The Anonymous Widower

Researchers Use Sea Water To Produce Green Hydrogen At Almost 100% Efficiency

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

This paragraph gives more details.

“We have split natural seawater into oxygen and hydrogen with nearly 100 percent efficiency, to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis, using a non-precious and cheap catalyst in a commercial electrolyser,” explained Professor Shi-Zhang Qiao, project leader at the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Adelaide.

They use what is called a Lewis acid catalyst.

In the late 1960s, I worked for ICI in Runcorn.

Most of the hydrogen they needed was produced from brine by the large Castner-Kellner process, which may have been green, but was filthy, as it used a lot of mercury.

ICI also had an older and cruder process, which produced hydrogen and oxygen, by electrolysing brine, in a simple cell.

  • These cells had a metal tub, with a concrete lid.
  • Two electrodes passed through the lid.
  • The lids quickly degraded and cells were rebuild regularly.
  • But it did produce medical grade sodium hydroxide.

Legend also had it, that the salt that collected around the lid was pure enough to use in the canteen.

In Torvex Energy, I describe a company in Stockton which is also going the sea water electrolysis route.

Having seen, its Victorian ancestor in operation, I believe that sea water electrolysis has possibilities to make hydrogen efficiently.

 

February 8, 2023 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Offtake Deal Signed For 500MW/4,000MWh Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage Project In California

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

These three paragraphs explain the deal.

Advanced compressed air energy storage (A-CAES) company Hydrostor has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for one of its flagship large-scale projects in California.

Central Coast Community Energy, one of California’s several dozen Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) non-profit energy suppliers, has signed a 200MW/1,600MWh energy storage PPA with a 25-year term with Toronto-headquartered Hydrostor for its Willow Rock Energy Storage Center.

That’s just under half of the output and capacity of the planned 8-hour, long-duration energy storage (LDES) facility, which is designed to be 500MW/4,000MWh. This is its first offtake deal, but the company is in discussion for others to take the rest of the plant’s available resource.

The article says that Hydrostor aim to have the plant online by 2028.

This segment describes their current projects.

It is currently working on large-scale projects with around 9GWh storage capacity in total across two sites in California as well as another in Australia.

Together with Willow Rock in Kern County, Hydrostor is developing the 400MW/3,200MWh Pechos Energy Storage Center in San Luis Obispo County, California, and the 200MW/1,500MWh Silver City Energy Storage Center in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia.

On its UK Projects page, Highview talks about a 200MW/2.5GWh facility in Yorkshire, which puts the two companies in similar markets, with Hydrostor appearing to have slightly larger systems under development.

Conclusion

It will be interesting to see how this technology progresses and which company does best in what is a very large energy storage market.

January 14, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giant Solar Farm Project In Doubt After Disagreement Between Mike Cannon-Brookes And Andrew Forrest

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

This is the sub-heading.

Australian billionaires had backed $30bn Sun Cable venture designed to help power Darwin, Indonesia and Singapore but the company has gone into voluntary administration.

It does look like the administrators will be able to continue the project and look for more funding.

Qatar must be in the frame, as this link will probably cut some of their gas sales.

I wrote about this monster project in Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink.

I wonder if this administration will have any effects on the prospects of the other giant intercontinental interconnectors?

  1. EuroAfrica Interconnector – See The EuroAfrica Interconnector
  2. EuroAsia Interconnector – See The EuroAsia Interconnector
  3. Morroco-UK Power Project – See Moroccan Solar-Plus-Wind To Be Linked To GB In ‘Ground-Breaking’ Xlinks Project
  4. TransPacific Interconnector – See Chile Wants To Export Solar Energy To Asia Via 15,000km Submarine Cable

The economics will decide. But I do think, the last one could be a bit ambitious.

January 12, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Liquid Air Could Solve The UK’s Energy Conundrum

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

The article is mainly an article that described the technology and it discloses a few facts.

  • The Carrington plant should be delivered in 2024.
  • Carrington will be a 30 MW/30 MWh system.
  • Efficiency is around 50 %, but there are possibilities to raise it to 70 %.
  • Australia is mentioned as a market.
  • It is likely to be paired with supercapacitors or a flywheel to have a quick start.
  • It seems to me, that turning an idea into a practical system is taking a lot of work and money, and a bit of a rethink.

But hopefully, the system will eventually be developed, as it does promise to be an energy storage system, that doesn’t make high demands on the environment in terms of expensive metals and rare earths.

January 9, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Low Carbon Construction Of Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station

Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station is going to be built on the Suffolk Coast.

Wikipedia says this about the power station’s construction.

The project is expected to commence before 2024, with construction taking between nine and twelve years, depending on developments at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, which is also being developed by EDF Energy and which shares major similarities with the Sizewell plant.

It is a massive project and I believe the construction program will be designed to be as low-carbon as possible.

High Speed Two is following the low-carbon route and as an example, this news item on their web site, which is entitled HS2 Completes Largest Ever UK Pour Of Carbon-Reducing Concrete On Euston Station Site, makes all the right noises.

These three paragraphs explain in detail what has been done on the Euston station site.

The team constructing HS2’s new Euston station has undertaken the largest ever UK pour of Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC) – a material that reduces the amount of carbon embedded into the concrete, saving over 76 tonnes of CO2 overall. John F Hunt, working for HS2’s station Construction Partner, Mace Dragados joint venture, completed the 232 m3 concrete pour in early September.

The EFC product, supplied by Capital Concrete, has been used as a foundation slab that will support polymer silos used for future piling works at the north of the Euston station site. Whilst the foundation is temporary, it will be in use for two years, and historically would have been constructed with a more traditional cement-based concrete.

The use of the product on this scale is an important step forward in how new, innovative environmentally sustainable products can be used in construction. It also helps support HS2’s objective of net-zero construction by 2035, and achieve its goal of halving the amount of carbon in the construction of Britain’s new high speed rail line.

Note.

  1. Ten of these slabs would fill an Olympic swimming pool.
  2. I first wrote about Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC) in this post called Earth Friendly Concrete.
  3. EFC is an Australian invention and is based on a geopolymer binder that is made from the chemical activation of two recycled industrial wastes; flyash and slag.
  4. HS2’s objective of net-zero construction by 2035 is laudable.
  5. It does appear that this is a trial, but as the slab will be removed in two years, they will be able to examine in detail how it performed.

I hope the Sizewell C project team are following High Speed Two’s lead.

Rail Support For Sizewell C

The Sizewell site has a rail connection and it appears that this will be used to bring in construction materials for the project.

In the January 2023 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled Rail Set To Support Sizewell C Construction.

It details how sidings will be built to support the construction, with up to four trains per day (tpd), but electrification is not mentioned.

This is surprising to me, as increasingly, big construction projects are being managed to emit as small an amount of carbon as possible.  Sizewell C may be an isolated site, but in Sizewell B, it’s got one of the UK’s biggest independent carbon-free electricity generators a couple of hundred metres away.

The writer of the Modern Railways article, thinks an opportunity is being missed.

I feel the following should be done.

  • Improve and electrify the East Suffolk Line between Ipswich and Saxmundham Junction.
  • Electrify the Aldeburgh Branch Line and the sidings to support the construction or agree to use battery-electric or hydrogen zero-carbon locomotives.

Sizewell C could be a superb demonstration project for low-carbon construction!

Sizewell C Deliveries

Sizewell C will be a massive project and and will require a large number of deliveries, many of which will be heavy.

The roads in the area are congested, so I suspect rail is the preferred method for deliveries.

We already know from the Modern Railways article, that four tpd will shuttle material to a number of sidings close to the site. This is a good start.

Since Sizewell A opened, trains have regularly served the Sizewell site to bring in and take out nuclear material. These occasional trains go via Ipswich and in the last couple of years have generally been hauled by Class 88 electro-diesel locomotives.

It would be reasonable to assume that the Sizewell C sidings will be served in the same manner.

But the route between Westerfield Junction and Ipswich station is becoming increasingly busy with the following services.

  • Greater Anglia’s London and Norwich services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Cambridge services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Felixstowe services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Lowestoft services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Peterborough services
  • Freight services serving the Port of Felixstowe, which are expected to increase significantly in forthcoming years.

But the Modern Railways article says this about Saxmundham junction.

Saxmundham junction, where the branch meets the main line, will be relaid on a slightly revised alignment, retaining the existing layout but with full signalling giving three routes from the junction protecting signal on the Down East Suffolk line and two in the Down direction on the bidirectional Up East Suffolk line. Trap points will be installed on the branch to protect the main line, with the exit signal having routes to both running lines.

Does the comprehensive signalling mean that a freight train can enter or leave the Sizewell sidings to or from either the busy Ipswich or the quieter Lowestoft direction in a very safe manner?

I’m no expert on signalling, but I think it does.

  • A train coming from the Lowestoft direction needing to enter the sidings would go past Saxmundham junction  on the Up line. Once clear of the junction, it would stop and reverse into the branch.
  • A train coming from the Ipswich direction needing to enter the sidings would approach in the wrong direction on the Up line and go straight into the branch.
  • A train leaving the sidings in the Lowestoft direction would exit from the branch and take the Up line until it became single track. The train would then stop and reverse on to the Down line and take this all the way to Lowestoft.
  • A train leaving the sidings in the Ipswich direction would exit from the branch and take the Up line  all the way to Ipswich.

There would need to be ability to move the locomotive from one end to the other inside the Sizewell site or perhaps these trains could be run with a locomotive on both ends.

The advantage of being able to run freight trains between Sizewell and Lowestoft becomes obvious, when you look at this Google Map, which shows the Port of Lowestoft.

Note.

  1. The Inner Harbour of the Port of Lowestoft.
  2. The East Suffolk Line running East-West to the North of the Inner Harbour.
  3. Lowestoft station at the East side of the map.

I doubt it would be the most difficult or expensive of projects to build a small freight terminal on the North side of the Inner Harbour.

I suspect that the easiest way to bring the material needed to build the power station to Sizewell would be to do the following.

  • Deliver it to the Port of Lowestoft by ship.
  • Tranship to a suitable shuttle train for the journey to the Sizewell sidings.
  • I estimate that the distance is only about 25 miles and a battery or hydrogen locomotive will surely be available in the UK in the next few years, that will be able to provide the motive power for the return journey.

In The TruckTrain, I wrote about a revolutionary freight concept, that could be ideal for the Sizewell freight shuttle.

In addition, there is no reason, why shuttle trains couldn’t come in from anywhere connected to the East Suffolk Line.

Zero-Carbon Construction

Sizewell C could be the first major construction site in the UK to use electricity rather than diesel simply because of its neighbour.

Conclusion

I shall be following the construction methods at Sizewell C, as I’m fairly sure they will break new ground in the decarbonisation of the Construction industry.

December 28, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Good Vibrations Turbo Charge Green Hydrogen Production

The title of this post, is the same as this news item from RMIT University in Australia.

This is the sub-heading.

Engineers in Melbourne have used sound waves to boost production of green hydrogen by 14 times, through electrolysis to split water.

And these are the first two paragraphs.

They say their invention offers a promising way to tap into a plentiful supply of cheap hydrogen fuel for transportation and other sectors, which could radically reduce carbon emissions and help fight climate change.

By using high-frequency vibrations to “divide and conquer” individual water molecules during electrolysis, the team managed to split the water molecules to release 14 times more hydrogen compared with standard electrolysis techniques

I could understand a two or three times increase, but fourteen times is sensational.

Again, Australia seems to have found the gold through innovative green technology.

Other Benefits

Read the last sections of the news item.

  • The process allows the use of cheaper silver electrodes instead of platinum and iridium.
  • The engineers also feel that their technique could help in this and other process where bubbles are a problem.

Sound waves have been used for decades for various processes and I am surprised that this appears to be the first time, they’ve applied to electrolysis.

Conclusion

I worked in a hydrogen factory around 1970 and have watched developments over the years.

I am now convinced that an individual or a company will come up with an affordable way to make green hydrogen.

Promising technologies in addition to this one include.

I can see a combination of a couple of methods.

December 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New South Wales Plans Three Batteries

This article on Energy Storage News is entitled Shell Battery Project In New South Wales Would Add 1GWh Energy Storage To Growing Market.

The three batteries are.

  • Shell – 500MW/1,000MWh BESS project in Wellington, in Central West NSW.
  • Waratah Super Battery 700MW/1,400MWh transmission system “shock absorber”
  • A proposed 500MW/2,000 MWh BESS from energy generator-retailer EnergyAustralia.

Note.

  1. All batteries appear to be lithium ion.
  2. This gives a total output of 1.7 GW and a total storage capacity of 4.4 GWh.
  3. The NSW government is targeting 12GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
  4. 3 GW of utility-scale wind and solar in development, construction, or already in operation, in the state.

The state seems to be making a good start.

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | 2 Comments

Another Aussie Green Hydrogen Hub In The Works As Total Eren Eyes 1GW Darwin Project

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

These two paragraphs introduce the project.

Developer Total Eren is sizing up the potential for a 1GW green hydrogen project in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT), taking the total capacity of green H2 projects under development in the state to 13.8GW.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between Total Eren and the NT state government on Monday, will see the two work together to progress the project, dubbed the Darwin H2 Hub.

This paragraph gives a few numbers.

Plans for the scheme comprise more than 2GW of solar PV generation, which will power a 1GW electrolyser. The project aims to produce 80,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year, equivalent to around 4% of the 1.96 million tonnes of green H2 South Korea expects to import from overseas by 2030.

Note.

  1. Australia seems to be the place to develop large hydrogen and energy projects.
  2. South Korea will beat a path to your door, if you have the capacity to create millions of tonnes of green hydrogen.

The article finishes with a good summary of the future prospects of Australia’s green hydrogen industry.

I believe that Australia could become a world superpower, as it will certainly provide zero-carbon power to a good proportion of South East Asia.

 

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

The Australian Tycoon With Designs On U.S. Coal Mines

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

The article is a must-read, as it is an interview with Andrew Forrest about his very strong views on the future of the coal industry in the United States.

This is a typical question from the interview and Forrest’s forthright answer.

Biden put jobs at the center of his climate messaging. Does the messenger actually need to be someone with a track record of creating jobs?

It’s a bloody good point. I think I can deliver that message much stronger, because I’m not a politician. I’m not looking for votes, this is the hardcore reality.

August 11, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto’s Big Energy Project Attracts Multiple Bidders

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

The article has this subtitle.

The company seeks to offset its power consumption with a massive renewable plant.

These two paragraphs introduce the project.

British and Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has attracted multiple bids for a massive renewable power infrastructure project.

The company currently seeks suppliers to build up to 4GW of renewable generation for its alumina and aluminium operations in Queensland, Australia. Speaking to the Melbourne Mining Club, the company’s CEO of Australia, Kellie Parker, said that it had received proposals for “a lot more than 4GW”. Parker also said that construction of the project “would not be easy” due to the cost of construction for Australian projects.

In the UK, we may talk of wind farms like Hornsea, which could produce 6 GW, but the Aussies can produce similar amounts of energy from the sun.

This will be the fourth major renewable power development in Australia to be announced in the last few months.

Australia is certainly looking to power the world.

Energy Storage

Rio Tinto are also talking about energy storage, as other systems of this type and size do. Could this be one of a number of Australian projects mentioned on the Highview Power web site?

August 6, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment