The Anonymous Widower

The Belgians Go Large

This press release from Elia Group is entitled Elia Presents Its Plans For An Energy Island, Which Will Be Called The Princess Elisabeth Island.

These two paragraphs outline the project.

In the presence of federal ministers Tinne Van der Straeten (Energy) and Vincent Van Quickenborne (North Sea), system operator Elia has presented its draft plans for what will be the world’s first artificial energy island.

The Princess Elisabeth Island will be located almost 45 km off the Belgian coast and will serve as the link between the offshore wind farms in the second offshore wind zone (which will have a maximum capacity of 3.5 GW) and its onshore high-voltage grid. The energy island will also be the first building block of a European offshore electricity grid that will serve as a central hub for new interconnectors with the UK and Denmark. The island is an innovative tour de force that once again puts Belgium on the map as a pioneer in offshore energy.

Note, that Princess Elisabeth is the heir apparent to the Belgian throne.

I have some thoughts.

Will The Wind Turbines Float Or Have Fixed Foundations?

Consider.

  • 3.5 GW of wind farms will probably need around 220 wind turbines.
  • Most of the large wind farms in the seas around the UK, that are below about 50 miles from the shore are on fixed foundations.
  • The seas around East Anglia and Belgium are probably fairly similar.

I suspect that using today’s technology, the turbines will have fixed foundations.

But floats with two or more turbines , that generate more electricity per square kilometre may be developed.

Will Hydrogen Be Generated On The Island?

This could happen and I don’t see why not.

Tankers could even dock on the island to transport the hydrogen.

Could The Island Service Floating Wind Turbines?

All that is needed, is sufficient depth of water and a large crane.

It is a possibility!

Will There Be A UK Interconnector To Princess Elisabeth Island?

The press release says this.

The energy island will also be the first building block of a European offshore electricity grid that will serve as a central hub for new interconnectors with the UK and Denmark.

There could be interconnectors all over the North Sea linking wind farms and energy islands to the UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway.

We’d all be in it together.

Conclusion

This is a very ambitious project.

October 7, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

North Seas Countries Commit To 260 GW Of Offshore Wind By 2050

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

The nine member countries of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) on Monday committed to at least 260 GW of offshore wind energy by 2050.

The NSEC aims to advance offshore renewables in the North Seas, including the Irish and Celtic Seas, and groups Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the European Commission.

Note.

Intermediate targets are 76 GW by 2030 and 193 GW by 2040.

The UK has a target of 50 GW by 2030, of which 5 GW will be floating offshore wind.

The UK is not mentioned, but has joint projects with the Danes, Germans, Irish, Norwegians, Spanish and Swedes.

There is nothing about energy storage or hydrogen!

On the figures given, I think we’re holding our own. But then we’ve got more sea than anybody else.

September 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Shell’s Jackdaw Gas Field Given Go-Ahead By Regulators

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Development of a major North Sea gas field has been approved by regulators.

The Jackdaw field, east of Aberdeen, has the potential to produce 6.5% of Britain’s gas output.

This is Greenpeace’s response

But environmental campaigners have condemned the move.

The activist group Greenpeace said it believed the approval could be unlawful and it was considering legal action.

“Approving Jackdaw is a desperate and destructive decision from Johnson’s government, and proves there is no long-term plan,” said Ami McCarthy, a political campaigner for Greenpeace.

I have my thoughts.

The Short Term Problem

We are all paying the high gas price, brought about by Vlad the Mad’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

On the other hand, I am all for cutting carbon emissions, but stopping the development of the Jackdaw gas field will do nothing to cut total emissions in the short term.

In my view, the only way to cut carbon emissions is to replace the use of natural gas with hydrogen or electricity produced by renewable sources like solar, tidal, wave or wind power.

This change to every heating system and important industries like cement, chemicals, glass and steelmaking to hydrogen and renewable energy is not a short term or low-cost project. Especially whilst we’re still recovering from the pandemic and trying to handle Vlad the Mad.

We will need a supply of natural gas for a few years and if we don’t have enough gas will Greenpeace and their ilk, be happy to see everybody freezing and a large increase in unemployment?

The Government is between a rock and a hard place, where they can either bow to Greenpeace or buy Putin’s bloodstained gas, where there are two alternatives.

  • Buy liquified natural gas (LNG) from countries like Australia, Canada, Qatar or the United States.
  • Develop our own proven resources.

The advantages of taking the second route include.

  • Some of the countries from where gas is available, have bizarre views on human rights and keeping their people safe.
  • Gas is transported over long distances in a liquid form. Liquifying natural gas uses a lot of energy. Is that energy renewable?
  • Countries from where gas is available are thousands of miles away. How much carbon dioxide will be emitted liquifying and transporting it?
  • Gas from our own resources is delivered by pipeline.
  • Development of gas fields like Jackdaw, will surely create employment in the UK.

At a first look, I feel that developing Jackdaw and other similar fields, may well be a sensible option to help us through these difficult times.

Exporting Gas To Europe

If you look at the geographical position, you would feel, that the gas will be landed at St. Fergus gas terminal, which is to the North of Aberdeen.

But no! The gas will be landed at Bacton in Norfolk through the SEAL pipeline, which is 475 km. long

Could this be because Shell want to make sure the South of England gets its gas?

Possibly, but much of the UK’s gas imports arrive at LNG terminals in the South.

But Bacton has other assets, in that it has two undersea gas pipelines to the Continent. One is to Belgium and the other is to the Netherlands.

Surely, if we export our gas to other countries, then it is their business what they do with the carbon dioxide.

Not our’s or Shell’s!

Perhaps, we should develop other proven gas fields, as they will create employment in the UK and valuable exports. It will also help our friends out in Europe, in their time of need!

Will Shell Play The Market?

I have just been informed, that recently, improvements have been made to the pipelines in the area and Jackdaw’s gas could now go to St. Fergus.

This surely would give the gas from Jackdaw three destinations.

  • Scotland via St. Fergus.
  • England via Bacton
  • Europe via Bacton and the undersea pipelines.

So will Shell play the markets?

If in the future, we start to produce massive amounts of green hydrogen, I’m sure Europe, will be happy to buy that instead.

Powering Platforms With Renewable Energy

The BBC article says this.

And it plans also to re-power its offshore platforms with renewable electricity rather than burning gas.

Looking at the map, Jackdaw will not be far from the 2 GW wind farm, that Shell are developing.

Will they build a short interconnector from this wind farm to the gas platforms of Jackdaw and other nearby fields?

Will Shell Produce Hydrogen Offshore?

This article on Gas Processing And LNG is entitled Construction Of World’s Largest PEM Electrolyzer Completed.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Air Liquide has completed the construction of the world’s largest PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyzer. Supplied with renewable energy, this unit is now producing up to 8.2 tons per day of low-carbon hydrogen in Bécancour, Québec. With this large-scale investment, the Group confirms its long-term commitment to the hydrogen energy markets and its ambition to be a major player in the supply of low-carbon hydrogen.

The new 20 MW PEM electrolyser, equipped with Cummins technology, is the largest operating unit of its kind in the world and will help meet the growing demand for low-carbon hydrogen in North America. Bécancour’s proximity to the main industrial markets in Canada and the United States will help ensure their supply of low-carbon hydrogen for industrial use and mobility. The commissioning of this electrolysis unit increases by 50% the capacity of Air Liquide’s Bécancour hydrogen production complex.

Note.

  1. This article is about a year old and electrolysers will get larger.
  2. 20 MW of electricity will produce 8.2 tons per day of low carbon or green hydrogen.
  3. It may surprise some, that the electrolyser has been built by Cummins, who are diesel engine manufacturers. They are a company, who appear to have seen the way the wind is blowing and are making sure they lead the revolution.

How much hydrogen could a 2 GW wind farm produce?

  • Wind farms have a capacity factor, which is how much energy they actually produce compared to their rating.
  • Shell’s 2 GW wind farm will be a floating wind farm and these typically have a capacity factor of at least 50 percent.
  • I will assume the capacity factor of 50 percent.

This will give 8,200 tonnes per day of green hydrogen. This is nearly three million tons per year.

How Will The Hydrogen Be Brought Ashore?

The HyDeploy project is investigating blending of hydrogen into our natural gas grid.

  • It appears that up to 25 % of hydrogen can be added without the need to change boilers and appliances.
  • This blending of hydrogen into our natural gas supply, would cut our carbon emissions by a worthwhile amount.

So will we see gas piped to nearby gas platforms like Jackdaw for blending with fresh virgin natural gas?

This would have the following advantages for Shell.

  • They wouldn’t need to install an electric cable to the shore with all its associated onshore and offshore substations.
  • The hydrogen could be brought ashore at either Bacton or St. Fergus gas terminals.
  • Shell could invite other local wind farms to share their electrolyser.
  • Shell would need to new onshore installations.

If Shell get this right, they could cut the project cost.

Will Shell Produce Blue Hydrogen Offshore?

I wonder if Shell have a cunning plan.

  • It is known, that Shell have developed a catalyst-based blue hydrogen process, which splits natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide, with the addition of oxygen from the air.
  • I suspect the process could need a lot of energy to work. But at least a GW from the nearby wind farm will probably be a good start.
  • Could that carbon dioxide be captured and stored in a depleted gas field.
  • The hydrogen could be piped to either Bacton or St. Fergus, as I previously described.

This hybrid method might be a more economic way to produce zero-carbon hydrogen.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised if Shell will produce hydrogen offshore.

 

June 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

New Four Stroke Engine: Turning Hydrogen Sceptics Into Believers

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Riviera Maritime Media.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A new medium-speed, dual-fuel engine will underpin the use of hydrogen as fuel for coastal shipping and cold ironing applications.

Coastal shipping I understand, but what is cold ironing?

Thank heaven for this Wikipedia entry, which has this introduction.

Cold ironing, or shore connection, shore-to-ship power (SSP) or alternative maritime power (AMP), is the process of providing shoreside electrical power to a ship at berth while its main and auxiliary engines are turned off.

The article says this under a heading of Cleaner Cold Ironing.

Mr Saverys believes ports can also benefit from using Behydro engines for cold ironing applications: “We actually think that a mobile electricity solution along the quay is much, much cheaper and more flexible than pulling electricity cables at every single terminal.”

He envisages the mobile solution as either land-based or barge-based: “More and more, we have to go to zero emissions in port. In Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp, we realised we should look at a more flexible and cheaper solution.”

The article also says that the dual fuel (hydrogen and diesel) engines have marine, rail and power generation applications and they can build engines up to 10 MW.

 

 

September 24, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

Green Tugboats? ‘Revolutionary’ Hydrogen Ship Engine Unveiled In Belgium

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

This is the first paragraph.

A “revolutionary” hybrid ship engine powered by green hydrogen and diesel has been unveiled today in Belgium, with developers claiming the innovation could cut CO2 emissions from ships, trains and electricity generators by up to 85 per cent.

The engine has been given the name BeHydro.

The first order has been received by the developers; ABC, for two 2MW dual fuel engines that will be installed on a hydrogen-powered tug for the Port of Antwerp.

Motors up to the size of 10 MW are under development.

This is the last sentence of the article.

In theory, any large diesel engine can be replaced by a BeHydro engine. The hydrogen future starts today.

It is a quote from the CEO  of one of the companies involved.

Conclusion

This is a development to follow.

The BeHydro engine, with its dual-fuel approach, is claimed to cut carbon emissions by 85 %.

In the Wikipedia entry for ABC or Anglo Belgian Corporation, there is a section called Products. This is a paragraph.

The engines are found in use on large river barges such as those found on the Rhine, coastal freighters, fishing boats, ferries, tugboats (which typically use 2 engines), and other ships. Other applications include electricity generation, and pumping engines, engines for cranes, and locomotives (including the Belgian Railways Class 77 and Voith Maxima), as well as dual fuel (gas/oil) DZD engines.

I feel that that the BeHydro engine will keep the company busy.

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Funding Nemo: £600m Power Cable Connects UK And Belgium

The title of this post is the same as this article in The Guardian.

This is the first paragraph.

A £600m cable connecting the UK and Belgium’s energy systems is about to be switched on, becoming the first of a new generation of interconnectors that will deepen the UK’s ties to mainland Europe just as it prepares to leave the EU.

It runs between Richborough in Kent and Zeebrugge in Belgium and is the fifth interconnector to be connected to Great Britain.

Other interconnectors connect to Ireland, Northern Ireland, France and the Netherlands.

In Large Scale Electricity Interconnection, I discuss the rest of the interconnectors, that are being constructed or planned.

We could see up to fifteen in operation in a few years.

As to Nemo, it was originally thought that the UK would be importing energy from Belgium, but as Belgium needs to service its nuclear power stations and will be shutting them in the next few years, the power will sometimes be flowing the other way. Especially, as more large wind farms come on stream in the UK!

It is my view that Icelink could change everything and Belgium’s possible future power shortage, makes Icelink far more likely.

Wikipedia describes the interconnector between Iceland and Scotland like this.

At 1000–1200 km, the 1000 MW HVDC link would be the longest sub-sea power interconnector in the world.

As more interconnectors are built between the UK and the Continent, including a possible link between Peterhead in North-East Scotland to Stavanger in Norway, which is called NorthConnect, the UK will begin to look like a giant electricity sub-station, that connects all the zero-carbon power sources together.

  • Denmark will supply wind power.
  • France will supply nuclear power.
  • Iceland will supply hydro-electric and geothermal power.
  • Norway will supply hydro-electric power.
  • The UK will supply nuclear and wind power.

Other sources like wind power from France and Ireland and tidal and wave power from the UK could be added to the mix in the next decade.

The Consequences For Gas

Our use of gas to generate electricity in Western Europe will surely decline.

If projects, like those I discussed in Can Abandoned Mines Heat Our Future?, come on stream to provide heat, the role of gas in providing heating in housing and other buildings will decline in the UK.

We also shouldn’t forget the role of hydrogen, which could also replace natural gas in many applications. It would be created by electrolysis of water or as a by-product of some industrial processes.

Hydrogen could also become a valuable way of storing excess electricity produced by tidal, wave and wind power.

It is unlikely, we will develop a totally gas-free economy, as methane is a valuable chemical feedstock to produce other chemical products we need.

Conclusion

Not many people will be sorry, except for President Putin and a few equally nasty despots in the Middle East.

 

 

 

 

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Energy, World | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

England In Kaliningrad

There is a good chance, that my great-great-great-grandfather; Robert Muller, came from East Prussia, the capital of which was Konigsberg East Prussia was annexed by the Soviet Union after the Second World |War and Konigsberg was renamed Kaliningrad.

My father was about fourteen, when his grandfather died and my father once told me, that his grandfather had told him, about meeting Robert, who would have been his grandfather’s grandfather.

Apparently, the elderly man didn’t speak any English and only spoke German. Knowing that my male line is Jewish, I wonder if it wasn’t German but Yiddish.

Konigsberg was an important city and the Prussian

Wikipedia has a section about the Jews in Konigsberg, where this is said.

The Jewish population of Königsberg in the 18th century was fairly low, although this changed as restrictions became relaxed over the course of the 19th century. In 1756 there were 29 families of “protected Jews” in Königsberg, which increased to 57 by 1789. The total number of Jewish inhabitants was less than 500 in the middle of the 18th century, and around 800 by the end of it, out of a total population of almost 60,000 people.

Speaking to someone at the German History Museum, a lot of Jewish men had to leave East Prussia, when they became adults, unless they were protected.

As Robert would have been a young adult,, when he turned up in Bexley, I suspect that soon after he qualified as a tailor, he left the area.

This keeping out of the way of trouble, is very much a family trait.

Konigsberg was at that time a port city and there was quite a lot of trade with London. So I suspect getting to London was not that great a problem.

I very much regret not asking my father for more details.

Like me my father was an atheist, although with a Jewish philosophy of life. He was also very much against fascists, communists and dictators of both the left and right. He was proud to have been at the Battle of Cable Street, when the East End of London stopped Oswald Mosley and his Blackshirts.

In some ways, I regret not being at the match tonight. But then I was advised that there would be trouble.

I have been to the Polish border with the Russian enclave. I wrote about it in At Poland’s Border With Russia.

June 28, 2018 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Riding The Coast Tram

The Coast Tram in Belgium, runs along the whole Belgian coast and is the longest tram line in the world.

I took these pictures, as I rode it from Blankenberg station to De Panne station and then back to Oostende station.

From Blankenberge To Oostende

At Oostende station we changed trams before moving on to De Panne.

From Oostende To De Panne

There is a lot to see on this part of the route.

From De Panne To Oostende

Would you really want to call a theme Park Plopsaland?

I didn’t see anybody in the sea!

Ridership On The Coastal Tram

Despite the windy weather, the extended intervals due to the strike, the ridership was good.

There were people of all ages from schoolchildren, through teenagers and those going to work, to quite a few pensioners.

And like me, not all were from Belgium.

Wikipedia says this under Characteristics.

The service makes 69 stops along the 68 km line, with a tram running every 10 min during the peak summer months (every 20 min in the winter months), and it is used by over 3 million passengers. The service has recently been made more accessible by new low-floor centre sections to existing vehicles and a few new HermeLijn low-floor trams.

Given, that work was proceeding in several places, I feel the Coastal Tram has a sound future.

 

 

May 16, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 6 Comments

Blankenberg Station

The Coast Tram connects to the Belgian Railway network at Knokke, Blankenberge, Oostende and De Panne.

These pictures show Blankenberge station and tram interchange.

Blankenberge station and the tram stop are undergoing a degree of rebuilding and landscaping.

Note.

  • The trams are metre gauge.
  • They were a bit thin on the ground, as there was a strike.
  • Many of the trams were covered in advertising, which made it difficult to see out.

I had taken a train from Bruges to Blankenberge.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Antwerp To Bruges

I took these pictures as my suburban train went between Antwerp Centraal and Bruges stations.

Note.

  • The number of tall houses close to the railway.
  • My train eventually went to Ostend.
  • The route when through the town of Beveren, which gives its name to the Beveren rabbit.
  • Compared to a UK route, like Ipswich to Cambridge, the route wasn’t busy.

When travelling by train in Belgium, the station names are sometimes different on the displays and your tickets, due to Belgium’s languages.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment