The Anonymous Widower

The Massive Hydrogen Project, That Appears To Be Under The Radar

This page on the SSE Thermal web site, is entitled Aldbrough Gas Storage.

This is the introductory paragraph.

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.

This page on Hydrocarbons Technology is entitled Aldbrough Underground Gas Storage Facility, Yorkshire.

It gives these details of how Aldbrough Gas Storage was constructed.

The facility was originally planned to be developed by British Gas and Intergen in 1997. British Gas planned to develop Aldbrough North as a gas storage facility while Intergen planned to develop Aldbrough South.

SSE and Statoil became owners of the two projects in 2002 and 2003. The two companies combined the projects in late 2003. Site work commenced in March 2004 and leaching of the first cavern started in March 2005.

The storage caverns were created by using directional drilling. From a central area of the site, boreholes were drilled down to the salt strata located 2km underground.

After completion of drilling, leaching was carried out by pumping seawater into the boreholes to dissolve salt and create a cavern. Natural gas was then pumped into the caverns and stored under high pressure.

Six of the nine caverns are already storing gas. As of February 2012, dewatering and preparation of the remaining three caverns is complete. Testing has been completed at two of these caverns.

The facility is operated remotely from SSE’s Hornsea storage facility. It includes an above ground gas processing plant equipped with three 20MW compressors. The gas caverns of the facility are connected to the UK’s gas transmission network through an 8km pipeline.

Note.

  1. The caverns are created in a bed of salt about two kilometres down.
  2. It consists of nine caverns with the capacity to store around 370 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas.
  3. Salt caverns are very strong and dry, and are ideal for storing natural gas. The technique is discussed in this section in Wikipedia.

As I worked for ICI at Runcorn in the late 1960s, I’m very familiar with the technique, as the company extracted large amounts of salt from the massive reserves below the Cheshire countryside.

This Google Map shows the location of the Aldbrough Gas Storage to the North-East of Hull.

Note.

  1. The red-arrow marks the site of the Aldbrough Gas Storage.
  2. It is marked on the map as SSE Hornsea Ltd.
  3. Hull is in the South-West corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the site in more detail.

It appears to be a compact site.

Atwick Gas Storage

This page on the SSE Thermal web site, is entitled Atwick Gas Storage.

This is said on the web site.

Our Atwick Gas Storage facility is located near Hornsea on the East Yorkshire coast.

It consists of nine caverns with the capacity to store around 325 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas.

The facility first entered commercial operation in 1979. It was purchased by SSE in September 2002.

This Google Map shows the location of the Atwick Gas Storage to the North-East of Beverley.

Note.

  1. The red-arrow marks the site of the Atwick Gas Storage.
  2. It is marked on the map as SSE Atwick.
  3. Beverley is in the South-West corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the site in more detail.

As with the slightly larger Aldbrough Gas Storage site, it appears to be compact.

Conversion To Hydrogen Storage

It appears that SSE and Equinor have big plans for the Aldbrough Gas Storage facility.

This page on the SSE Thermal web site is entitled Plans For World-Leading Hydrogen Storage Facility At Aldbrough.

These paragraphs introduce the plans.

SSE Thermal and Equinor are developing plans for one of the world’s largest hydrogen storage facilities at their existing Aldbrough site on the East Yorkshire coast. The facility could be storing low-carbon hydrogen as early as 2028.

The existing Aldbrough Gas Storage facility, which was commissioned in 2011, is co-owned by SSE Thermal and Equinor, and consists of nine underground salt caverns, each roughly the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Upgrading the site to store hydrogen would involve converting the existing caverns or creating new purpose-built caverns to store the low-carbon fuel.

With an initial expected capacity of at least 320GWh, Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage would be significantly larger than any hydrogen storage facility in operation in the world today. The Aldbrough site is ideally located to store the low-carbon hydrogen set to be produced and used in the Humber region.

Hydrogen storage will be vital in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK and balancing the overall energy system by providing back up where large proportions of energy are produced from renewable power. As increasing amounts of hydrogen are produced both from offshore wind power, known as ‘green hydrogen’, and from natural gas with carbon capture and storage, known as ‘blue hydrogen’, facilities such as Aldbrough will provide storage for low-carbon energy.

I have a few thoughts.

Will Both Aldbrough and Atwick Gas Storage Facilities Be Used?

As the page only talks of nine caverns and both Aldbrough and Atwick facilities each have nine caverns, I suspect that at least initially only Aldbrough will be used.

But in the future, demand for the facility could mean all caverns were used and new ones might even be created.

Where Will The Hydrogen Come From?

These paragraphs from the SSE Thermal web page give an outline.

Equinor has announced its intention to develop 1.8GW of ‘blue hydrogen’ production in the region starting with its 0.6GW H2H Saltend project which will supply low-carbon hydrogen to local industry and power from the mid-2020s. This will be followed by a 1.2GW production facility to supply the Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, proposed by SSE Thermal and Equinor as the world’s first 100% hydrogen-fired power station, before the end of the decade.

SSE Thermal and Equinor’s partnership in the Humber marks the UK’s first end-to-end hydrogen proposal, connecting production, storage and demand projects in the region. While the Aldbrough facility would initially store the hydrogen produced for the Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, the benefit of this large-scale hydrogen storage extends well beyond power generation. The facility would enable growing hydrogen ambitions across the region, unlocking the potential for green hydrogen, and supplying an expanding offtaker market including heat, industry and transport from the late 2020s onwards.

Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage, and the partners’ other hydrogen projects in the region, are in the development stage and final investment decisions will depend on the progress of the necessary business models and associated infrastructure.

The Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage project is the latest being developed in a long-standing partnership between SSE Thermal and Equinor in the UK, which includes the joint venture to build the Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm, the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

It does seem to be, a bit of an inefficient route to create blue hydrogen, which will require carbon dioxide to be captured and stored or used.

Various scenarios suggest themselves.

  • The East Riding of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire are agricultural counties, so could some carbon dioxide be going to help greenhouse plants and crops, grow big and strong.
  • Carbon dioxide is used as a major ingredient of meat substitutes like Quorn.
  • Companies like Mineral Carbonation International are using carbon dioxide to make building products like blocks and plasterboard.

I do suspect that there are teams of scientists in the civilised world researching wacky ideas for the use of carbon dioxide.

Where Does The Dogger Bank Wind Farm Fit?

The Dogger Bank wind farm will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

  • It will consist of at least three phases; A, B and C, each of which will be 1.2 GW.
  • Phase A and B will have a cable to Creyke Beck substation in Yorkshire.
  • Phase C will have a cable to Teesside.

Creyke Beck is almost within walking distance of SSE Hornsea.

Could a large electrolyser be placed in the area, to store wind-power from Dogger Bank A/B as hydrogen in the Hydrogen Storage Facility At Aldbrough?

Conclusion

SSE  and Equinor may have a very cunning plan and we will know more in the next few years.

 

 

May 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Affordable Blue Hydrogen Production

The title of this post, is the same as that of this page on the Shell Catalysts & Technologies web site.

This is said at the top of the page.

Natural gas producers are at a crossroads. They face a shifting regulatory landscape emphasising emissions reduction and an economic environment where cash preservation is critical. Shell Catalysts & Technologies offers resource holders a phased approach to diversifying their portfolios towards clean hydrogen fuels by leveraging proven and affordable capture technologies and catalysts.

My knowledge of advanced chemical catalysts is small, but I did work in the early 1970s on a project with one of ICI’s experts in the field and he told me some basics and how he believed that in the future some new catalysts would revolutionise chemical process engineering.

Wikipedia’s definition of catalysis, or the action of catalysts is as follows.

Catalysis is the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst.

When I heard that Velocys were going to develop a catalyst-based system to turn household waste into sustainable aviation fuel, I did make a small investment in the company, as I thought the project could have legs.

Shell’s process takes natural gas and converts one molecule of methane (CH4) into two molecules of hydrogen (H2) and one of carbon dioxide (CO2) using one molecule of oxygen (O2) from the air.

In the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process, does a clever catalyst extract the carbon atom from the methane and combine it with two oxygen atoms to create a molecule of carbon dioxide? If it does, then this would leave the four atoms of hydrogen to form two molecules of H2 and the catalyst to go and repeat its magic on another methane molecule.

The video on the Shell site claims to do the conversion 10-25 % cheaper than current carbon intensive methods like steam reforming.

For every two molecules of hydrogen produced, both the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process and steam reforming will produce one molecule of carbon dioxide.

If you look at steam reforming it is an endothermic process, which means heat has to be added. The classic endothermic process is dissolving ice cubes in a glass of water.

Shell don’t say, but does their process need less energy to be added, because their clever catalyst does a lot of the work?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the reaction takes place in a liquid, with hydrogen and carbon dioxide bubbling out.

  • The two gases would be separated by using their different physical properties.
  • Carbon dioxide is heavier for a start.

Whatever Shell have done, it is probably pretty impressive and has probably taken many years to develop.

If as I suspect, it produces pure carbon dioxide, that would be an added bonus, as some uses of carbon dioxide wouldn’t want impurities.

Uses of pure carbon dioxide include.

  • Feeding it to soft fruits, flowers, salad vegetables and tomatoes growing in large greenhouses.
  • Dry ice.
  • Mineral Carbonation International can use carbon dioxide to make building products like blocks or plasterboard.
  • It can be added to concrete.

The more of the carbon dioxide that can be used rather than stored the better.

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

Shell To Develop Blue Hydrogen Plant

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

The article is based on this press release from Shell, which is entitled Shell And Uniper To Work Together On Blue Hydrogen Production Facility In The UK.

These are the three bullet points of the press release.

  • Shell and Uniper sign co-operation agreement to progress plans for low-carbon hydrogen production at Uniper’s Killingholme site in North Lincolnshire
  • Hydrogen produced could be used to decarbonise heavy industry, transport, heating and power across Humber and beyond.
  • Project recently passed eligibility phase for UK Government’s Phase-2 carbon capture, usage and storage Cluster Sequencing Process.

Note.

  1. The Killingholme site is currently occupied by the 900 MW gas-fired Killingholme power station.
  2. Heavy industry on Humberside includes chemicals and oil refineries and the Scunthorpe steelworks.

This Google Map shows the location of Killingholme power station.

Note.

  1. Killingholme power station is marked by the red arrow.
  2. The river is the Humber.
  3. The Port of Immingham is on the power station side of the river.
  4. Cleethorpes Beach is marked by the green dot in the bottom-right hand corner.
  5. Grimsby is to the North of Cleethorpes.
  6. Between Grimsby and Killingworth power station is a mass of chemical works.

This second Google Map shows the area to the South-East of the power station.

Note.

  1. Killingholme power station is marked by the red arrow.
  2. The Hornsea 02 substation to the North of the power station.
  3. The large Uniper site to the South of the power station.
  4. The large number of tanks inland from the port and the chemical works.

I have some thoughts.

A Full Description Of The Project

This paragraph from the press release described the project.

Uniper has signed an agreement with Shell to progress plans to produce blue hydrogen at Uniper’s Killingholme power station site in the East of England. The hydrogen produced could be used to decarbonise industry, transport and power throughout the Humber region.

The Humber Hub Blue project includes plans for a blue hydrogen production facility with a capacity of up to 720 megawatts, using gas reformation technology with carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The captured carbon would be fed through the proposed Zero Carbon Humber onshore pipeline, part of the East Coast Cluster, recently selected as one of two CCS clusters to receive initial government support under the government’s cluster sequencing process.

I suspect that a lot of the plant from the existing Killingholme power station will be repurposed.

This is the specification of the power station.

The Uniper (Formerly E.ON UK) plant consists of two 450 MW Siemens V94.2 gas turbine modules each connected to a heat recovery steam generator using only a single steam turbine in a 2 into 1 configuration. Gas is supplied from a 26-mile pipeline from Theddlethorpe.

When it was built by Powergen (now called Uniper) and opened in April 1993 it was only the second gas-fired power station built in the UK. It was taken out of service in 2002 due to the lower price of electricity and was then restored to full service in August 2005, with one of the 450 MW units returning to service in April 2005.

It was announced that the power station will be closed in 2015.

Will The Project Use The Shell Blue Hydrogen Process?

Will the plant use the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process, that I described in Shell Process To Make Blue Hydrogen Production Affordable?

It appears the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process offers advantages.

  1. Shell are claiming, that with carbon dioxide costing $25-35/tonne, that their process is more economic than grey or green hydrogen.
  2. Steam reforming also needs steam, but this new process actually generates steam as a by-product, which further improves the economics, as integrated chemical plants use a lot of steam. Killingholme’s neighbours would probably welcome the steam.
  3. Shell are reporting capturing 99% of the carbon.
  4. It looks like savings of between 10 and 25 % are possible.

 

The most-fervent greens, may claim blue hydrogen is totally wrong.

But if it is more affordable than both grey and green hydrogen and all but one percent of the carbon dioxide is captured, I believe that this should be an option, that is fully investigated.

This appears to be a victory for top-class chemical engineering.

Northern Endurance Partnership

The Northern Endurance Partnership is described on this page of the Equinor web site, where this is said.

BP, Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total today confirmed they have formed a new partnership, the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), to develop offshore carbon dioxide (CO2) transport and storage infrastructure in the UK North Sea, with bp as operator.

This infrastructure will serve the proposed Net Zero Teesside (NZT) and Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) projects that aim to establish decarbonised industrial clusters in Teesside and Humberside.

There is also a map.

Note.

  1. One facility would appear to serve the Tees and the Humber.

It looks like the depleted gas fields could hold a lot of carbon dioxide.

Carbon Capture

Some points from the Equinor press release about carbon capture.

  • Blue hydrogen production at Killingholme could see the capture of around 1.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of carbon a year through CCS.
  • The UK Government has set a target to capture 10 Mt of carbon a year by 2030.
  • NEP has submitted a bid for funding through Phase 2 of the UK Government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, aiming to accelerate the development of an offshore pipeline network to transport captured CO2 emissions from both NZT and ZCH to offshore geological storage beneath the UK North Sea.

These projects could could decarbonise a lot of businesses  on Teesside and the Humber.

Carbon Capture And Use

The Equinor press release says this about carbon capture and use.

The Northern Endurance Partnership will channel the extensive experience of its members to develop and deliver the offshore transport and storage infrastructure we need to unlock the enormous benefits of deploying CCUS across the Humber and Teesside. We’re delighted to start working together with five really world class energy companies to deliver a solution that will play a critical role in decarbonising the UK’s largest industrial heartland and protecting tens of thousands of jobs in the process.”

Uses include.

  • Feeding to salad vegetables, tomatoes, soft fruit and flowers in giant greenhouses.
  • Creating sustainable aviation fuel.
  • Creating building products like blocks and plaster board.
  • Making better concrete.

This is a list that will grow.

Making Hydrogen With An Electrolyser

The Shell press release says this.

Uniper continues to develop a separate green hydrogen project, using electrolytic hydrogen production technology, as part of the overall Humber Hub development at Uniper’s Killingholme site. Uniper, along with its project partners, will shortly complete the Project Mayflower feasibility study, part funded by the Department for Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, administered by InnovateUK, looking at the decarbonisation of port related activities at the Port of Immingham.

Note that the sub station for the 1.4 GW Hornsea 2 wind farm is close to both Killingholme power station and the Uniper web site.

What Will Happen To Shell’s Blue Hydrogen Plant?

I think there are two possible scenarios.

  • It will be closed when Uniper’s electrolyser is fully on stream.
  • It will become an emergency hydrogen source, when the wind is not blowing.

In both cases it will produce less carbon dioxide, thus leaving more space in the Northern Endurance Partnership.

Conclusion

It looks like there could be a comprehensive hydrogen production facility at Killingholme.

 

 

 

 

April 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill Gates Invests In Verdox’s Carbon Capture Technology

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

This is the first paragraph.

Bill Gates has invested in a carbon capture start-up. His Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund has taken part in an $80 million fundraising for Verdox, a Massachusetts-based business whose technology aims to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air.

I have my doubts that this technology will ever be economic, especially as plant, trees and in particular rain forests, do a good job at using the carbon dioxide. Planting trees is also one of those feel-good community activities.

This last paragraph gives a few details of the process.

Verdox, which is a spinout from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims that its system is cheaper and more efficient. It uses a special plastic, which when charged with electricity, can extract CO2 from a mixture of gases. A change in voltage releases the CO2.

It is a process with a good pedigree, but you’ve still got to find a way to store or use the carbon dioxide.

Plants worked out how to do that eons ago.

 

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Carbon Dioxide Not Totally Bad?

To listen to some environmentalists, there views on carbon dioxide are a bit like a variant of George Orwell’s famous phrase Four legs good, two legs bad from Animal Farm, with carbon dioxide the villain of the piece.

I have just read the Wikipedia entry for carbon dioxide.

For a start, we mustn’t forget how carbon dioxide, water and sunlight is converted by photosynthesis in plants and algae to carbohydrates, with oxygen given off as waste. Animals like us then breathe the oxygen in and breathe carbon dioxide out.

Various web sites give the following information.

  • The average human breathes out 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide per day.
  • As of 2020, the world population was 7.8 billion.

This means humans breathe out 17.94 billion pounds of CO2 per day

This equates to 6548.1 billion pounds per year or 2.97 billion tonnes per year.

And I haven’t counted all the other animals like buffalo, cattle, elephants and rhinos, to name just a few large ones.

Wikipedia also lists some of the Applications of carbon dioxide.

  • Precursor To Chemicals – Carbon dioxide can be one of the base chemicals used to make other important chemicals like urea and methanol.
  • Foods – Carbon dioxide has applications in the food industry.
  • Beverages – Carbon dioxide is the fizz in fizzy drinks.
  • Winemaking – Carbon dioxide has specialist uses in winemaking.
  • Stunning Animals – Carbon dioxide can be used to ‘stun’ animals before slaughter.
  • Inert Gas – carbon dioxide has several uses, as it is an inert gas.
  • Fire Extinguisher – Carbon dioxide is regularly used in fire extinguishers and fire protection systems.
  • Bio Transformation Into Fuel – It has been proposed to convert carbon dioxide from power stations  into biodiesel using a route based on algae.
  • Refrigerant – Carbon dioxide can be used as a refrigerant. It was used before CFCs were developed and I know of a large Victorian refrigeration system on a farm in Suffolk, used on a store for apples, that still is in regular use that uses carbon dioxide.
  • Dry Ice – The solid form of carbon dioxide has lots of applications, where cooling is needed.

Other important applications are under development.

  • Agriculture – Carbon dioxide is piped to greenhouses to promote growth of crops. It is also used at higher concentrations to eliminate pests.
  • Low Carbon Building Products – Companies like Mineral Carbonation International are developing ways of creating building products from carbon dioxide.
  • Synthetic Rubber – Research is ongoing to create replacements for synthetic rubber.

I can only assume, that the demand for gaseous carbon dioxide will increase, as scientists and engineers get more innovative about using the gas.

Solving A Shortage Of Carbon Dioxide

At the present time, there is shortage of carbon dioxide, that I wrote about in Food Shortages Looming After Factory Closures Hit Production.

In the related post, I said this.

Perhaps we should fit carbon capture to a handy gas-fired power station, like SSE are planning to do at Keadby and use this carbon dioxide.

Consider.

  • The Keadby complex of gas-fired power stations is close to a lot of depleted gas fields, some of which are in Lincolnshire and some are of-shore.
  • Some gas fields are already being used to store natural gas imported from Norway.
  • SSE plan to fit the later power stations with carbon capture.

I talk about SSE’s plans in Energy In North-East Lincolnshire.

If SSE were to build four large gas-fired power stations at Keadby, I calculated that they would produce 5.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

It could be used or stored in depleted gas fields according to demand.

But the complex at Keadby would not release any carbon emissions.

Could Carbon Capture Be A Nice Little Earner?

If demand for carbon dioxide continues to rise, I could see power companies installing carbon capture on gas-fired power stations to generate an extra income stream.

Incidentally, there are 55 operational gas-fired power stations in the UK, that can generate a total of 30 GW, which are owned by perhaps ten different companies.

Development of carbon capture systems could be helped by Government subsidy.

Conclusion

I have long forgotten all the calculations I did with gases, but I do know that when one molecule of methane combusts it produces two molecules of water and one of carbon dioxide.

So I am fairly convinced that if you took X cubic kilometres of natural gas out of a gas field, after combustion there wouldn’t be anything like as much volume of carbon dioxide to put back, specially if a proportion could be used profitably in other processes.

If we are going to use gas to generate zero-carbon power, we probably need to do it with gas fields under our control either onshore or in the seas around our coasts. This is because the depleted gas fields can be used to store the carbon.

Gas-fired power stations with carbon capture supporting industries that need supplies of carbon dioxide will become a large part of our energy economy.

 

September 18, 2021 Posted by | Energy, World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BECCS Beats Hydrogen For Decarbonizing Steel In Europe: ArcelorMittal

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on S & P Global Platts.

This is the first paragraph.

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) offers a more cost-effective, readily available solution for decarbonizing the steel industry in Europe than clean hydrogen, steel producer ArcelorMittal’s head of strategy David Clarke said May 17.

So what do they mean by bioenergy?

To make iron from iron ore, you need a reducing agent like carbon or hydrogen.

Iron ore is rich in oxides of iron.

The carbon is usually some form of coal, which produces large amounts of carbon dioxide with the oxygen from the iron oxides.

Hydrogen produces lots of water with the oxygen.

David Clarke of ArcelorMittal explains the process in the article.

“We know biomass worked as a replacement for coal,” he said. “We’ve been using it in our operations in Brazil and other places for many, many years. We have a project in Belgium that we’ll be starting up next year using waste wood, using that to make bio-coal,” with a project to take the emissions from the bio-coal to produce bioethanol.

Is this a case of Back-To-The-Future? If I remember my history, didn’t Iron Age men use charcoal to smelt iron and other metal ores?

If those scientists from Velocys can make Sustainable Aviation Fuel and biodiesel from household waste and used disposable nappies, can they apply their magic to make bio-coal?

I see great cost advantages with this process, as surely it would enable existing blast furnaces to be used, provided they were fitted with carbon capture and storage.

May 17, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Energy Minister Angus Taylor Launches $50 million Fund For Carbon Capture Projects

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The federal government has launched a $50 million fund to support the growth of carbon capture projects, which will include projects that reuse carbon dioxide emissions to make new products.

The launch of the Carbon Capture, Use and Storage fund was in Newcastle at the pilot site for Mineral Carbonisation International (MCI).

The company is using carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from a nearby ammonia plant to make building products like plasterboard and cement.

This sounds like a good idea to me!

They have a web site, which contains this YouTube video.

This could be a novel solution to decarbonisation.

March 2, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Batteries Could Save £195m Annually By Providing Reserve Finds National Grid ESO Trial

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

The title gives the findings of the Arenko-led trial.

What Is The National Grid Reserve Service?

It’s all about providing capacity for the National Grid Reserve Service, which is described in this Wikipedia entry. This is the introductory paragraph.

To balance the supply and demand of electricity on short timescales, the UK National Grid has contracts in place with generators and large energy users to provide temporary extra power, or reduction in demand. These reserve services are needed if a power station fails for example, or if forecast demand differs from actual demand. National Grid has several classes of reserve services, which in descending order of response time are: Balancing Mechanism (BM) Start-Up, Short-Term Operating Reserve, Demand Management and Fast Reserve.

The Wikipedia entry is very comprehensive.

A Collateral Benefit

This is a paragraph from the article.

Additionally, unlike CCGT plants, batteries do not need to be producing power in order to provide Reserve as they can charge when there is abundant renewable energy on the grid, and then wait to react when needed. As CCGT’s need to be producing power to provide this service, it can led to renewables switched off in favour of the more carbon intensive fossil fuel generation, to ensure Reserve is available if needed.

The article concludes that Reserve from Storage could help National Grid ESO’s reach their target of net-zero operation by 2025.

Could We Replace CCGT Plants With Batteries?

CCGT or combined cycle gas-turbine power plants are efficient ways to turn natural gas into electricity.

  • Typical sizes are around 800 MW.
  • They are reasonably quick and easy to build.
  • As their fuel comes by a pipeline, they don’t need to be connected to the rail network, unlike biomass and coal power plants.

Because they burn methane, they still emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide, although levels much less than an equivalent coal-fired power station.

In Energy In North-East Lincolnshire, I described the three Keadby power stations.

  • Keadby – In operation – 734 MW
  • Keadby 2 – Under construction – 840 MW
  • Keadby 3 – In planning – 910 MW

In total, these three power stations will have a capacity of 2484 MW.

By comparison, Hinckley Point C will have a capacity of 3200 MW.

Add Keadby 4 and the four CCGTs would provide more electricity, than Hinckley Point C.

I think it would be very difficult to replace a cluster of CCGT gas-fired power stations or a big nuclear power plant with the sort of batteries being deployed today. 2.5 to 3 GW is just so much electricity!

I do believe though, that instead of building a 3200 MW nuclear power plant, you could build a cluster of four 800 MW CCGTs.

But What About The Carbon Dioxide?

Using the Keadby cluster of CCGTs as an example.

  • Keadby 2 and Keadby 3 are being built to be upgraded with carbon-capture technology.
  • The HumberZero gas network will take the carbon dioxide away for  storage in worked-out gas fields in the North Sea.
  • Some carbon dioxide will be fed to salad vegetables and soft fruits in greenhouses, to promote growth.
  • Keadby 2 and Keadby 3 are being built to be able to run on hydrogen.
  • The HumberZero network will also be able to deliver hydrogen to fuel the power stations.

I’m certain we’ll see some of the next generation of wind turbines delivering their energy from hundreds of miles offshore, in the form of hydrogen by means of a pipe.

The technology is being developed by ITM Power and Ørsted, with the backing of the UK government.

  • Redundant gas pipelines can be used, to bring the hydrogen to the shore
  • The engineering of piping hydrogen to the shore is well-understood.
  • Redundant gas pipelines can be used if they already exist.
  • Gas networks can be designed, so that depleted gas fields can be used to store the gas offshore, in times when it is not needed.

But above all gas pipelines cost less than DC  electricity links, normally used to connect turbines to the shore.

I can see very complicated, but extremely efficient networks of wind turbines, redundant gas fields and efficient CCGT power stations connected together by gas pipelines, which distribute natural gas, hydrogen and carbon dioxide as appropriate.

Could Offshore Hydrogen Storage And CCGTs Provide The Reserve Power

Consider.

  • Using a CCGT power station  to provide Reserve Power is well understood.
  • Suppose there is a large worked out gasfield, near to the power station, which has been repurposed to be used for hydrogen storage.
  • The hydrogen storage is filled using hydrogen created by offshore wind turbines, that have built in electrolysers, like those being developed by ITM Power and Ørsted.
  • One of more CCGTs could run as needed using hydrogen from the storage as fuel.
  • A CCGT power station running on hydrogen is a zero-carbon power station.

Effectively, there would be a giant battery, that stored offshore wind energy as hydrogen.

I can see why the UK government is helping to fund this development by ITM Power and Ørsted.

Could We See Cradle-To-Grave Design Of Gas Fields?

I suspect that when a gas field is found and the infrastructured is designed it is all about what is best in the short term.

Suppose a gas field is found reasonably close to the shore or in an area like the Humber, Mersey or Tees Estuaries, where a lot of carbon dioxide is produced by industries like steel, glass and chemicals!

Should these assessments be done before any decisions are made about how to bring the gas ashore?

  • After being worked out could the gas field be used to store carbon dioxide?
  • After being worked out could the gas field be used to store natural gas or hydrogen?
  • Is the area round the gas field suitable for building a wind farm?

Only then could a long-term plan be devised for the gas-field and the infrastructure can be designed accordingly.

I suspect that the right design could save a lot of money, as infrastructure was converted for the next phase of its life.

Conclusion

It does appear that a lot of money can be saved.

But my rambling through the calculations shows the following.

Wind Turbines Generating Hydrogen Give Advantages

These are some of the advantages.

  • Hydrogen can be transported at less cost.
  • Hydrogen is easily stored if you have have a handy worked-out gas field.
  • The technology is well-known.

Hydrogen can then be converted back to electricity in a CCGT power station

The CCGT Power Station Operates In A Net-Zero Carbon Manner

There are two ways, the CCGT station can be run.

  • On natural gas, with the carbon-dioxide captured for use or storage.
  • On hydrogen.

No carbon-dioxide is released to the atmosphere in either mode.

The Hydrogen Storage And The CCGT Power Station Or Stations Is Just A Giant Battery

This may be true, but it’s all proven technology, that can be used as the Power Reserve.

Power Networks Will Get More Complicated

This will be inevitable, but giant batteries from various technologies will make it more reliable.

 

 

 

February 12, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hydrogen Super-Hub May Be Headed To UK’s Port Of Southampton

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

It is an interesting article and behind Southampton’s move is this proposition.

The hope is that making the location a hydrogen super-hub would greatly reduce its CO2 emissions.

This paragraph, explains what they will do.

This location would not focus on green H2, but would instead use carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS) technology to cut back on the CO2 emissions produced through this hydrogen fuel production. In this way, it would provide a zero-emission fuel while decarbonizing much of the process of its creation. It would provide that locally produced fuel to industries and activities that are currently highly polluting.

Note.

  1. They are not going to generate green hydrogen, which is usually produced by electrolysis using renewable energy.
  2. So how will they create hydrogen?
  3. Increasingly, carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS) is being talked about, rather than just carbon capture and storage (CCS). Surely, this is an improvement.
  4. Will we see hydrogen-powered tugs and boats used by the port?

This could be a good move by the Port of Southampton.

December 16, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Drax, Velocys Help Launch Coalition For Negative Emissions

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

U.K.-based companies Drax Group and Velocys are among 11 organizations that have launched the Coalition for Negative Emissions, which aims to achieve a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 by developing pioneering projects that can remove carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the atmosphere.

This paragraph details the companies and organisations involved.

In addition to Drax and Velocys, members of the coalition include Carbon Engineering, Carbon Removal Centre, CBI, Carbon Capture and Storage Association, Climeworks, Energy U.K., Heathrow, International Airlines Group, and the U.K. National Farmers Union.

They have sent a letter to the Government, which can be downloaded from the Drax website.

Conclusion

I have an open mind about biomass and products such as aviation biofuel and techniques such as carbon capture.

Keeping the wheels of commerce turning, needs a sustainable way to fly and ideas such as producing aviation biofuel from household and industrial waste, could enable sustainable transport in the short term.

Carbon capture is very difficult in a lot of processes, but I feel that in some, such as a modern gas-turbine powered station, if they are designed in an innovative manner, they an be made to deliver a pure stream of the gas. A pure gas must be easier to handle, than one contaminated with all sorts of unknowns, as you might get from burning some sources of coal.

I am pleased that the National Farmers Union is involved as using pure carbon dioxide, as a growth promoter for greenhouse crops is a proven use for carbon dioxide.

Overall, I am optimistic about the formation of the Coalition for Negative Emissions.

 

October 14, 2020 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment