LNG Carrier Sets Sail for Brazil
The liquefied natural gas carrier Asia Vision left Cheniere (sha-NEAR) Energy's Sabine (say-BEAN) Pass facility in Louisiana carrying the first load of shale-derived LNG exported from the lower 48 states of the U.S. British multinational oil and gas company BG Group is shipping the gas to buyers in Brazil under the terms of a long-term offtake agreement. Cheniere built the Sabine Pass facility as an import terminal in 2008, when U.S. gas production was significantly lower and it appeared that the domestic market would require supplemental supplies from overseas. Soon after, the U.S. shale boom began, and Cheniere converted the import terminal into an export terminal to take advantage of favorable market conditions. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the total liquefaction capacity currently under construction in the U.S. is 68 million tons per year, which could make the U.S. the third-largest LNG exporter in the world by 2020, after Australia and Qatar.
CSP Plant Ramps up Energy Production
The 110 megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada generated its first test electricity late last year and now has achieved full-load electricity generation. Project developer SolarReserve says the project has passed the necessary test to reach full commercial operation under its 25-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy. The facility will ramp up to its full annual output of 500,000 MWh over the coming year. The concentrated solar power system features molten salt technology, including the molten salt receiver, the heliostat collector field, and the molten salt energy storage system. The molten salt receiver is performing in excess of design expectations in terms of heat transfer efficiency, the developer says. More than 10,000 heliostats focus the sun’s energy onto the receiver to heat molten salt and then store it so electricity can be produced after sundown.
Satellite in Place for a Space Data Highway
The European Space Agency has launched development of a communication network that will use laser technology to dramatically increase the speed of data transmission from satellites to users on the ground. The first node of the European Data Relay System project was guided into its final geostationary position over Europe, where it will be operated by France-based satellite provider Eutelsat (YOU-tell-sat). Dubbed the "Space Data Highway," ESA says the satellite will revolutionize satellite communications as Europe’s first optical communication network, capable of relaying user data in near-real time at a speed as great as 1.8 gigabits a second.