Power generation news round-up: January 2023

The power generation industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and trends emerging every day. In this article, we’ll look at the latest news and developments in the sector over the past month, with plenty of positive stories from the world of renewable energy…

Largest hydrogen-powered plane takes flight

Aerospace company ZeroAvia have made history with a successful demonstration of a hydrogen-electric engine, which powered one of the propellors in a 19-seat aircraft. The flight at Cotswold Airport in the UK marks a significant step forward for the development of zero-emission aviation and could pave the way for larger engines. The start-up, which has investment from American Airlines, aims to submit the hydrogen-electric engine for regulatory certification in 2023. However, the production of hydrogen fuel on a large scale and its impact on the power grid remain challenges that must be addressed. Nevertheless, the demonstration is a promising step towards the goal of sustainable hydrogen-based aviation.

From hydrogen planes to hydrogen trains…

Reports from China suggest the country has produced the world’s first urban hydrogen-powered train. The locomotive is rumoured to reach speeds of up to 99 mph. It is critical to China’s plans for a sustainable future, as hydrogen is a clean energy source with the only byproduct being water vapour. The country aims to have 50,000 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles on the road by 2025 and produce 100,000-200,000 metric tons of hydrogen from renewable energy each year.

JFK Airport’s green energy solution

New York’s JFK Airport is set to lead the way in clean energy for airports with a new solar microgrid. Boasting 13,000 solar panels and 7.6MW of generating capacity, the microgrid will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 38% and become the largest rooftop PV system in any US airport terminal. It’ll feature four “power islands” with sources of generation, storage, advanced automation and control. JFK Terminal’s microgrid will be designed, constructed and operated by AlphaStruxure, a joint venture between Carlyle and Schneider Electric.

Wind whips up a storm in UK energy sector

Wind power made headlines in the UK on 10 January, blowing past its previous record with 21.6GW of energy generated — that’s 50.4% of the country’s energy mix. This beats the previous record of 20.9GW set on 30th Dec and confirms wind power as a force to be reckoned with. Industry body RenewableUK tracked low-carbon sources and found they produced 82.5% of Britain’s electricity during the post-Christmas period, cutting gas demand by 1.31bn cubic meters and saving £2.1 billion.

Gas plant goes green

Centrica is converting a former gas power plant in Yorkshire into a low-carbon hub. The first part of the project will be a 28MW battery energy storage system, with the potential to develop off-grid hydrogen production and solar capabilities. By acquiring the Knapton Generating Station from Third Energy, Centrica aims to create battery storage and explore hydrogen and solar opportunities. The move aligns with Centrica’s strategy and goal of playing a key role in helping the UK achieve a net-zero future.

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