The Anonymous Widower

SSE Issues €650M Green Bond As It Ramps Up Net Zero Acceleration Programme

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from SSE.

This is the first two paragraphs.

SSE plc has successfully issued a €650m 7-year green bond maturing 1 August 2029 at a coupon of 2.875 per cent.

Today’s issuance is SSE’s fifth green bond in six years and reaffirms its status as the largest issuer of green bonds from the UK corporate sector. It remains the only UK corporate to offer up multiple green bonds and this latest issuance brings SSE’s total outstanding green bonds to over £2.5bn.

It’s good to see that a company can raise money by issuing bonds to finance its green ambitions.

A few years ago, green investments were derided by many, but it now seems that SSE have made hem mainstream.

August 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Finance | , | Leave a comment

The World Economic Forum Talk About Gravitricity

This article on the World Economic Forum is entitled How Gravity Batteries Will Help Us Switch To Renewable Energy.

The article is a must-read and Gravitricity must be very pleased with the contents and placement of the article.

As an investor in Gravitricity, through crowd-funding, I am certainly pleased.

July 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , | Leave a comment

Rolls-Royce Secures Funding To Build Direct Air Capture Demonstrator

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Rolls-Royce has secured £3m from the UK Government to build a demonstrator Direct Air Capture (DAC) system, which could play a vital role in keeping global temperature rises to below 1.5C by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

The demonstrator funding comes from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and helps deliver on the UK Government’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. It follows initial Phase 1 funding of £250,000 awarded in 2021, that allowed Rolls-Royce to design the demonstrator in partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

These two paragraphs, give a few clues to the technology.

Jess Poole, Direct Air Capture Lead for Rolls-Royce, said: “Every credible climate change model requires us to decarbonise today’s emissions, as well as removing CO2 already in the atmosphere via carbon negative technologies such as DAC. Our system combines our expertise in moving large quantities of air efficiently and integrating complex systems, which have been gained from designing world-leading jet engines, with novel DAC technology developed by CSIRO.

“Together the system works like a giant lung, sucking in air, absorbing the CO2, and releasing what is not wanted. We use a water-based liquid to wash around 50% of the CO2 from the captured air. Our technology is distinctive because very little water is used, and the liquid is recycled at low temperatures, making it energy efficient. Other technologies consume a lot of water and require substantial amounts of energy to generate heat for the separation of the CO2.

I was unaware of CSIRO, but that is not surprising, as they are Australian. They are introduced like this in their Wikipedia entry.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is an Australian Government agency responsible for scientific research.

CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

Their motto is “We imagine. We collaborate. We innovate.”

There’s certainly been several brilliant ideas and projects from the country in the last few years.

Is this another?

Another Problem With Carbon Dioxide

When I’m in an optimistic mood, I feel that scientists and engineers may develop so many ideas for the use of carbon dioxide, that we may need to burn natural gas in power stations, so we have the carbon dioxide for industrial or agricultural uses.

I know of one tomato grower, who uses a gas-powered combined heat and power boiler to heat his greenhouses. The carbon dioxide is fed to the tomatoes and any spare electricity is sold to the grid.

Direct Air Capture (DAC) systems might be needed to provide a carbon dioxide feedstock for some processes. Suppose in the tomato example, the grower is heating his greenhouses with an energy source, that doesn’t generate carbon dioxide, he might want to obtain his carbon dioxide from the air.

July 12, 2022 Posted by | Finance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drax To Pilot More Pioneering New Carbon Capture Technology

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Drax.

This is the first paragraph.

Renewable energy pioneer Drax has partnered with the University of Nottingham and Promethean Particles to trial a pioneering new bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) process at its North Yorkshire power station.

Normally, carbon capture from the flue gas of a power station uses a liquid solvent, which dissolves the carbon dioxide.

However, the process that Drax are trialling, uses porous compounds called metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) to absorb the carbon dioxide.

This page on the Promethean Particles web site described how their carbon-capture works.

Traditional solvent-based carbon capture systems require a significant amount of energy to regenerate the carbon-capturing material. In power generation applications, estimates put this energy penalty at up to 35% of the power station’s output. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) capture carbon mainly through physical, not chemical means. This “trapping” process requires lower energy inputs to regenerate the MOFs and can therefore help achieve more energy-efficient carbon capture. By using MOF-based carbon capture, more of the power generated can go where it was intended, lowering the price of energy for consumers and CAPEX for the power generators.

Note.

  1. It is a physical rather than a chemical process.
  2. It is more energy efficient than traditional carbon-capture.

This Drax graphic from the press release, shows how this process can be incorporated into a power plant..

Note.

  1. The trial will last for two months and will be hosted within Drax’s BECCS incubation hub at its North Yorkshire Power Station.
  2. Metal Organic Frameworks are a unique class of solid sorbents offering lower operational costs and reducing potential environmental impacts.

Work to build BECCS at Drax could get underway as soon as 2024, with the creation of thousands of jobs.

Fifty years ago, I spent several months at ICI looking at the mathematics of different numbers and sizes of vessels of in a proposed chemical plant, to optimise the cost of the plant.

  • I suspect a similar analysis could be applied to this process.
  • It would surely be very suitable for Drax, whose main power station has four units fuelled by biomass and another fuelled by natural gas.
  • Are two columns containing MOF, the optimum number?
  • The calculation could involve a lot of permutations and combinations, which I’ve used to advantage for over fifty years.

I will follow this trial with interest.

Conclusion

This is another application of advanced physics and chemistry.

If Promethean Particles ever decide to go the crowdfunding route, I would look seriously at a small investment.

June 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Finance | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

TfL Advances Plans For DLR And Overground Extensions

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on New Civil Engineer.

This is the first paragraph.

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that it is moving ahead with plans to extend the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and the West London Orbital (WLO), part of the London Overground.

So it appears that despite all their financial problems, some progress is being made.

The Docklands Light Railway Extension To Thamesmead

I first wrote about this project in TfL Considering Extending DLR As Far As Abbey Wood.

Now it appears that TfL has been working with Homes England and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on a feasibility study for the extension.

I would like to see this extension incorporation the following.

  • A signature bridge over the Thames with good views of the river.
  • A station with a convenient connection to Crossness, which could become one of major London’s tourist attractions with better transport links.
  • A connection to the Elizabeth Line at Abbey Wood station.

It could help to level up Thamesmead, whose main claim to fame is that it was where the violent film Clockwork Orange was made.

The West London Orbital Railway

I have written extensively about this railway and you can see my posts here.

This map from the Mayor’s Transport Strategy shows the route.

I believe this railway could do the following.

  • Level-up much of North-West London.
  • Provide better access to Heathrow.
  • Link West London to High Speed Two and the Elizabeth Line.

It would also provide better links to Brentford’s new stadium.

The New Civil Engineer says this about funding.

TfL now confirms that the West London Alliance has commissioned feasibility work for the scheme. Meanwhile, TfL is considering options for a Borough Community Infrastructure Levy to help pay for it and has been investigating development opportunities on the route that could unlock funds via Section 106 planning obligations and Carbon Offset funding.

Conclusion

It does appear there are ways and means to fund these schemes, without expecting the rest of the UK to fund London’s transport network.

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A French Banker’s View Of The French Police

After the violence at the weekend in Paris, I am reminded of a meeting with a French banker.

 

Many years ago, I used to do business with a French banker; Andre, who lived and worked in Geneva.

Whether, there had been an excess of violence by French police at the time, I can’t remember, but in a restaurant in Geneva we got talking about the different between French police and other forces in Europe. Andre stated that if you join the French police, you immediately lose all your friends, as no-one wants a policeman as a friend, such is the distrust of the police.

Andre had worked all over Europe, and felt that only in France, is there this attitude to the police.

Does this closed society of the French police lead to them going over the top, as they regularly seem to do?

I’d love to know what the French police think of refugees! I wonder, if they see them as a supreme nuisance and feel the sooner, they have left French soil the better.

May 30, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Sport, World | , , , | 2 Comments

Hanover Square – 9th May 2022

I went to have a look at the new entrance to Bond Street station in Hanover Square.

I have a strong affection for Hanover Square. The first picture shows a new block now, but it was where my bank manager friend had his office for a time.

I spent a lot of time with him and meetings in that office overlooking the square had a lot to do with the success of Metier Management Systems.

They don’t make bank managers like that anymore.

 

May 10, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

An Interview With Stephen Crosher, CEO Of RheEnergise

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

As the title says, Stephen Crosher is the CEO of RheEnergise, who are an innovative energy storage company.

The article is very much a must-read and an interesting insight into RheEnergise.

April 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | | Leave a comment

Shetland’s Viking Wind Farm

I was listening to SSE’s Chief Executive; Alistair Phillips-Davies, on the radio this morning, when he mentioned the Viking wind farm on Shetland.

  • The wind farm is being developed by Viking Energy, a partnership between Shetland Islands Council and SSE plc.
  • It will have 103 turbines and a nameplate capacity of 370 MW.
  • Construction started in September 2020 and should be complete by 2024.
  • The wind farm will be connected to the National grid via the Shetland HVDC Connection.
  • There’s more on the Viking Energy web site.

Note.

  1. According to Wikipedia, wind farms in the Shetlands can have capacity factors of over 50 %.
  2. Viking Energy hope that the Viking wind farm will become one of the most productive onshore wind farms in the world.
  3. Is it unusual, that the wind farm is developed by a partnership between a local authority and a large utility company?

It also appears that together the Viking wind farm and the Shetland HVDC Connection will allow the 66 MW diesel-powered Lerwick power station to be closed.

Does The Electricity System On Shetland Need Energy Storage?

As an Electrical Engineer, who specialised in Control Engineering, I am surprised that to ensure energy security, that there is no energy storage on Shetland.

In the Wikipedia entry for Lerwick power station, there is a section entitled Load Balancing, where this is said.

The growth of output from wind turbines in Shetland has increased instability in the local grid (which is not connected to the national grid on mainland Scotland). SSE installed a 1 MW sodium–sulfur battery in a nearby building to ameliorate the peak loads. However due to safety concerns, the sodium-sulfur battery was removed prior to commissioning and the energy storage building was reconfigured to accommodate 3MWh of advanced lead-acid batteries.

A combination of the new Shetland HVDC Connection and the lead-acid batteries must be enough to ensure energy security for the Shetlands.

 

 

 

 

March 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Finance | , , | 5 Comments

Stadler Reports ‘Best Year’ Since IPO

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

This is the first paragraph.

Stadler has reported record orders and earnings before tax for the 2021 financial year.

And these are a few statistics.

  • Orders were up by 28%.
  • Revenue was up 18 %.
  • Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) was up 43 %.
  • EBIT margin rose to 6·2%.

Overall group profits was slightly down on the previous year due to exchange rate losses.

There is a note of caution.

However, it cautions that it is unlikely to achieve its target EBIT margin of 8 to 9% in 2023 as previously forecast, predicting instead that this would be achieved by 2024-25.

Overall the company is doing well and certainly producing the best trains in Europe.

March 21, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | | 4 Comments