for the power industry. GE has supplied gas turbines to some 60 per cent of the world’s integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants, and hopes to leverage major synergies from the acquisition.

“We are very excited to be aligning ChevronTexaco’s expertise with GE’s resources to further advance gasification technology, and to provide the broadest possible range of gasification solutions for the refinery, chemical and power generation industries,” said Edward Lowe, GE’s general manager of gasification.

All of ChevronTexaco’s gasification technology employees have been offered positions with GE Energy.

Bayard acquires world’s largest electricity metering company

Energy management company Bayard Energy has agreed to buy Landis+Gyr, the world’s largest electricity meter manufacturer. Alongside the transaction, DB Capital partners is investing in Bayard Capital, Bayard Energy’s parent company, and will become a major shareholder.

Switzerland-based Landis+ Gyr is a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of electricity meters and related equipment. Bayard is purchasing the company from Demag Holding, which is 19 per cent owned by Siemens.

Following the acquisition, Bayard Energy will have 3500 employees in 27 countries and annual sales of g450m.

VA Tech strengthens core

VA Tech Transmission & Distribution (T&D) and Schneider Electric have announced the transfer of the 40 per cent stake held in their high voltage joint venture by Schneider to VA Tech T&D.

The announcement will enable VA Tech T&D to strengthen its core business in the high voltage switchgear sector. In 2003, the joint venture, VA Tech Schneider High Voltage, achieved sales of g620m and had 2300 employees.

“The purchase of the 40 per cent share from the joint venture is a further step within the course of our corporate strategy to become one of the leading experts in transmission and distribution,” said Klaus Brenner, chairman of the managing board of VA Tech T&D.

VA Tech T&D and Schneider created the joint venture under an agreement signed in October 2000. The joint venture essentially merged the two companies’ high voltage equipment business, with VA Tech owning 60 per cent and Schneider 40 per cent. The joint venture was managed by VA Tech, which retained an option to buy out Schneider’s share.

RWE embarks on fuel cell venture

RWE Fuel Cells and Buderus Heiztechnik of Germany have signed an agreement to jointly develop fuel cell-based heating appliances for the small commercial and residential markets. The venture will further the fuel cell activities of RWE and will strengthen its competence for fuel cell end-to-end system integration, according to the company.

The fuel cell heating appliances will consist of a fuel cell and an additional heating system integrated into an end-to-end system. Driven by natural gas, the appliances will be able to meet all the heat and most of the electricity requirements of multiple dwellings or small commercial enterprises.

RWE and Buderus will develop a fuel cell heating appliance with a capacity of up to 5 kWe and take it to commercial viability. IdaTech of the USA is also a partner in the venture and will develop and manufacture the fuel cell system.