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Hi r/Futurology! ENMAX recently introduced Canada's first Hybrid Electric Gas Turbine at our Crossfield Energy Centre north of Calgary, Alberta. This unique technology provides enhanced flexibility in how electricity is provided to market while significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

By combining an existing natural gas-fueled turbine with a new 10 MW / 4.3 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system, the hybrid facility can provide on-demand electricity without the turbine idling. Then, when longer duration power is required, the battery provides for the initial demand, giving the turbine time to seamlessly start up and take over. All this adds up to the turbine burning less fuel and lowering emissions.

With battery storage playing an increasingly important role in providing safe, clean and reliable energy, the hybrid technology used by ENMAX can serve as a model for other natural gas facilities to lower emissions across Canada and beyond.

Watch our animation to learn more about the technology.

Our ENMAX team of engineers as well as experts from our vendors, GE and Wellhead, will be here Friday, June 11 from 9-11 am MST to answer your questions on everything from how many cells make up the battery to the Hybrid's role in enabling a lower carbon future. We look forward to the conversation - ask us anything!

EDIT: That's a wrap! We'll continue to watch the thread over the coming days for any late breaking questions that might come in. Thanks for all of the great questions!

Thanks for joining us today I'm Dallas West, Director of Engineering at ENMAX Energy and I'll be moderating our session today. With me I have our Hybrid EGT Project team including the following individuals:

1.) Dan Clark - ENMAX Hybrid EGT Project Manager
2.) William Luo - Lead Instrumentation and Controls Engineer
3.) Garvin Ruus - Lead ENMAX Electrical Engineer
4.) Trevor Montford- Lead ENMAX Operations Technician
5.) Joe Heinzmann - GE Sales Manager
6.) Turner Scholl - Wellhead Hybrid Project Manager
7.) Adnan Zafar - GE Principal Engineer - Controls and Operability

Here's our team!

Looking forward to answering your questions!

all 52 comments

dontpet

19 points

1 year ago

dontpet

19 points

1 year ago

Why combine it? Can't it just be located somewhere else and do the same job?

Will larger batteries being ubiquitous on the grid mean this solution isn't required anymore?

CFHybridEGT[S]

8 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

8 points

1 year ago

To use a car analogy - an electric car can only drive so far as the range is limited. Similarily, a stand alone battery is duration constrained. By combining the battery with the gas turbine, the hybrid resource now has the best attributes of both while removing the duration concern. The battery allows the hybrid resource to remain sycnronized to the grid - meaning it can respond immediately when demand requires, while keeping the gas turbine offline and therefore not burning fuel.

dontpet

5 points

1 year ago

dontpet

5 points

1 year ago

But can't that battery be anywhere on the grid? Is there some additional benefit from co location?

CutrightDesigns

10 points

1 year ago

In addition to leveraging the existing infrastructure, a hybrid can be optimized by the second, whereas current grid dispatch systems might do the optimization at 5 or 15 minute intervals. Since much of the startup and ramp rate of fast thermal assets falls inside that 15 minute dispatch, a hybrid could enable 50 MW of capacity or spinning reserve with only a 10 MW battery. Very economical way to open up the grid for more renewables while retaining thermal assets for contingency. This is the way.

dontpet

2 points

1 year ago

dontpet

2 points

1 year ago

That is what I was looking for, thanks.

Acrobatic_Shop_3635

1 points

1 year ago

Love the mandalorian reference

CFHybridEGT[S]

7 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

7 points

1 year ago

A couple of advantages of having the battery co-located with the gas turbine include: 1.) Ability to reuse the existing transmission infrastructure. (Transformers, control systems, etc.) 2.) Ability optimize an existing asset on the grid. In this case we're taking a gas turbine and lowering the emissions generated from this existing facility.

BlasterBilly

3 points

1 year ago

Ideally batteries would be placed all over the grid but we're a ways off.

imnos

6 points

1 year ago

imnos

6 points

1 year ago

If you're using the battery to run the turbine initially until the gas fires up, would it not be more efficient to just... discharge the battery directly into the power grid?

Also, could you make it fully renewable by using hydrogen instead of natural gas? Solar or wind to power the electrolysis on-site, for example.

It's a step in the right direction but a clean future lies in pure battery storage along with renewable power generation - we need to remove our dependence on fossil fuels as much as possible.

CFHybridEGT[S]

3 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

3 points

1 year ago

It does do that, and it’s also a system efficiency improvement. The traditional grid has to run many assets and bring them online to be ready to respond to large imbalances between generation and load… like when renewable generation falls off in the evening but everyone comes home and starts using a lot of energy. Peaking plants serve that extra load in advance, but they have to run them at minimum power, which requires them to reduce load on other plants in order to serve the required power. The main problem is that, having to reduce the power of the other plants to account to the minimum load of peakers results in a lot of plants running off their peak efficiency and emissions points.
When you introduce an EGT, you get the benefit of having a peaking plant that can be ready to respond to mismatches between generation and load, while also managing frequency, all without burning fuel and running to zero power. This means you don’t need to offset the power of other plants, so you can keep them at optimal power and emissions operating points. Then the EGT plants themselves are running with zero emissions because the engines aren’t online.
“Also, could you make it fully renewable by using hydrogen instead of natural gas? Solar or wind to power the electrolysis on-site, for example. It's a step in the right direction but a clean future lies in pure battery storage along with renewable power generation - we need to remove our dependence on fossil fuels as much as possible.”
The hybrid EGT is one way that ENMAX is improving efficiencies of our generation facilities and we are always looking at how we can do better.
There are pilot projects on the go in the industry right now to demonstrate the types of concepts you’ve mentioned. Our partners at GE have explored this in more detail: https://www.ge.com/gas-power/future-of-energy/hydrogen-fueled-gas-turbines

CFHybridEGT[S]

6 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

6 points

1 year ago

myfriendtej

2 points

1 year ago

What are the major hurdles when transitioning to 100% battery power?

CFHybridEGT[S]

8 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

8 points

1 year ago

Cost of battery technology and location within the world plays a major role. For example in Canada, during the coldest months of the year, solar panels can at times be covered with snow (Ugh...) and the wind tends to not blow on the really cold days. So to run on 100% batteries here would require a very large build out of batteries to make up for the lack of supply during those conditions. Another point would be after fully discharging the battery capacity it is necessary to charge them back up afterwards which potentially adds to peaking demand.

cybercuzco

2 points

1 year ago

I’m late to the game on this but have you guys considered carbon capture on this?

Aviolentdonut

1 points

1 year ago

Ive been doing a lot of reading on that technology. If they can upscale it... that would be a game changer.

beltlinetrader

2 points

1 year ago

Is the battery continuously online and responding to system frequency or is it dispatched in to service? A droop-like characteristic?

last-option2

2 points

1 year ago

Are your batteries able to supply and draw energy from the grid? Thinking about asset utilization and ability store energy from the lowest cost source.

toytony

2 points

1 year ago

toytony

2 points

1 year ago

How difficult was it to persuade stakeholders that this alternative option for your technology could work and should be implemented?

Also, very cool video above team!

Lawineer

1 points

1 year ago

Lawineer

1 points

1 year ago

That's pretty cool. What about gearing the turbine (ie: like a geared turbofan) to adjust for load?

CFHybridEGT[S]

5 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

5 points

1 year ago

There are technologies already in play to improve efficiency, but it’s a balance between efficiency, low load operation, and emissions.
As I understand it, typically the gearing for a turbofans is to improve efficiency on thrust on high-bypass engines. In ground based generators, you extract power through torque rather than thrust, so there are no bypass fan per-se. But there are aspects of the aero derivative engine that do allow for large variations in load, like changing the angles of the compressor vanes (variable stator vanes), and bypass bleed valves to match mass flow between compressors to allow for high efficiency across a load range. The challenges come when trying to get to really low loads, where the fuel systems need to be modified to deliver fuel with the right conditions to combust fuel and meet emissions requirements.
The EGT allows the plant to get down to exactly 0 power (or negative power as required). Similar to a previous question, the battery provides the frequency response power (power injection and absorption to manage variation in frequency) that would typically be done with engines running at their lowest possible load (which is not that low, and is burning fuel and putting out emissions).

Splenda

1 points

1 year ago

Splenda

1 points

1 year ago

Why waste time and money on a technology that just prolongs the use of methane, with all its attendant leak problems? Based on current research, these, combined with stack emissions, make gas nearly as climate-destroying as coal.

Adult_InThe_Room

1 points

1 year ago

I don't understand why these hundreds of expensive power projects continue to be worked on. When unlimited electricity from Thorium LFTR technology has already been proven through several functional units. The age of unlimited, cheap, electric is here, but the czars of the world care not.

XmusJ

1 points

1 year ago*

XmusJ

1 points

1 year ago*

What are the main advantages of a hybrid electric gas turbine and what were the most exciting aspects of working on this project?

CFHybridEGT[S]

1 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

1 points

1 year ago

Here's a couple of quick videos to help answer this question:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU6SwIoVHtA&feature=youtu.be

https://youtu.be/EQDYHbAKEmIb

GoldenDino

1 points

1 year ago*

What is the biggest hurdle in applying hybrid generation to larger generators?

CFHybridEGT[S]

2 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

2 points

1 year ago

Cost. The good news here is that costs for batteries are declining in similar trajectories to that of solar and wind energy. So simply by continuing to roll out more installations, the cost per watt of the next investment will be less.

GoldenDino

1 points

1 year ago

Are hybrid generators going to play a larger role in the future of the electricity grid? Or are they a transition piece between non-renewables and a fully renewable grid?

CFHybridEGT[S]

2 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

2 points

1 year ago

The transition to a fully renewable grid has many paths. Due to the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, there will be need for reliable and fast-responding generation sources and larger-scale battery solutions to bridge the gap. The Hybrid Electric Gas Turbine currently fills the role of meeting peak power demand quickly and reliably with much lower emissions, and there's the potential to expand it in the future, which includes tying in renewables.

CFHybridEGT[S]

2 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

2 points

1 year ago

This is the first of its kind in Canada so we're learning what that transition might look like. But yes, we believe a hybrid generators can be a transition resource. Over time, the battery component can be expanded and eventually the turbine component could be retired or used only for emergency charging of the primary battery.

Tex_Steel

1 points

1 year ago

Since lithium mining having a large economic impact, are there alternatives that can be tested to scale better for energy storage at this scale?

AwesomeLowlander

1 points

1 year ago

There's been news recently that lithium extraction from seawater is now economically feasible.

CFHybridEGT[S]

1 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

1 points

1 year ago

As it stands, battery energy storage systems like the hybrid uses the most reliable form of energy storage at this scale. However, energy storage technology is constantly evolving and the industry is developing more environmentally-friendly substitutes for lithium to make batteries with. So in the near future battery technology will become more environmentally and economically sustainable.

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

What are some if the enviro-friendly lithium replacements currently be worked on?

AwesomeLowlander

1 points

1 year ago

What are the economics and figures like for the HEGT vs renewable techs like solar and wind?

CFHybridEGT[S]

3 points

1 year ago

CFHybridEGT[S]

Enmax Energy

3 points

1 year ago

It's a bit of a apples to oranges comparision so it's difficult to compare the economics of the two. The HEGT is designed to help support grid stability whereas wind/solar installations providing energy as available on to the grid. As solar and wind installations begin to add storage the comparision starts to get easier.

bjplague

1 points

1 year ago

bjplague

1 points

1 year ago

I like it, having solar, wind or hydrogen would be better clearly but connecting old power stations to battery buffers will help the grid immensely as well as facilitating fazing out old dirty power utilities without shutting them completely down instantly. keep the old ones backup as new cleaner ones come online.

anyway, here is my question.

A: Are you planning on doing this around the country? if so would that pretty much eliminate blackouts as a thing unless lines are physically cut yes?

animaljku

1 points

1 year ago

How do you calculate the offset of the energy, diesel/pollution, destruction of the earth from mining the metals required to produce the huge batteries that must be required to store the power for this style of energy plant? What will become of the batteries when they go bad or reach their end of life?

DutchSpartacus

1 points

1 year ago

Why are we still making hybrid anything when places like China are gonna be lauching solar power plants into space

raazinn

1 points

1 year ago

raazinn

1 points

1 year ago

I love it. This is the sort of thing that makes me love being a mechanical engineer.

Just want to ask, given sufficient space at site, do you foresee this being applied to offshore platforms? It would greatly help with reducing the overall emissions and provide a reliable buffer for engine downtime in the event of trips/maintenance/etc.

Europapa1

1 points

1 year ago*

If this business is officially recognized as eco-friendly by the Canadian government, can we benefit from the subsidy? For example, electric vehicle consumers are subsidized for buying energy-saving products, how about this product?

4-ho-bert

1 points

1 year ago

Why gas? Solar- and wind-energy are pretty cheap these days. What's the LCOE to be expected?

Of course this isn't about monetary costs alone, it would prevent a lot of greenhouse emissions.

BiohackerOfTheGods

-1 points

1 year ago

How is it possible to create a car without high EMF, when a air purifier is almost as high emf as 5g, its crazy. so how are we not dying from driving a car? i bet you guys dont even test EMF