The Anonymous Widower

Should The World Call A Halt To Large Nuclear Power Stations?

When I left Liverpool University in the 1960s with an engineering degree, my fellow graduates and myself felt that nuclear power would be a sensible way to provide the electricity we need. Aberfan and other disasters had ruined coal’s reputation and not one of my colleagues joined the National Coal Board.

Over the intervening years, nuclear power has suffered a greater proportion of adverse events compared to other forms of electricity generation.

Large nuclear has also suffered some of the largest time and cost overruns of any energy projects.

My optimism for nuclear power has declined, although I do hope and feel, that small modular factory-built reactors, like those proposed by Rolls-Royce and others, might prove to be as reliable and economic as gas-fired, hydro-electric and tidal power stations, or solar and wind farms.

The smaller size of an SMR could be advantageous in itself.

  • Smaller factory-built power stations are more likely to be built on time and budget.
  • The amount pf nuclear material involved is only about twenty percent of that of a large nuclear station.
  • A smaller site would be easier to protect from terrorists and Putinistas.
  • Would the risk of a serious accident be reduced?
  • SMRs would be less of a blot on the landscape.
  • SMRs would not need such a high-capacity grid connection.
  • An SMR integrated with a high temperature electrolyser could be the easiest way to generate hydrogen for a large customer like a steelworks.

Overall, I believe an SMR would be involve less risk and disruption.

Zaporizhzhya

Zaporizhzhya is probably the last straw for large nuclear, although the incident isorchestrated by an evil dictator, who is much worse, than any of James Bond’s cruel adversities.

I doubt Putin would get the same leverage, if Zaporizhzhya were a gas-fired or hydroelectric power station.

Conclusion

I feel, the world must seriously question building any more large nuclear power stations.

August 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australian Mining Billionaire Touts A Green Revolution In U.S. Coal Country — With Skepticism Trailing Close Behind

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

It is a definite must-read about Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, making one of the most difficult hydrogen pitches in the world, to coal miners in West Virginia.

Perhaps we need Mr Forrest to convince the RMT, that their views are wrong and so nineteenth century.

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

Disused Coal Mine Could Host Gravity Energy Storage Project

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Power Engineering International.

It does seem that Gravitricity has made a breakthrough, with the announcement of a full-size demonstration project in the Czech Republic.

  • The project is based at the mothballed Staříč coal-mine in the Moravian Silesian region.
  • They have backing from the European Investment Bank.
  • This project will be delivered through the European Commission’s Project Development Assistance scheme.
  • The Czech Republic seem to have carried out checks, with their own consultants.

It looks to me, that Gravitricity have passed the due diligence procedures of some high-powered agencies.

But this paragraph from the article must be important.

Gravitricity estimates there are around 14,000 mines worldwide which could be suitable for gravity energy storage.

If they can successfully store energy in one mine in the Czech Republic, how many of the 14,000 will be suitable for use?

I doubt it will be a small number, as mining engineers tend to be a conservative bunch and most of those mines will have been built to similar rules by similar machines and techniques.

A search of the Internet indicates that Staříč coal-mine has a depth of over a kilometre.

Using Omni’s Potential energy calculator, 12,000 tonnes and a kilometre give a figure of 32.69 MWh.

32 MWh may seem a small amount, but it would power one of these 4 MW Class 90 locomotives for eight hours.

At their typical operating speed of 100 mph, whilst hauling eight coaches, they’d travel a distance of eight hundred miles or from London to Edinburgh and back!

February 3, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Edinburgh Energy Storage Firm Gravitricity Hooks Up To European Backing

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

This is the first paragraph.

Gravitricity, the Edinburgh-based company looking to build an energy storage project in a disused mineshaft, has secured support from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

It’s all to support a project at the recently mothballed Staric coal mine in the Moravian Silesian region of Czechia.

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , | 3 Comments

How Defunct Coal Mines Could Heat UK Homes

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

In a country with no operational coal mines, the UK Coal Authority has proposed to once again turn these operations to heating homes and businesses. But this time, they will not provide coal for burning. The plan, to take warm water from flooded mines, would turn an environmental problem into a community solution, and the idea is spreading.

The reason, I’m posting this is two-fold.

There was a report on this edition of Countryfile, which should be available until the end of 2022. The relevant section starts at 38.5 minutes into the program.

Charlotte Adams is featured in this report and the Countryfile program. I first came across Charlotte and her fascinating work at a lecture in 2018, which I wrote about in Can Abandoned Mines Heat Our Future?

 

January 23, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anglo American And Aurizon Look To Hydrogen-Powered Trains

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

This is the first paragraph.

Australia’s largest rail freight operator, Aurizon, and leading global mining company, Anglo American, have agreed to work together on a feasibility study to assess the introduction of hydrogen-powered trains for bulk freight in Queensland.

I find it interesting and very ironic, that this partnership has been formed, partly to transport the product, with the most polluting of end uses; coal.

The article also says this about Anglo American’s policy on decarbonisation of their mines.

As part of its commitment to carbon neutral mines by 2040, Anglo American has taken a global lead in the development of green hydrogen solutions for its ultra-class 290 t payload mine haul trucking fleet. Anglo American’s unique combination of powertrain technologies, designed to operate safely and effectively in real-world mine conditions, will displace the use of the majority of diesel at its mining operations, with an advanced trial of the prototype truck at its Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine in South Africa.

It does appear that the partnership are starting from a proven base of hydrogen technology.

Conclusion

This looks like a sound real-world project to produce a hydrogen-powered zero-carbon locomotive.

December 22, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Andrew Forrest, AGL Partner To Explore Hydrogen Option For Hunter Valley Coal Plants

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

This is the first paragraph.

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest said hydrogen would eventually “dwarf” the coal industry as he announced plans to develop a green hydrogen hub in the New South Wales Hunter Valley.

I wish Forrest well with this venture, because if he makes a success of it, it could form a model for lots of other places in the world.

He’s certainly a man on a mission.

December 8, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment

Gravitricity Explores Czech Coal Mine For MW-Scale Storage

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

This is the first paragraph.

Scottish energy storage outfit Gravitricity is exploring the potential to transform a former Czech coal mine into an energy storage plant with a capacity of up to 8MW.

It all sounds like a good use for a disused coal mine.

According to the article, future systems with multiple weights could store up to 25 MWh.

 

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | 2 Comments

Bio-Coal Trials Show Promise

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

These were the first two paragraphs.

Norfolk’s Bure Valley Railway (BVR) has held an extensive trial of bio-coal as the heritage rail sector looks towards a carbon-free future.

The event, which took place in June, was the result of cooperation between members of the Advanced Steam Traction Trust (ASTT), Bure and the Heritage Railway Association.

It probably makes sense to experiment with steam locomotives and fuels that create less carbon dioxide emissions.

September 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments