The Anonymous Widower

TechnipFMC To Build And Trial Offshore Green Hydrogen Production Project

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

TechnipFMC has announced that it is leading a consortium composed of some of the largest renewables players, in order to build and test a new offshore green hydrogen production system.

This is a second consortium going down the same route, after the Orsted consortium, That I wrote about in EU Backs Orsted Team On Green Hydrogen Initiative.

I obviously haven’t done the costings, but as two consortia are developing the technology to create hydrogen offshore, perhaps it is the more economic route.

January 13, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

North Dakota Coal Country Backlash Against Wind Energy Is Misguided, Wind Advocates Say

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Two counties in North Dakota coal country have passed policies aimed at banning wind power development — but federal studies show that abundant natural gas is chiefly to blame for the closure of coal-fired power plants.

It appears that the closure of 1151 MW Coal Creek power station in 2022, will cost almost a thousand jobs.

This is the downside of decarbonisation.

These two paragraphs give a flavour of the argument.

Coal country officials have said they’re not against wind power, but said the economic benefits of wind can’t begin to compare to the contributions, in jobs and tax revenues, to coal-fired power plants and the mines that supply them. Most jobs involving a wind farm come during construction.

“There will be a limited number of permanent jobs after the tower is up, if and when that happens,” said Buster Langowski, the Mercer County economic development director. Wind farms need only four or five employees to operate. “That’s not a lot of folks.”

It appears that the changeover needs to be better managed.

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , | Leave a comment

Companies Have New Take On Old Energy Storage Tech

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

According to Spectrum, several companies are poised to make a splash storing energy with gravity. That sounds fancy and high tech at first, but is it, really? Sure, we usually think of energy storage as some sort of battery, but there are many energy storage systems that use water falling, for example, which is almost what this new technology is all about. Almost, since instead of water these new systems move around multi-ton blocks.

The article gives a review of Energy Vault, Gravitricity and another company called Gravity Power.

This is the article’s take on Gravity Power.

The scale of the weights is hard to imagine. Another company, Gravity Power, claims they could deliver 400 megawatts for 16 hours using an 8 million metric ton piston. There’s no word on how long it takes to bring that piston back to the charged position after the 16 hours, though. A Boeing 757-200, for example, weighs about 100 tons when loaded with fuel and passengers. So imagine 80,000 giant airplanes melted down. It makes Energy Vault’s 35-ton weights seem much more reasonable.

Looking at the Gravity Power web site, their technology is described on this page, where this is the first paragraph.

The GPM (Gravity Power Module) uses a very large piston that is suspended in a deep, water-filled shaft, with sliding seals to prevent leakage around the piston and a return pipe connecting to a pump-turbine at ground level. The piston is comprised of reinforced rock and in some cases concrete for low cost. The shaft is filled with water once, at the start of operations, but is then sealed and no additional water is required.

This graphic from the page explains the technology.

My worry would be water leakage past the piston.

This does sound like an idea from William Armstrong, who was responsible for many things including the hydraulic accumulator.

The picture shows the hydraulic accumulator at Limehouse in London.

I visited the Limehouse Accumulator during Open House in 2012 and wrote about it in Open House – The Limehouse Hydraulic Accumulator.

 

 

 

January 9, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | 1 Comment

EU Backs Orsted Team On Green Hydrogen Initiative

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

This is the sub-title of the article.

European Commission Funding For The Oyster Project That Also Includes Siemens Gamesa, Element Energy and ITM Power

There is a press release on ITM Power’s web site.

This paragraph sums up the project.

ITM Power, Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, and Element Energy have been awarded EUR 5 million in funding from The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2-JU) under the European Commission to demonstrate and investigate a combined wind turbine and electrolyser system designed for operation in marine environments.

This is said about the design of the electrolyser.

The electrolyser system will be designed to be compact, to allow it to be integrated with a single offshore wind turbine, and to follow the turbine’s production profile. Furthermore, the electrolyser system will integrate desalination and water treatment processes, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.

It looks like it will be a standalone turbine, that instead of producing electricity it will produce hydrogen.

This paragraph gives the objective of the project.

The OYSTER project partners share a vision of hydrogen being produced from offshore wind at a cost that is competitive with natural gas (with a realistic carbon tax), thus unlocking bulk markets for green hydrogen making a meaningful impact on CO2 emissions, and facilitating the transition to a fully renewable energy system in Europe.

The project will run from 2021 to 2024.

When I first heard about creating hydrogen offshore with a combined wind-turbine and electrolyser, I thought this could be the way to go.

It’s certainly a way to produce large quantities of green hydrogen.

But I also feel, the process has a serious rival in Shell’s Blue Hydrogen Process, which uses a catalyst to split methane into hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Shell will need uses for the carbon dioxide or worked-out gas fields to store it.

January 9, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , | 1 Comment

Could Hydrogen Replace The Need For An Electric Grid?

This article on Brink with this title is a definite must read!

It all boils down to the fact, that it’s cheaper to transport gas over long distances, than electricity.

I also suspect, that a steel pipe, which is full of inflammable gas is more difficult and less profitable to steal, than a nice meaty copper cable.

January 7, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , | 2 Comments

Ecotricity Seals 10-year Agreement To Take Geothermal Power From Cornish Plant

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy Live News.

This is the first two paragraphs

British utility Ecotricity has sealed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy geothermal electricity from Geothermal Engineering Limited.

The ten-year PPA will see a minimum of 3MWh of baseload electricity produced by the United Downs demonstration project in Cornwall being distributed to power the equivalent of 10,000 homes every year.

The article also says that this is the first time geothermal electricity has been produced and sold in the UK.

The remarkable thing, is that the same site will be used by Cornish Lithium for a pilot plant to extract lithium.

It does look like the Cornish will both have their cake and eat it!

As rum is also going to be matured using more of the energy, as I wrote about in And Now Geothermal Rum From Cornwall!, they’ll also be able to drink it as well!

January 7, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shooter Urges Caution On Hydrogen Hubris

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the January 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

Vivarail Chairman Adrian Shooter has urges caution about the widespread enthusiasm for hydrogen technology. In his keynote speech to the Golden Spanner Awards on 27 November, Mr. Shooter said the process to create ‘green hydrogen’ by electrolysis is ‘a wasteful use of electricity’ and was skeptical about using electricity to create hydrogen to then use a fuel cell to power a train, rather than charging batteries to power a train. ‘What you will discover is that a hydrogen train uses 3.5 times as much electricity because of inefficiencies in the electrolysis process and also in the fuel cells’ said Mr. Shooter. He also noted the energy density of hydrogen at 350 bar is only one-tenth of a similar quantity of diesel fuel, severely limiting the range of a hydrogen-powered train between refuelling.

Mr. Shooter then made the following points.

  • The complexity of delivering hydrogen to the railway depots.
  • The shorter range available from the amount of hydrogen that can be stored on a train compared to the range of a diesel train.
  • He points out limitations with the design of the Alstom Breeze train.

This is the last paragraph.

Whilst this may have seemed like a challenge designed purely to promote the battery alternatives that Vivarail is developing, and which he believes to be more efficient, Mr. Shooter explained: ‘I think that hydrogen fuel cell trains could work in this country, but people just need to remember that there are downsides. I’m sure we’ll see some, and in fact we should because competition improves the breed.’

i think Mr. Shooter may have made several good points.

These are my thoughts.

Creating Green Hydrogen

I haven’t done an analysis of the costs of creating green hydrogen from electrolysis, but I have a feeling, that electrolysis won’t be the only way to create large amounts of carbon-free hydrogen, in a few years.

These methods are currently available or under development or construction.

  • The hydrogen tram-buses in Pau have a personal electrolyser, that provides hydrogen at 350 bar.
  • London’s hydrogen buses will be provided with hydrogen from an electrolyser at Herne Bay by truck. Will the trucks be hydrogen-powered?

Some industrial processes like the Castner-Kellner process create hydrogen as a by-product.

In Shell Process To Make Blue Hydrogen Production Affordable, I describe the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process, which appears to be a way of making massive amounts of carbon-free hydrogen for processes like steel-making and cement production. Surely some could be piped or transported by truck to the rail depot.

In ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration, I describe how ITM Power and Ørsted plan to create the hydrogen off shore and bring it by pipeline to the shore.

Note.

  1. The last two methods could offer savings in the cost of production of carbon-free hydrogen.
  2. Surely, the delivery trucks if used, must be hydrogen-powered.
  3. The Shell Blue Hydrogen Process uses natural gas as a feedstock and converts it to hydrogen using a newly-developed catalyst. The carbon-dioxide is captured and used or stored.
  4. If the local gas network has been converted to hydrogen, the hydrogen can be delivered to the depot or filling station through that gas network.

I very much feel that affordable hydrogen can be supplied to bus, train, tram or transport depot. For remote or difficult locations. personal electrolysers, powered by renewable electricity, can be used, as at Pau.

Hydrogen Storage On Trains

Liquid hydrogen could be the answer and Airbus are developing methods of storing large quantities on aircraft.

In What Size Of Hydrogen Tank Will Be Needed On A ZEROe Turbofan?, I calculated how much liquid hydrogen would be needed for this ZEROe Turbofan.

I calculate that to carry the equivalent amount of fuel to an Airbus A320neo would need a liquid hydrogen tank with a near 100 cubic metre capacity. This sized tank would fit in the rear fuselage.

I feel that in a few years, a hydrogen train will be able to carry enough liquid hydrogen in a fuel tank, but the fuel tank will be large.

In The Mathematics Of A Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive, I calculated how much liquid hydrogen would be needed to provide the same amount of energy as that carried in a full diesel tank on a Class 68 locomotive.

The locomotive would need 19,147 litres or 19.15 cubic metres of liquid hydrogen, which could be contained in a cylindrical tank with a diameter of 2 metres and a length of 6 metres.

Hydrogen Locomotives Or Multiple Units?

We have only seen first generation hydrogen trains so far.

This picture shows the Alstom Coradia iLint, which is a conversion of a Coradia Lint.

It is a so-so train and works reasonably well, but the design means there is a lot of transmission noise.

This is a visualisation of an Alstom Breeze or Class 600 train.

Note that the front half of the first car of the train, is taken up with a large hydrogen tank. It will be the same at the other end of the train.

As Mr. Shooter said, Alstom are converting a three-car train into a two-car train. Not all conversions live up to the hype of their proposers.

I would hope that the next generation of a hydrogen train designed from scratch, will be a better design.

I haven’t done any calculations, but I wonder if a lighter weight vehicle may be better.

Hydrogen Locomotives

I do wonder, if hydrogen locomotives are a better bet and easier to design!

  • There is a great need all over the world for zero-carbon locomotives to haul freight trains.
  • Powerful small gas-turbine engines, that can run on liquid hydrogen are becoming available.
  • Rolls-Royce have developed a 2.5 MW gas-turbine generator, that is the size of a beer-keg.

In The Mathematics Of A Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive, I wondered if the Rolls-Royce generator could power a locomotive, the size of a Class 68 locomotive.

This was my conclusion.

I feel that there are several routes to a hydrogen-powered railway locomotive and all the components could be fitted into the body of a diesel locomotive the size of a Class 68 locomotive.

Consider.

  • Decarbonising railway locomotives and ships could be a large market.
  • It offers the opportunities of substantial carbon reductions.
  • The small size of the Rolls-Royce 2.5 MW generator must offer advantages.
  • Some current diesel-electric locomotives might be convertible to hydrogen power.

I very much feel that companies like Rolls-Royce and Cummins (and Caterpillar!), will move in and attempt to claim this lucrative worldwide market.

In the UK, it might be possible to convert some existing locomotives to zero-carbon, using either liquid hydrogen, biodiesel or aviation biofuel.

Perhaps, hydrogen locomotives could replace Chiltern Railways eight Class 68 locomotives.

  • A refuelling strategy would need to be developed.
  • Emissions and noise, would be reduced in Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street stations.
  • The rakes of carriages would not need any modifications to use existing stations.

It could be a way to decarbonise Chiltern Railways without full electrification.

It looks to me that a hydrogen-powered locomotive has several advantages over a hydrogen-powered multiple unit.

  • It can carry more fuel.
  • It can be as powerful as required.
  • Locomotives could work in pairs for more power.
  • It is probably easier to accommodate the hydrogen tank.
  • Passenger capacity can be increased, if required by adding more coaches.

It should also be noted that both hydrogen locomotives and multiple units can build heavily on technology being developed for zero-carbon aviation.

The Upward Curve Of Battery Power

Sparking A Revolution is the title an article in Issue 898 of Rail Magazine, which is mainly an interview with  Andrew Barr of Hitachi Rail.

The article contains a box, called Costs And Power, where this is said.

The costs of batteries are expected to halve in the next years, before dropping further again by 2030.

Hitachi cites research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) which expects costs to fall from £135/kWh at the pack level today to £67/kWh in 2030 and £47/kWh in 3030.

United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) are predicting that battery energy density will double in the next 15 years, from 700 Wh/l to 1400 Wh/l in 2-35, while power density (fast charging) is likely to increase four times in the same period from 3 kW/kg to 12 kW/kg in 2035.

These are impressive improvements that can only increase the performance and reduce the cost of batteries in all applications.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

This infographic gives the specification of Hitachi Regional Battery Train, which they are creating in partnership with Hyperdrive Innovation.

Note that Hitachi are promising a battery life of 8-10 years.

Financing Batteries

This paragraph is from this page on BuyaCar, which is entitled Electric Car Battery Leasing: Should I Lease Or Buy The Batteries?

When you finance or buy a petrol or diesel car it’s pretty simple; the car will be fitted with an engine. However, with some electric cars you have the choice to finance or buy the whole car, or to pay for the car and lease the batteries separately.

I suspect that battery train manufacturers, will offer similar finance models for their products.

This paragraph is from this page on the Hyperdrive Innovation web site.

With a standardised design, our modular product range provides a flexible and scalable battery energy storage solution. Combining a high-performance lithium-ion NMC battery pack with a built in Battery Management System (BMS) our intelligent systems are designed for rapid deployment and volume manufacture, supplying you with class leading energy density and performance.

I can envisage that as a battery train ages, every few years or so, the batteries will get bigger electrically, but still be the same physical size, due to the improvements in battery technology, design and manufacture.

I have been involved in the finance industry both as a part-owner of a small finance company and as a modeller of the dynamics of their lending. It looks to me, that train batteries could be a very suitable asset for financing by a fund. But given the success of energy storage funds like Gore Street and Gresham House, this is not surprising.

I can envisage that battery electric trains will be very operator friendly, as they are likely to get better with age and they will be very finance-friendly.

Charging Battery Trains

I must say something about the charging of battery trains.

Battery trains will need to be charged and various methods are emerging.

Using Existing Electrification

This will probably be one of the most common methods used, as many battery electric services will be run on partly on electrified routes.

Take a typical route for a battery electric train like London Paddington and Oxford.

  • The route is electrified between London Paddington and Didcot Junction.
  • There is no electrification on the 10.4 miles of track between Didcot Junction and Oxford.

If a full battery on the train has sufficient charge to take the train from Didcot Junction to Oxford and back, charging on the main line between London Paddington and Didcot Junction, will be all that will be needed to run the service.

I would expect that in the UK, we’ll be seeing battery trains using both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third rail electrification.

Short Lengths Of New Strategic Electrification

I think that Great Western Railway would like to run either of Hitachi’s two proposed battery electric trains to Swansea.

As there is 45.7 miles pf track without .electrification, some form of charging in Swansea station, will probably be necessary.

The easiest way would probably be to electrify Swansea station and perhaps for a short distance to the North.

This Google Map shows Swansea station and the railway leading North.

Note.

  1. There is a Hitachi Rail Depot at the Northern edge of the map.
  2. Swansea station is in South-West corner of the map.
  3. Swansea station has four platforms.

Swansea station would probably make an excellent battery train hub, as trains typically spend enough time in the station to fully charge the batteries before continuing.

There are other tracks and stations of the UK, that I would electrify to enable the running of battery electric trains.

  • Leeds and York, which would enable carbon-free London and Edinburgh services via Leeds and help TransPennine services. This is partially underway.
  • Leicester and East Midlands Parkway and Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield – These two sections would enable EMR InterCity services to go battery electric.
  • Sheffield and Leeds via Meadowhall, Barnsley Dearne Valley and the Wakefield Line, which would enable four trains per hour (tph) between Sheffield and Leeds and an extension of EMR InterCity services to Leeds.
  • Hull and Brough, would enable battery electric services to Hull and Beverley.
  • Scarborough and Seamer, would enable electric services services to Scarborough and between Hull and Scarborough.
  • Middlesbrough and Redcar, would enable electric services services to Teesside.
  • Crewe and Chester and around Llandudno Junction station – These two sections would enable Avanti West Coast service to Holyhead to go battery electric.
  • Shrewsbury station – This could become a battery train hub, as I talked about for Swansea.
  • Taunton and Exeter and around Penzance, Plymouth and Westbury stations – These three sections would enable Great Western Railway to cut a substantial amount of carbon emissions.
  • Exeter, Yeovil Junction and Salisbury stations. – Electrifying these three stations would enable South Western Railway to run between London and Exeter using Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, as I wrote in Bi-Modes Offered To Solve Waterloo-Exeter Constraints.

We will also need fast chargers for intermediate stations, so that a train can charge the batteries on a long route.

I know of two fast chargers under development.

I believe it should be possible to battery-electrify a route by doing the following.

  • Add short lengths of electrification and fast charging systems as required.
  • Improve the track, so that trains can use their full performance.
  • Add ERTMS signalling.
  • Add some suitable trains.

Note.

  1. I feel ERTMS  signalling with a degree of automatic train control could be used with automatic charging systems, to make station stops more efficient.
  2. In my view, there is no point in installing better modern trains, unless the track is up to their performance.

January 4, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sweden’s Grand Plan To Make Zero-Carbon Steel

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

It adds a lot of colour and background to Sweden’s plan to make zero-carbon stell using a process called HYBRIT, that I wrote about in Funding Award to Supply An 8MW Electrolyser and is illustrated in this infographic.

The amount of hydrogen needed is large as this paragraph from the Telegraph article says.

HYBRIT’s demonstration plant, for which an investment decision is due in 2022, will require 400MW of power just for the electrolysers to make the hydrogen. Sweden’s largest existing wind farm, Björkhöjden, produces just 288MW. Then to store the hydrogen, Vattenfall plans to build 120,000 m3 of lined underground storage, enough to store 100GWh worth of the gas.

Will they procure the electrolysers from the UK’s experts in the field; iTM Power? This innovative company is building the world’s largest electrolyser factory in Rotherham, which will be able to produce a GW of electrolysers in a year.

Conclusion

This well-written article in the Telegraph explains a lot about steel produced using hydrogen instead of coal.

Sweden has a lot of advantages at Lulea to create steel.

  • The iron ore is mined locally.
  • Sweden has ninety percent of Europe’s iron ore.
  • Ships can sail to Lulea, which is at the top of the Baltic.
  • There is gigawatts of zero-carbon electricity from the River Lule.
  • They can build wind farms in the area, which has a low population.

It does look that they might export the iron ore as sponge iron, which can then be processed directly into steel products using electric arc furnaces.

 

December 29, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , | 1 Comment

Snam, ITM Power To Develop Green Hydrogen Projects

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

Points from the article.

  • Snam will pump £30 million into ITM Power.
  • Snam are planning up to 100 MW of green hydrogen projects.

In Joint Venture With Linde AG And £38M Strategic Investment, I asked “How Much Hydrogen Would A 5 MW Electrolyser Create In A Day?”

  • I gave the answer as 2.182 tonnes of hydrogen, so multiplying up by twenty gives 43.6 tonnes of hydrogen.
  • In a Wikipedia entry called Renewable Energy in Italy, it is stated that Italy produced 51.5 GW of renewable energy in 2015.
  • The UK produced 30 GW of renewable energy in 2015, but our capacity is growing fast.

I suspect Italy will have plenty enough renewable electricity to supply 100 MW for hydrogen.

As iTM Power are building a factory to manufacture one GW of electrolysers per year, I suspect they can provide their part of the hasrdware for the Italian job.

December 28, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment

Renewable Hydrogen Will Replace Natural Gas In Millions Of Australian Households

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Under a new Australian government-backed initiative, millions of households across the country will be supplied with renewable hydrogen in the place of natural gas.

The project will start in a small way by adding 10 % of hydrogen to the natural gas networks by the end of 2022.

Eventually, hydrogen will completely replace natural gas.

According to one of the comments to the article, ITM Power will supply the electrolysers.

That could be a nice little order.

December 28, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment