HKU/Imperial College team in smart grid breakthrough

A joint University of Hong Kong/Imperial College London research team has developed a new smart grid technology, the Electric Spring, which has the potential to solve the stability problems in future power systems fed with wind and solar power.

In the design of future power systems utilising renewable energy, the dynamically changing nature of wind and solar power is expected to cause imbalance between power generation and demand, resulting in instability problems. The Electric Spring technology developed is based on mechanical springs commonly used in daily life, such as the suspension systems in vehicles and mechanical support under the mattress. The scientific principle of mechanical springs was described in the 1660s by the British scientist Sir Robert Hooke (known as the Hooke's law). Since then, there has not been any development of the mechanical springs in the electrical regime, making the Electric Spring a world first.

The electric spring is a power electronics system that can be embedded in an electric appliance such as an electric water heater or refrigerator. It can therefore be "distributed" over the power grid to stabilise the mains voltage in the presence of a large amount of intermittent renewable power generation. They make it practically feasible for many countries to substantially increase their renewable power generation to a high percentage (say 20% or more) so that renewable power generation can become a major component of power generation.

The invention was published in the IEEE Transactions on smart grid in late 2012.


The research team from HKU's Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, (from left) Dr Siew-Chong Tan, Prof Felix Wu, Prof Ron Hui and Dr C K Lee, showing the Electric Spring in front of wind turbines on the campus. Image: HKU

Gammon-Kaden JV wins tunnel contract

The Gammon-Kaden Joint Venture has been awarded a HK$3.4 billion contract by the MTR Corporation to construct the Hung Hom north approach tunnels for the Shatin-to-Central Link.

The project involves the construction of 1 km of tunnels consisting of a running tunnel connecting the existing East Rail Line to Hung Hom Station and another connecting the future Ho Man Tin Station to Hung Hom Station. The tunnels will be constructed by cut-and-cover with piled foundations.

Other major works include reprovisioning of railway operational facilities, noise enclosure at the south of Tunnel 1A, demolition and reconstruction of Chatham Road bridge; slope works at Oi Sen Path and underpinning of Hung Hom Bypass bridge.

As construction will take place in a highly urbanised environment, it will require extensive utilities and temporary traffic diversions.

Work on the project is due for completion in 2018.

PYPUN-KD to be independent SCL monitor

PYPUN-KD & Associates has been commissioned by the Government to undertake independent monitoring and verification of the construction, testing and commissioning phases of the Shatin-to-Central Link (SCL) in Hong Kong with due consideration for the project's cost, programme and public safety.

The HK$180 million consultancy covers the two phases of SCL, namely the East West Line and the North South Line, which are due for completion in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

The scope of the monitoring and verification project covers more than 100 SCL contracts, including all railway systems such as rolling stock, signalling system, tunnel environmental control system and traction power system; as well as civil structures such as stabling sidings at Hung Hom, Pat Heung Depot extension, Exhibition Station, new Hung Hom Station, Kai Tak Station, tunnel sections and the temporary traffic management arrangements. The contract period will last more than nine years.

AECOM bags two AA consultancies


The Airport Authority (AA) has awarded two consultancy contracts to AECOM to provide initial scheme and scheme design services for a new intermodal transfer terminal (ITT) and Passenger Terminal 2 (T2) as part of its expansion plans for Hong Kong International Airport until 2030.

The new ITT will expand the existing Skypier development and link the new facility to the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF). T2 will encompass check-in facilities, an automated people mover and baggage handling system, a secure bonded road to HKBCF and modifications to Terminal 1.

In addition, the T2 expansion project will reconfigure the existing facilities to accommodate both arrivals and departures processing facilities. The project will include a new meet-and-greet area, a new baggage reclaim hall, expanded security and immigration facilities and additional check-in islands.

"One of the biggest challenges for the design teams of these two projects is to prepare a design solution that will allow normal airport operations while the new facilities are being constructed," said
Ir Eric Ma, AECOM's executive vice president for transportation, pan-Asia. "We will communicate closely with all stakeholders and pay extra attention to the requirements of various departments, airlines, operators and agents, given the congested nature of the development area."

Tender invited for HATS 2A works

The Drainage Services Department (DSD) is inviting tenders for a contract to upgrade sludge handling and disposal facilities at the Stonecutters Island sewage treatment works as part of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme Stage 2A project.

The works comprise the design, construction and operation of sludge handling and disposal facilities including two purpose-built self-propelled marine vessels fitted with lifting cranes, approximately 400 sludge containers, improvement works to the berthing facilities at the sewage treatment works and improvement works at DSD's reception area at the West New Territories landfill.

The works are scheduled to commence in June 2013. The design and construction phase will be completed in December 2014. The operation phase, with a maximum term of 15 years, will then commence. The interim operation of the existing sludge handling and disposal facilities will commence in November 2013 and end in December 2014.

The project's consultant is Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd. The deadline for tender submission is 1 March 2013.

Jacobs gets second public works lab contract

The Civil Engineering & Development Department (CEDD) has awarded Jacobs China Ltd a consultancy to provide management and operating services for the new public works regional laboratory in Siu Ho Wan.
The scope of the HK$85.2 million contract includes operating the Siu Ho Wan facility and managing its 51 laboratory-based staff for a period of approximately four years. This facility will provide construction materials compliance testing services to support the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and other public works projects.

CEDD has been managing and operating their public works laboratories, comprising a central laboratory and five regional laboratories, for many years. An outsourcing contract for the operation and management of one of the regional laboratories in Tai Po was awarded to Jacobs in May 2011. The Siu Ho Wan regional laboratory is a new laboratory.

CityU offers BEng in nuclear and risk engineering

City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has announced that it is offering a new bachelor of engineering programme in nuclear and risk engineering and a master of science programme in advanced technology and management (nuclear and risk engineering stream) in response to the growing concern about nuclear safety.

The bachelor of engineering programme in nuclear and risk engineering is offered jointly by five departments: the Departments of Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering (MBE), Physics & Materials Science, Biology & Chemistry, Civil & Architectural Engineering, and Electronic Engineering.

Prof Chieng Ching-chang, visiting MBE professor and leader of the bachelor of engineering programme in nuclear and risk engineering, said the programme covers a number of areas, including nuclear engineering, nuclear medicine and medical radiation, maintenance engineering, risk engineering, and crisis management.

MBE senior engineer Ir Dr Luk Bing-lam said graduates of the programme will have a broad range of career choices, such as the management of nuclear safety, maintenance engineering for large corporations, research and development of nuclear radiation products and equipment, calculation of the radiation dose and treatment planning in radiation therapy, railway safety, and risk assessment of financial products.

The master of science programme in advanced technology and management (nuclear and risk engineering stream), to be offered in the next academic year, is designed to equip students with in-depth knowledge and capabilities in nuclear engineering and risk engineering disciplines so that they can help reduce the risks of nuclear power. The focus of this stream will include nuclear and radiation safety, nuclear structure materials, risk and reliability engineering, and waste management.

ExCo approves West-East Gas Pipeline supply

The Executive Council (ExCo) has approved an agreement to supply natural gas to Hong Kong from the Second West-East Gas Pipeline (WEPII) over the next 20 years.

The approval seals the implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on energy cooperation signed between the Hong Kong SAR Government and the National Energy Administration in 2008. The agreement provides CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd (CLP) and Castle Peak Power Co Ltd (CAPCO) with a new gas source to replace the depleting Yacheng 13-1 gas reserves.

The gas supply agreement stipulates the key terms of the WEPII gas supply arrangement to Hong Kong, including gas volume and the gas price, which will be set based on the cost of the gas imported from Central Asia to China; the cost of pipeline transportation charged by the pipeline owners for taking the gas from the Central Asia border in Xinjiang to Hong Kong; and taxes and duties charged by the Central Government and other administration costs charged by the gas supplier.

CLP/CAPCO are building new facilities to receive the WEPII gas supply, including a gas launching station on Dachan Island in Shenzhen, a new gas receiving station at the Black Point power station in Hong Kong, and a 20 km undersea pipeline connecting the two locations. Extensive power plant modification and engineering upgrades are also being carried out at the Black Point power station to deal with the differences in gas properties.

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