India will help Russia turn Arctic into global trade route

New Delhi is planning to assist in developing Russia’s Northern Sea Route (NSR). And turning it into an international trade artery, according to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“India will help Russia in the development of the Northern Sea Route and opening this route for international trade the same way as Russia helps India to develop with the aim of space exploration and the preparation of the national manned Gaganyaan program,” Modi said, speaking via video link at a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum.

The Indian prime minister also said Moscow and New Delhi had managed to make significant progress in developing commercial ties despite massive disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The friendship between India and Russia has stood up against the test of time,” he said.

“Most recently, it was seen in our robust cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic, including in the area of vaccines. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the health and pharma sectors in our bilateral cooperation.”

According to the Indian head of state, an energy partnership between the two nations would bring greater stability to the global energy market.

Modi also said that such joint projects as the Chennai-Vladivostok sea corridor, which is currently under development, provide greater connectivity along with the North-South transport corridor.


Major deal on developing Russia’s Big Northern Sea Route sealed at Eastern Economic Forum

A broad agreement aimed at providing stable growth of exports, cabotage and transit traffic along Russia’s Arctic sea route has been signed at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok on Friday.

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Ministry for Development of the Far East and the Arctic agreed to closely cooperate on projects aimed at developing the transport artery stretching along Russia’s Arctic coast.

“The Big Northern Sea Route from Murmansk to Vladivostok plays an important role in transport security, and connects by sea the European part of Russia with the Far East,” Rosatom’s director general, Aleksey Likhachev, told the media on the sidelines of the EEF.

“We are interested in promoting cooperation under this project with both Russian and foreign counterparts,” he added.

The Northern Sea Route lies from the Kara Gate Strait in the west to Cape Dezhnev in Chukotka in the east. The Big Northern Sea Route includes the Arkhangelsk, Murmansk regions and St. Petersburg and the Far East from the Northern Sea Route’s border in Chukotka to Vladivostok. The 5,500-kilometer (3,417-mile) lane is the shortest sea passage between Europe and Asia.

Yak-40LL flies with a superconducting electric motor

It became a world premiere: the first Russian “electric aircraft” – the Yak-40LL flying laboratory with a demonstrator of hybrid power plant (GSU) technologies flew to MAKS-2021. The flying laboratory flew off perfectly

TEXT: Natalia Yachmennikova

Experts note the clear coherence of the joint work of the aircraft systems and the GSU, which includes the world’s first superconducting electric aircraft engine. It complements the aircraft’s two turbojet engines. The use of high-temperature superconductivity technologies in the future will significantly reduce the weight and dimensions of electrical machines and increase the efficiency. This is critically important for aviation: flying is always a struggle with weight. And here we are ahead of the world by 2-3 years, because no one has yet demonstrated such an approach and such technologies have not been shown.

A 500 kW superconducting electric motor rotating the propeller is located in the bow of the Yak-40LL. There is also a liquid nitrogen cryogenic cooling system. The electric motor is powered by an electric generator rotated by a turboshaft gas turbine engine, it is installed in the tail section, and a battery pack. You take off on an electric motor, wherever possible, you start the gas turbine engine, recharge the battery at the permitted altitude, continue the flight again on electricity and sit down on the propellers.

Prior to the start of flight tests, the unique motor and its components were bench tested at CIAM. Then the GSU was installed on the Yak-40 aircraft, on the basis of which a flying laboratory was created at SibNIA. After confirming the stable joint operation of the electric motor and all aircraft systems during the ground test complex, the Yak-40LL moved to the flight test stage.

According to scientists, they hope to receive the entire set of technologies by 2026-2027, which will make it possible to create a regional aircraft on such a hybrid scheme by 2030. But we intend to go even further, namely, to use not nitrogen as a coolant in the engine, but liquefied hydrogen, which will also be fuel. It actually gives no emissions at all. This will be an even more complex scheme – for large aircraft, for long-range aviation. However, this is already the prospect of 2035 and beyond.

GSU “electrolyte” was developed by the Central Institute of Aviation Motors named after P.I. Baranova (CIAM, part of the Research Center “Institute named after NE Zhukovsky”) in broad cooperation of domestic enterprises. Thus, an innovative electric motor was created by the SuperOx company by order of the Advanced Research Fund. Among the participants in the work – FSUE “SibNIA named after S.A. Chaplygin” (SibNIA, also part of the Research Center “Institute named after N.E. Zhukovsky”), Ufa State Aviation Technical University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow Aviation Institute ( National Research University). The customer of the research work “Electrolet SU-2020” is the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

– At MAKS-2019, we presented a model of this flying laboratory and individual elements of the power plant. And at MAKS-2021, it has already taken off into the sky. During these two years, CIAM and our project partners have gained valuable practical experience in the development of hybrid power plants and the use of superconductivity in electric motors. We are already using the gained experience in other projects, including the use of hydrogen as a fuel, – said Mikhail Gordin, General Director of CIAM.

“We create superconducting materials and technologies that are needed to create efficient electric aircraft. During MAKS, we, together with our colleagues, clearly demonstrated a very important step on this path – a flying laboratory with a superconducting electric motor made its first demonstration flight. In the future, superconductors in combination with hydrogen fuel will open up a real way to create efficient and environmentally friendly aviation, ”says Andrey Vavilov, Chairman of the SuperOx Board of Directors.

– In flight tests, the most difficult task was to determine the effect of blowing the propeller of an electric motor on the operation of the propulsion engines in flight and the features in case of its failure, which was verified during flights, as well as to determine the features of the longitudinal stability of the aircraft during rebalancing arising. Everything turned out to be within acceptable limits, – says the general director of SibNIA, honored test pilot of the Russian Federation Vladimir Barsuk.

All developers of aviation technology in the world are engaged in the study of low-noise and environmentally friendly GSUs, primarily for promising production aircraft of small and regional aviation. Their advantage lies in the ability, on the one hand, to benefit from energy efficient, environmentally friendly electrical technologies, and on the other hand, to maintain an acceptable weight efficiency by optimizing the design and operating modes of gas turbine or piston aircraft engines.

– The technologies that we use in our “electric plane” are a breakthrough for the global aircraft industry. So far, we are testing innovative electric motors at the flying laboratory, but by about 2030, the Zhukovsky Institute expects to present a number of aircraft with fundamentally different economic and environmental indicators, including noise and emissions. This technological breakthrough could not have been made without the active interest and funding of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia and the Foundation for Advanced Research, ”sums up Andrei Dutov, Director General of the N.Ye. Zhukovsky Institute.

The Russian nuclear industry to switch to the development of new civilian power reactors

The license of Rostekhnadzor for the creation of the BREST-OD-300 power unit was issued to the Siberian Chemical Combine of Rosatom (Siberian Chemical Combine, Seversk, Tomsk Region)

Aleksandr Uvarov, editor-in-chief of the information portal on nuclear energy AtomInfo.ru, told RIA Novosti that “Construction of a new reactor is starting in Russia and thus a new,“ land ”direction of reactors with heavy metal coolant is being opened, which is still nowhere in civil nuclear power. has not been mastered in the world ”   He recalled that Russia is the only country with successful experience in operating heavy-metal cooled reactors used on a number of Soviet nuclear submarines.

The power unit with an installed electric capacity of 300 MW with the BREST-OD-300 reactor should become the key object of the experimental demonstration energy complex (ODEC), which is being built at the SGChK site within the framework of the strategic industrial project “Breakthrough”   In addition to the power unit, the ODEC includes a complex for the production of mixed uranium-plutonium nitride nuclear fuel for the BREST-OD-300 reactor, as well as a complex for the reprocessing of spent fuel.

The complex will make it possible to create a closed on-site nuclear fuel cycle, which will make it possible not only to generate electricity, but also to prepare new fuel from the fuel discharged from the reactor core. Earlier it was reported that the launch of the BREST-OD-300 reactor is scheduled for 2026. The BREST-OD-300 reactor is intended for practical confirmation of the main technical solutions laid down in lead-cooled reactor plants in a closed nuclear fuel cycle, and the main provisions of the inherent safety concept on which these decisions are based.

The features of the reactor make it possible to abandon large volumes of containment, a melt trap, a large volume of support systems, and also to reduce the safety class of non-reactor equipment.   Lead coolant has a number of advantages. First, it slows down neutrons a little, which is fundamentally important for the operation of “fast” reactors. In addition, lead has a high boiling point (about 1.8 thousand degrees Celsius), it is chemically inert in contact with water and air, and does not require high pressure in the coolant circuit.  

The combination of the properties of a heavy lead coolant and dense heat-conducting nitride fuel creates conditions for achieving full reproduction of nuclear “fuel” and excludes the most severe accidents – with an uncontrolled increase in power (as in Chernobyl) and loss of heat removal from the reactor core (as in Fukushima). This is the essence of the natural safety of the BREST-OD-300 reactor.   The integral design of the reactor plant makes it possible to localize coolant leaks in the reactor vessel volume and to exclude the dehydration of the core.

This excludes accidents requiring the evacuation of the population, and this actually means that the radiation safety of the environment is guaranteed not by technical means and methods, but by the very absence of activity above the already existing natural levels.

Vietnam’s vast wind power potential

A giant wind-farm off the south coast is one of more than 150 wind power projects planned in Vietnam; the 1GW Vinh Phong project will be funded by a Russian-Belgian JV, but Hanoi needs to improve its clunky electricity grid so renewable projects can be fully incorporated in coming years

(AF) A plethora of international players are beating a path to Vietnam to take part in its renewables ramp-up – the largest in Southeast Asia – which includes both solar and onshore wind and now even an offshore wind project development.

The most recent to show interest includes Russian state-owned oil and gas producer Zarubezhneft and Belgian marine contractor DEME Offshore.

The two signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build the proposed Vinh Phong project. It is a 1-gigawatt (GW) offshore wind farm proposal with a cost of $3.2 billion. Vinh Phong is located in southern Vietnam, northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s business hub.

The two partners look to commission the first phase of the project, with 600-megawatts (MW) worth of capacity, by 2026, prior to a second phase with a further 400MW capacity by 2030. If plans hold tight, it could be Vietnam’s first offshore wind farm and it is anticipated that more will follow.

Zarubezhneft said it will share investment costs with a specially formed investment vehicle called DEME Concessions Wind. Under the MoU, the two firms will get oil and gas producing venture Vietsovpetro and DEME Offshore to manage the construction process.

Vietsovpetro, a joint venture between Zarubezhneft and state-run PetroVietnam, already operates several offshore oil and gas blocks in Vietnam.

Zarubezhneft

Zarubezhneft set a goal of entering both the wind and solar sector in Vietnam, Cuba, Southern Europe and Russia. These plans, not surprisingly, suffered setbacks due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year and a subsequent pullback in global oil prices amid the worst slump in demand for oil ever, which caused a drop to multi-year lows. However, global oil prices have recovered, with the global oil benchmark, London-traded Brent crude, now hovering above $70 per barrel, with price appreciation and forecasts that demand will increase for the rest of the year.

Vietnam’s clean energy transition

Zarubezhneft’s disclosure comes as Vietnam undergoes systemic changes in its energy sector. This stems from a forecast natural gas supply shortage that will impact its power generation capacity with potential brown and black-outs, mostly earmarked for the more populated south. However, Covid-19 related economic contraction has pushed that forecast back at least a year or two.

Vietnam’s energy quandary also stems from steady economic growth and more energy consumption, as well as geopolitical interference. Over the past several years, China has prevented PetroVietnam and its foreign partners from developing natural gas resources in Vietnam’s own UN-mandated 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea, a problem not dissimilar to that faced by the Philippines.

To offset this supply shortage, Hanoi initially focused on developing more liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure. Currently, two LNG import terminals are being constructed in the southern part of the country. With at least six more approved, and possibly more considering projects pending approval at various provincial levels. Vietnam also has as many as 22 LNG-to-Power projects in its soon to be released Power Development Plan 8 (PDP8), to 2030 with guidance to 2045.

Over 150 wind projects proposed

Vietnam has marked advantages in its renewables ambitions over many of its neighbors in the region. It is including a vast coastline of some 3,260 km (2,030 miles), excluding islands. It is ideal for both offshore and near-shore wind-power development. By way of comparison, only around 3% of neighbouring Thailand’s land mass has suitable wind speeds needed to drive turbines, which greatly hinders the country’s capacity to develop wind power.

Vietnam’s solar radiation in most parts of the country is also ideal for solar project development. And it has contributed to its quick build-out, which seems to have peaked last year.

Much of the country’s recent success with solar can also be attributed to Hanoi approving generous feed-in-tariffs (FIT). These tariffs encourage investment in renewable energy by guaranteeing an above-market price for producers. Since they usually involve long-term contracts, FITs help mitigate the risks inherent in renewable energy production.

Tax exemptions to reduce investment risks

The government has also approved FITs for its wind-power development, with those tariffs up for review at the end of October. It also offers various tax exemptions to reduce investment risks.

Yet, Vietnam’s wind power development pales in comparison to its solar build-out. By the end of 2020, wind power accounted for just 1% (670MW) of the country’s energy mix. It is compared to 16.6GW for solar, including rooftop solar, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Under PDP8, the next power development plan, the country aims to ramp-up solar capacity to 18.6GW and wind capacity to 18GW by 2030. Vinh Phong, for its part, is one of as many as 157 wind farm projects proposed in Vietnam.

Three weeks ago, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $116-million loan with three Vietnamese firms to finance the construction and operation of three 48MW wind farms, totaling 144MW, in the central province of Quang Tri.

The projects will increase Vietnam’s wind-power capacity by as much as 30%, helping it to also offset the country’s still troubling reliance on coal needed for power generation. Coal still makes nearly 40% of the country’s energy mix, and that figure looks likely to remain steady until to at least the middle of the next decade.

The ADB’s move three weeks ago was its first wind-power project in Vietnam and comes just a month after the bank said it would stop funding most fossil fuel projects in the region, even natural gas, under most scenarios.

Electricity grid needs urgent improvements

However, as promising as Vietnam’s renewables build-out is, several problems remain, including power grid curtailment. Simply put, the country needs new transmission and distribution infrastructure to accommodate additional capacity and transmit the new power to where it’s needed.

The problem is already being felt by a number of power projects that have had to curtail production since transmission lines are already operating at capacity. Especially in areas where there is a concentration of solar power. This has resulted in less electricity being produced, less revenue earned and an inability of some project backers to service debts incurred to build projects.

Similar problems – depending on each location’s specific grid development – could see otherwise bankable wind power projects, (onshore, near-shore and offshore) unable to obtain necessary funding to go forward.

But the Vietnamese government is now starting to address this problem. It recently  adopted a new law that improves and prioritizes grid development. And grid development is now a priority in the draft PDP8, the first time it’s been included in the country’s PDP.

However, expanding grid capacity is both capital and time intensive. Build-out times can range to as much as five years or more. Other countries are also confronting similar situations when building renewable power projects, including heavyweights such as Germany and the UK.

There are some short-term solutions for grid congestion, however, such as utility scale battery storage, grid enhancing techniques, plus topology optimization software. All of these improve grid resilience and reliability, and prevent bottlenecks, but the long-term solution is still expanding Vietnam’s transmission grid.

Bosch has created a CVT that extends the range of EVs

Bosch has announced the development of a special transmission option specifically for electric vehicles, on which multistage gearboxes are practically not used. The company assures that their modernized CVT will increase the range of battery vehicles by reducing energy consumption

  • The main advantage of the variator at Bosch is the ability to smoothly adjust the gear ratio due to the design features. At low speeds, such a box improves traction performance, which optimizes acceleration dynamics or helps with towing and off-road driving, and at high speeds, it improves energy efficiency and increases top speed. In addition, the variator reduces power consumption when driving at a constant speed.
  • The CVT thus eases the performance requirements of the powertrain, which means that electric vehicles can be supplied with less powerful and cheaper motors. In addition, the use of a continuously variable transmission will allow the use of more compact batteries.
  • A component developed by the company called CVT4E, according to the calculations of engineers, increases the efficiency of the electric vehicle’s power plant by 4%. Now the variator is being tested on test Volkswagen e-Golf at the facilities of the Dutch division of the concern, but the prospects for its commercial application have not yet been reported.

In modern electric cars, in the overwhelming majority of cases, single-stage gearboxes are used. Only the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT platforms have a two-stage solution.

How Rosatom built a huge 150 MW wind farm

How much more is planned in the near future?

In the second half of 2020, Rosatom built a wind farm, unique in its scale. It is in Adygea, which became the largest in Russia and one of the largest in Europe.

Russia is considered to be a fan of traditional hydrocarbon energy. This is true given the huge reserves of natural gas, oil and coal in the depths of the country and on the continental shelf, mainly in the richest Arctic zone.

However, in recent years, Russia has been investing heavily in the creation of large facilities in the field of alternative renewable energy. 

One of these facilities is the Adyghe wind farm. 

The construction of wind energy facilities in Adygea was carried out on a land plot with an area of ​​14 hectares. In total, Rosatom has installed 60 facilities. Each wind turbine is 150 m high and rated at 2.5 megawatts. 

In total, all 60 wind turbines generate energy with a capacity of 150 MW.

The length of one blade is 50 m, and each object weighs over eight and a half tons.

The blades for the Adyghe wind farm were ordered several years ago in India, but since 2020, such blades have been produced in Russia at the Ulyanovsk plant, which has already shipped the first batch of domestic blades for wind power facilities in Denmark.

The new wind farm in Adygea can generate about 350,000,000 kWh annually.

The commissioning of only one of this wind power plant allowed to increase the volume of electricity generation in the entire Republic of Adygea by 20%

It is important that Rosatom does not stop at the development of alternative energy facilities. 

So recently, a large wind farm with a total capacity of 86 MW was built in the Ulyanovsk region, and very soon a huge wind farm will be built in the Stavropol Territory.

In terms of its size and production capacity, it will surpass the new Adyghe wind farm and will generate annually up to 210 MWh.

An equally large alternative energy facility, which is being built in the Republic of Kalmykia, is on its way. 

And the largest wind farm until 2023 is planned to be built in the Astrakhan and Rostov regions. They will generate 350 MW each year.

The cost of building each of these huge wind farms is estimated at 30,000,000,000 rubles.

For comparison, the largest wind farm in Europe, built in the UK in 2013, generates about 630 MW.

Generally # plans Rosatom for the construction of wind farms is very ambitious. In the next two years alone, Rosstat plans to build and commission wind power plants with a total capacity of over 1 GW.

Why Rosatom’s new laid-down reactor is the safest in the world, and when will it enter series

Russian giant Rosatom is rightfully considered the world leader in nuclear energy and a number of other high-tech areas, as evidenced by an extensive portfolio of foreign orders

Rosatom was the first to master the serial production of the latest modern third generation fast breeder reactors. 

Now our concern has begun construction of the world’s first power unit of the next generation – the fourth.

A new power unit is being built in the city of Seversk in the Tomsk region. 

The installation was named Brest OD 300.

The new reactor operates on fast neutrons and has a lead coolant.

Rosatom considers this # type of reactor to be completely safe. Accidents like Chernobyl and the Fukushima disaster using the Brest reactor are excluded.

The new reactor was based on the principle of natural safety. 

Foreign competitors of Rosatom do not possess such technology and continue to build thermal neutron reactors in which water serves as a coolant.

The advantage of fast reactors is the ability to reuse spent nuclear fuel as new fuel, thereby achieving a closed cycle. 

In addition to being economical, fast reactors are safer than existing thermal reactors. The possibility of unpredictable and uncontrollable acceleration of neutrons is excluded, which is equivalent to the loss of the coolant. 

The risk of a parazirconium reaction that provoked the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is also excluded. 

The work on the design of the fourth generation reactor has been carried out by Rosatom since 2010. Rosatom plans to commission the Brest power unit by the end of 2025.

One of the important advantages of the new reactor will be its ability to run on fuel # uranium 238, which is much cheaper and more widespread on our planet, in contrast to the rare uranium 235.

In the next few years, Rosatom plans to organize the serial production of the newest Brest reactors in Russia, and after 2030 start exporting them to foreign partners.