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Wärtsilä to supply 225 MW power plant to Texas utility

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Finnish gas engine manufacturer Wärtsilä is to engineer and supply a 225 MW power plant to South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC) in the USA.

The STEC Red Gate power plant will be located in Hidalgo County, Texas and is scheduled to be in commercial operation by summer 2014. The plant will be powered by 12 Wärtsilä 50SG engines running on natural gas.

The new Red Gate power plant is designed to meet BACT (Best Available Control Technology) pollution standards as mandated by the United States Clean Air Act.  Wärtsilä  said one of the benefits of the 50SG engine is that its high simple-cycle efficiency is achieved with minimal water consumption.

Wärtsilä has also signed a maintenance agreement to provide technical and operational assistance with maintenance planning, technical advisors, spare parts, and an on-site inventory.

Aggreko provides power for gas exploration in Maranhao

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Temporary power supplier Aggreko is working with Duro Felguera, a specialist geological exploration group from Spain dedicated to developing and executing projects for a number of industrial sectors, including oil and gas. Aggreko is to provide power for Duro Feguera’s research work into natural gas fields in Santo Antonio dos Lopes, in the state of Maranhao, Brazil.

 

Duro Felguera was commissioned to explore areas of Santo Antonio dos Lopes where grid power was not available.  As the search for natural gas requires the use of heavy machinery with large motors that require reliable power, Aggreko was asked to provide 12 generators of various sizes (between 125 kVA and 500 kVA), capable of producing 3.1 MW of power.

Meanwhile, Aggreko has been chosen by one of Brazil’s largest independent renewable power generation companies to conduct performance tests at the Morro do Ventos wind farms in the northeast of the country.

The UK firm will supply load banks – a recreation of the load that a power source will generate – for commissioning tests of the 145 MW wind farms, which are operated by Dobreve Energia. Load bank testing ensures that the wind farm is ready for grid connection.

Eaton UPS products receive US Energy Star rating

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Eaton’s 5P, 5PX and 9PX UPS systems are Energy Star qualified following stringent third-party testing and verification of meeting the United States’ energy efficiency requirements.

Energy Star is a joint programme established by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy intended to help consumers save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

According to Energy Star, if all UPSs sold in the US in 2012 meet the Energy Star requirements, the energy cost savings will grow to $471m and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions from more than 636,000 vehicles.

Following the qualification, Eaton said it now offers the largest selection of Energy Star for server, storage and network protection applications. Eaton said it plans to continue the Energy Star certification process for additional UPS products.

KiWi Power to partner UK Power Networks in 10 MWh energy storage project

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Demand response provider KiWi Power is to partner distribution company UK Power Networks in developing a 10 MWh energy storage system with lithium-ion batteries.

Installation of the facility at a trial site in Bedfordshire will commence in January 2013. The energy storage device comprises a 10 MWh lithium-ion battery system with racks of battery cells, 6 MW power conversion system (PCS) with 11 kV step-up transformer and 11 kV switchgear and protection.

KiWi Power will manage the commercial arrangements for the energy storage unit's participation in National Grid's load balancing services, including short-term operating reserves (STOR) and frequency response.

The Smarter Network Storage (SNS) project is one of five schemesDemand Management selected by UK energy regulator Ofgem to help secure electricity supply and develop a new smart grid network. The four-year project which will examine the technical challenges and commercial opportunities of using stored electricity to meet peak energy demands and investigate the financial benefits of deferring or avoiding network reinforcement and selling flexibility services.

Yoav Zingher, CEO of Kiwi Power said: “Alongside demand side response measures, energy storage has the flexibility to meet increasing demand peaks and help to manage the supply-side energy provision from intermittent wind and inflexible nuclear energy. This trial is an important step towards proving the benefits of energy storage and will provide essential information for understanding the practicalities and economics of energy storage ahead of a smart grid transition.”

The five schemes received £45.5m ($73.3m) second-tier funding through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks (LCN) fund. Once the project has proven successful and the capabilities of energy storage are fully understood, it is expected that similar projects could be rolled out across the UK and provide savings of over £700m by 2040. 

Saft powering Canadian wind turbine

Mon, 11/19/2012 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The energy storage system will include two large-scale lithium-ion battery packs to store energy generated by wind power from an 800kW wind turbine.

The harnessed energy will be fed back to the electrical grid to be used during peak times of energy consumption, with the battery being recharged during off-peak periods.

Saft has demonstrated that this base system achieves a maximum ramp rate of 10% per minute of the rated power output of the 800kW wind turbine while also providing up to 400kWh of peak shaving capability. The flexibility and scalability of Saft's solution also allows the energy content to be increased in 124kWh increments up to 992kWh if additional peak shaving capability is desired.

This is the first project of its kind that Saft is involved in in North America.

BASF battery plant opens in Ohio

Wed, 11/14/2012 - 17:02 -- Ruth Williams

Chemical company BASF has opened a new cathode materials production plant in Elyria, Ohio. The materials manufactured at the plant will be for producing advanced lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and full electric vehicles. The 70 000 square foot plant is supported by BASF battery material research laboratory in Beachwood, Ohio.

 The company aims to become a leading provider of functional materials and solutions to battery manufacturers worldwide. The new plant making cathode materials will help realise this goal.

 The construction cost more than US$50 million. The US Department of Energy gave a grant of US$24.6 million toward the costs, which show a strong alliance with the company.

 BASF is one of only two licensed suppliers of ANL-patented Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese (NCM) cathode materials, a unique combination of lithium and manganese-rich mixed metal oxides, particularly well suited to the production of lithium-ion batteries for automotive and other high-end applications.

 Senator Sherrod Brown, who supported BASF’s DOE grant application said: “BASF is helping make Ohio the Silicon Valley for clean energy manufacturing. As our reliance on foreign sources of energy grows more and more unsustainable, American consumers will turn to hybrid and fully electric vehicles – powered by lithium-ion battery materials made by BASF.

 As part of its long-term battery materials strategy, BASF will continue to work with partners in industry and science to develop materials and technologies for current and next generation lithium-ion batteries as well as for future battery systems.

A123 Update

Wed, 10/31/2012 - 17:02 -- Ruth Williams

A123 is in deals with Wanxiang Group Corporation for a US$50 million emergency loan to fund its bankruptcy case.

After filing for bankruptcy earlier in October, A123 was to be lent money by Johnson Controls Inc as the ‘debtor in possession’ but now the Chinese auto parts maker will replace JCI with a lower interest rate on the loan. This is the initial offer for a bidding war that is sure to gain momentum as the two firms strive to gain possession of assets from the lithium-ion battery maker.

JCI still intends to bid for A123’s automotive assets but felt the value of the company would be further damaged by a lengthy bidding war with Wanxiang Corp.

Hope for A123 Systems

Tue, 09/11/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Fraught battery manufacturer A123 Systems has been handed salvation in the form of a US $465 million investment from Chinese car-parts maker Wanxiang Group Corporation.

This will result in Wanxiang, one of China’s biggest non-governmental companies, owning 80% of A123 and holding four of the nine board seats for A123.

Earlier this year A123 announced it was running out of money, despite a cash injection from the Obama administration in 2009. This new investment could mean a government funded business will be in the hands of a non-US company that could out-source jobs.

The Michigan based battery maker has suffered because the EV market has failed to take off as quickly as hoped, only accounting for 3% of US car sales last year. For the second quarter of 2012 it reported losses of US$ 82.9 million so is in desperate need of help. A123 has 2 500 workers whose job security rests on the secure future of the company.

Award for Accutronics and Aston University

Thu, 08/23/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Battery manufacturers Accutronics, based in Birmingham UK, have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership award for a joint project with Birmingham’s Aston University Business School.

Accutronics, who design, develop and manufacturer nickel metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries, joined with Aston for the two-year project to demonstrate how academic advancements could be used as a practical business tool.

Prabhjit Singh Chugh of Aston University spent time at Accutronics on the team where he was able to develop a new approach to managing operational improvements in a very customer driven way.  Martin May of Aston University described Prabhjit’s role as to “present a project in partnership with the host business to attract government funding.  The university provides some supervision and mentorship, as, of course, does Accutronics.”

The KTP project aims to build and strengthen relationships between academic establishments, businesses and the community.

Gareth Hancox, KTP project supervisor said: “This project was aimed at developing and implementing an operational strategy, which, together with all necessary processes and facilities would assist to support and grow the increasingly complex product range within Accutronics.”  He hopes it will continue to improve Accutronics reputation and enable the company to meet the challenges of performance requirements.

Key achievements in the first year of the project have included the definition of operations performance targets for existing and new markets and the identification of over one hundred improvement actions in the business process.

H-Train of tomorrow, today

Thu, 08/23/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

A hydrogen-powered hybrid train has been designed and built by students at the University of Birmingham, UK.  The prototype narrow gauge locomotive, running on a 5 000-litre hydrogen fuel cell combined with lead-acid batteries, is the first of its kind operating in the UK.

Dr Stuart Hillmansen, from the University of Birmingham's School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering, said: "Our hydrogen-powered locomotive is a clean and efficient example of how hydrogen power could work for future trains on non-electrified routes.  We hope that our efforts will encourage the rail industry to take a closer look at this exciting technology."

The fuel cell is used both to power the permanent magnet electric motors and to charge the batteries, helping to meet the peak power demands during acceleration.

The advanced cell, which has already been successfully deployed by the university on a canal barge, exceeded expectations when the locomotive was tested on Leicestershire's Stapleford Miniature Railway.

Hydrogen transport also hit the headlines recently during the London 2012 Olympics.  A fleet of five black cabs, powered by hydrogen, shuttled people around the city demonstrating the potential of H-cells as an alternative fuel source.

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