The Anonymous Widower

How Is The XLinks Project Progressing?

 

The Wikipedia entry for the XLinks project has this introductory paragraph.

The Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project is a proposal to create 10.5 GW of renewable generation, 20 GWh of battery storage and a 3.6 GW high-voltage direct current interconnector to carry solar and wind-generated electricity from Morocco to the United Kingdom. Morocco has far more consistent weather, and so should provide consistent solar power even in midwinter.

I ask the question in the title of this post, as there are two articles about the XLinks project in The Times today.

This article is optimistic and is entitled Xlinks Morocco Project Could Throw Britain A Renewable Energy Lifeline.

On the other hand this article is more pessimistic and is entitled Britain ‘Risks Losing Out’ On Green Energy From The Sahara.

This is the first paragraph of the second article.

Sir Dave Lewis has complained of “frustratingly slow” talks with the government over an £18 billion plan to generate power in the Sahara and cable it to Britain. The former Tesco chief executive has warned that the energy could be routed elsewhere unless ministers commit to the scheme.

It appears there have been little agreement on the price.

I have some thoughts.

Will XLinks Get Funding?

Xlinks is going to be privately funded, but I have doubts about whether the funding will be made available.

As an engineer, who was involved in many of the major offshore projects of the last forty years of the last century, I believe that the XLinks project is feasible, but it is only 3.6 GW.

These wind farm projects are also likely to be privately funded.

  • SSE’s Berwick Bank project opposite Berwick is 4.1 GW
  • Aker’s Northern Horizon off Shetland is 10 GW.
  • The Scotwind Leasing Round is 25 GW.
  • There is talk of 10 GW being possible off East Anglia.
  • 50 GW may be being possible in the Celtic Sea.
  • BP is planning 3 GW in Morecambe Bay.

Many of these enormous wind power projects are looking for completion on or before 2030, which is the date given for the Morocco cable.

I do wonder, if those financing these energy projects will find these and other projects better value than a link to Morocco.

Is the Project Bold Enough?

Consider.

  • Spain has high levels of solar, wind and hydro power.
  • France is developing wind to go with their nuclear.
  • Both countries and Portugal, also have mountains for sensibly-sized pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations.
  • France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland also have the Atlantic for wind, tidal and wave power.

Perhaps, the solution, is an Atlantic interconnector linking the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar to West Africa.

Any excess power would be stored in the pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations and withdrawn as required.

In the UK, the National Grid are already using the huge 7800 GWh Ulla-Førre pumped-storage hydroelectric power station to store excess wind-generated energy using the North Sea Link from Blyth.

To my mind XLinks is just a UK-Morocco project.

BP’s Project In Mauretania

In bp And Mauritania To Explore Green Hydrogen At Scale, I discussed BP’s deal to create green hydrogen in Mauretania.

Is this a better plan, as hydrogen can be taken by tanker to where it is needed And for the best price.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the XLinks project change direction.

November 14, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

bp And Mauritania To Explore Green Hydrogen At Scale

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

I’m fairly certain, that this post is the first on this blog about Mauretania.

This Google Map shows the country’s position in West Africa.

Note.

  1. The population is about ten percent more than Wales.
  2. But the land area is fifty times as large.
  3. Most people live in the South-West of Mauretania.

The weather appears very different in the two countries.

This is the first paragraph of the press release.

bp today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Mauritania under which it will deliver an innovative programme exploring the potential for large-scale production of green hydrogen in the country. Building on bp’s existing strong relationships with the country, the agreement could be an important step towards the development of significant green hydrogen production in Mauritania.

There’s certainly a large area to explore.

The MoU was signed today in a meeting alongside COP27.

This paragraph outlines what will be done.

Under the agreement, bp will carry out a number of studies to evaluate the technical and commercial feasibility of producing green hydrogen in Mauritania. Green hydrogen is produced by the electrolysis of water, powered by renewable energy.

Given the area of Mauretania, there could be a substantial tonnage of green hydrogen produced.

BP And Mauritania

This paragraph details the current relationship between BP and Mauretania.

bp and Mauritania already have a long-standing relationship. bp and partners, including Mauritania’s Société Mauritanienne Des Hydrocarbures (SMH), are now working toward the completion of the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) Phase 1 liquefied natural gas project. The development of this innovative offshore project on the border of Mauritania and Senegal was approved in 2018. It is set to produce around 2.3 million tonnes of LNG per year, with sufficient resources to support production for over 20 years. Earlier this year, bp also announced the signature of an Exploration and Production Sharing Contract for the BirAllah gas resource in Mauritania.

There could be scope to move Mauretania towards net-zero.

Electrolysis Of Salt Water

Typically electrolysis for hydrogen uses pure water, but companies like Torvex Energy, which I covered in a post called Torvex Energy can electrolyse salt water.

Surely, in a country like Mauretania, where water is much more precious than the UK, salt water electrolysis should be used.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a major gas company like BP or Shell form a very strong relationship with Torvex Energy.

November 9, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Morecambe Offshore Windfarm

I found this article on beyondradio, which is entitled Plans Unveiled To Build New Offshore Windfarms Off Morecambe Bay.

These care the first two paragraphs.

Plans are being developed to build new offshore windfarms off the Morecambe Bay coast.

Proposals have been unveiled for ‘Morecambe’ and ‘Morgan’, two new offshore wind farms being developed in the Irish Sea.

I’ve discussed Morgan and its sister; Mona before in Mona, Morgan And Morven, which describes the three projects BP are developing in a joint venture with enBW.

I haven’t come across the Morecambe Offshore Windfarm before and it has its own web site.

It has this summary of the wind farm.

Renewable energy is central to supporting the UK’s ambitions to lead the world in combatting climate change, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and embracing a future where renewable energy powers our homes and businesses.

Morecambe Offshore Windfarm which has a nominal capacity of 480MW. That’s enough to power over half a million households. It will also contribute to the UK Government’s commitment to:

  • Generate 50GW of power from offshore wind by 2030
  • Reach net zero by 2050.

It is located approximately 30km from the Lancashire coast.

This EnBW-BP infographic describes the Morgan and Mona projects.

it appears that the proposed Morecambe Offshore Windfarm will fit in the notch on the Eastern side of EnBW-BP’s two wind farms; Mona and Morgan.

  • All three wind farms are fixed foundation wind farms.
  • They have a total output of just under 3.5 GW.
  • Could they share infrastructure like cables and substations?
  • Heysham 1 is a 485 MW nuclear station, that will be decommissioned in 2024.
  • Heysham 2 is a 1815 MW nuclear station, that will be decommissioned in 2028.
  • What’s left of the two Heysham nuclear stations can probably generate 2.3 GW

Could it be that over 2.3 GW of wind power is being planned in the Irish Sea to make up for the loss of the four reactors at Heysham?

Could also the 480 MW Morecambe Bay wind farm be replacing what’s left of Heysham 1?

There would probably need to be a battery at Heysham, but it looks like the wind farms could be replacing the Heysham nuclear power station!

There will be consultation with the locals about the Morecambe ans Morgan wind farms, which will take place on Saturday, November 19, 2.30pm – 6.30pm, at Morecambe War Memorial Hall on Church Street.

I think, I might go!

November 4, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BP To Open Offshore Wind Office In Germany, Starts Recruitment Drive

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

This is the first paragraph, which adds a bit more information.

Global energy major bp plans to open an office in Hamburg, Germany dedicated to the development of offshore wind projects and is in the process of seeking employees for the new office.

These are other points from the article.

  • The topic of wind power is being promoted particularly in Hamburg.
  • BP said that the company has already achieved a number of milestones in the field of wind energy.
  • In cooperation with EnBW, bp is currently developing several wind farms in the Irish and Scottish Seas.
  • Similar plans already exist for the Netherlands.
  • The energy major would also like to supply charging stations for electric vehicles with green electricity.
  • In Germany, wind and solar energy should account for 80 per cent of electricity generation by 2030, compared to today’s 42 per cent.
  • Offshore wind energy is planned to grow seven times by 2045.

I believe that BP’s project expertise and management, backed by billions of German euros could be a complimentary dream team.

October 31, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Finance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The First Of The Cavalry Arrive To Rescue Kwasi Kwarteng

Most commentators think Kwasi Kwarteng is in trouble, but I feel that he has the strength of the mathematics around him.

This press release from BP was released on Wednesday and is entitled UK Offshore Wind: Laying The Groundwork Today.

These two paragraphs outline the work BP are doing to develop wind power in the Irish Sea.

Plans are critical, but it’s putting them into action that counts. As part of our strategy to get wind turbines turning, specialist vessels and crew are out on the Irish Sea undertaking massive seabed survey work. It’s an early but important step on the road to building some of the UK’s biggest offshore wind farms.

 

Once up and running, our Morgan and Mona projects could deliver enough capacity to power 3.4 million homes with clean electricity and help the UK to meet its climate goals. Their near-shore location – around 30 kilometres off the coast of northwest England and north Wales – will allow for lower-cost, more reliable transmission infrastructure, making them a core part of our plans for more secure and lower carbon energy for the UK.

This EnBW-BP infographic describes the project.

 

Note.

  1. BP’s partner is EnBW, who are a publicly-traded German energy company.
  2. There is a project web site.
  3. The press release and the graphic are showing the same numbers.
  4. Morgan and Mona will use proven fixed-foundation wind turbine technology.
  5. The combined site is around 800 km² or a square of under thirty kilometers, so it is only quite small in the context of the Irish Sea.
  6. First operation is given on the web site as 2028.

As BP and enBW have massive financial, engineering and project management resources, I believe they will look to bring the 2028 operation date as far forward as is possible.

If you do the cash flow for a project like this, especially when you have the financial and engineering resources of BP and enBW, the mathematics show that if you can accelerate the installation of the turbines, you will start to have a cashflow earlier and this will finance the debt needed to install the wind farms.

Consider.

  • I believe the 2028 date, is one that BP know they can keep, to satisfy the Stock Market and investors.
  • BP have large cash flows from their profitable oil and gas businesses.
  • BP have probably reserved places in the manufacturing queues for wind turbines, foundations and all the electrical gubbins to connect the turbines to shore.
  • BP want to prove to themselves and sceptics, that they can handle the building of wind farms.
  • The are already lots of wind farms along the North Wales Coast, so I suspect that the problems of building wind farms in the Irish Sea are well known.

I will not speculate on the date that Mona and Morgan are complete, but I very much doubt it will be in 2028.

These are some more thoughts from the BP press release.

What’s Happening And Why?

The purpose of these deep geotechnical investigations, carried out by specialist Geo-data company Fugro, up to 100 metres below the seabed is to determine soil characteristics for foundation design (find out how it’s done in the short film, above). Collecting this data will enable bp and EnBW to build efficient offshore wind farms with the least environmental impact. It is crucial for securing government consents for the projects and defining the structure and location of the individual turbines.

Even thirty kilometres off shore, there needs to be detailed planning permission.

Our Other Offshore Wind Projects

We aim to become a leader in offshore wind and, over the past three years, we’ve built up a pipeline of projects with partners in both the US and UK that have the potential to power more than 5 million homes.

And earlier this year, we agreed to form a partnership with Marubeni to explore an offshore wind development in Japan.

It’s all part of our aim to have 20GW of developed renewable generating capacity by 2025 and 50GW by 2030 – that’s broadly enough to power the needs of 36 million people.

Note.

  1. Their ambitions are high, but then so much of the experience of offshore oil and gas can be applied to offshore wind.
  2. BP has the cashflow from oil and gas to reinvent itself.
  3. Assuming a strike price of £40/MWh and an average capacity factor of 30 %, that is an income of around five billion pounds for starters.
  4. If they added energy storage to the wind farms, there’s even more money to be generated.

As Equinor, Ørsted and SSE have shown, you have to be big in this business and BP aim to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest.

Conclusion

Wind farms like Mona and Morgan, and there are several under development, will create the electricity and revenue, that will come to the rescue of the Chancellor.

As I update this after a busy day, it looks like Jeremy Hunt has inherited KK’s excellent groundwork and mathematics.

 

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Can We Move The Equilibrium Point Of The Energy Market?

Equilibrium In Systems

As a Control Engineer, I believe that most systems eventually end up in a state of equilibrium.

How many football batches have you watched between two evenly-matched teams that have ended, where the statistics are even and the match has ended in a nil-nil draw or a win by one goal.

Now suppose one manager makes an inspired substitution, one important player gets injured or one player gets sent off.

One team will have an advantage, the statistics will no longer be even and one team will probably win.

The equilibrium point will have been shifted.

Zopa’s Stable Peer-to-Peer Lending System

I used Zopa’s peer-to-peer lending system for several years and found it a very stable system, that over the years paid a steady return of between four and five percent before tax.

I even developed a method to maximise my savings income, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Hybrid Banking.

It was a sad day for me, when Zopa closed its ground-breaking peer-to-peer lending system.

As a Control Engineer, I believe that Zopa’s strength was a well-written computerised algorithm, that matched lenders and borrowers and spread the risk.

  • There was no bias in the system, introduced by personal prejudices.
  • The algorithm was agnostic and judged all borrowers on their profiles and credit ratings alone.
  • Money was allocated under fair rules for borrowers.
  • I never borrowed from Zopa, but from my experience of owning half of a finance company, their terms were the most customer-friendly I’ve ever seen.

Someone will go back to the basics of peer-to-peer lending and it can’t be soon enough for both savers and borrowers.

Zopa In Troubled Times

Over the years that I invested in Zopa, my returns stayed very much the same, as the algorithm seemed to be able to maintain sufficient difference between lenders’ returns and borrowers’ rates. I also suspect the dynamics of savvy lenders and borrowers helped to stabilise both the system and the difference between rates.

It even worked through the Banking Crisis of 2008 and other mini-hiccups along the way.

My Conclusion About Zopa

As someone, who knows computing well, I would rate Zopa, one of the best computer systems, I’ve ever seen.

But it showed how a large transactional system can work well.

One of the keys to its success and smooth operation was that the computer was totally in control and it took all transaction decisions without direct human intervention.

The Energy Market

The energy market is a network of energy providers and users.

It is controlled by complicated rules and it has settled into an equilibrium, which involves.

  • Importation of energy, which I suspect is not at a low price
  • Some high priced energy generators, based on gas, which has a high-price, due to Putin’s war.
  • Waste of wind energy due to lack of energy storage.
  • The intermittency of renewable sources.
  • A  lack of gas storage, means that we probably get the wrong end of fluctuations in the gas price.

This results in a high price to consumers.

Can We Move The Equilibrium Point Of The Energy Market?

And we also need to move it quickly to a more favourable place, which benefits everybody!

As a Control Engineer, I believe that there are five ways to move the equilibrium point.

  • Stop Putin’s war.
  • Increase gas storage.
  • Generate more low-cost electricity.
  • Increase electricity storage.
  • Improve the control algorithm.

I will now look at each in more detail.

Stopping Putin’s War

Giving in to Putin’s ambitions, would be an easy way to solve our energy crisis. But at what cost?

My parents generation, watched as Nazi Germany took over Austria and Czechoslovakia, whilst the world did nothing.

  • We mustn’t repeat that mistake.
  • We must not flinch in our support of the Ukraine.
  • We must be ready to support Moldova, Finland and the Baltic States if Putin expands his ambitions.

I do wonder, if Boris will turn up with Churchillian-style anti-Putin rhetoric all over Eastern Europe.

Increasing Gas Storage

The major gas storage facility is Rough, which is handily close to the Easington gas terminal.

The facility needs maintenance and this paragraph from the Wikipedia entry gives the current status.

In May 2022, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, began talks with the site’s owners with a view to reopening the site to help ease the ongoing cost-of-living crisis in the United Kingdom. In June 2022, owners Centrica submitted an application to the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), the licencing authority for the UK Government, to reopen the facility. Approval was granted in July. Subsequently, Centrica indicated that they are working hard to restore storage operations at Rough which would depend on securing subsidies from the British government. Centrica was aiming to have some capacity available for the winter of 2022/23 against an overall plan to increase storage capacity gradually over time.

Note.

  1. Rough can store around 2832 million cubic metres of gas.
  2. This article on Energy Live News is entitled Reopening Of Rough Storage Gets The All-Clear.

Less well-known is SSE and Equinor’s Aldborough Gas Storage.

These three paragraphs from SSE web site, describe the gas storage.

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.

The facility, which is a joint venture between SSE Thermal (66%) and Equinor, has the capacity to store around 330 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas.

SSE Thermal and Equinor have consent to increase the storage capacity at the Aldbrough site (Aldbrough Phase 2) and during the last couple of years have been working to involve the local community where appropriate to refine aspects of this project, which has not been progressed to date due to market conditions.

Future plans for the facility, may include converting it to one of the world’s largest hydrogen stores.

In the grand scheme of things, Rough and Aldborough, when you consider that the UK uses 211 million cubic metres of gas every day, will only keep us going for a few days.

But it should be noted, that the Easington gas terminal is connected to the Norwegian gas fields, by the Langeled pipeline.

So Yorkshire and Humberside will be alright.

Generating More Low-Cost Electricity

The only low-cost electricity of any size to come on stream will be wind-power.

This article on Renewables Now is entitled UK Hits 25.5 GW Of Wind Power Capacity.

These wind farms seem to be coming on stream soon or have been commissioned recently.

  • Dogger Bank A – 1200 MW – Commissioning 2023 expected
  • Dogger Bank B – 1200 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected
  • Dogger Bank C – 1200 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected
  • Hornsea Two – 1386 MW – Commissioned 2022
  • Moray East – 950 MW – Commissioning 2022 expected
  • Neart Na Gaoithe – 450 MW – Commissioning 2024 expected
  • Seagreen – 1075 MW – Commissioning 2023 expected
  • Triton Knoll – 857 MW – Commissioning 2022 expected

That is expected to be over 5 GW of offshore wind by the end of 2023.

In case there is some double counting, I’ll only say that wind power capacity could be near to 30 GW by December 2023, with perhaps another 3 GW by December 2024.

Other large wind farms in the future include.

  • Berwick Bank – 4100 MW – Commissioning 2028 expected
  • East Anglia Two – 900 MW – Commissioning 2026 expected
  • East Anglia Three – 1400 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Inch Cape Phase 1 – 1080 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Hornsea Three – 2800 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Moray West – 294 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Morgan and Mona – 3000 MW – Commissioning for 2028 expected
  • Morven – 2900 MW – Commissioning for 2028 expected
  • Norfolk Boreas – 1400 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Norfolk Vanguard – 1400 MW – Construction start planned for 2023
  • Sofia – 1400 MW – Commissioning 2026 expected

That is over 14 GW of wind power.

I should also take note of solar and onshore wind power detailed in this document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy that lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity.

It gives these figures and dates.

  • Solar – 251 MW – Commissioning 2023/24 expected
  • Solar – 1958 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected
  • Onshore Wind – 888 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected

I can now build a yearly table of renewables likely to be commissioned in each year.

  • 2022 – 3193 MW
  • 2023 – 2275 MW
  • 2024 – 701 MW
  • 2025 – 5246 MW
  • 2026 – 2300 MW
  • 2027 – 6974 MW
  • 2028 – 11400 MW

Note.

  1. Where a double date has been given, I’m taking the latter date.
  2. I have assumed that Norfolk Vanguard will be commissioned in 2028.
  3. I have ignored Hinckley Point C, which should add 3.26 GW in mid-2027.
  4. I have only taken into account one of the Scotwind wind farms in Scotland, some of which could be commissioned by 2028.
  5. I have assumed that BP’s Mona, Morgan and Morven will all be commissioned by 2028.

This is a total of 32 GW or an average of nearly 5 GW per year.

Increasing Electricity Storage

Big schemes like the 1.5 GW/ 30 GWh Coire Glas and 600 MW Cruachan 2 will help, but with 32 GW of renewable energy to be installed before 2028 and energy prices rocketing, we need substantial energy storage in the next couple of years.

One feasible plan that has been put forward is that of Highview Power’s CEO; Rupert Pearce,, that I wrote about in Highview Power’s Plan To Add Energy Storage To The UK Power Network.

The plan is to build twenty of Highview Power’s CRYOBatteries around the country.

  • Each CRYOBattery will be able to store 30 GWh.
  • Each CRYOBattery will be one of the largest batteries in the world.
  • They will have three times the storage of the pumped storage hydroelectric power station at Dinorwig.
  • They will be able to supply 2.5 GW for twelve hours, which is more output than Sizewell B nuclear power station.

Note.

  1. The first 30 GWh CRYOBattery is planned to be operational by late 2024.
  2. 600 GWh distributed around the country would probably be sufficient.

I believe that as these batteries are made from standard proven components, they could be built fairly quickly.

Paying For The Energy Storage

This press release from Highview Power is entitled New Analysis Reveals Extent Of UK Renewable Energy Waste, which makes these three bullet points.

  • Enough renewable energy to power 500,000 homes a day wasted since the energy crisis began.
  • 8 out of 10 Britons want more investment in boosting Britain’s energy resilience.
  • UK spent £390 million turning off wind farms and using gas since September 2021.

Note.

  1. As the press release was published in July 2022, was the £390 million for ten months.
  2. Will this level of spend continue, as we’re not creating any electricity storage or building any factories that will start in a year or so, that will need large amounts of electricity?
  3. The Germans are at least building the NeuConnect interconnector between the Isle of Grain and Wilhelmshaven.
  4. As we’re adding up to 5 GW per year to our renewable energy systems, this problem will surely get worse and we’ll spend more money switching off wind turbines.

We have the money to build a very large amount of energy storage.

Improving The Control Algorithm

A better control algorithm would always help and politicians should only be allowed to set objectives.

Conclusion

There is a chance we’ll have an oversupply of electricity, but this will have effects in the UK.

  • Gas-fired power-stations will be retired from front-line service to produce electricity.
  • Some will question the need for nuclear power.
  • Gas may even be used selectively to provide carbon dioxide for agricultural, scientific and industrial processes.
  • Industries that need a lot of electricity may build factories in the UK.
  • We will have a large supply of green hydrogen.

But it should bring the price of electricity down.

 

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

BP To Charge Up Vehicle Battery Research

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

This is the title on a stock picture at the top of the page.

BP, whose profits benefited from soaring oil and gas prices, plans to invest heavily in research to develop solutions to help to decarbonise the transport sector.

I’m unsure about the picture, but it could be a number of buses or trucks connected to a large battery.

This press release on the BP web site, is the original source for The Times article and it is entitled BP To Invest Up To £50 million In New Global Battery Research And Development Centre In Britain.

The press release starts with these bullet points.

  • bp continuing to invest in the UK, with new investment of up to £50 million for new electric vehicle battery testing centre and analytical laboratory in Pangbourne.
  • Aims to advance development of engineering, battery technology and fluid technology and engineering into new applications such as electric vehicles, charging and data centres.
  • New facilities at its Castrol headquarters and technology centre expected to open in 2024, supporting the technology, engineering and science jobs housed there today.

I find these sentences interesting.

new applications such as electric vehicles, charging and data centres

This sentence is a bit of a mess as electric vehicles are not new, charging is well established and what have data centres got to do with batteries.

I have a friend, who runs a large fleet of electric buses and charging is a problem, as getting the required number of MWhs to the garage can be a problem in a crowded city.

But could it be, that BP are thinking of a battery-based solution, that trickle-charges when electricity is affordable and then charges buses or other vehicles as required, throughout the day?

I believe that a battery based on process engineering like Highview Power’s CRYOBattery could be ideal in this situation.

  • Effectively, the bus garage or transport parking would have its own high capacity battery-powered charging network.
  • The storage capacity of the battery would be geared to the daily charge load of the vehicles.
  • It would reduce the cost of electricity to the operator.

Such a battery might also be ideal to power a battery charging station.

I don’t know much about data centres, except that they need a lot of electricity.

Would driving data centres from a battery, that was trickle-charged overnight mean that the cost of electricity was reduced?

bp today unveiled plans to invest up to £50 million (around $60 million) in a new, state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV) battery testing centre and analytical laboratory in the UK

There are a lot of battery ideas in the pipeline, so will one of the tasks be to find the best batteries for BP’s needs?

The site already undertakes research and development of fuels, lubricants and EV fluids and aims to become a leading hub for fluid technologies and engineering in the UK

You don’t think of lubricants being associated with electric vehicles, but obviously BP thinks it’s a serious enough topic to do some research.

The new facilities will help advance the development of leading fluid technologies and engineering for hybrid and fully battery electric vehicles, aiming to bring the industry closer to achieving the key tipping points for mainstream electric vehicle (EV) adoption.

This is self-explanatory.

Castrol ON advanced e-fluids manage temperatures within the battery which enables ultra-fast charging and improves efficiency, which help EVs to go further on a single charge and extend the life of the drivetrain system

Lubrication helps the world go round.

In addition, the advanced e-fluid technologies and engineering can be applied to other industries such as thermal management fluids for data centres where demand is rising exponentially

This is an interesting application and it will become increasingly important.

The growth of EV fluids is a huge opportunity, and we aim to be the market leader in this sector

I didn’t realise that EV fluids were so important.

The press release says this about the current status.

Two thirds of the world’s major car manufacturers use Castrol ON EV fluids as a part of their factory fill and we also supply Castrol ON EV fluids to the Jaguar TCS Racing Formula E team.

This press release on the Castrol web site is entitled CASTROL ON: Range Of Advanced E-Fluids For Mobility On Land, Sea And In Space.

This is the Castrol ON E-Fluids home page.

Where Will BP Need Batteries?

I can see the following applications are in BP’s sight from this press release.

  • Charging fleets of buses and trucks at their garage.
  • Powering battery-charging stations at filling stations.
  • Providing uninterruptable electricity feeds.
  • Powering data centres.

I will give a simple example.

Suppose a bus company wants to electrify the buses in a town.

  • They will have thirty double-deck buses each with a 500 kWh battery.
  • Wrightbus electric buses charge at 150 kW.
  • Charging all buses at the same time would need 4.5 MW
  • Each bus will need to be charged overnight and once during the day.
  • This means the bus company will need 30 MWh of power per day.
  • The largest wind turbines today are around 12 MW and have a capacity factor of 30 %.
  • A single turbine could be expected to generate 86 MWh per day.

It looks to me, that a battery in the garage which could provide an output of 5 MW and had a capacity of 100 MWh would link everything together and support the following.

  • A fleet of thirty buses.
  • All buses charged overnight and at one other time.
  • A 12 MW wind turbine.
  • Power for the offices and other facilities.
  • The battery would provide backup, when there is no wind.
  • There would also be a mains connection to the battery for use, when the wind turbine failed.

The size of the battery and the turbine would depend on the number of vehicles and how often, they were to be charged.

BP could replace diesel sales to the bus or transport company, with leasing of a zero-carbon charging system.

Simple systems based on one or two wind turbines, solar panels and a battery would have several applications.

  • Charging fleets of buses and trucks at their garage.
  • Powering battery-charging stations at filling stations.
  • Providing uninterruptable electricity feeds.
  • Powering data centres
  • Powering farms
  • Powering new housing estates
  • Powering factories

I can see this becoming a big market, that big energy companies will target.

Are BP planning to develop systems like this, as many of those, who might buy a system, are already their customers?

Choosing the best batteries and designing the system architecture would appear to be within the remit of the new Research Centre at Pangbourne.

Supporting Wind Farms

BP could certainly use a 2.5 GW/30 GWh battery at each of the three large wind farms; Mona, Morgan and Morven, that they are developing in the Irish Sea and off Aberdeen. These wind farms total 5.9 GW and a battery at each one, perhaps co-located with the offshore sub-station could mean that 5.9 GW was much more continuous.

The wind farms would be like virtual nuclear power stations, without any nuclear fuel or waste.

It would also mean that if the wind farm wasn’t needed and was told to switch off, the electricity generated could be stored in BP’s battery.

How many of BP’s other developments around the world could be improved with a co-located battery?

Process Technology

I am very keen on Highview Power’s CRYOBattery, but I do think that some parts of the design could benifit from the sort of technology that BP has used offshore and in the oil industry.

So will BP’s new battery research include offering advice to promising start-ups?

August 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Boris Baldrick’s Cunning Plan

This written statement to Parliament on the UK Government web site, is entitled Transport Update: Transpennine Route Upgrade.

It has been published by Grant Shapps and this is the sub-title.

Additional funding has been made available for the Transpennine route upgrade.

This is the complete statement.

Today 19 July 2022, the government has made available £959 million of additional funding to continue to progress the delivery of the ambitious Transpennine route upgrade.

This funding is a significant milestone and another step towards upgrading the key east-west rail artery across the north of England, to further this government’s levelling up and decarbonisation objectives.

In addition to progressing the design of aspects of the upgrade, this funding will enable further on-the-ground delivery of electrification and journey time improvement works, mostly west of Leeds.

One of the first tangible benefits will be enabling electric trains to run between Manchester and Stalybridge by the middle of the decade. We are also developing scope that will enable the Transpennine route upgrade to become the first phase of Northern Powerhouse Rail, including plans to unlock freight flows and take thousands of lorries off our roads.

We are also more than trebling the investment in the Transpennine route upgrade from £2.9 billion to between £9.0 billion and £11.5 billion.

This additional investment will enable the roll out of digital signalling technology, electrification of the full route and the provision of additional tracks for commercial and freight services, giving rail users more reliable, more punctual, more comfortable and greener rail journeys.

I have some thoughts.

It’s Not A Wish List, But A Reality

The last paragraph reads like a wish list.

This additional investment will enable the roll out of digital signalling technology, electrification of the full route and the provision of additional tracks for commercial and freight services, giving rail users more reliable, more punctual, more comfortable and greener rail journeys.

But it’s not a wish list, it’s what is to be done.

Where Will The Government Get Between Nine and Eleven-And-A-Half Billion Pounds?

It’s not the sort of small change that you have in a sock draw.

This document on the UK government web site, is entitled PM Opening Remarks At Press Conference With German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: 8 April 2022, where this is these three paragraphs.

We will also agree on the importance of weaning ourselves off dependence on Russian gas and oil, and ensuring that our energy security cannot be threatened by a rogue state.

This is not easy for any of us, and I applaud the seismic decisions taken by Olaf’s government to move Germany away from Russian hydrocarbons.

Today we have agreed to maximise the potential of the North Sea and collaborate on energy security and on renewables, where Germany and the UK lead the way in new technology.

So did Boris and Olaf sign the world’s first Green Alliance based on zero-carbon energy?

  • They may not have signed an Alliance, but they have agreed on common actions.
  • Over the last year or so, German money and technology has started to be more visible in our offshore wind farms.
  • BP have been backed by German utility; enBW in some of their huge wind farms.
  • Siemens Gamesa are providing a lot of wind turbines.
  • Will German shipyards build the floats for floating wind farms?
  • An interconnector between the Isle of Grain and Wilhelmshaven is planned.
  • Rolls-Royce and its German subsidiary MTU are charging into battle against climate change.
  • The Germans have taken a liking to ITM Power’s electrolysers to produce hydrogen.

I can see the North Sea or the German Ocean becoming Europe’s power station, with by 2030, a large amount of the energy not needed by the UK, being exported to the Continent, either as electricity or hydrogen.

The Germans could become our magische Geldbäume.

But unlike gas and oil, wind power in the North Sea won’t run out, as it’s renewable.

In How Britannia With Help From Her Friends Can Rule The Waves And The Wind, this was my conclusion.

Boris’s vision of the UK becoming a Saudi Arabia of wind is no fantasy of a man with massive dreams.

Standard floating wind turbines, with the possibility of also harvesting wave power could be assembled in ports along the coasts, towed into position and then connected up.

Several GW of wind-power capacity could probably be added each year to what would become the largest zero-carbon power station in the world.

By harvesting the power of the winds and waves in the seas around the British Isles it is an engineering and mathematical possibility, that could have been developed by any of those great visionary Victorian engineers like Armstrong, Bazalgette, Brunel and Reynolds, if they had had access to our modern technology.

Up Yours! Putin!

This energy and the money it provides will finance our infrastructure and our tax cuts.

 

July 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vast Australian Renewable Energy Site Powers BP’s Ambitions

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

BP is to lead the development of a $36 billion wind, solar and hydrogen project in Western Australia in its latest foray into green energy.

The oil company has bought a 40.5 per cent stake in the Asian Renewable Energy Hub in the eastern Pilbara region and will become operator of the project, one of the biggest such developments globally.

The Wikipedia entry for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, starts like this.

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) is a proposal to create one of the world’s largest renewable energy plant in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It was first proposed in 2014, with plans for the project concept changing several times since then. As of November 2020, the project developers Intercontinental Energy, CWP Global, Vestas and Pathway Investments were planning to build a mixture of wind power and solar energy power generators which would generate up to 26 gigawatts of power.

Up to 1,743 wind turbines of 290 metres (950 ft) in height would be accommodated in 668,100 hectares (1,651,000 acres) of land, and 18 arrays of solar panels each generating 600 megawatts would cover 1,418 hectares (3,500 acres). It is to be located in the Shire of East Pilbara, about 30 km (19 mi) inland from 80 Mile Beach, with the nearest settlement on the map being Mandora Station. The total size of the scheme would be about 666,030 ha (1,645,800 acres).

It is a gigantic project and this Google Map of Western Australia shows its location.

It is no more than a pimple on the huge area of Western Australia.

I have my thoughts about BP getting involved with this project.

The Power Of Research

Around 1970, I spent four years in ICI applying mathematical methods to some of their processes, that were in research or development. I also worked for a time on their hydrogen plants. Some of the projects I heard about, were pretty wacky and some of these appear to have never been commercialised.

When I left ICI, I built a few mathematical models for other research organisations.

So I do wonder, if BP have found something, that will enable the process of making hydrogen from water a lot more efficient. There is an American startup called Bloom Energy, who have teamed up with Westinghouse to use steam from the nuclear reactor to do electrolysis more efficiently at a high temperature.

I wrote about this partnership in Westinghouse And Bloom Energy To Team Up For Pink Hydrogen, where Bloom Energy Vice President of Hydrogen Business Rick Beuttel, is quoted as saying this.

We are proud Westinghouse has turned to Bloom and our solid oxide technology to supercharge the clean hydrogen economy. Solid oxide technology is well suited for nuclear applications, efficiently harnessing steam to further improve the economics of hydrogen production. High temperature electrolysis is already garnering attention and accolades as a cost-effective and viable solution to create low-cost, clean hydrogen, which is critical to meeting aggressive decarbonization goals.

It sounds that by integrating the nuclear power station and the electrolyser, there are cost savings to be made.

Why not use solar power to create steam, which is called solar thermal energy and is used in various hot places in the world and then use high temperature electrolysis?

I suspect that BP are up to something, that is very similar to Fortescue Future Industries in the Australian company’s back yard.

So will they be selling the hydrogen to FFI, so they can market it together all over the world?

This BP deal is one to watch.

June 16, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , | 1 Comment

NeuConnect Awards Two Major Contracts

This page on the NeuConnect web site is entitled NeuConnect Awards Over £1.5 billion Of Major Contracts As First Ever UK-German Energy Link Moves An Important Step Closer.

NeuConnect is a proposed interconnector between England and Germany.

  • It will have a capacity of 1.4 GW.
  • The interconnector will be around 450 miles long.
  • It will be HVDC, like many similar undersea power cables.
  • As the title says, it will be the first-ever UK-German energy link.

Wikipedia describes the route like this.

The cable will run between the Greystones substation on the Isle of Grain, in Kent in England to the new Fedderwarden substation in Wilhelmshaven in the Lower Saxony region of Germany. Landfall will be next to Grain Coastal Park, in Kent, and at Hooksiel, near Wilhemshaven in Germany.

Two contracts have been awarded.

  • The contract to design, manufacture, install, test and commission the 725km interconnector has been awarded to Prysmian Group.
  • The contract to design and build two converter stations in the UK and Germany has been awarded to Siemens Energy.

This sounds like a very simple plan to add an important interconnector between the UK and Germany.

I have some observations and thoughts.

The Isle Of Grain

The Isle of Grain is described in Wikipedia like this.

Isle of Grain (Old English Greon, meaning gravel) is a village and the easternmost point of the Hoo Peninsula within the district of Medway in Kent, south-east England. No longer an island and now forming part of the peninsula, the area is almost all marshland and is a major habitat for diverse wetland birds. The village constitutes a civil parish, which at the 2011 census had a population of 1,648, a net decrease of 83 people in 10 years.

Apart for the birds, over the last few decades it has been home to the following.

  • Until 1982, it was the location of a BP oil refinery.
  • In the 1990s, the isle was used to make the segments for the lining of the Channel Tunnel.
  • Following completion of the Channel Tunnel, the site is now part-occupied by Thamesport, the UK’s third largest container port.
  • Next to the former BP site is Grain Power Station, built in the 1970s, which previously burnt oil.
  • This power station was demolished in the 2015 and replaced with a 1.275 GW gas-fired power station.
  • Another major installation is a new Grain Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import facility, which takes heat from the gas-fired power station.
  • The Isle of Grain is the landing point for the BritNed undersea power cable between The Netherlands and the UK.

The Google Map shows the Isle of Grain.

Note.

  1. Thamesport is in the South-West corner
  2. To its North is the LNG import facility.
  3. To the North-East of Thamesport is the 735 MW Medway power station.
  4. There is a rail connection to Hoo Junction on the North Kent Line.

This second Google Map shows the Eastern side of the Isle.

Note.

  1. Grain Coastal Park, where NeuConnect will make landfall, is marked by the green arrow at the top of the map.
  2. Towards the South-Eastern corner of the map is the 1.275 GW Grain gas-fired power station.
  3. To the East of the power station, there is more switchgear than you see in a bad Frankenstein film.
  4. The smaller square at the bottom with the two white squares could be the converter station for the BritNed interconnector.

I am sure there is space on the island for a connection for NeuConnect.

There is also a total of 2.01 GW of gas-fired power stations on the Isle of Grain.

Wind Power In The Thames Estuary

This Google Map shows the Thames Estuary.

Note that the red arrow indicates the Isle of Grain.

This map from Wikipedia shows the wind farms in the area.

These are the ones that are operational.

  • 2 – East Anglia Array – 714 MW
  • 8 – Greater Gabbard – 504 MW
  • 9 – Gunfleet Sands – 184 MW
  • 13 – Kentish Flats – 140 MW
  • 15 – London Array – 630 MW
  • 27 – Thanet – 300 MW

Note.

  1. The Isle of Grain is just above the second o in London.
  2. I have ignored the Ramplion wind farm (21!), as it is too far from the Isle of Grain.
  3. This is a total of nearly 2.5 GW.

Planned extensions in the area include.

  • East Anglia Array – 3.1 GW – Completion date of 2026

But the Wikipedia entry for the East Anglia Array says this about the wind farm.

The target capacity for the entire East Anglia Zone is 7200 MW which could require up to 1200 turbines.

Could we see one of the following?

  • A connector from the East Anglia Array to the Isle of Grain.
  • One or more new wind farms in the Thames Estuary connected to the Isle of Grain.
  • German investment in a wind farm or farms connected to the Isle of Grain.

The Isle of Grain could become an island of energy providing power for London, the South-East of England, Germany and The Netherlands.

An Electrolyser On The Isle Of Grain

Consider.

  • There will be plenty of renewable electricity.
  • As there is a liquified natural gas terminal, there is plenty of gas storage.
  • One or both of the gas-fired power stations can be converted to run on hydrogen.
  • As more and more trucks are converted to hydrogen, there will be a large demand for hydrogen for heavy transport.

This must surely make a large electrolyser on the Isle of Grain a possibility.

The BritNed Interconnector

The BritNed interconnector is described like this in Wikipedia.

BritNed is a 1,000 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) submarine power cable between the Isle of Grain in Kent, the United Kingdom; and Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The BritNed interconnector would serve as a link for the foreseeable European super grid project.

Up to now, most of the electricity flow has been to the UK.

But surely, as more wind farms are developed power will flow the other way.

Wilhelmshaven Will Be A German Hub For Green Hydrogen

In Uniper To Make Wilhelmshaven German Hub For Green Hydrogen; Green Ammonia Import Terminal, I described plans by the Germans for a hydrogen hub at Wilhelmshaven.

The original story came from an article with the same name on Green Car Congress.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Under the name “Green Wilhelmshaven,” Germany-based international energy company Uniper plans to establish a German national hub for hydrogen in Wilhelmshaven and is working on a corresponding feasibility study.

Plans include an import terminal for green ammonia. The terminal will be equipped with an ammonia cracker for producing green hydrogen and will also be connected to the planned hydrogen network. A 410-megawatt electrolysis plant is also planned, which—in combination with the import terminal—would be capable of supplying around 295,000 metric tons or 10% of the demand expected for the whole of Germany in 2030.

As I said in the original post, I’m not happy about green ammonia, but the 1.4 GW NeuConnect interconnector has more than enough power to run a 410 MW electrolyser plant at full capacity.

It could even run three electrolysers of this size.

Hooksiel And Wilhelmshaven

NeuConnect will make landfall at Hooksiel.

This Google Map shows Hooksiel and Wilhelmshaven.

Note.

  1. Hooksiel is the village outlined in red.
  2. The water to the right of the map is the Jade Bight.
  3. The square block sticking out into the bight appears to be a container port.
  4. There appears to be chemical works or oil refineries North of the port.
  5. Wilhelmshaven is the town to the South of the port.

There would appear to be plenty of space for Uniper to construct Green Wilhelmshaven.

German And UK Wind Power Production

According to this page on Wikipedia, which is entitled Wind Power By Country, in 2020, these were installed wind power in various countries.

  • Germany – 62,184 MW
  • Spain – 27,089 MW
  • UK – 24,665 MW
  • France – 17,382 MW
  • Italy – 10,389 MW
  • Netherlands – 6,600 MW

In 2020 we were 37.5 GW behind Germany.

It looks like we’ll commission 3.3 GW this year and 6.1 in 2023, with Wikipedia saying that 12.9 GW is under development, which should close the gap to a certain extent.

In ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations, I described how Scotland will add 15.1 GW of floating and 9.7 GW of fixed foundation offshore wind.

It looks like initially, we’ll be buying German wind-generated electricity, but in the future the direction could easily change around.

Boris And Olaf

There were mumblings from Boris, that energy was talked about in their meeting in Downing Street last week.

It does appear there is a lot of ways that the UK and Germany can co-operate in the future with respect to energy.

  • German finance can be used to build wind farms in UK waters.
  • German companies can build the turbines and the interconnectors we need to develop vast offshore wind farms.
  • We can supply surplus energy to Germany through the NeuConnect interconnector.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Boris and Olaf had signed a very comprehensive energy co-operation agreement.

 

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments