The Anonymous Widower

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

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

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 | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rolls-Royce signs MoU With Exelon For Compact Nuclear Power Stations

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on the Rolls-Royce web site.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Rolls-Royce and Exelon Generation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue the potential for Exelon Generation to operate compact nuclear power stations both in the UK and internationally. Exelon Generation will be using their operational experience to assist Rolls Royce in the development and deployment of the UKSMR.

Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium that is designing a low-cost factory built nuclear power station, known as a small modular reactor (SMR). Its standardised, factory-made components and advanced manufacturing processes push costs down, while the rapid assembly of the modules and components inside a weatherproof canopy on the power station site itself avoid costly schedule disruptions.

This is the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry of Exelon.

Exelon Corporation is an American Fortune 100 energy company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and incorporated in Pennsylvania. It generates revenues of approximately $33.5 billion and employs approximately 33,400 people. Exelon is the largest electric parent company in the United States by revenue, the largest regulated electric utility in the United States with approximately 10 million customers, and also the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the United States and the largest non-governmental operator of nuclear power plants in the world.

These two paragraphs from the press release flesh out more details.

The consortium is working with its partners and UK Government to secure a commitment for a fleet of factory built nuclear power stations, each providing 440MW of electricity, to be operational within a decade, helping the UK meet its net zero obligations. A fleet deployment in the UK will lead to the creation of new factories that will make the components and modules which will help the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and pave the way for significant export opportunities as well.

The consortium members feature the best of nuclear engineering, construction and infrastructure expertise in Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Rolls-Royce and TWI. Exelon will add valuable operational experience to the team.

This is not what you call a small deal.

This is the last section of the press release.

By 2050 a full UK programme of a fleet of factory built nuclear power stations in the UK could create:

  • Up to 40,000 jobs
  • £52BN of value to the UK economy
  • £250BN of exports

The current phase of the programme has been jointly funded by all consortium members and UK Research and Innovation.

But that is not all, as there is also a second press release, which is entitled Rolls-Royce Signs MoU With CEZ For Compact Nuclear Power Stations.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Rolls-Royce and CEZ have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the potential for compact nuclear power stations, known as small modular reactors (SMR), to be built in the Czech Republic.

Rolls-Royce is leading the UK SMR Consortium that is designing this type of low-cost nuclear power station. Its standardised, factory-made components and advanced manufacturing processes push down costs; and the rapid assembly of the modules inside a weatherproof canopy at the power station site itself speeds up schedules.

These are my thoughts.

What Is A Small Modular Reactor or SMR?

This is the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for Small Nuclear Reactor.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a type of nuclear fission reactor which are smaller than conventional reactors. This allows them to be manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be assembled. Modular reactors allow for less on-site construction, increased containment efficiency, and enhanced safety due to passive nuclear safety features. SMRs have been proposed as a way to bypass financial and safety barriers that have plagued conventional nuclear reactors.

This section on Wikipedia gives more details of the Rolls-Royce SMR.

Rolls-Royce is preparing a close-coupled three-loop PWR design, sometimes called the UK SMR.] The power output is planned to be 440 MWe, which is above the usual range considered to be a SMR. The design targets a 500 day construction time, on a 10 acres (4 ha) site. The target cost is £1.8 billion for the fifth unit built.

The consortium developing the design is seeking UK government finance to support further development. In 2017 the UK government provided funding of up to £56 million over three years to support SMR research and development. In 2019 the government committed a further £18 million to the development from its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The construction time, site size and cost make for one of the big advantages of SMRs.

Say you need to create a 3260 MW nuclear power station like Hinckley Point C.

  • This would need a fleet of eight 440 MW SMRs.
  • These would cost £14.4 billion
  • Wikipedia lists Hinkley Point C as costing between £21.5 billion and £ 22.5 billion.
  • I suspect there will be an adjustment for the connection to the National Grid, which is probably included in the Hinckley Point C figures.
  • Eight SMRs will occupy 80 acres.
  • Hinckley Point C will occupy 430 acres.
  • Hinckley Point C was planned to be built in seven years.
  • Eight SMRs built one after the other would take 11 years. But, they would probably be planned to be built in an optimal way, where reactors came on-line, when their power was needed.

The biggest advantage though, is that as each of the eight SMRs is commissioned, they can start supplying power to the grid and earning money. This means that financing is much easier and the first reactor helps to pay for its siblings.

Could An SMR Replace A Fossil Fuel Power Station?

Suppose you have a coal-fired power station of perhaps 800 MW.

The power station will have a connection to the grid, which will be able to handle 800 MW.

If the power station is closed, there is no reason, why it can’t be replaced by an appropriately-sized fleet of SMRs, provided the site is suitable.

Who Are TWI?

I would assume that TWI is The Welding Institute, who are described like this in their Wikipedia entry.

The Welding Institute (TWI) is a research and technology organisation, with a specialty in welding. With headquarters six miles south of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, since 1946, and with facilities across the UK and around the world. TWI works across all industry sectors and in all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication and whole-life integrity management technologies.

It strikes me, this organisation could be a very important part of the consortium.

 

November 10, 2020 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Planning Another Trip

Since my return from Gdansk, I’ve been thinking about another trip to Poland.

I would go a bit more southerly and probably start with two nights in Krakow. I would probably then go to Prague, possibly spending a night en route at either Wroclaw or Poznan.

From then it would be on to Dresden, a city I’ve always wanted to see. From there there would be an intermediate stop before Cologne, where I would run for home using a Eurostar ticket, as I outlined in this post.

So the trip would look something like this.

Day 1 – Krakow

Day 2 – Krakow

Day 3 – Wroclaw/Poznan/Other (?)

Day 4 – Prague

Day 5 – Prague

Day 6 – Dresden

Day 7 – Weimar/Nuremberg/Other (?)

Obviously, nothing is cast in stone and any suggestions would be gratefully received.

May 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments