The Anonymous Widower

Funding Award to Supply An 8MW Electrolyser

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from ITM Power.

This is the main body of the Press Release.

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to announce it has signed an agreement to supply an 8MW electrolyser in the UK.  The agreement, including associated project costs, has a total value of £10m and funding will fall across FY2021 and FY2022.  Further details will be announced in due course.

I bet they’re pleased!

To get a hold on what 8 MW looks like, these Class 90 locomotive each have a power output of just under 4 MW and are capable of hauling an eight-coach express train at 110 mph.

Working at full rate, the electrolyser will be able in a year to convert 70 GWh of electricity into hydrogen.

Why Would You Want An 8MW Electrolyser?

These are a few ideas.

Green Hydrogen For Humberside

This is a project described in this ITM Power Press Release.

This is the first three paragraphs.

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to announce that it has won, with partner Element Energy, a first stage deployment project in the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund competition “Decarbonisation of Industrial Clusters” to assess the feasibility and scope of deploying green hydrogen with some major industrial partners in Humberside.

“Green Hydrogen for Humberside” will lead to the production of renewable hydrogen at the Gigawatt (GW) scale distributed to a mix of industrial energy users in Immingham, Humberside. Decarbonisation of this cluster is critical in reaching the UK’s legally binding 2050 net zero emission targets. Humberside, the UK’s largest cluster by industrial emissions, (12.4Mt of CO2 per year), contributes £18bn to the national economy each year and has access to a large renewable resource from offshore wind in the North Sea.

The project will work with customers in the region to establish the feasibility of switching to renewable hydrogen and justify a number of 100MW deployments of electrolysers. The project will cost the supply of hydrogen to these end users. This includes the electricity supply to the electrolyser, the hydrogen production facility, hydrogen distribution across the Humber and conversion of existing processes to use renewable hydrogen.

The study talks about a number of 100 MW deployments of electrolysers.

Will the 8MW electrolyser be a demonstrator for this project?

To Convert Surplus Renewable Energy Into Hydrogen Which Is Injected Into The Gas Grid

The Wikipedia entry for ITM Power has a section entitled Energy Storage Power To Gas. This is the first paragraph.

Power-to-Gas is a methodology of introducing such hydrogen to the natural gas network, essentially converting renewable electrical power to a clean gas that can be more conveniently stored using existing assets. There are two main Power-to-Gas mechanisms. The first involves metering pressurised hydrogen into the gas network directly. The second involves combining hydrogen with carbon dioxide via a methanation process to produce synthetic natural gas prior to introduction to the grid.

The electrolyser could be used to convert a lot of electricity into zero-carbon hydrogen for use in the UK gas network.

Improving The Resilience Of The UK Gas Network

This article on the BBC is entitled Major Power Failure Affects Homes And Transport and it describes a major power failure, when two generators failed in August 2019.

Could the 8MW electrolyser be part of the solution to make the UK power network more robust, if parts of the network fail?

To Create Feedstock For An Oil Refinery Or Petro-Chemical Plant

Hydrogen can be used as a feedstock for an oil refinery or petro-chemical plant.

This ITM Power Press Release, describes such a project, where wind power from the North Sea is used to create hydrogen for Phillips 66 Limited’s Humber Refinery.

As Part Of An Experimental Steel-Making Plant

This is pure speculation on my part, but steel-making creates lot of carbon-dioxide.

I do believe that using hydrogen to make steel is possible and ITM Power are based in the steel-city of Sheffield.

On the other hand look at the HYBRIT web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative that endeavors to revolutionize steel-making. HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.

During 2018, work started on the construction of a pilot plant for fossil-free steel production in Luleå, Sweden. The goal is to have a solution for fossil-free steel by 2035. If successful, HYBRIT means that together we can reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%.

This page on their web site is entitled Steel Making Today And Tomorrow. This image compares traditional blast furnace steelmaking with HYBRIT.

Note that at the heart of the process is the production of hydrogen from renewable electricity. This process will need a large electrolyser.

 

Could someone be doing something similar in Sheffield or more likely, Scunthorpe?

  • British Steel may be owned by the Chinese, but it has a record of innovation.
  • We will need a lot of long steel products, like railway rails and girders, in which British Steel specialise.
  • In a few years, Humberside will have enough renewable electricity from North Sea wind to create an electro-magnetic gun to fire space capsules at Mars.

I will be watching out for hydrogen steelmaking.

Is Jim Ratcliffe Up To Something?

Jim Ratcliffe is a very rich man and the chairman and CEO  of INEOS, which has a turnover of $83billion.

Consider.

  • INEOS must know about hydrogen.
  • I read some years ago, how they were using waste hydrogen to generate electricity on Teesside.
  • I have a feeling that they have backed a hydrogen fuel-cell company.
  • They own the hydrogen factory in Runcorn, where I worked in 1970.
  • They have extensive interests in the North West, North East and Scotland.
  • The company probably has an enormous carbon-footprint, that they’d probably like to reduce, by perhaps using hydrogen instead of natural gas as a feedstock for some processes, like production of ammonia.

But above all the cost of an 8MW electrolyser would be small change and probably cost a lot less, than running the cycling team.

The Fallback

It could of course be used to produce a large amount of hydrogen to power buses, cars and trains.

May 3, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Network Rail Bids For Part Of British Steel

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

This is the first paragraph.

Network Rail is looking to buy part of British Steel, as bidders have until the end of Sunday to put in offers for all or part of the troubled firm.

Many would say, why does the nationalised industry Network Rail, which let’s face it, has had its troubles in recent years, want to get involved with a bankrupt company?

You have to remember, how big companies work.

  • They need to manage their cash flow.
  • They need quality supplies, that will do what it says on the specification.
  • They want supplies to be delivered as and where they need it.

But above all they need to be properly financed.

Making And Delivering Rails

This paragraph in the BBC article says a lot.

Network Rail owns and operates the UK’s railway network, including 20,000 miles of track, and buys 100,000 tonnes of rails from British Steel each year.

Suppose, you want to lay new rails urgently between Inverness and the Far North of Scotland. Getting it there will be a logistics problem, which will be made worse, if the source is halfway around the world.

And suppose, when it arrives in the UK, it fails the quality test! You can’t just give it back to the postman.

So for a reliable railway, Network Rail also needs a reliable supplier making rails, close enough for product to be delivered by special train.

From what I have read in the railway press, British Steel are good at the following.

  • Manufacturing quality rail.
  • Developing special products for rail companies.
  • Delivering it on special trains.

To illustrate this, read British Steel Secures Major Contract From Deutsche Bahn.

I also think, that in addition to the Germans, British Steel sell rail to the Belgians, French and the Dutch, to name but three.

So certainly, British Steel seem to be on the ball with making and delivering rails.

But they appear to be seriously underfunded.

Acquiring British Steel

If I was a financier, thinking about taking over British Steel, one of the most important things would be to secure the sales and the resulting cash flow for the company.

I would be on the train to all of the major rail infrastructure companies, that could be reached by British Steel’s special trains from Scunthorpe.

Network Rail have already put a marker down, that they would buy British Steel’s Rail Products Division, but are other rail infrastructure companies also looking at securing quality product, by either buying the division themselves or pledging support alongside Network Rail.

Network Rail are also aware that their predecessor Railtrack, was brought down by the Hatfield Rail Crash, so they are probably and rightly so, paranoid about safety.

The very fact that Network Rail have put in a bid, suggests to me that they know their power in the negotiations to follow, as any purchaser, who doesn’t have the major customers onside, is probably doomed to fail.

On the other hand, if British Steel was bought by someone, that would increase the risk of dodgy product, Network Rail would go elsewhere.

But would they be able to get the same quality and service?

Conclusion

I am sure, that Network Rail, Deutsche Bahn and all the other rail infrastructure companies will play a large park in the fate of British Steel.

 

July 1, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , | Leave a comment