Hitachi Zosen Inova acquires German power-to-gas company

Zurich, Switzerland-based Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) is supplementing its renewable energy activities by acquiring the business of Etogas, Stuttgart, Germany.

Following the acquisitions of Kompogas and BioMethan, this marks a further step in the field of sustainable energy recovery and use, according to the company.

The business operations, employees, patents, property rights, expertise and related assets acquired will be transferred to the newly established Hitachi Zosen Inova Etogas, based in Stuttgart.

With the acquisition of the Etogas power-to-gas (PtG) technology, the Swiss company supplements its existing offering in the areas of thermal and biological energy-from-waste recovery and biomethane upgrading.

The Etogas technology is designed to convert electricity into hydrogen using pressure electrolysis and methanation.

By adding carbon dioxide from biogas plants, the hydrogen is converted into carbon-neutral synthetic natural gas (SNG), which is fed into the existing natural gas grid.

“With the acquisition of Etogas, we are setting a further milestone in the renewable energy supply sector,” says HZI CEO Franz-Josef Mengede. “HZI’s acquisition of Etogas once again demonstrates our commitment to finding sustainable solutions. The Etogas technology serves as a key component in the energy transition process.”

According to HZI, Etogas was able to establish itself primarily in the German market.

International markets, however, have remained largely untapped, adds the company.

HZI as parent company says it will provide the necessary marketing, distribution network and other synergies for entering these markets.

Caterpillar CEO to retire in 2017

Top to bottom: Oberhelman, Umpleby, Calhoun, Barton

After more than 41 years with Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Illinois, Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman has elected to retire, effective March 31, 2017.

The company’s board of directors has elected Jim Umpleby, currently a Caterpillar group president with responsibility for Energy and Transportation, to succeed Oberhelman as CEO. Umpleby, a 35-year veteran of the company, will join the Caterpillar board of directors and become CEO effective Jan. 1, 2017. He joined Solar Turbines Inc. in San Diego in 1980 and was elected as Caterpillar vice president and president of solar turbines in 2010. He was named group president and a member of Caterpillar’s executive office in January 2013.

During his time as Chairman and CEO, Oberhelman led the company to its highest sales and revenue peak in its 91-year history in 2012, and, since that time, has successfully led the company through the unprecedented downturn affecting key industries. Upon Oberhelman’s retirement, Dave Calhoun, a current member of the Caterpillar Board, will assume the role of nonexecutive chairman of the board. Calhoun is senior managing director and head of private equity portfolio operations of The Blackstone Group L.P., New York City.

Calhoun has been a member of the Caterpillar Board of Directors since 2011. A replacement for Umpleby will be announced at a later date.

The company also announced the passing of Glen Barton, former Cat CEO and chairman, in Peoria, Illinois, at age 77.

UNTHA shredder working at Mexican RDF plant

A shredder supplied by Austria-based UNTHA GmbH is helping prepare refuse-derived fuel (RDF) for a waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. The facility began to take shape two years ago, when waste management firm Promotora Ambiental SAB de CV (PASA) set out to enter the WTE market.

Growing pressures being placed on the country’s resource infrastructure caused PASA to produce RDF from its collected residual commercial and industrial (C&I) materials.

Following a global search for the right equipment, PASA purchased an UNTHA XR cutter waste shredder. UNTHA touts the model for “its high uptime, maintenance simplicity and low running costs.” These features proved particularly attractive given the tight margins within the Latin American waste market, says UNTHA. The XR was shipped to Mexico by sea freight along with a discharge conveyor and a crossbelt magnet for metal extraction.

During commissioning, the technology achieved the required output of 12 metric tons of processed feedstock per hour, says UNTHA.

The installation team plans to further refine the RDF manufacturing process to optimize the plant’s capacity to 200 metric tons per day by June 2017.

“The smarter environmental thinking shown by this one organization will hopefully start to change the mindset in this part of the world,” says Peter Streinik, the head of UNTHA’s waste division. “More people need to view the value of waste as a resource.”