The Anonymous Widower

Have We Missed The Boat On Fracking?

I have just re-read my post from October 2019, which was entitled Fracking Hell…Is It The End?, where these were my conclusions.

  • Fracking for hydrocarbons is a technique that could be past its sell-by date.
  • The use of natural gas will decline.
  • INEOS could see hydrogen as a way of reducing their carbon footprint.
  • The heating on all new buildings should be zero carbon, which could include using hydrogen from a zero-carbon source.
  • There are reasons to think, that electricity from wind-farms creating hydrogen by electrolysis could replace some of our natural gas usage.

So will the Government’s lifting on the ban on fracking make any difference?

The announcement is detailed in this article on the BBC, which is entitled Fracking Ban Lifted, Government Announces.

These are my thoughts.

Fracking Is Not A Quick Fix

My personal view is that to achieve any significant amounts of gas from fracking will take some years, so it is not something that will be available in the short term.

Opposition To Fracking Won’t Help

There are very few inhabitants of the UK, who are enthusiastic about fracking.

Opposition to fracking will make it less likely to be the feasible short term fix we need in the UK.

Suppose There Was An Earthquake Near To A Fracking Site

Fracking also has the problem, that if there were to be a small earthquake near to a site, even if it was very likely to have not been caused by fracking, it would result in massive public uproar, which would shut down all fracking in the UK.

This to me is a big risk!

Would The Jackdaw Oil And Gas Field Be A Medium Term Solution?

I believe that with other gas field developments and imports, Jackdaw could keep us supplied with enough gas until the end of the decade.

Future Renewable Electricity Production

In Will We Run Out Of Power This Winter?, I summarised the likely yearly additions to our offshore wind power capacity in the next few years.

  • 2022 – 3200 MW
  • 2023 – 1500 MW
  • 3024 – 2400 MW
  • 2025 – 6576 MW
  • 2026 – 1705 MW
  • 2027 – 7061 GW

Note.

  1. Ignoring 2022 as it’s going, this totals to 19.2 GW.
  2. Hopefully, by the end of 2027, Hinckley Point C will add another 3.26 GW
  3. According to Wikipedia, there are currently 32 active gas fired combined cycle power plants operating in the United Kingdom, which have a total generating capacity of 28.0 GW.

I think it is not unreasonable to assume that some of the electricity will enable some of our gas-fired power stations to be stood down and/or mothballed.

Gas consumption would be reduced and some power stations would be held in reserve for when the wind was on strike!

Using Hydrogen To Eke Out Our Gas

Consider.

  • In Lime Kiln Fuelled By Hydrogen Shown To Be Viable, I wrote about how hydrogen can be used instead of or with natural gas to fuel a lime kiln.
  • There are other processes, where hydrogen can be used instead of or with natural gas.
  • Using more hydrogen will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted.

Perhaps we should strategically build a few huge hydrogen electrolysers, so that some large industrial users can cut back on their natural gas.

Will Energy Storage Help?

Energy storage’s main use is to mop up all the surplus electricity when demand is low at a low price and sell it back, when demand is high.

If we waste less energy, we will use less gas.

Will District Heating Schemes Help?

Consider.

More schemes like this should be developed, where there is a readily-available source of heat or electricity

Conclusion

As we add more renewables to our energy generation, it appears to me, that our gas usage will decline.

If we were to go fracking, we should have done it a lot earlier, so we can bridge the short term gap.

 

 

 

 

September 22, 2022 - Posted by | Energy Storage, Hydrogen, Energy | , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. Exactly. Fracking is irrelevant – a distraction from the real issues.

    And if drought is going to be a recurrent problem, it’s hard to see how electrolysis can be viable at any kind of large scale. (Likewise any nuclear plant that uses river water for cooling.)

    The only solutions I see are a mix of: massive amounts of storage (as you know, there are lots of good ideas floating around atm, though it remains to be seen which are viable at scale); demand reduction, especially when supply is short – simplest via insulation and buildings generating their own energy, e.g. solar/storage; investing in more reliable green supply, e.g. tidal.

    Comment by Peter Robins | September 22, 2022 | Reply

  2. The earthquakes are not the only problem. The experience of fracking in the USA has suffered from contamination of ground water, unable to cap the bore holes, require regular pressurising the hole (fracking) to maintain production contamination of the drilling site, large quantities of contaminated water for disposal and limited life. This has resulted in no single well paying back the cost of the well and production. although the increase cost of oil may help.

    The only use for this technology may be for tapping geological heat source available from granite. Some areas in the UK may even suitable for generating steam to generate electricity. There was an attempt in Cornwall, over 20 year ago, which failed as the cracks generated between the two bore holes soon closed. I am glad that the Eden project is going ahead.

    Comment by Ben | September 22, 2022 | Reply

  3. Thoughts.

    Fracking also uses a lot of water.

    The latest electrolysers can use sea water.

    I do like the concrete sphere idea for storage.

    Tidal is coming.

    Comment by AnonW | September 22, 2022 | Reply

    • which electrolysers can use sea water?

      Comment by Peter Robins | September 22, 2022 | Reply

      • Torven, which is a start-up in Stockton and I’ve seen others proposed. I used to work on one at Runcorn, that used brine!

        Comment by AnonW | September 22, 2022

      • https://www.torvexenergy.co.uk/ I seem to remember reading about this. Not much info on the website, but one thing they make clear is that this isn’t electrolysis. Be interesting to see how long this will take to prove itself at scale – and how much the hydrogen will cost. Like fracking, it’s not a short-term solution.

        Comment by Peter Robins | September 22, 2022

  4. Fracking, what would you expect from the Goldfish Faction of the Conservative Party.

    Comment by fammorris | September 23, 2022 | Reply


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