The Anonymous Widower

The Massive Hydrogen Project, That Appears To Be Under The Radar

This page on the SSE Thermal web site, is entitled Aldbrough Gas Storage.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Aldbrough Gas Storage facility, in East Yorkshire, officially opened in June 2011. The last of the nine caverns entered commercial operation in November 2012.

This page on Hydrocarbons Technology is entitled Aldbrough Underground Gas Storage Facility, Yorkshire.

It gives these details of how Aldbrough Gas Storage was constructed.

The facility was originally planned to be developed by British Gas and Intergen in 1997. British Gas planned to develop Aldbrough North as a gas storage facility while Intergen planned to develop Aldbrough South.

SSE and Statoil became owners of the two projects in 2002 and 2003. The two companies combined the projects in late 2003. Site work commenced in March 2004 and leaching of the first cavern started in March 2005.

The storage caverns were created by using directional drilling. From a central area of the site, boreholes were drilled down to the salt strata located 2km underground.

After completion of drilling, leaching was carried out by pumping seawater into the boreholes to dissolve salt and create a cavern. Natural gas was then pumped into the caverns and stored under high pressure.

Six of the nine caverns are already storing gas. As of February 2012, dewatering and preparation of the remaining three caverns is complete. Testing has been completed at two of these caverns.

The facility is operated remotely from SSE’s Hornsea storage facility. It includes an above ground gas processing plant equipped with three 20MW compressors. The gas caverns of the facility are connected to the UK’s gas transmission network through an 8km pipeline.

Note.

  1. The caverns are created in a bed of salt about two kilometres down.
  2. It consists of nine caverns with the capacity to store around 370 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas.
  3. Salt caverns are very strong and dry, and are ideal for storing natural gas. The technique is discussed in this section in Wikipedia.

As I worked for ICI at Runcorn in the late 1960s, I’m very familiar with the technique, as the company extracted large amounts of salt from the massive reserves below the Cheshire countryside.

This Google Map shows the location of the Aldbrough Gas Storage to the North-East of Hull.

Note.

  1. The red-arrow marks the site of the Aldbrough Gas Storage.
  2. It is marked on the map as SSE Hornsea Ltd.
  3. Hull is in the South-West corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the site in more detail.

It appears to be a compact site.

Atwick Gas Storage

This page on the SSE Thermal web site, is entitled Atwick Gas Storage.

This is said on the web site.

Our Atwick Gas Storage facility is located near Hornsea on the East Yorkshire coast.

It consists of nine caverns with the capacity to store around 325 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas.

The facility first entered commercial operation in 1979. It was purchased by SSE in September 2002.

This Google Map shows the location of the Atwick Gas Storage to the North-East of Beverley.

Note.

  1. The red-arrow marks the site of the Atwick Gas Storage.
  2. It is marked on the map as SSE Atwick.
  3. Beverley is in the South-West corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the site in more detail.

As with the slightly larger Aldbrough Gas Storage site, it appears to be compact.

Conversion To Hydrogen Storage

It appears that SSE and Equinor have big plans for the Aldbrough Gas Storage facility.

This page on the SSE Thermal web site is entitled Plans For World-Leading Hydrogen Storage Facility At Aldbrough.

These paragraphs introduce the plans.

SSE Thermal and Equinor are developing plans for one of the world’s largest hydrogen storage facilities at their existing Aldbrough site on the East Yorkshire coast. The facility could be storing low-carbon hydrogen as early as 2028.

The existing Aldbrough Gas Storage facility, which was commissioned in 2011, is co-owned by SSE Thermal and Equinor, and consists of nine underground salt caverns, each roughly the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Upgrading the site to store hydrogen would involve converting the existing caverns or creating new purpose-built caverns to store the low-carbon fuel.

With an initial expected capacity of at least 320GWh, Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage would be significantly larger than any hydrogen storage facility in operation in the world today. The Aldbrough site is ideally located to store the low-carbon hydrogen set to be produced and used in the Humber region.

Hydrogen storage will be vital in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK and balancing the overall energy system by providing back up where large proportions of energy are produced from renewable power. As increasing amounts of hydrogen are produced both from offshore wind power, known as ‘green hydrogen’, and from natural gas with carbon capture and storage, known as ‘blue hydrogen’, facilities such as Aldbrough will provide storage for low-carbon energy.

I have a few thoughts.

Will Both Aldbrough and Atwick Gas Storage Facilities Be Used?

As the page only talks of nine caverns and both Aldbrough and Atwick facilities each have nine caverns, I suspect that at least initially only Aldbrough will be used.

But in the future, demand for the facility could mean all caverns were used and new ones might even be created.

Where Will The Hydrogen Come From?

These paragraphs from the SSE Thermal web page give an outline.

Equinor has announced its intention to develop 1.8GW of ‘blue hydrogen’ production in the region starting with its 0.6GW H2H Saltend project which will supply low-carbon hydrogen to local industry and power from the mid-2020s. This will be followed by a 1.2GW production facility to supply the Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, proposed by SSE Thermal and Equinor as the world’s first 100% hydrogen-fired power station, before the end of the decade.

SSE Thermal and Equinor’s partnership in the Humber marks the UK’s first end-to-end hydrogen proposal, connecting production, storage and demand projects in the region. While the Aldbrough facility would initially store the hydrogen produced for the Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, the benefit of this large-scale hydrogen storage extends well beyond power generation. The facility would enable growing hydrogen ambitions across the region, unlocking the potential for green hydrogen, and supplying an expanding offtaker market including heat, industry and transport from the late 2020s onwards.

Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage, and the partners’ other hydrogen projects in the region, are in the development stage and final investment decisions will depend on the progress of the necessary business models and associated infrastructure.

The Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage project is the latest being developed in a long-standing partnership between SSE Thermal and Equinor in the UK, which includes the joint venture to build the Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm, the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

It does seem to be, a bit of an inefficient route to create blue hydrogen, which will require carbon dioxide to be captured and stored or used.

Various scenarios suggest themselves.

  • The East Riding of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire are agricultural counties, so could some carbon dioxide be going to help greenhouse plants and crops, grow big and strong.
  • Carbon dioxide is used as a major ingredient of meat substitutes like Quorn.
  • Companies like Mineral Carbonation International are using carbon dioxide to make building products like blocks and plasterboard.

I do suspect that there are teams of scientists in the civilised world researching wacky ideas for the use of carbon dioxide.

Where Does The Dogger Bank Wind Farm Fit?

The Dogger Bank wind farm will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

  • It will consist of at least three phases; A, B and C, each of which will be 1.2 GW.
  • Phase A and B will have a cable to Creyke Beck substation in Yorkshire.
  • Phase C will have a cable to Teesside.

Creyke Beck is almost within walking distance of SSE Hornsea.

Could a large electrolyser be placed in the area, to store wind-power from Dogger Bank A/B as hydrogen in the Hydrogen Storage Facility At Aldbrough?

Conclusion

SSE  and Equinor may have a very cunning plan and we will know more in the next few years.

 

 

May 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daimler Truck North America And Cummins Collaborate To Drive Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trucks Forward In North America

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Cummins Inc., a global power and hydrogen technologies leader, and Daimler Truck North America (DTNA), the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America, are collaborating to upfit and validate Freightliner Cascadia trucks with a Cummins hydrogen fuel cell powertrain for use in North America. Freightliner will leverage Cummins’ fourth generation fuel cell powertrain, which provides improved power density, efficiency and durability.

The joint effort will support both organizations’ goals to reduce emissions across product offerings and operations. Upon successful validation, the companies intend to have initial units available in 2024 for selected customers.

Note.

  1. The Freightliner Cascadia is a heavy-duty semi-trailer truck and the flagship model of Freightliner, which is a subsidiary of Daimler Truck North America.
  2. There is already an electric variant of the Cascadia, which is called an eCascadia. It is this truck, that is being converted to hydrogen.

This article on Hydrogen Fuel News is entitled Cummins Partners With Freightliner On Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Truck, starts with this paragraph.

According to Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger who spoke at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, it’s the responsibility of the trucking industry to create a cleaner future. He stated that, “We think we deliver goods to market and empower things,” adding that “We do things that are essential to the economy, and we are proud of it. We also think, though, that we need to help with prosperity that has to do with making sure we don’t consume and destroy the planet that we live on.”

Cummins seem to have placed a few bets on hydrogen.

Daimler Truck North America seem to be following the philosophy of being in both the electric and the hydrogen market with two separate products, that I outlined in Daimler Trucks Presents Technology Strategy For Electrification – World Premiere Of Mercedes-Benz Fuel-Cell Concept Truck.

Wrightbus appear to have done the same with their hydrogen and electric buses.

It will be interesting to see how American truckers take to Cummins offer of a hydrogen-powered truck.

May 21, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Salt Deposits And Gas Cavern Storage In The UK

This post is mainly to point to this useful document on the government web site, that is entitled Salt Deposits And Gas Cavern Storage In The UK With A Case Study Of Salt Exploration From Cheshire.

May 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy Storage, Hydrogen, Energy | , , | Leave a comment

Renault Scenic Vision Concept Debuts As Hydrogen Fuel Cell Range Extender

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

This is the subtitle to the article.

The French automaker is repurposing its Scenic nameplate for a very different vehicle.

The car looks fairly conventional, but the power system is not.

This paragraph describes it.

What’s perhaps more interesting than the styling is what powers this study. The 215-horsepower front-mounted electric motor is taken from the new Megane E-Tech, as is the 40 kWh battery pack (the smaller of the two available for the Megane EV). The battery pack is small because this vehicle also has an on-board power source, in the form of a 16 kW hydrogen fuel cell.

Note.

  1. 215 horse power is 160 kW.
  2. Is it significant that that motor is ten times as powerful as the fuel-cell?

The rest of the article, describes the construction of the car, which includes a lot of recycled plastic.

Another article on the car, indicates a range of 500 miles.

Incidentally, I never owned a French car, although my father did own a couple of Amilcars before World War 2. From one picture I saw, he might have had an Amilcar CGS. This car featured in Mousieur Hulot’s Holiday and I can remember a clip of the film appearing on television and my father remarking that the car was an Amilcar. I can also remember him telling the story of Isadora Duncan’s death, which involved an Amilcar.

My father had some surprising friends in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

UK Energy Exports To Europe At Record High

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Britain has exported record amounts of gas to Europe so far this year as its liquefied natural gas terminals receive shipments destined for the Continent.

Electricity exports also have surged to unprecedented highs in recent weeks after an unexpected glut of gas pushed down short-term gas prices and resulted in gas-fired power plants generating more for export.

Who’d have thought it, that all those gas pipelines and electricity interconnectors between the UK and the Continent of Europe would be part of the replacementliqui for Russian gas.

According to Wikipedia, we have three liquified natural gas terminals; two at Milford Haven; South Hook and Dragon, and Grain on the Isle of Grain.

Note.

  1. South Hook is Europe’s largest liquified natural gas terminal and is owned by a partnership of the Qataris, ExxonMobil and Elf.
  2. South Hook and Dragon together can provide 25 % of the UK’s natural gas needs.
  3. Grain is owned by National Grid and according to Wikipedia, is in terms of storage capacity it is the largest LNG facility in Europe and the eighth largest in the world.
  4. Grain can supply 20 % of the UK’s natural gas needs.
  5. Grain has a reloading facility, so that gas can be exported.
  6. Grain seems to be continually expanding.
  7. Both Milford Haven and the Isle of Grain have large gas-fired power-stations.

Politicians say we don’t have enough gas storage, but we do seem to have world-class LNG terminals.

I have a couple of extra thoughts.

Blending Natural Gas With Hydrogen

HyDeploy is a project investigated blending hydrogen natural gas to cut carbon emissions. The project is described in this post called HyDeploy.

Surely, these terminals could be places, where hydrogen is blended with our natural gas supply.

  • The terminals are connected to the UK gas network.
  • Both Milford Haven and the Isle of Grain should have access to large amounts of offshore wind energy in the next few years, which could be used to generate green hydrogen.
  • The terminals would need electrolysers to generate the hydrogen.

The Isle of Grain already has a blending capability.

NeuConnect

NeuConnect is an under-development interconnector between the Isle of Grain in Kent and Wilhelmshaven in Germany.

  • It will have a capacity 1.4 GW.
  • All the planning permissions seem to be in place.
  • Prysmian have won a € 1.2 million contract to deliver the interconnector.
  • Arup and German engineering firm Fichtner have formed a joint venture to provide project services for the interconnector.
  • Construction could start this year.

It looks like the Germans will be replacing some of Putin’s bloodstained gas with clean zero-carbon energy from the UK.

Should We Develop More Gas Fields?

There are some gas fields in the seas around the UK, like Jackdaw, that could be developed.

Suppose, we extracted the gas and sent it to the reloading terminal on the Isle of Grain through the gas transmission network, where it could be exported by ship, to the Continent.

The UK would not be increasing its carbon emissions, as that would surely be the responsibility of the end-user.

Should We Develop More Gas Fired Power-Stations?

I believe it is possible to develop carbon-capture technology for gas-fired power stations.

The carbon dioxide would be either used in a beneficial way or stored in perhaps a worked-out gas field under the North Sea.

So long as no carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, I don’t see why more gas-fired power stations shouldn’t be developed.

What is happening at Keadby near Scunthorpe would appear to be one model for zero-carbon power generation.

Keadby Power Station

 

This is an existing

Conclusion

We will be exporting more energy to the Continent.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gravitricity And Arup Secure Funding To Develop Below Ground Hydrogen Storage

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

This is the first paragraph.

Edinburgh-based storage tech firm Gravitricity and British environment consultancy Arup have secured $372,073 (£300,000) from the UK government to study the feasibility of storing hydrogen in purpose-built underground shafts.

The biggest thing about this grant is that it has gone to Scottish start-up; Gravitricity and one of the UK’s most respected engineering consultancy companies; Arup, who have over 16,000 staff in their world-wide operation.

For Gravitricity, it is the sort of deal, that could make this small company.

It follows their link up with world-class Dutch winch specialist Huisman, who provide the winches they need.

If you judge a company, by their friends, Gravitricity now have two of the biggest and best.

This paragraph described the objectives of the study.

The parties will collaborate to deliver a complete system design and commercial feasibility report for the new idea, as well as identify a potential site for their underground hydrogen store. The design will also include integration with gravity energy storage and inter-seasonal heat.

This could turn out to be one of the most significant energy storage announcements of 2022.

Conclusion

I am not disappointed that I invested a small sum in Gravitricity through a crowd funding.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen Water

This article on Hydrogen Fuel News is entitled Some Surprising Uses For Hydrogen.

This is said about hydrogen water.

Hydrogen water is a new health product that is proving exceptionally popular. But wait, doesn’t water already contain hydrogen? It certainly does but it is bonded with oxygen to make the water molecule H2O. Hydrogen water, on the other hand, contains pure hydrogen (the H2 molecule) suspended in “normal” water as gas. This has been said to have many health benefits, all revolving around the much smaller size of this molecule (hydrogen is one of the smallest molecules) and how this makes it easier to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Among the most useful benefits are more effective hydration, improved concentration, and a reduction in bodily inflammation.

Certainly, if you type “hydrogen water” into Google, you get a lot of hits.

May 19, 2022 Posted by | Health, Hydrogen | | Leave a comment

Affordable Blue Hydrogen Production

The title of this post, is the same as that of this page on the Shell Catalysts & Technologies web site.

This is said at the top of the page.

Natural gas producers are at a crossroads. They face a shifting regulatory landscape emphasising emissions reduction and an economic environment where cash preservation is critical. Shell Catalysts & Technologies offers resource holders a phased approach to diversifying their portfolios towards clean hydrogen fuels by leveraging proven and affordable capture technologies and catalysts.

My knowledge of advanced chemical catalysts is small, but I did work in the early 1970s on a project with one of ICI’s experts in the field and he told me some basics and how he believed that in the future some new catalysts would revolutionise chemical process engineering.

Wikipedia’s definition of catalysis, or the action of catalysts is as follows.

Catalysis is the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst.

When I heard that Velocys were going to develop a catalyst-based system to turn household waste into sustainable aviation fuel, I did make a small investment in the company, as I thought the project could have legs.

Shell’s process takes natural gas and converts one molecule of methane (CH4) into two molecules of hydrogen (H2) and one of carbon dioxide (CO2) using one molecule of oxygen (O2) from the air.

In the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process, does a clever catalyst extract the carbon atom from the methane and combine it with two oxygen atoms to create a molecule of carbon dioxide? If it does, then this would leave the four atoms of hydrogen to form two molecules of H2 and the catalyst to go and repeat its magic on another methane molecule.

The video on the Shell site claims to do the conversion 10-25 % cheaper than current carbon intensive methods like steam reforming.

For every two molecules of hydrogen produced, both the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process and steam reforming will produce one molecule of carbon dioxide.

If you look at steam reforming it is an endothermic process, which means heat has to be added. The classic endothermic process is dissolving ice cubes in a glass of water.

Shell don’t say, but does their process need less energy to be added, because their clever catalyst does a lot of the work?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the reaction takes place in a liquid, with hydrogen and carbon dioxide bubbling out.

  • The two gases would be separated by using their different physical properties.
  • Carbon dioxide is heavier for a start.

Whatever Shell have done, it is probably pretty impressive and has probably taken many years to develop.

If as I suspect, it produces pure carbon dioxide, that would be an added bonus, as some uses of carbon dioxide wouldn’t want impurities.

Uses of pure carbon dioxide include.

  • Feeding it to soft fruits, flowers, salad vegetables and tomatoes growing in large greenhouses.
  • Dry ice.
  • Mineral Carbonation International can use carbon dioxide to make building products like blocks or plasterboard.
  • It can be added to concrete.

The more of the carbon dioxide that can be used rather than stored the better.

May 18, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aussie Billionaire Aims To Mine $8bn US Fund For Coal-To-Hydrogen Industrial Conversion

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Twiggy Forrest-owned Fortescue’s project to tap renewable energy on Washington state grid – where surplus hydroelectric power usually exported to Canada and western seaboard – for clean hydrogen production at Centralia site.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), owned by Australian billionaire Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, is planning to convert a former coal mine in US state of Washington into a green hydrogen production facility, using funds it hopes to win from the federal government’s $8bn H2 hub fund, the company said on Friday.

These are some other points about FFI’s plans.

  • A former coal mine will be converted into a green hydrogen production facility.
  • The facility will be located at Industrial Park at TransAlta.
  • It will use 300 MW of renewable electricity.
  • Production of green hydrogen will be 110 tonnes per day or 40,000 tonnes per year.

Hopefully, they will have Federal Funds to support the development.

The article also details other hydrogen developments in the United States, with hydrogen hubs earmarked for New England, Midwest, West Virginia and Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

It certainly looks that the United States is getting serious about hydrogen.

May 17, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Mobile Hydrogen Unit Unveiled By Logan Energy In Bid To Accelerate Greener Transport

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Fuel Cell Works.

This sums up the development, that has been unveiled by Logan Energy.

It is a compression trailer, that looks like it could be towed by any vehicle capable of towing a horse box.

  • The compressor can transfer hydrogen between any two cylinders at all the usual pressures.
  • It is aimed at both the bus and heavy goods vehicle market.
  • The hydrogen capacity of the trailer is not stated.

I feel that this sort of development will help operators embrace hydrogen.

A bus company for instance could have an appropriate number of trailers, for their fleet of hydrogen buses.

  • The bus company would need a suitable towing vehicle, like a light truck.
  • Trailers would be filled at an electrolyser outside of the city.
  • Each bus depot could have a space, where a trailer could be parked to fill the buses.
  • A schedule would probably need to be developed for filling the trailers.

We will see more developments like this.

But they will have to compete with companies like ITM Power, who can supply on-site electrolysers.

 

 

May 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment