The Anonymous Widower

Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink

Two weeks ago, in How Clean Energy And Jobs Can Flow From Morocco to The UK, I talked about a plan to generate electricity using solar arrays in Southern Morocco and use an underwater interconnector to bring it to the UK.

If you think that project was ambitious and distinctly bonkers, then that project is outshone by Sun Cable‘s Australia-Asia PowerLink, which is shown in this SunCable graphic.

These are a few facts about the project.

  • Electricity will be generated by solar panels in the Northern Territories of Australia.
  • There will be 12,000 hectares of solar panels in Australia, which will create 3.2 GW of electricity for distribution.
  • There will be a 36-42 GWh battery in Australia.
  • There will be 4,200 km of submarine HVDC cable to deliver the electricity to Singapore and Indonesia.
  • It looks like there will be batteries in Darwin and Singapore.
  • The link could supply up to fifteen percent of Singapore’s electricity.

It is certainly an ambitious project, that will contain the world’s largest solar array, the world’s largest battery, and the world’s longest submarine power cable.

Note.

  1. Currently, the largest solar park in the world is Bhadia Solar Park in India, which is half the size of the solar array proposed.
  2. At 720 km, the North Sea Link is the largest undersea HVDC is operation.
  3. The largest battery in the UK is Electric Mountain in Snowdonia, which is only 9.1 GWh.
  4. A Tesla Megapack battery of the required size would probably cost at least ten billion dollars.

This is certainly, a project that is dealing in superlatives.

Is The Australia-Asia PowerLink Possible?

I shall look at the various elements.

The Solar Panels

I have flown a Piper Arrow from Adelaide to Cairns.

  • My route was via Coober Pedy, Yulara, Alice Springs and Mount Isa.
  • There didn’t seem to be much evidence of rain.
  • The circle from South to East took four days of almost continuous flying, as Australia is not a small country.
  • It left me with the impression of a flat featureless and hot country.

Having seen solar panels on flat areas in the UK, the Australian Outback could be ideal for solar farms.

Sun Cable are talking about 10,000 hectares of solar panels, which is roughly 38.6 square miles or a 6.2 mile square.

Given enough money to source the solar panels and install them, I would expect that the required solar farm could be realised.

The Cable

Consider.

  • The North Sea Link is a 1.4 GW cable that is 720 km. long.
  • I would size it as 10008 GW-km, by multiplying the units together.
  • The Australia-Asia PowerLink will be 4200 km or nearly six times as long.
  • But at 3.2 GW as opposed to 1.4 GW, it will have 2.3 times the capacity.
  • I would size it as 13,400 GW-km.

Whichever way you look at it, the amount of cable needed will be massive.

The Battery

Currently, the largest battery in the world is the Bath County Pumped Storage Station, which has these characteristics.

  • Peak power of 3 GW
  • Storage capacity of 24 GWh.

Sun Cable’s 36-42 GWh battery will be the largest in the world, by a long way.

But I don’t think pumped storage will be suitable in the usually dry climate of Northern Australia.

The largest lithium-ion battery in the world is the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia, which is only 150 MW/194 MWh, so something else will have to be used.

As Highview Power are building a CRYOBattery for the Atacama region in Chile, which I wrote about in The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery, I wonder, if a cluster of these could provide sufficient storage.

 

October 12, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage, Energy | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opening Date Announced For Dartmoor Line

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railnews.

This is the first couple of sentences.

Full train services will return to the Dartmoor Line in Devon on 20 November. The Department for Transport said the DfT and its partners had ‘accelerated’ the reopening of the railway, because passenger services will now be launched only nine months since funding was approved.

It also says that the initial service between Exeter and Okehampton will be two-hourly, until May 2022, when it will be hourly.

I have looked up the Great Western Railway timetable and there are two sensible morning trains between Paddington and Okehampton on the 24th of November.

  • 08:04 – Arrives at 11:18
  • 10:04 – Arrives at 13:17

Returning there are two sensible afternoon/evening trains.

  • 15:24 – Arrives at 18:24
  • 18:20 – Arrives at 21:36

It looks like it would be possible to go from London and Okehampton and return in the same day.

October 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Surbiton Station To Benefit From £6.7m Upgrade

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

So I went to Surbiton station to take a few pictures.

It has far too many steps for my liking, although it is a Grade II Listed Building, that opened in 1937.

October 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport | | 2 Comments

Shetland Blasts Off Into Space Race As Britain’s First Rocket Launch Pad Skyrora

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times.

This second paragraph, explains what Skyrora are doing.

Skyrora, a technology company with its headquarters in Edinburgh, has agreed a deal for scores of rocket launches over the next decade from a site on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland islands.

This Google Map shows the most Northerly part of Unst.

There’s not really much there, except birds, trees and the most northerly house in Britain.

Enlarging to the West of the house, gives this second Google Map.

Note the Remote Radar Head Saxa Vord, which has a Wikipedia entry as RAF Saxa Voe.

  • It is now a fully-operational radar station again, after closure in 2006.
  • It is at the same latitude as St. Petersburg and Anchorage.
  • In 1992, it measured a wind speed of 197 mph, before the equipment blew away.

The Wikipedia entry is worth a read, as it gives a deep insight into radar and its tracking of Russian intruders in the Cold War.

This third Google Map shows a 3D closeup of the radar.

No staff are based at Saxa Vord, although maintenance staff do visit.

According to The Times, the space port will be at Lamba Ness, which is to the East of the most northerly house in Britain.

The peninsular in the South-East is marked Lamba Ness.

It may seem a very bleak place, but it could have one thing, that rocketry will need – rocket fuel!

In Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?, I introduced Project Orion, which is an electrification and hydrogen hub and clean energy project in the Shetland Islands.

The project’s scope is described in this graphic.

Note

  1. Project Orion now has its own web site.
  2. A Space Centre is shown on the Island of Unst.
  3. There is an oxygen pipeline shown dotted in blue from the proposed Sullom Voe H2 Plant to the Fish Farm and on to the Space Centre.
  4. I suspect if required, there could be a hydrogen pipeline.

The Space Centre on Unst could be fuelled by renewable energy.

Who Are Skyrora?

They have a web site, which displays this mission statement.

Represents a new breed of private rocket companies developing the next generation of launch vehicles for the burgeoning small satellite market.

The Times also has this paragraph.

At the end of last year, the company also completed trials of the third stage of its Skyrora XL rocket, including its orbital transfer vehicle which, once in orbit, can refire its engines 15 times to carry out tasks such as acting as a space tug, completing maintenance or removing defunct satellites.

The company seems to have big ambitions driven by innovation and a large range of ideas.

Conclusion

I shall be following this company.

 

October 12, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment