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BASF 2012 figures show growth in all sectors

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

German chemical giant BASF has released its sales figures for 2012 showing growth across the company. The chemical segment overall sales figures grew 7% on 2011, the 2012 sales increased to €13.8billion. There was however a decline in EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) due to plant shut downs and lower margins.


The tables below show the full figures for 2012 compared to the previous year across the range of the company (bottom) as well as the fourth quarter sales figures (top).

Smart heating system could cut bills and increase use of renewables

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

An energy efficient heating system offering efficiency savings of up to 20% could be key in the transition to low-carbon energy systems in Europe. This is according to a report commissioned by SSE (UK energy generators and distributors) and Dimplex (a global heating solutions firm).

The smart electric thermal storage (SETS) system works by storing up renewably produced energy when production is high but demand is low. The report indicated SETS could provide up to 54GW of additional flexible storage capacity across Europe by 2050, enabling renewable electricity to be stored when demand is low and used to heat homes when needed.

The system, first brought to the market by SEE and Dimplex in a product called Quantum, is intended to replace out-dated night storage heaters with something more efficient and with better room temperature control as well as being designed for smart grid integration.

The report found that if all 27 EU countries replaced storage heaters with SETS, savings of 7.4TWh of electricity and three mega-tons of CO2 could be made each year. If used in all electrically heated homes as much as 148GW could be provided by 2050.

Stuart Mackenzie, Managing Director of Dimplex, added: “Quantum offers consumers with electric storage heaters the opportunity to reduce their running costs by up to 27%. It’s also a Green Deal approved measure, so the capital cost outlay can be substantially reduced.”

Advances in charging for smart devices mean longer run times

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Chinese portable power company Powerocks has an ever growing range of mobile phone power boosting accessories. The high capacity portable batteries provide additional power for mobile and tablet devices that are compatible with USB ports.

The lithium-ion batteries can be charged form a mains power supply and then provide several re-charges for smart phones and tablet devices. The slim-line design of iPhones and the like mean the battery cannot be swapped with a spare, it must be recharged, resulting in companies coming up with novel ways to help users re-charge when travelling or away from mains charging.

The range includes the Stone series of portable batteries that offer between 5800mAh and 7800mAh capacity, which provide an additional three times power for devices; The Magicstick is the size of an AA cell and offers 2600mAH power on the go for phone devices. 

The MagicstickThe ultimate in portable battery is built into the phone cover. The interestingly named Cheese Crystal is a protective case for the iPhone4 that has an 1800mAH lithium-ion battery incorporated in it to double potential battery life.

When charged, Powerocks range can power up to two devices, dependant on model, two or three times. The designs are complimentary to Apple style and show these chargers can be sleek and elegant but still pack a lot of power.

Supply deal worth $2.4 million for military experts

Mon, 02/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Arotech Corporation is to supply the US Army with over 1500 Soldier Wearable Integrated Power Equipment System, or SWIPES, from its battery and power systems division.

SWIPES integrates force protection electronics and communication equipment, with a zinc-air battery into an army issue load-carrying vest. The system uses a modular power distribution system powered by BA-8180/U, BA-8140/U zinc-air batteries or LI-145, BB2590 rechargeable batteries for providing direct power to equipment.

The high energy density means soldiers can work for longer in the field without recharging or swapping battery packs. This enables longer missions as well as reducing the pack weight by 30%. The batteries continuously charge the secondary batteries inside various devices, such as two-way radios, GPS units and shot detection systems. SWIPES can be adapted to individual’s needs, to allow soldiers to accept new applications when they become available.

"Reducing the load on a soldier and simplifying the supply logistics promoted SWIPES to be awarded the accolade of a Top-Ten Best Army Inventions in 2011," declared Arotech's Chairman and CEO, Robert Ehrlich. "This follow-on order from the US army is testament to the effectiveness of our product and reflects its increasing acceptance among US Ground Forces."

Aggreko appoints director for Europe, Middle East and Africa

Mon, 02/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Aggreko has announced the appointment of David Taylor-Smith as its new director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, with effect from 11 March 2013.

Former British Army officer Taylor-Smith has spent most of his career in the security industry. The 51 year-old worked for G4S between 1998 and 2012, most recently in the role of Chief Operating Officer and Regional Chief Executive of UK, Ireland and Africa.

Taylor-Smith resigned from G4S last September after the company failed to provide an adequate number of security staff for the London Olympic Games, forcing British police and the British Army to intervene. The company eventually booked a loss of $108m on the project.

The appointment follows the management reorganisation announced by Aggreko last September, with the group being split into three regional units for the Americas; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia, Pacific and Australia (APAC), each managed by a main board director.

The Americas and APAC posts were filled by internal candidates - Asterios Satrazemis and Debajit Das, respectively.

MEMS Power Generation to keep power running at London Uni

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

A major London university contracted MEMS Power Generation to provide temporary power for the continuation of medical research and experiments during maintenance work.

MEMS supplied a total of 4100kVA to six buildings on the university site that house 20 years of experiments that cannot be affected by ongoing site maintenance.

Engineers installed two 800kVA generators, that will work in parallel redundancy, and 2600kg of cabling for total resilience. This was followed by two 1250kVA generators, which will work in parallel to power the site’s main building.

MEMS Power Generation, commented: “The University is renowned for carrying out a vast amount of medical research, so the temporary power we supplied needed to ensure that experiments and testing could carry on as normal during the maintenance period. If power had been lost, potentially 20 yeas of experiments could have been lost.

"Our aim was to ensure that the buildings never lost power for more than 15 minutes on installation of the temporary equipment and on reinstatement of the mains supply.”

Oz energy firm offer $10 000 in grants

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Australia’s biggest energy retailer, Origin, is offering AUS$10 000 in grants to encourage customers to install energy saving devices. The programme is intended to raise awareness of where energy savings can be made at household and business level.

The programme, called Origin Local Savers, is open to households, businesses and community groups in Ballarat, Victoria, with five grants being given out in total.

"We hope that Origin Local Savers will help Ballarat residents become more aware of the simple things that can be done around the office, home or in the community," said Amy Stockfield, Origin Consumer Media and Partnerships Manager.

The grant money can be used to upgrade electrical appliances, install eco-friendly lamps or set up timer switches to reduce the use of standby power.

Scania launches genset product line

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Swedish engine maker Scania has launched a small range of gensets primarily aimed at prime power applications for the mining and construction industries.

Scania Gensets are available in two versions, open or  closed canopy, ranging from 50 Hz 250-600 kVA and 60 Hz 280-665 kVA and powered by Scania 9.3 litre/5 cylinder or 12.7 litre/6 cylinder diesel engines. Scania Gensets will add a third engine to the range, a 15.6 litre/V8 with a power capacity of 800 kVA at 1800 rpm in 60 Hz later this year.

Unveiling the new product line at Middle East Electricity in Dubai on 17 February, Scania said the gensets will be packaged by Northern Ireland’s AJ Power with alternators provided by Mecc Alte and Cummins (Stamford). Cautious about brand reputation, Scania said potential distributors will be required to meet strict ‘Market Prepared’ regulations.

Robert Sobocki, Senior Vice Preident of Scania Engines told Critical Power Online: “Many of our mining and construction industry engine customers told us that they wanted a complete solution, so this has been driven by market demand.

“We are targeting all regions with the exception of North and South America. We see particularly strong demand in Southeast Asia.” Sobocki added Scania had already supplied a number of complete genset packages to Myanmar.

Perkins to exhibit new compact engine range at Middle East Electricity 2013

Fri, 02/15/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Genset engine manufacturer Perkins is exhibiting a new range of 400 Series ElectropaKs at Middle East Electricity 2013, which takes place in Dubai on 17-19 February.

Perkins 4006-23TRS gas engineThere are four engines in total, all of which come in ElectropaK specification providing a turnkey package for direct integration into generating plant. The 403A-11G1 offers 9.2 kVA prime power at 1500 rpm, the 403-15G1 is rated at 13.2 kVA prime power, slightly less than its G2 counterpart, while the larger displacement 404A-22G1 completes the line up with 20.3 kVA prime power on tap.

In the field the 400A range has the option of the Extended Service Interval (ESI) package, which doubles the service interval to 1,000 hours. OEMs and Perkins distributors will be allowed to source all the individual components to create an oil top-up kit that meets Perkins’ recommended specification. As long as the kit is installed to Perkins standards, all warranty cover will be unaffected.

Perkins will also be exhibiting its 4006-23TRS gas engine. A turbocharged, air to water chargecooled, 6 cylinder inline engine, it is designed for operation on a wide range of methane based gases.

California mandates utility to provide 50 MW energy storage

Fri, 02/15/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

California energy storageThe California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ordered Southern California Edison (SCE) to procure at least 50 MW of energy storage capacity as part of a plan to supply as much as 1,800 MW of electrical capacity in the area.

The requirement is the first of its kind for a utility in the state, according to Janice Lin, executive director of the California Energy Storage Alliance.

Under the CPUC's decision, energy storage resources must be considered "along with preferred resources" including energy efficiency, demand response and distributed generation, consistent with the clean energy resource procurement priorities embodied in California's Energy Action Plan.

Lin said: "This landmark decision represents a major breakthrough for energy storage market development in California and nationwide, and  provides a much needed market signal that energy storage will be considered as a key asset class to help California address its long term local reliability needs." 

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