The Anonymous Widower

Vast Australian Renewable Energy Site Powers BP’s Ambitions

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

BP is to lead the development of a $36 billion wind, solar and hydrogen project in Western Australia in its latest foray into green energy.

The oil company has bought a 40.5 per cent stake in the Asian Renewable Energy Hub in the eastern Pilbara region and will become operator of the project, one of the biggest such developments globally.

The Wikipedia entry for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, starts like this.

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) is a proposal to create one of the world’s largest renewable energy plant in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It was first proposed in 2014, with plans for the project concept changing several times since then. As of November 2020, the project developers Intercontinental Energy, CWP Global, Vestas and Pathway Investments were planning to build a mixture of wind power and solar energy power generators which would generate up to 26 gigawatts of power.

Up to 1,743 wind turbines of 290 metres (950 ft) in height would be accommodated in 668,100 hectares (1,651,000 acres) of land, and 18 arrays of solar panels each generating 600 megawatts would cover 1,418 hectares (3,500 acres). It is to be located in the Shire of East Pilbara, about 30 km (19 mi) inland from 80 Mile Beach, with the nearest settlement on the map being Mandora Station. The total size of the scheme would be about 666,030 ha (1,645,800 acres).

It is a gigantic project and this Google Map of Western Australia shows its location.

It is no more than a pimple on the huge area of Western Australia.

I have my thoughts about BP getting involved with this project.

The Power Of Research

Around 1970, I spent four years in ICI applying mathematical methods to some of their processes, that were in research or development. I also worked for a time on their hydrogen plants. Some of the projects I heard about, were pretty wacky and some of these appear to have never been commercialised.

When I left ICI, I built a few mathematical models for other research organisations.

So I do wonder, if BP have found something, that will enable the process of making hydrogen from water a lot more efficient. There is an American startup called Bloom Energy, who have teamed up with Westinghouse to use steam from the nuclear reactor to do electrolysis more efficiently at a high temperature.

I wrote about this partnership in Westinghouse And Bloom Energy To Team Up For Pink Hydrogen, where Bloom Energy Vice President of Hydrogen Business Rick Beuttel, is quoted as saying this.

We are proud Westinghouse has turned to Bloom and our solid oxide technology to supercharge the clean hydrogen economy. Solid oxide technology is well suited for nuclear applications, efficiently harnessing steam to further improve the economics of hydrogen production. High temperature electrolysis is already garnering attention and accolades as a cost-effective and viable solution to create low-cost, clean hydrogen, which is critical to meeting aggressive decarbonization goals.

It sounds that by integrating the nuclear power station and the electrolyser, there are cost savings to be made.

Why not use solar power to create steam, which is called solar thermal energy and is used in various hot places in the world and then use high temperature electrolysis?

I suspect that BP are up to something, that is very similar to Fortescue Future Industries in the Australian company’s back yard.

So will they be selling the hydrogen to FFI, so they can market it together all over the world?

This BP deal is one to watch.

June 16, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , ,

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