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The engineering and technology group Sener and Acciona Industrial have achieved another relevant milestone initiating the salt melting process at the Kathu Solar Park Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant. The molten salt will be used to store heat from the solar field that can later be recovered to produce steam and generate electricity in the absence of solar radiation, extending the operational capacity of the plant after sunset and during cloudy weather.

Thanks to this molten salt storage system, that allows 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage, the Kathu Solar Park CSP Plant will supply clean energy to 179,000 homes. The plant uses SENERtrough®-2 collectors, a parabolic trough technology, specifically designed and patented by SENER, aimed at improving efficiency of the solar field. The significance of this technology – SENERtrough®-2 and molten salt storage system – is that the CSP plant will not only supply power during sunny periods, but as needed to satisfy the peak of demand, without the considerable expense of battery storage.

Siyabonga Mbanjwa, Sener Regional Managing Director in Southern Africa, commented: “The use of molten salt as thermal energy storage system will allow Kathu Solar Park to operate in a cost-effective manner, storing the generated energy from the sun, producing and dispatching electricity, in absence of solar radiation, to satisfy the peak of demand. At Sener, our aim is to provide the most innovative technology, being compliant with Health & Safety stringent standards, to ensure an outstanding performance and thermal stability for a reliable and sustained energy supply.

Roberto Felipe, Chief Operating Officer of Acciona Industrial, said: “This project is technologically cutting-edge, and the complexity of both engineering and construction is only comparable to large infrastructure projects. At ACCIONA, we are committed to the social and economic development of the regions where our projects are located, and the positive impact this plant is having in Kathu and the surrounding areas is a reason for us to continue executing these projects with these high quality standards.

Kathu Solar Park is one of the awarded projects in bid window 3.5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP) led by the South African Department of Energy (DOE).

The joint venture between Sener and Acciona Industrial was appointed by the ENGIE led consortium to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the project. Construction started on site in May 2016 and is due for completion within the next few months. Approximately 1,400 jobs are being created during the construction phase. It is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tonnes of CO2 over 20 years and will further promote local economic development through the KSP trust and the Kelebogile Trust, which has invested significantly in the local community thus far thereby making a meaningful contribution to the community of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality.

Source: Sener

MAN Energy Solutions has signed a cooperation agreement with ABB for the development, production and commercialization of a three-way energy-storage system. The new Electro-Thermal Energy Storage system (ETES) stores large-scale electricity, heat and cold for distribution to consumers.

ETES uses surplus renewable-electricity to generate heat and cold for storage in insulated reservoirs during a so-called ‘charging cycle’. The heat and cold can be converted back into electrical energy on demand. Moreover, it is possible to distribute the stored cold and heat to different types of consumers. For instance, heat can be transferred to district heating, the food-processing industry, laundry facilities, etc., whereas applications for the cold include cooling data-centers, ice-hockey arenas or air-conditioning for skyscrapers. The system is location-independent and designed to suit various boundary conditions.

Dr. Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions, said: “The biggest challenge in building stable, climate-neutral energy systems is the intermittency of renewable energy in power generation and supply. To match an increasing consumer demand for energy with a fluctuating supply, the world needs reliable energy-storage systems.” Lauber added: “At MAN Energy Solutions we have made it our mission to drive the transition towards a carbon-neutral world. Together with our partner, ABB, we now offer a complete solution for the storage, use and distribution of electrical and thermal energy that is groundbreaking.”

Prof. Dr. Hans Gut, Managing Director of MAN Energy Solutions Schweiz AG, said: “ETES is the only storage system able to store electricity, heat and cold at the same time and also distribute them to consumers, which makes it unique.” He continued: “Due to the high overall efficiency, the modular character of the system and its low impact on the environment, ETES is a sustainable energy-storage solution that is suitable for a wide range of applications worldwide.”

The turbomachinery technology and the process design of the charging and discharging cycle are the key elements of this energy-storage system and reflect MAN Energy Solutions’ core competences. ETES features MAN’s hermetically-sealed turbo compressor HOFIM™ within the charging cycle to compress the CO2 working fluid to its supercritical state at typically 140 bar and ca. 120 °C.

Charging cycle

(1) The HOFIM™ turbo-compressor runs on surplus energy from renewable resources, compressing CO2 in the cycle, which is heated to 120 °C.
(2) The CO2 is fed into a heat exchanger and heats the water.
(3) The hot water is stored in isolated tanks, each one at a separately-defined temperature level.
(4) Still under high pressure, the CO2 is fed into an expander, which reduces the pressure – the CO2 is liquefied and cooled.
(5/6) The liquefied CO2 is again pumped through a heat-exchange system, this time on the cold side of the system. Heat is taken from the surrounding water and ice is formed in the ice storage tank.

Source: MAN Energy Solutions

Danfoss and A.P. Møller Holding A/S has entered into a strategic partnership to develop and explore the potential of an industrialized approach to geothermal energy in Denmark.

The geothermal potential in Denmark is quite high and geothermal energy as a clean energy option has the potential to play a greater role in future energy systems. Geothermal heat supplements other renewable energy sources very well and can, when combined with heat pumps, cover 15-30 per cent of the heat demand in large district heating systems.

Geothermal energy has the potential to play an important role in the transition to a heating supply based on renewable energy sources. Fully built out geothermal energy, in combination with heat pumps, can cover 10-15 percent of Denmark’s total energy need and play a key role in ensuring security of supply in the future’s green energy supply.

To utilize the great potential of geothermal energy as a clean and sustainable energy source on a larger scale than has been pursued so far presents exciting business perspectives. Potentially, geothermal energy can be for the heating system what wind is for the electricity system. And as district heating is a prerequisite for the use of geothermal heat, we see good business potential in this ambitious project, and are keen to support the project as it offers good opportunities to further develop our heating business as well as it offers attractive socio-economic perspectives of a large-scale shift to renewable energy,” says Lars Tveen, President Danfoss Heating Segment.

The Chairman of the Danfoss Board, Jørgen M. Clausen, inspired A.P. Møller Holding to investigate the potential of industrialized low-temperature geothermal energy in Denmark. Together, Danfoss and A.P. Møller Holding have a unique set of competences within district heating systems, energy supply and exploration, development and extraction of underground resources.

I have been interested in geothermal energy in Denmark for many years. However, high-temperature geothermal energy is only available in few areas of Europe such as Iceland. The concept I have been developing is based on low-temperature geothermal energy utilized in a decentralized setup with many smaller entities, which makes it easy to fit in to urban areas. I am convinced that the combined expertise and competencies from A.P. Møller Holding and Danfoss will serve as the right outset to industrialize the utilization of low-temperature geothermal energy, which we have in abundance, to the benefit of Denmark,” says Jørgen M. Clausen.

The partnership with A.P. Møller Holding is anchored in Danfoss Heating and the segment has allocated a group of experts to the project to support overall in terms of our unique position and district heating insights as to energy supply and district heating systems in Denmark. Furthermore, the project group will focus on unveiling the tools and policy framework needed for unlocking the potential of geothermal energy in Denmark.

Sustainable district heating from the underground

According to a study by the International Agency for Renewable Energy, IRENA, geothermal heat is one of the most cost-effective measures to reduce CO2 emissions. IRENA estimates that it is economically cheaper to increase the share of geothermal energy in the heating sector than to increase the proportion of biomass in the areas where geothermal resources are present.

Although the geothermal resources in the Danish subsoil are significant, there are only three smaller Danish geothermal plants. One of the reasons why geothermal systems are not widespread are the economic risks associated with the drilling.

Source: Danfoss

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Rolls-Royce has signed a contract with EPC contractor Energyco for the supply of four gensets to a cogeneration plant in Kosice, Slovakia. Based on the medium speed gas engine B35:40V20AG2, the plant will generate a total of 37 MWe heat and power for the district heating company Teplaren Kosice a.s. The contract will also include a service agreement for 5 years. The engines are produced at Bergen Engines AS, which is part of Rolls-Royce Power Systems.

One of the critical parameters required by TEKO was 3 minutes start to full load to comply with Slovakian grid support service.

The medium speed engines from Rolls-Royce are flexibly designed for different operating modes, and can be used to generate base-load, peak power or operate in combined cycle. Already three minutes from start, the engines can operate with 100 per cent load to the rated speed of 750 rpm, and are in this aspect well suited to balance changes in the grid parameters. Furthermore, by utilizing hot water from the engines, the plant will be used for district heating for the region. Heat from the engines can also be used to generate steam in the heat recovery steam generators, to supply industrial customers.

Cogeneration plants based on our medium speed gas engines are a reliable alternative to coal-based plants and significantly more environmentally friendly. In addition, the engines’ flexibility will enable Teplaren Kosice to operate efficiently, both in terms of cost and time”, said Jeff Elliott, Managing Director of Bergen Engines.

This will be Rolls-Royces first delivery of medium speed reciprocating engines to Slovakia, complimenting the installed base of 96 MWe in central Europe. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned early 2019.

Source: Rolls Royce

Instalación de procesamiento, almacenamiento de biomasa y planta de generación de energía eléctrica a partir de biomasa de 50 MW en Huelva (España). Foto cortesía de ENCE | Processing facilities, biomass storage and 50 MW biomass power plant in Huelva (Spain). Photo courtesy of ENCE

According to a new report from ecoprog, in early 2017, there were 3,510 operational biomass power plants worldwide, generating electricity and heat from solid biomass and with a total installed capacity of 52.8 GW. By the end of 2017, ecoprog estimates that there will be around 3,700 active power plants, with a capacity of some 56.2 GW. In just one year, 200 biomass power plants with a capacity of almost 3 GW were commissioned. While Europe showed a slight decrease in newly commissioned biomass power plants over the past year, Asia’s commissioning rate remains at a high level. In North America, low electricity prices have resulted in commissioning insecurities, with the commissioning rate slowing in 2016/2017. The attractive incentive scheme in Japan resulted in a growing commissioning rate in the Australia and Pacific region. At the same time, consolidation and globalisation continued among the technology providers in 2017.

The market for biomass power plants, the number of plants and their respective capacities, is a result of the subsidisation schemes and the availability of positive economic conditions at favourable locations, e.g. in the sugar or the paper industry. Regions with high political subsidies in the form of feed-in tariffs have comparatively young plant assets that are characterised by small-scale plants. This is the case in most European countries. Today, many systems primarily subsidise small-scale plants due to ecological sustainability. Europe’s plants are therefore on average smaller than in other regions such as North America. By contrast, fuel availability is the determining factor in North and South America as well as in many Asian markets, as subsidisation levels are often lower than in Europe.

North America and Europe mainly use wood to generate energy, while South American countries primarily incinerate bagasse, a waste product of the sugarcane industry. Agricultural residues such as straw, rice husks and empty fruit bunches from the palm oil industry represent the main fuels in Asia. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2018

The hotel sector is one of the most intensive as regards energy consumption. The vast majority of hotels were constructed during an era in which energy did not represent a significant cost and as a result their design did not place much importance on efficiency and sustainability criteria. The increase in the cost of energy (both electricity and fossil fuels such as gas and diesel) has resulted in the gradual introduction of solutions to improve the energy efficiency of hotel installations. One such solution currently available is hybrid solar panel technology that simultaneously generates heat and electricity and whose features perfectly adapt to the needs of hotel installations.

There are three steps to achieving reduced operating costs. The first step consists of reducing the energy demand of the building; the second comprises the self-generation of energy by integrating renewable energy sources; and the third step is to ensure that the energy demanded (which is not covered by renewables), is supplied by the most efficient installations possible. These three steps must be applied in the above order, given that the lower the demand, the fewer the number of installations to be undertaken.

This article describes the case of a 4-star, 400-room hotel in the Balearics that has integrated this innovative solar technology: hybrid solar panels. This technology simultaneously generates electricity and hot water from a single panel, producing more energy from the same available space. Greater energy savings translate into an increased economic saving, which is the key to the cost-effective solution offered by this technology, as this case study shows. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2018

Fluctuations in the prices of fossil fuels, the need to address climate change and the growing energy demand, present the current energy model with major challenges. To address them at the same time as achieving high levels of efficiency, new hybrid energy models based on renewable energy are emerging that aim to make a better use of resources and facilitate an energy supply over a longer period. This is the case of CSP-biomass plants designed to produce power using ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) technology. Innergy is active throughout the entire value chain of an energy project with biomass, providing services that range from the development, production and sale of heat and automation generation equipment to O&M. The company enjoys extensive experience in all types of biomass, industrial biomass boilers and both ORC and steam technology, qualifying it to support biomass for this type of energy solutions.

This type of hybrid energy solution is so interesting because CSP plants need sunlight to shine directly onto their mirrors in order to produce electricity. On cloudy days these plants remain stopped, not generating power and requiring energy from other sources. On the other hand, there is energy generation equipment that uses biomass, a sustainable fuel source that is not subject to weather phenomena, but which, despite existing in large quantities, must be used in a controlled and sustainable manner.

By combining both types, solar power is used on clear days, with the cloudy days covered by energy originating from biomass. This ensures that the plant can operate 365 days a year as it is energy independent from monopolies and large corporations, as well achieving price stability. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2018

The vision to set new standards for cost-competitive renewable heat and power production has became a reality with the official opening of a revolutionary green energy facility in Denmark. Inaugurated by the Danish Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate, Mr. Lars Christian Lilleholt, the 45 million € investment is now ready to produce both sustainable power and heat with the help of an advanced solar energy system from Danish renewable energy specialist, Aalborg CSP A/S.

Replacing natural gas with renewable energy sources is a natural step in Denmark’s green energy transition where most district heating plants typically switch to solar or biomass. However, combining several energy technologies to produce both heat and power is certainly a proof of innovative thinking which recently led to the realization of an ambitious green energy project in the town of Brønderslev.

The system is the first combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Denmark, but also in the whole world to integrate concentrated solar power (CSP) and a biomass boiler while also using Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) to turn the energy into district heating and electricity. Utilizing benefits of these innovative technologies enables the Brønderslev Forsyning district heating plant to achieve record energy efficiency, lower energy prices and a future-proof solution that is no longer dependent on fluctuating fossil fuel prices. Clean energy also means the reduction of more than 25,000 CO2 annually.

CSP, a flexible energy technology

Part of the new, sustainable CHP facility is an advanced, 26,929 m2 solar energy plant from Aalborg CSP. This solar-thermal system is based on the concentrated solar power (CSP) technology that has already been producing heat since the end of 2016. With the ORC and biomass units also going online, it is now ready to contribute to electricity production as well.

The CSP technology consists of 40 rows x 125m U-shaped mirrors that collect the sunrays throughout the day and reflect them onto a receiver pipe. This receiver pipe is surrounded by a special glass vacuum tube and inside this runs – only heated by the sun – thermal oil with temperatures up to 330 °C. This high temperature is able to drive an electric turbine to produce electricity, but the flexibility of the system also allows production of lower temperatures for district heating purposes. The solar heating system can thus alternate between providing combined heat and power at peak price periods, or exclusively deliver heat. On sunny days, the solar-thermal system in Brønderslev is set to reach 16.6 MWth capacity.

The CSP technology is capable of supporting the production of pretty much any energy outputs, be it heat, electricity, cooling, process steam or even desalinated water.

The achievement of the world’s first CSP system combined with a biomass-ORC plant was supported by the Danish Government’s Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP).

Source: Aalborg CSP A/S

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Worldwide, there are over 3,500 operational biomass power plants. They generate electricity and heat from solid biomass, reaching an installed capacity of 52.8 GWel. Within a year, 200 biomass power plants with a capacity of almost 3 GWel were commissioned. Significant growth rates in Asia are compensating the less dynamic development in the European key markets. At the same time, consolidation and globalisation continued among the technology providers in 2017. These are two of the results of a current ecoprog market report, called Biomass to Power.

The market for biomass power plants is mainly stimulated by renewable energy subsidies, especially in Europe, where first support schemes for electricity generation from solid biomass were introduced in the 1990s already.

By contrast, fuel availability is the determining factor in North and South American as well as many Asian markets, as subsidisation levels are oftentimes lower than in Europe. North America and Europe mainly use wood to generate energy, while South American countries primarily incinerate bagasse, a residue of the sugarcane industry. Agricultural residues such as straw, rice husks and empty fruit bunches from the palm oil industry are the main fuels in Asia.

What all the plants have in common is their intense waste heat utilisation (combined heat and power, CHP). About 60% of the biomass power plants are located at industrial sites. Many of them are fuelled with local production residues (palm oil fruit bunches, bagasse, wood-processing residues) and in turn deliver heat to the production process. Around 30% of all facilities are connected to district heating grids; most of those are located in colder regions such as Central Europe and Scandinavia. About 10% of the biomass power plants generate power only and do not use their waste heat at all. Many of them are located in China, where waste heat utilisation is not a requirement for obtaining subsidies.

The market development depends on how profitable RE subsidies are, especially in Europe. Many markets are saturated after many years of subsidisation, which would make the construction of new capacities only worthwhile with granting further generous subsidies. Additionally, Europe has fewer agricultural residues that can be used for thermal recovery than other regions.

As the already existing plants run at high operating costs, many European countries are lowering RE subsidies. For instance, the UK decided to no longer organise allocation rounds for renewable energies after 2019. In September 2017, Poland postponed its much-anticipated biomass auction indefinitely. This auction was initially planned for October 2017. Romania does also not seem to consider reintroducing RE subsidies.

Other European countries, however, are strengthening RE support. The Netherlands decided an 8 billion EUR support scheme for 2018, which is as much as in 2017. Finland is to establish a new auctioning system in 2018/2019, which will also include biomass power plants.

Globally, subsidisation systems did not change significantly in the past year. Argentina has to be mentioned as a special case, however: In 2017, the country approved subsidies for 14 biomass power plants with a capacity of 117 MWel and also announced the next auction for 2018.

The worldwide market for BMPPs will continue to develop dynamically until 2026. Throughout the world, another 2,000 biomass power plants with an installed capacity of over 25 GWel will be constructed. About 50% of this increase will happen in Asia and especially in the Chinese and Indian key markets. North and South America are to remain attractive markets for solid biomass electricity generation as well, mainly Brazil, Canada and the USA. The overall subsidisation level in Europe, however, will continue to decrease in the light of high costs and ecological aspects (sustainability). Europe will therefore become a less dynamic market.

As a result of the trends described above, consolidation and globalisation among the technology providers continued in 2017. For instance, UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler Group (today Wood Group) sold its fluidised bed combustion business to Japanese technology provider Sumitomo. Danish technology provider Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, part of Japanese Mitsui Group, took over financially troubled plant manufacturer Burmeister & Wain Energy. Danish technology provider Babcock & Wilcox Vølund was imposed a cost-cutting programme by US parent company Babcock & Wilcox, including the dismissal of 30% of staff.

Source: ecoprog

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Rolls-Royce has signed a contract with Tuinbouwbedrijf Marc Pittoors (T.B.M.P) BVBA, for the supply of a 7 MWe combined heat and power plant (CHP). The plant will be powered by two gas-fired gensets based on the new medium-speed Bergen B36:45L6 engine and will provide heat and power to a new tomato greenhouse in Belgium. The contract also includes a service agreement for 10 years. The gensets are scheduled to go into operation early November 2018.

Marc Pittoors will use the generated electricity to power the greenhouse artificial lighting and the heat extracted from exhaust gases and engine cooling systems to heat up the facility. In addition, cleaned engine exhaust gases will be injected into the greenhouse to increase the level of CO2 and boost plant growth.

For the tomato producing company, three factors were crucial in taking this decision: electrical efficiency (best in the current market), expertise (Rolls-Royce developed a gas engine in the early 90s and was the pioneer in lean-burn technology) and optimum heat balance (5 hectares of greenhouse space are illuminated and 3.5 hectares are not).

Rolls-Royce will be supplying the complete CHP plant for this greenhouse, consisting of the power generator sets, the exhaust gas systems including a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system and heat exchangers, and the electronic control system. In total, the technology achieves efficiency rates of more than 96%. Rolls-Royce has many years of experience with CHP plants and has since 2005 delivered 52 CHP plants with a total installed capacity of 270 MWe for greenhouses in Holland, Belgium, Russia and the UK.

Source: Rolls-Royce

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