POWER Digest (October 2017)

Construction Scheduled for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Plant in South Korea. Hanwha Energy on August 25 approved formation of a subsidiary, Daesan Green Energy, to build a 50-MW hydrogen fuel cell plant in the Daesan Industrial Complex in Seosan City in South Chungcheong Province. Hanwha executives in a news release said “It is the first power plant in South Korea that uses byproduct hydrogen as its fuel and [will be] the largest of its type in the world.” Hanwha proposed the plant in December 2016, signing a memorandum of understanding with Korea East-West PowerDoosan, and SK Securities to develop and finance the $227 million plant. A hydrogen fuel cell plant generates power from an electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and as such has no particulate or greenhouse gas emissions. Construction is scheduled to begin in December 2017, with a commercial in-service date of November 2019.

Japanese group gets contract for 1.2-GW coal-fired plant in Bangladesh. Toshiba, Sumitomo and IHI announced August 24 that their consortium secured an engineering, procurement, and construction contract to build a 1,200-MW coal-fired power plant along with a deep-sea port in Bangladesh. The contract is with Coal Power Generation Co. Bangladesh. The project has an estimated cost of $4.58 billion. The plant, modeled on Kashima Port in Japan, will include two 600-MW units and be built on Matarbari Island in southeastern Bangladesh. It will use imported coal as fuel and is expected to supply about 10% of the country’s generation capacity. Natural gas is the dominant electricity source in Bangladesh, supplying about 65% of the country’s generation. Construction of the plant began in August, with a completion date of July 2024. Sumitomo will do most of the construction, Toshiba will supply and install the steam turbines, and IHI will provide and install boilers.

Siemens Expands Service Contract in Iraq. The KAR Group in Iraq and Siemens in late August extended and expanded a service contract, adding another 15 years to an agreement for operations and maintenance (O&M) for two SSC5-2000E units at the Khormala facility in Kurdistan. The 930-MW natural gas-fired power plant provides about 30% of the power demand for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), according to Siemens and KAR. Siemens, which has managed O&M at Khormala since 2013 and currently has more than 40 workers on-site, said the agreement covers operation and maintenance of six SGT5-2000E gas turbines, and six SGen5-100A generators, as well as associated ancillary and auxiliary systems. Siemens also said it will implement its Siemens Power Diagnostics system at Khormala, part of its “Digital Services for Energy” portfolio. The MENA Power 2017 report, which focuses on the Middle East and North Africa, said current power demand in Iraq is about 21 GW and is growing faster than supply. KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has said the KRG will increase power generation capacity by building new power plants and increasing the efficiency of existing facilities. KRG in 2016 received a $375 million loan from the International Finance Corp., a member of the World Bank, to increase electricity generation from 1,000 MW to 1,500 MW.

Japan Regulator Approves Full Water Shielding Wall at Fukushima. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) of Japan on August 15 approved freezing the remaining 7 meters (m) of wall on the west side of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The $318 million project is part of an effort that began in March 2016—five years after an earthquake set off an accident at the facility—to contain contaminated groundwater that has entered the reactor buildings and come into contact with melted nuclear fuel. It entails freezing more than 1,500 m of soil around the plant’s six units using circulated coolant through buried pipes. However, the NRA was concerned that if the entire wall was frozen, the level of groundwater around the buildings would fall to levels below water in the buildings, effectively reversing the flow of water. TEPCO proposed to prevent leakage of water from the buildings by controlling groundwater levels using “subdrain” wells. The NRA verified this action plan by TEPCO. Freezing of the final portion began on August 22 and TEPCO is expected to complete it this fall.

Lightbridge and AREVA Join Forces to Commercialize Metallic Nuclear Fuel Technology.Nuclear fuel technology firm Lightbridge Corp. and AREVA NP have signed a binding agreement for a joint venture to develop, manufacture, and commercialize Lightbridge’s advanced metallic fuel technology. The technology promises to “significantly improve economics, efficiency and safety of existing and new nuclear power plants,” Lightbridge said on September 6. The joint venture will be owned on a 50-50 basis and will serve as an “exclusive vehicle” through which the companies will develop and market nuclear fuel assemblies that use the proprietary metallic fuel designs. Lightbridge is planning and conducting preparatory work for fabrication and irradiation testing of metallic fuel samples under commercial reactor operating conditions at the Halden research reactor in Norway. It said it is also “working closely” with four leading U.S. nuclear utilities to gain feedback on development of its fuel technology, and it has signed at least one letter of intent with a utility for a lead test assembly demonstration of the nuclear fuel in a commercial nuclear power plant.

Senvion Installs First Prototype of 3.6-MW Moderate Wind Speed Turbine. Hamburg-based wind turbine maker Senvion on September 8 announced it successfully completed the installation of the first 3.6M140 EBC (Eco Blade Control) turbine prototype at the Windtestfeld Nord near Husum in Germany. The turbine is one of the company’s biggest onshore turbines designed for moderate and strong wind speeds. The new turbine is equipped with an innovative load-reducing pitch control system, which enables optimized load management even in challenging wind conditions. It also features a newly designed steel tower and a larger rotor diameter of 140 meters, which generates high yields even at lower wind speeds. ■

Darrell Proctor and Sonal Patel are POWER associate editors.