The Anonymous Widower

Engie Partners Innovate UK For £4 Million Energy Transition Competition

The title of this post is the same as this article on Current News.

  • This is an interesting link-up between the UK Government Agency; Innovate UK and the French energy giant; Engie.
  • Wikipedia defines energy transition as a long-term structural change in energy systems.
  • It is the first time Innovate UK has secured overseas private funding.
  • It aims to fund the very best of \british innovation in clean growth innovation.
  • Grants of between £100,000 and £1.2 million will be awarded.
  • There appears to be no mention of Brexit!

It looks to me, like a very strong endorsement of British innovation and the British energy industry by the French.

I also think, that if there is one industry where the British and the French should be linked, it is energy.

The UK has the following energy sources and resources.

  • Offshore and onshore oil and gas.
  • Redundant gas fields for carbon capture and storage.
  • Offshore and onshore wind.
  • Large areas of sea for offshore wind.
  • We have 8,183 MW of installed offshore wind capacity, which is the largest in the world.
  • The possibilities of tidal and wave power from a long Western coast.
  • Vast experience in building off-shore structures in some of the worst weather on the planet.
  • Interconnectors to Norway and Iceland to import their surplus geothermal and hydroelectric energy.

Could we become a renewable-energy powerhouse?

The French have the following.

  • Nuclear power, some of which will need replacing.
  • Only 500 MW of offshore wind.
  • More solar power than we have.
  • Easy connection to North Africa for solar power.

But in some ways, most important is the several interconnectors between the UK and France, with more planned.

Conclusion

Between the UK and France, with help from Ireland, Spain and Portugal, can develop a massive Western European renewable energy powerhouse, backed  by the following, non-renewable or external sources.

  • French nuclear power.
  • North African solar.
  • Icelandic geothermal power
  • Icelandic hydro-electric power
  • Norwegian hydro-electric power

It should be noted that in a few years, the UK will have joined Iceland, Norway and North Africa outside of the European Union.

I believe that Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hedge Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and other individuals, groups and organisations will increasingly see renewable energy as good places for long-term investment of their funds.

The two big problems are as follows.

  • What happens when all these renewable energy sources are producing more energy than we can use?
  • What happens when there is an energy deficit?

Energy storage is the solution, but the amount needed is massive.

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I looked at the mathematics in using car parks for electric cars for energy storage.

These are a few figures.

  • Electric Mountain is the UK’s largest electricity storage scheme with a capacity of 9.1 GWh.
  • The largest battery in the world is the Bath County Pumped Storage Station with a capacity of 24 GWh, which works on similar principles to Electric Mountain.
  • Building another Electric Mountain would cost £1350 million, if we could find somewhere to put it.

But supposing half the 35.5 million cars and light goods vehicles in the UK were replaced by new electric vehicles containing a battery of around 20 kWh, that would be a total storage of 355 GWh or nearly forty Electric Mountains.

Conclusion

Harnessing all of these batteries will be an enormous challenge, but it will be ideas like this, that will enable the world to go carbon neutral by 2050.

But I don’t think we’ll ever see Trump or Xi Jinping in an electric limousine..

 

June 21, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shape Of Solar Farms To Come

This article on Renew Energy is entitled Gannawarra Battery-Integrated Solar Farm – Australia’s Largest – Officially Opened.

These are the first two paragraphs.

The Gannawarra solar and energy storage project near Kerang in western Victoria has had its official launch on Friday, to mark the largest pairing of a solar farm and a grid-scale battery system in Australia.

State energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio officially anointed the landmark project, which has combined 60MW of PV panels and a 25MW/50MWh battery system – Tesla’s second-biggest battery in the country so far.

Form the video in the areticle, it appears that there are 120 hectares of solar panels and the farm provides enough electricity for 25,000 homes.

It is an interesting concept and I’m sure it will be repeated around the world.

Ausralia has lots of sun, but there is no reason, why a similar system can’t be developed with tidal, wave or wind power.

June 18, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Sadiq Khan Be A One-Term Mayor?

This article on the BBC is entitled Donald Trump Hits Out Again At Sadiq Khan Over London Violence.

I don’t like Trump or many of his policies one bit and if in the unlikely chance, I was invited to meet him, I would decline.

But I’ve met many people, who think we need someone like Trump to stand-up for the man on the Clapham Omnibus.

I have two personal criticisms of Sadiq.

The Unaffordable Fare Freeze

The fare freeze he proposed, that must have impressed a large number of voters, has not been something that London can afford.

Now important projects like the rebuilding of Camden Town and Holborn station have been delayed.

He’s A South London Mayor

To my mind, Sadiq seems to favour his home territory over the North.

  • In the North, we seem to have suffered more from cuts in bus frequencies.
  • He was very slow to act on the problems with the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  • Knife crime and violence seems to be worse in the North, so is it Mayoral neglect?

It is probably understandable, as his mates in the South have more chances to bend his ears and you don’t annoy your friends.

I wonder if Ken favoured the North!

I do think though that various effects are working against his reelection.

The ULEZ Effect

The London ULEZ currently only applies to the Congestion one, but from 2021, it will apply to all areas inside the North and South Circular Roads.

How many voters, who will be affected by the ULEZ extension, will vote for Sadiq?

The Brexit Effect

Sadiq has nailed his colours to Remain and is regularly interviewed about Brexit.

Most right-of-centre Brexiteers wouldn’t probably vote for him, but some traditional Labour boroughs voted to Leave, so could his support for Remain cost votes.

On the other hand, if Brexit has happened and going badly, will Sadiq gain votes?

The Next Prime Minister Effect

If Boris becomes Prime Minister, this would be an imponderable. It might help or hinder Sadiq’s reelection.

The Crossrail Effect

The late delivery of Crossrail, is not Sadiq’s fault, but it will have four effects.

  • The late delivery will ffect London’s transport budget and give the Mayor less money for projects.
  • Some people will view his oversight of the project as incompetent.
  • He won’t be able to bathe in the glow of a successful Crossrail.
  • It is a ready-made millstone to hang around his neck.

There will also be many Londoners, for whom, the late delivery of Crossrail caused a financial loss and they will vote accordingly.

The Trump Effect

I would expect, Trump to keep up his criticism of Sadiq.

Who’s to say, whether it will affect Sadiq’s vote, but there are quite a few people, who would support Trump.

Conclusion

There are a lot of questions to answer, but I feel given the state of British politics, that we could be in for a surprise.

Could we see a Brexit, Green or Lib Dem Mayor?

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

House Prices And Stations

I clipped this from the Evening Standard.

Enough said!

I purposely chose my house to be within ten minutes walk from the two Dalston Overground stations, that would open a couple of years after I moved in.

  • It is also within walking distance of twelve major bus routes. All the routes can carry wheel-chairs, if I should ever need one!
  • Five routes have stops, within a hundred metres, serving Bank, British Museum, Euston, Harley Street, Kings Cross, London Bridge, Manor House, Moorgate, Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue, St. Pauls, University College Hospital and Victoria.
  • I’m only fifty metres from a major cycling route between the City and White Hart Lane.
  • I even have a garage, that opens onto the street! But no car!
  • My road is wide and there is usually plenty of parking space for visitors or on-line deliveries.
  • A taxi ride from Euston, Liverpool Street or Kings Cross is usually under fifteen pounds at all times.

It will get even better!

  • When Crossrail opens, I will have 10-12 buses per hour to the Moorgate/Liverpool Street station.
  • Dalston Junction station will get a frequency of twenty trains per hour to and from Canada Water, Shoreditch and Whitechapel, that fan out to a selection of places in South London like Crystal Palace, Clapham Junction, Peckham and Penge.
  • Dalston Kingsland station will get a frequency of twelve trains per hour to Stratford in the East and Camden, Clapham Junction, Hampstead and High Speed Two in the West.
  • I will probably get a series of electric car charging points in the parking spaces in the road, where I live.
  • I could put a personal electric car charging point in my garage.

I’m told the value of my house has risen well in the almost ten years, I’ve owned it.

Did somebody once say, that the location of a property, were the three most important things about it?

Conclusion

Make sure your next property has good access to public transport.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How To Go Mining In A Museum

This article on Active Investors is entitled Government Backing Lined Up For Cornish Lithium As It Partners With Wardell Armstrong And The Natural History Museum To Advance UK Battery Capabilities.

These are the first few paragraphs.

Cornish Lithium is now moving in some pretty august circles in its quest to put the UK on the lithium map.

Lithium is essential in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles.

“It’s been a huge voyage of discovery,” says Jeremy Wrathall.

“An absolutely amazing journey.”

In the past year the company he created, Cornish Lithium, has been transforming rapidly from a concept conjured up from the pages of old documents hidden in half-forgotten library vaults into a well-funded exploration vehicle with 10 geologists and some serious-minded partners providing additional funding and know-how.

The article goes on to give the full story of lithium in Cornwall and how by looking at old documents in the museum’s archives, Jeremy Wrathall may have found where to mine for the valuable mineral.

Now his company; Cornish Lithium, who are partnered with Wardell Armstrong, who describe themselves on their web site as.

An Engineering, Environmental and Mining consultancy with over 180 years of international service and experience.

And the Natural History Museum, who need no introduction,

They have been backed by £500,000 from the Government’s Faraday Battery Challenge fund.

It is a must-read tale, that I very much has a successful conclusion.

June 11, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Cadent Launches Report Mapping Out Routes To Hydrogen Fuelled Vehicles On UK Roads

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

This is the first paragraph.

A roadmap using hydrogen to decarbonise transport, particularly commercial transport, in the North West of the UK, has been unveiled by the country’s leading gas distribution network Cadent.

The article makes some points about hydrogen-powered transport.

  • Using Cadent’s network to deliver hydrogen, rather than tube trailers, massively reduces the cost and makes fuel cell electric cars (FCEVs) available to the general public for around the same price as a battery electric vehicle or a conventional diesel car.
  • FCEVs can travel further than battery electric vehicles and take the same time to refuel as a conventional petrol car.
  • Grid-supplied hydrogen is the most cost-effective way of supplying hydrogen transport fuel at the required volume – up to six times cheaper than if delivered by trailer and 70 per cent cheaper than electrolysis.

Cadent‘s interest in all this, is not about selling gas, as their interest and income is totalling in transporting gas from producers to end users. So they don’t care whether they transport natural gas or hydrogen.

Hydrogen Storage

The article also discloses plans of INOVYN, a wholly owned subsidiary of INEOS, to develop a grid-scale hydrogen storage facility.

It will be in salt caverns in mid-Cheshire.

It will be able to hold 2,000 tonnes of hydrogen.

It is cheaper to store hydrogen in salt caverns, than on the surface.

The salt caverns have been used to store gas for decades.

This is a quote from the INOYN spokesman.

Storage is a vital component of delivering a viable hydrogen energy system in the UK.

I only had an indirect quick glimpse underground, when I worked at ICI in the area around 1970, but ICI’s salt expert, said they had enough salt in Cheshire to last 9,000 years at the current rate of extraction.

Salt in Cheshire, is a unique geological formation, that is very valuable to the UK and it looks like in the future, thar could enable hydrogen power.

Hydrogen Generation

The hydrogen will still need to be produced. Wikipedia has an entry caslled Hydrogran Production, which is fairly dismissive of electrolysis.

But in my view, hydrogen could be produced by electrolysis using wind power, as other methods like steam reforming of methane produce carbon-dioxide.

I particularly like the idea of building wind farms in clusters around offshore gas platforms, that have extracted all the gas from the fields, they were built to serve.

  • Instead of running electricity cables to the wind farms,  hydrogen is produced by electrolysis on the platform and this is transported to the shore using the same gas infrastructure, that brought the natural gas onshore.
  • This could enable wind-farms to be developed much further offshore.
  • If carbon capture is ever successfully made to work, the existing gas pipe could also be used to transfer the carbon dioxide offshore for storage in worked-out gas fields.
  • The pipe between platform and shore could easily be made reversible, carrying hydrogen one way and carbon dioxide the other.

All of the technology required would also appear to be fully developed.

Conclusion

I am convinced that in the next few years, a hydrogen gas network can be created in parts of the UK.

The North West has advantages in becoming one of the first parts of the UK to have an extensive hydrogen network.

  • It has the means to produce hydrogen gas.
  • It has large wind farms in Liverpool Bay.
  • There are worked-out gas fields, that might in the future be used for carbon storage.
  • If INOVYN can store large quantities of hydrogen, this is a big advantage.

The biggest problem would be converting large numbers of houses and commercial premises from natural gas to hydrogen.

But, we’ve been through that process before, when we changed from town gas to natural gas in the 1960s and 1970s.

Should We Remove Gas From Our Houses?

I only use gas for heating.

  • I feel that naked flames are not a good idea to have anywhere near people, as they can produce oxides of nitrgen, that causes health problems.
  • Gas cookers are also a major cause of household fires.
  • Technology is moving against cooking with gas, as more more to electric induction hobs.
  • If you are fitting a new gas boiler, make sure it can be connected to hydrogen.

When I buy my next property, it will be all electric.

 

June 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Mayor’s Plan For Shopping That’s Right Up Your Street

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article on page 48 of Saturday’s Times.

This is the precis.

The former John Lewis boss is using his retail experience to help to rejuvenate Walsall.

|According to the article, Walsall town centre is in a bad way with large numbers of empty shops.

The article is positive about Andy Sreet’s plans and feels, that if anybody can bring about a transformation, then he can with his retail experience.

I wish him and Walsall luck!

June 1, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Will 5G Be Another Way To Rip Off The Poor?

My late wife was a barrister, who specialised in family matters, like divorce, custody of children, adoption and money.

She had this career for about thirty years before she died in 2007.

As the years progressed, she’d talk about the latest expensive must-haves of her clients.

  • First it was video recorders and then it was mobile phones.
  • Various game consoles arrived! Whatever they are? I’ve never played a computer game in my life!
  • Then came Sky Television and large screen televisions.
  • Every child had to have the latest phone.

And now we have 5G, which promises to be the next unaffordable addiction, to go along with alcohol, drugs, pay-day loans, junk food, on-lne subscriptions and gambling!

It will drive the poor and low-paid even further into poverty.

On the train recently, I was talking to a guy with nine children.

As he was going to Court to get custody of one of the nine, and from other things he had said, I felt that the nine weren’t of the same mother.

He was living on benefits and caring from one disabled child.

How will he be able to afford nine 5G phones?

It’ll all end in tears!

 

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Finance, Uncategorized, World | , , | 1 Comment

Politics Just Got Even More Interesting!

I don’t know about politics, but I like to think I know about data and I have a long and deep memory.

We now have two immovable and possibly unstoppable forces on opposite sides, which have almost equal support.

  • Those that want to leave the European Union without a deal.
  • Those that want to remain in the European Union.

They are irreconcilable positions.

I remember an acrimonious takeover attempt by Imperial Chemical Industries for Courtaulds in the 1960s. Not so much, at the time but because I later worked for ICI and became friends with a guy, who had worked for British Nylon Spinners at Pontypool.

Later I became aware of Frank Kearton and his part in the stopping of the takeover.

At the time he was the Engineering Director of Courtaulds. In a Press Conference, the CEO of Courtaulds was floundering and giving a rather bad impression. A question was asked and Frank Kearton stepped in and answered it so well, he took over the Press Conference.

He became CEO and the takeover was defeated. Kearton went on to have a respected career.

I may have remember the story wrong and I suspect it’s Kearton’s version, that I’m repeating.

In the UK are in a similar position to Courtaulds in the sixties. Both major parties are almost leaderless and none of those at the top of the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties are better than the average run-of-the-mill MPs, who generally do a good job.

We need someone to step forward to unite this country and sort out the mess.

Will he or she be one of the following?

  • Jeremy Corbyn – Anybody that far left and over seventy would be unacceptable to well over half of the population.
  • Boris Johnson – You might employ him as a salesman, but you wouldn’t employ him in any management position.
  • Vince Cable – Too old and he’s sensible enough to know it.
  • The herd of Tory leadership candidates – Perhaps one might have the qualities, and they would need to show amazing style, intelligence and oratory to even get on the final ballot.
  • Nigel Farage – The other side believe he’s the cause of the problem, so wouldn’t follow him.
  • Caroline Lucas – Green  policies are anathema to perhaps seventy percent of the country, who still fly too much and don’t buy zero-emission cars?

We need someone with amazing qualities to step out of the shadows, just as Frank Kearton did at Courtaulds.

Conclusion

I’ve put a small bet on my choice for the next Tory Leader and Prime Minister.

 

May 27, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

Egypt To Power Europe By Underwater Cable

The title of this post is the same as that of a short news item on page 32 of today’s Times.

Egypt appears to be using gas from four new offshoregas fields to generate the power.

But surely, they could also use solar, as I’ve heard Egypt gets a lot of sun!

I do think though, that countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco, which are all reasonably close to Europe could generate substantial amounts of solar power, which could then be exported to the North, through undersea cables, which are not very long using today’s technology.

I also think, that solar power will grow Southwards from the countries bordering the Mediterranean.

Will these basket case countries like Sudan, Mauritania, Somalia and Chad, acquire both an income and the electricity they need to improve the lot of their people?

Whether, their people will benefit, is another question, but Europe’s need for green energy could be the need, that these countries will fill, using unproductive desert.

I also think, there’s scope to combine solar farms with agriculture in the shade to create the food they need.

Read Solar Farms And Biodiversity on Solar Power Portal.

May 24, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment