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Today sees the opening of the world’s first eHighway in Sweden. The country’s Minister for Infrastructure, Anna Johansson and Minister of Energy, Ibrahim Baylan inaugurated the first eHighway system on a public road. For the next two years, a Siemens catenary system for trucks will be tested on a two-kilometer stretch of the E16 highway north of Stockholm. The trial will use two diesel hybrid vehicles manufactured by Scania and adapted, in collaboration with Siemens, to operate under the catenary system. “The Siemens eHighway is twice as efficient as conventional internal combustion engines. The Siemens innovation supplies trucks with power from an overhead contact line. This means that not only is energy consumption cut by half, but local air pollution is reduced too,” says Roland Edel, Chief Engineer at the Siemens Mobility Division.

Transport accounts for more than one third of Sweden’s CO2 emissions, with almost half of that coming from freight transport. As part of its climate protection strategy, Sweden has committed to having a fossil fuel independent transport sector by 2030. Due to the expected growth in freight transport, road freight is set to grow even as rail capacity is increased. A solution to decarbonized road freight is therefore necessary. During the two-year trial, Sweden’s Transport Administration Trafikverket and Gävleborg County want to create a knowledge base on whether the Siemens eHighway system is suitable for future long-term commercial use and further deployment. “By far the greatest part of the goods transported in Sweden goes on the road, but only a limited part of the goods can be moved to other traffic types. That is why we must free the trucks from their dependence on fossil fuels, so that they can be of use also in the future. Electric roads offer this possibility and are an excellent complement to the transport system”, says Anders Berndtsson, chief strategist at the Swedish Transport Administration.

The core of the system is an intelligent pantograph combined with a hybrid drive system. A sensor system enables the pantograph to connect to and disconnect from the overhead line at speeds of up to 90 km per hour. Trucks equipped with the system draw power from the overhead catenary wires as they drive, enabling them to travel efficiently and with zero local emissions. Thanks to the hybrid system, operation outside of the contact line is also possible, thus maintaining the flexibility of conventional trucks. The eHighway technology features an open configuration. As a result, battery or natural gas solutions, for example, can be implemented as an alternative to the diesel hybrid drive system used in Sweden. This allows the system to be adapted flexibly to the specific application.

Siemens is currently developing another eHighway demonstration project in California. This project is being undertaken in collaboration with vehicle manufacturer Volvo on behalf of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Tests will be conducted throughout 2017 to see how different truck configurations interact with the eHighway infrastructure in the vicinity of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

 

Source: Siemens

On 16 February, the European Commission presented its first strategy to optimise heating and cooling in buildings and industries. The EU Heating and Cooling Strategy is the first EU initiative to address the energy used for heating and cooling in buildings and industry, which accounts for 50% of the EU’s annual energy consumption. By making the sector smarter, more efficient and sustainable, energy imports and dependency will fall, costs will be cut and emissions reduced. The Strategy is a key action of the Energy Union and will contribute to improving EU’s energy security and to addressing the post-COP 21 climate agenda.

Heating and cooling refers to the energy needed for warming and cooling buildings, whether residential or in the services sector (for example schools, hospitals, office buildings). It also includes the energy required by almost all industrial processes as well as cooling and refrigeration in the service sector, such as the retail sector (for example to preserve food across the supply chain, from production to supermarket and on to the customer). Currently, the sector accounts for 50% of the EU’s annual energy consumption, accounting for 13% of total oil consumption and 59% of total gas consumption (direct use only) in the EU. The latter equates to 68% of all gas imports. This is mainly because European buildings are old, which implies various problems, including:

• Almost half of the EU’s buildings have boilers installed prior to 1992, with an efficiency rate of below 60%.
• 22% of gas boilers, 34% of electric heaters, 47% of oil boilers and 58% of coal boilers are older than their technical lifetime. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

At the end of 2014 the company Industrias de Hule Galgo decided to undertake the installation project of an efficient CHP plant for its production plant, with the aim of bringing down energy costs and improving the company’s competitive position in the market. The new plant has already started its first operational phase. The project has comprised the installation of a single cycle with gas-powered gensets providing a total electrical capacity of 6.6 MW. This provides the necessary thermal oil for the production plant; covers 100% of the electrical power consumed by the industrial complex; and also generates cooling water, giving improved production capacity by supercooling the extrusion system.
To execute these works, Industrias de Hule Galgo contracted the services of engineering company AESA to provide the engineering, procurement and construction of the CHP plant.

Industrias de Hule Galgo S.A. de CV, based in Tula, Hildalgo, is a private company that has a plant dedicated to the production of tyre treads for the renovation of tyres and inner tubes. This project has meant that the purchase of grid electricity and natural gas for its thermal needs has been replaced by an efficient cogeneration system that guarantees the generation of electricity, thermal oil and cooling for the company’s factory.

The CHP plant has been designed in a single cycle configuration with gas-powered gensets and heat recovery boilers. Its cooling water production system works via the recovery of heat from the engine’s high temperature circuit to cool the product via an absorption chiller. The plant offers a production capacity of some 6.6 MW ISO. Read more…

Ricard Vila & Cristina Martí, AESA

Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2016

Making manufacturing more efficient is key to maintaining Europe’s competitiveness and keeping production alive in our economies, as well as globally benefitting the environment in which we live. The aim of the REEMAIN project is to deliver models and methodologies that consume less energy and resources in as many sectors as possible. It also aims to help EU companies export c-lean (clean and lean) production technologies to the rest of the world.

The Resource and Energy Efficient ManufacturINg (REEMAIN) project, led by CARTIF Technology Centre, aims to show that factories can maintain product excellence at the same time as consuming less resources and increasing energy efficiency through the use of renewable energy technologies, achieving high levels of efficiency in production processes and improving management procedures. The project has three main focus areas, which correspond to its key activities:

  • Development and testing of holistic simulation tools to help analyse factory performance and the decision-making process to establish the most effective strategies.
  • Optimisation of current factory operations including the recovery of wasted energy (mainly residual heat) as a first efficiency measure before investing in new solutions.
  • Seamless integration of renewable energy sources into the manufacturing processes. Read more…
  • Aníbal Reñones
    Project Coordinator, CARTIF

    Article published in: FuturENERGY December 2015

El alumbrado público representa en torno al 30% de la factura energética promedio de un ayuntamiento, ya que la iluminación es una ávida consumidora de recursos. Y alcanza niveles máximos cuando además las luminarias no operan de la forma más eficiente, suponiendo un enorme derroche de caudales públicos que podrían dedicarse a usos mejores. Dado que las autoridades locales de todo el mundo necesitan reducir las emisiones de carbono y los costes operacionales, la eficiencia energética, como por ejemplo las actuaciones en iluminación, son ya en una tendencia paneuropea que puede llegar a suponer un ahorro energético de hasta el 70%. De acuerdo con los expertos, el paso a la utilización de LEDs es inevitable debido a factores socioeconómicos cada vez más evidentes a nivel mundial. En el siguiente artículo se recogen dos ejemplos de ciudades en Europa y Latinoamérica, que están apostando por la iluminación de la mano de GE Lighting.

El ayuntamiento húngaro de Balatonfüred, como parte de su estrategia ecológica, ha cambiado su sistema de iluminación antiguo por la solución de alumbrado público LED de GE Lighting, con un aumento de la eficiencia energética y un bajo mantenimiento.

Balatonfüred es la primera ciudad de Europa en instalar alumbrado urbano LED de GE. La mayoría de farolas actualmente en uso necesitaban ser actualizadas con urgencia. En total se han instalado 1.400 luminarias de GE, que de acuerdo con los cálculos preliminares generarán un ahorro de hasta un 55% del coste energético, por lo que ya se está planeando extenderla a toda la ciudad. Leer más…

Artículo publicado en: FuturENERGY Noviembre 2015

The AMB and Carandini are launching a pilot to install LEDs in the Vila Olímpica Tunnel on Barcelona’s coastal ring road that will save up to 45% in energy consumption. Other smart projects already launched by AMB include the Columna Paral•lel lamp post and interior lighting for bus shelters.

A significant reduction in electricity consumption and improved visibility of the tunnels on the Barcelona ring roads on which an average of 165,000 vehicles travel every day comprise the aims of this new pilot project. Launched by AMB and the Barcelona Regional Council – the competent administrations for the management of Barcelona’s ring roads,- and Carandini, an international reference in smart and efficient lighting for public spaces, the project is installing LED lighting in the Vila Olímpica Tunnel on Barcelona’s Ronda Litoral, the coastal ring road. The new white lighting replaces the current yellow-coloured sodium vapour lamps.

Under this collaboration, Carandini, a Catalonian company with US capital, has supplied 52 LED lamps to the metropolitan administration for installation between exits 21 and 22 of the ring road, the Hospital del Mar and Barcelona’s Biomedical Research Centre, heading towards Besós. The product is one of the most efficient on the market, provided the necessary illumination with minimum output. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY November 2015

Interior-Catedral-Palma-Mallorca-low

Axpo Iberia S.L. has signed an agreement with Palma Cathedral for the supply of green energy to the various installations in the most iconic building in the Balearic capital. Popularly known as ‘La Seu’, the building was declared an Artistic Historical Monument in 1931 and its rose window is the largest in Europe. The second largest Gothic cathedral in Europe, it is also known as ‘the cathedral of light’ and welcomes nearly 900,000 visitors annually. In addition, to promote efficient use and energy savings at the installations, the consumption of green energy has become a key principle for the prudent and sensible use of energy. “Axpo manages the largest portfolio of renewable plants in Spain, which allows us to offer 100% renewable energy to all our customers, and to help them meet their sustainability commitments,” said Ignacio Soneira, Managing Director of Axpo Iberia.

The decision taken by the management of Palma Cathedral is consistent with their commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their activities, by means of sustainable solutions which contribute to the conservation of the planet. “Palma Cathedral has an established power-management policy, in line with the concern over environmental issues and the consequences of climate change recently expressed by Pope Francis I in his encyclical Laudato Si” , commented Jose E. Capote, head of Palma Cathedral Council. “In order to contribute to the mitigation of this concern, an Energy Management System has been implemented based on the standard ISO 50001:2011 so as to continuously improve the management of energy consumption and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, he added.

Palma Cathedral has chosen one of the indexed contract types offered by Axpo, enabling more efficient management of its consumption by paying the real hour by hour market price of electricity, benefiting from consumption at times of lowest energy cost.

Since its entry into the Iberian market in 2002, Axpo Iberia has gradually expanded its lines of business in Spain and Portugal, now covering a wide range of services: marketing of electricity and gas; energy management for special regime producers; power generation control and load dispatching center (CECOGEL); structured products and trading in electricity, biomass, and CO2.

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Last year was a breakthrough year for solar in the Middle East with over 30 solar projects awarded – a ten-fold increase on 2013, according to The Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA). MESIA also predicts that in 2015, more than 1,500 MW worth of solar projects will be tendered to meet the rising electricity demands set by the region’s population, which is estimated to continue growing by approximately 1.9 percent year-on-year. Accelerating the growth of solar is the continued development of innovative technologies and services that are further driving down the cost of solar systems, offering the rapidly growing regions of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) a valuable and economically viable energy alternative to conventional fossil fuels.

Solar gains ground

Over the last decade the MENA region has really started to harness the abundant natural energy resource which it possesses – the sun. The popularity of solar energy across MENA is largely driven from the UAE. Dubai has awarded a 200 MW Solar PV power plant, introduced solar powered ‘palm trees’ as well as the Dubai Rooftop Solar program, and has increased its target threefold, upping solar’s target contribution to the energy mix from 5 percent to 15 percent, which means it will have 3,000 MW of solar power by 2030.

Meanwhile, last year Jordan awarded 12 solar projects, the most inany country in the region in 2014. Although it traditionally relies on fossil fuel imports to meet around 95 percent of its energy demand, the recent social unrest in the region has highlighted the risks with being over-reliant on a single energy source. To address this, last year, Jordan’s energy minister announced that several renewable energy projects with a total capacity of 1,800 MW will be connected to its national power grid by the end of 2018.

Morocco has the most ambitious clean energy target in the MENA region and is on track to have 42 percent of its installed energy capacity dedicated to renewable sources by 2020. Of that, 2,000 MW will come from solar. Furthermore, the Moroccan Institute for Research on Solar Energy and New Energy (IRESEN) last year financed six R&D solar thermal and CSP projects to drive technological advancements in the country. Last but by no means least, Egypt has also set its sights on solar, with a target of 2.3 GW of solar by 2017.

The solar opportunities and challenges in MENA

This continued drive towards solar, following the reduction in the cost of solar systems, has resulted in it being competitive with the wholesale price of electricity in many regions. The Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) recently secured a 25-year electricity tariff of roughly $0.06 per kilowatt hour for a 200 MW solar PV power plant. This ground-breaking cost reduction has led solar to become one of the most competitive energy sources in the region and the IEA estimates that solar will become the cheapest form of electricity between 2025 and 2030. The implementation of solar projects throughout the region is also helping to reduce carbon emissions, which, have grown so rapidly in the last decade that the average person in MENA is set to emit more emissions than the average person globally by the end of this year.GE-Solar-Power-Growth-Infographic_FINAL_v2_2

However, there are three key challenges which further technology innovations can help overcome:

Extreme environment

Temperatures of up to 53 degrees Celsius pose a number of technical challenges for solar power which could put a cap in growth if not addressed. And, as solar farms are usually located in remote areas of desert, with no shade or protection from the sun, with high levels of heat, dust and humidity, equipment must be designed to deal with these conditions for a sustained period of time. Liquid cooling of inverters can ensure they can withstand the heat and extreme conditions necessary. Additionally, IP65 rated equipment provides a completely sealed enclosure with no additional housing and air-conditioning required. These innovations enable the equipment to last under extreme conditions and make them perfect for hot, arid desert regions enabling a stable power delivery for an optimal financial performance.

Stabilizing solar on the grid

While solar is playing an increasing role in power supply, it cannot be relied upon completely due to its intermittent nature. Energy Storage solutions are still very expensive to resolve this issue. Batteries have become the holy grail not only for the solar power industry but for many other industries as well.

Further innovations around solar including Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) for example, can play a key role alongside more traditional methods such as oil and gas, in stabilising the grid. By concentrating the heat of the sun into a far smaller focal point, such as a boiler, this heat can be stored for later. With heat building up throughout the day, this provides an ideal energy source for when the sun is no longer shining, with the boiler driving a steam turbine to produce electricity onto the grid once PV output significantly reduces. Having reliable CSP systems which can be monitored remotely, while ensuring high reliability in harsh environmental conditions, is critical to the further growth of solar and in providing greater grid stability.

Further reducing the cost of solar power in the region

Throughout much of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), electricity and water prices are highly subsidised by governments. Abu Dhabi alone spent Dh17.5 billion last year on subsidising the cost of electricity and water. In Saudi Arabia, the government is burning nearly 900,000 barrels of oil a month in the summer of 2014 to meet high demand of electricity, which is then sold at a fraction of the cost. Now that oil revenue has dropped with the fall in oil prices, these subsidies are making a dent in government budgets. Dubai was the first to adopt cost-reflective pricing policies, and others will follow. This will push up the price of electricity and make solar, which is not subsidised, more attractive.

Despite solar power becoming competitive with the wholesale price of electricity in many regions across MENA, additional cost reductions are needed to make solar electricity fully competitive against conventional power sources in the long term. The opportunity of improving PV system costs via voltage increases on the DC side has already been successfully applied worldwide with the move from 600 VDC to 1,000 VDC large scale PV systems. Today, new developments at GE has created a shift towards 1,500 VDC architecture and this is widely seen as the next natural step in the evolution of utility scale PV power plants, further tapping into the cost reduction opportunity. By increasing the voltage level, the inverter power station’s power rating increases proportionally and thus decreases system losses and balance of plant costs. In addition, GE’s LV5 inverters have the latest software controls ensuring optimized power harvesting and a smooth integration of power produced into the grid.

While many countries are recognising the economic viability of solar, resolving technological issues is key to unlocking the role of solar in the global energy mix and driving it to parity with traditional energy sources.

Inspire blog by Hani Majzoub

 

Buildings today are responsible for 40% of Europe’s energy consumption and have become a key challenge to achieve energy saving objectives. Public buildings have to set an example as they have a savings potential of up to 35%, maintaining the same degree of comfort. Thanks to EC-financed projects such as EPLACE and TEDS4BEE, the achievement of these savings will lead to a more efficient, sustainable and cleaner Europe to the benefit of all.

Energy efficiency has been one of the key commitments for achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. A number of European directives and national policies have been published that aim to achieve three goals: a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; achieving 20% production from renewable sources; and increasing energy efficiency by 20%. These targets could become more ambitious for the 2030 horizon, setting threshold objectives of almost 30%.

The 2012 Directive on energy efficiency (2012/27/EU) and the Directive on the energy performance of buildings (2010/31/EU) place emphasis on the example to be set by the public sector and encourage each Member State to establish more ambitious objectives for buildings occupied by public authorities. Spain has an electricity consumption saving and efficiency plan – Horizon 20151 and a more general savings and energy efficiency action plan for 2011-2020. Read more…

EPLACE and TEDS4BEE projects communication team

Article published in: FuturENERGY June 2015

Seeking to increase its availability to meet Ireland’s future energy needs, the Whitegate Power Station in County Cork, Ireland, has implemented new GE (NYSE: GE) software technology to operate more efficiently and reliably. The site is the world’s first plant to install Reliability Excellence, a new advanced software solution which taps into industrial-scale data analytics to predictively identify operational issues before they occur.

The 445-megawatt gas combined-cycle power plant is located 25 miles east of the city of Cork and is owned by Bord Gáis Energy, a subsidiary of the Centrica Group since July 2014. GE, which provided the plant’s original generation equipment, operates and maintains Whitegate for Bord Gáis Energy under a 12-year service agreement. Whitegate began operating in November 2010 and generates enough electricity to meet the needs of 300,000 homes in Ireland.

With the Irish government’s 2020 targets aiming for 40 percent of gross electricity consumption to come from renewable energy production—thus creating a greater requirement for reliable, on-demand generation capacity—Bord Gáis Energy understood it needed to prepare the station for such future grid challenges.

“It is critical for Whitegate, which at times can provide electricity for up to 10 percent of Ireland’s households, to be available for power generation when called upon by the transmission system operator,” said Rory Griffin, operations engineer—Whitegate, Asset Operations, Bord Gais Energy. “GE’s new software technology is an ideal solution to help increase our plant’s reliability and availability while making the most of our planned maintenance outages.”

In June 2014, GE launched the software project by installing a condition-based, real-time monitoring solution featuring 141 total sensors throughout the plant. Through around-the-clock monitoring of Whitegate’s hardware assets, GE’s Reliability Excellence technology provides the facility’s operators a single, consolidated view of plant performance. These insights are being translated into operational recommendations that are expected to help the station focus its maintenance activity on minimizing downtime.

Additionally, the software’s comprehensive data analytics is helping Whitegate detect operational anomalies, including combustion dynamics and parts degradation, before they become serious issues that could force the plant offline for costly unplanned repairs.

Phase two of the project will include an operations module for process optimization and operational excellence, providing key performance indicator-focused analytics to multiple levels of the facility. This phase will provide a pathway to more flexible operation and connect the plant performance better to the real time marketplace. These analytics will help customers identify actions for lowering production costs, increasing plant capability and improving system reliability.

“It has been quite fulfilling for our team to collaborate with Bord Gáis Energy to demonstrate the capabilities our Reliability Excellence software can bring to our customers throughout Europe and to do so cost-effectively,” said Ramon Paramio, general manager—Europe, GE’s Power Generation Services business. “The Whitegate project’s scope establishes a data-driven foundation based on reliability while delivering capabilities that enable the operator to make better business decisions based on real-time operational readiness.”

Reliability Excellence technologies are powered by an enterprise GE platform called Predix*. Representing an industrial cloud-based platform, this fully connected and secure cloud environment unifies the flow of data across all plant and fleet assets, delivering the enterprise visibility and insights needed to help optimize power plant, fleet and business operations. These applications are part of GE’s new Software Solutions portfolio, a suite of breakthrough power generation software capabilities that bridge both GE and non-GE equipment to deliver turnkey solutions.

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