The Anonymous Widower

How Siemens Gamesa Could Give Coal Plants a Second Life

This article on Greentech Media is a must-read as it makes you think. This is the sub-title.

The ETES thermal battery can offer coal plants a new life as heat and power storage hubs. The first customer for a full-size version could be on-board as early as next year.

It talks about the philosophy of reusing coal-fired power station sites and some of their equipment like turbines.

It is an idea much more applicable to countries like the US and Germany rather than the UK, as they still have lots of operational coal-fired power stations and and we only have a few.

I first came across this idea, when Highview Power were talking about their 50/MW/400 MWh installation in Vermont, which was to be built on the site of a demolished coal-fired power station. The utility company and Highview were in that case just reusing the grid connection.

But then I’ve heard of other energy storage systems using old power station sites.

And not to forget that Highview Power’s installation at Carrington is close to a gas-fired power station.

 

May 22, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Gravitricity Celebrates Success Of 250kW Energy Storage Demonstrator

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Solar Power Portal.

I have already posted about this success in Gravitricity Battery Generates First Power At Edinburgh Site.

But the news story has now been mentioned in several respected publications and web sites.

So this idea, based on traditional Scottish products of heavy weights and girders seems to be getting valuable publicity.

The demonstrator is only small and uses two 25 tonne weights and a fifteen metre tower.

This is only a storage capacity of only 2.04 kWh, but the company is talking of weights totalling up to a massive 12,000 tonnes.

With a fifteen metre tower, that would be 490 kWh.

Note.

  1. The shafts at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire are 800 metres deep.
  2. The TauTona mine in South Africa is 3.9 kilometres deep
  3. In this article in The Engineer, Gravitricity talk about weights of up to 12,000 tonnes.

These are typical storage capacities.

  • Kellingley – 50 tonnes – 109 kWh
  • Kellingley – 12,000 tonnes – 26.15 MWh
  • TauTona – 50 tonnes – 531 kWh
  • TuaqTona = 12,000 – 127.5 MWh

Accountants before they invest in a company look at the financial figures. As an engineer, I look at the numbers in the science behind their claims.

If the engineering can be made to work, these figures are to say the least; very promising.

They are also beautifully scalable.

If say your application needed a 2 MWh battery and you had a 400 metre shaft available, you can calculate the weight needed. It’s around 1836 tonnes.

The Solar Power Portal article finishes with these two paragraphs.

The company will now look to rollout the technology in a series of full-scale 4-8MW projects, with conversations already underway with mine owners in the UK, Scandinavia, Poland and the Czech Republic, it said. Additionally, in South Africa Gravitricity is working closely with mine operator United Mining Services as part of a programme funded by an Innovate UK Energy Catalyst programme to identify potential schemes.

“A key feature of our full-scale projects will be their long life” added Blair. “Once built, our system can last for over 25 years, with no loss in output or degradation over time. This makes gravity storage cost-effective. And unlike batteries, we have no reliance on rare metals such as cobalt and nickel which are becoming increasingly scarce in the global drive to electrification.”

Note.

  1. I assume that they are 4-8 MWh projects.
  2. Charlie Blair is the Managing Director of Gravitricity.
  3. A weight of 1836 tonnes would give 4 MWh in the 800 metre shaft at Kellingley.

I wouldn’t be surprised that those owning a deep empty hole in the ground will be starting conversations with Gravitricity!

Conclusion

I am not worried, that I bought a few shares in Gravitricity in the crowd-funding last year!

All this good publicity from the BBC, Good News Network, Science, The Engineer, The Times and other media sites won’t harm my investment.

 

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Is The £150m Global Centre For Rail Excellence Scheme In South Wales?

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

This sub-title is a good summary.

The Welsh Government project aims to create a world first in testing trains and rail infrastructure at the same facility

It looks like it will be very comprehensive and is a classic example of the sort of things we should do to attract world class companies to the UK.

This paragraph talks about one of the site’s uses.

Rail infrastructure cannot be tested on a live railway because there isn’t a safe way of doing it. The internal track will have a wagon travelling around at 40mph putting new infrastructure through its paces with rigorous assessment. When owner of the UK rail network Network Rail, which is committed to using the facility, want to test equipment it has to use the Pueblo testing centre in Colorado, as do equivalent organisations in Europe.

It’s surely easier to go from anywhere in Western Europe to Wales than Colorado. Especially, if you want to take some equipmement that might weigh several tonnes.

Conclusion

The Welsh seem to have done their homework and also come up with an innovative use for a worked-out open cast coal mine.

 

March 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coal Plant Closures Loom Large As NSW Backs Hydrogen For The Hunter

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Sydney Morning Herald.

This is the first paragraph.

The future of NSW’s coal-fired power plants is under increasing threat from cheap renewable energy, which this week forced Victoria’s Yallourn coal plant to bring forward its closure date as analysts warn the end may come even sooner.

The future for coal in Australia certainly doesn’t look good.

March 12, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , | Leave a comment

World’s Biggest Battery Storage Project Announced By Australian Renewables Fund

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

CEP. Energy, a specialist renewable energy fund company in Australia, has just announced the largest proposed grid-scale battery project in the world so far, with up to 1,200MW rated output.

If you read the whole article, you get the impression, that the Australians are going big on energy storage.

But then Australia must be one of the best countries for solar energy in the world.

This paragraph contains an interesting concept.

Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2022 for completion in 2023, so it’s possible even bigger schemes will be announced or even built by then, but for now the project is setting the pace for scale. Another Australian project, proposed by integrated energy company Origin Energy would site 700MW / 2,800MWh of batteries at a retiring coal power station, also in New South Wales and French developer Neoen has filed a plan, to build a 500MW / 1,000MWh battery storage project in the state. New South Wales’s government has implemented an ambitious roadmap to deploying vast shares of renewable energy on its networks, including a handful of multi-gigawatt Renewable Energy Zones.

Note that Origin Energy are replacing a coal-fired power station with a 700 MW/2,800 MWh battery.

We shall see a lot of fossil-fuel-fired power stations replaced by batteries.

 

February 7, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

North Dakota Coal Country Backlash Against Wind Energy Is Misguided, Wind Advocates Say

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Two counties in North Dakota coal country have passed policies aimed at banning wind power development — but federal studies show that abundant natural gas is chiefly to blame for the closure of coal-fired power plants.

It appears that the closure of 1151 MW Coal Creek power station in 2022, will cost almost a thousand jobs.

This is the downside of decarbonisation.

These two paragraphs give a flavour of the argument.

Coal country officials have said they’re not against wind power, but said the economic benefits of wind can’t begin to compare to the contributions, in jobs and tax revenues, to coal-fired power plants and the mines that supply them. Most jobs involving a wind farm come during construction.

“There will be a limited number of permanent jobs after the tower is up, if and when that happens,” said Buster Langowski, the Mercer County economic development director. Wind farms need only four or five employees to operate. “That’s not a lot of folks.”

It appears that the changeover needs to be better managed.

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s Mines To Be At Centre Of Green Energy Renaissance

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

The article is a good explanation of the pros and cons of using the heat stored in disused coal mines, to heat hones and businesses.

September 22, 2020 Posted by | Energy | , , , | Leave a comment

Generating Clean Energy From The Coal Mines

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

With a number of the UK’s abandoned coal mines being repurposed for green energy projects, Jon Excell asks whether the legacy of Britain’s polluting industrial past could hold the key to its low carbon future?

A few points from this must-read article.

  • We spend £2.4 billion every year dealing with the water in abandoned mines.
  • The huge volumes of mine water – heated by geological processes to temperatures as high as 40˚C – could actually help power the UK’s shift to a zero-carbon economy.
  • The Coal Authority now has around thirty different projects.
  • there is an estimated 2.2 million GWh of annually renewing zero carbon geothermal energy held within the mines.
  • Heat can be extracted using boreholes, heat pumps and heat exchangers.
  • The mines can be used to store energy as waste heat.
  • I particularly liked the use of a mine shaft as a thermal flask, which is being developed at Shawfair in Scotland.

The article then talks about Gravitricity.

This is an extract.

According to Gravitricity project development manager Chris Yendell, the potential for the technology is huge.

Research carried out for the company by KPMG identified 60,000 vertical shafts of 200m or greater in Germany alone. Indeed, many of these shafts as deep as 1000m. Meanwhile, following discussions with the Coal Authority, the team believes that in the UK there are at least 100 potentially viable deep vertical mineshafts. “Based on that you could look at a future portfolio in the UK of 2.4GWh of capacity, based on a 10MW peak system with a capacity of 24MWh” said Yendell.

The article finishes on an optimistic note, by outlining how in the former mining areas, there is lots of expertise to maintain and run these new green energy systems, that will replace coal’s black hole.

Conclusion

Coal could be the future! But not as we know it!

September 4, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Funding To Develop Geothermal Energy Plans For Disused Flooded Coal Mines

The title of this post, is the same as that of this page on the University pf Strathclyde web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde have won early stage funding to develop plans to tap into the geothermal energy contained within disused, flooded coal mines in Scotland.

I have talked about this technique before in Can Abandoned Mines Heat Our Future?, which I wrote after I attended a public lecture at The Geological Society.

This page on the Geological Society web site, gives a summary of the lecture and details of the speaker; Charlotte Adams of Durham University.

This paragraph indicates the scale of the Scottish project, which has been called HotScot.

Heat trapped in 600 km3 of disused mine-workings in the Central Belt of Scotland could meet up to 8% of Scotland’s domestic heating demand.

It looks to be a very comprehensive project.

Conclusion

As this appears to be the second project where disused coal mines are used as a source of heat, after one in Spennymoor, that I wrote about in Exciting Renewable Energy Project for Spennymoor. I wouldn’t be surprised to see other projects starting in other mining areas.

And not just in the UK, as techniques developed by engineers and scientists get more efficient and more affordable.

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

After Coronavirus, What’s Next? China: More Coal, US: More Oil, EU: More Renewables

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

The title says it all, but read the article to get the detail.

June 2, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments