The Anonymous Widower

UK National Grid In Talks To Build An Energy Island In The North Sea

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

This is the first paragraph.

UK company National Grid has revealed it is in talks with two other parties about building an “energy island” in the North Sea that would use wind farms to supply clean electricity to millions of homes in north-west Europe.

These are my thoughts.

An Artificial Island on the Dogger Bank

The idea of the North Sea Wind Power Hub in the area of the Dogger Bank has been around for a few years and has a comprehensive Wikipedia entry.

Wikipedia says that it would be an artificial island on the Dutch section of the Dogger Bank and the surrounding sea could eventually host up to 110 GW of wind turbines.

North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme

The Dutch and the Danes seems to have moved on and there is now a web site for the North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme.

The home page is split into two, with the upper half entitled Beyond The Waves and saying.

The incredible story of how the Netherlands went beyond technical engineering as it had ever been seen before. Beyond water management. To secure the lives of millions of inhabitants.

I have met Dutch engineers, who designed and built the Delta Works after the North Sea Floods of 1953 and I have seen the works all over the country and it is an impressive legacy.

And the lower half of the home page is entitled North Sea Wind Power Hub and saying.

Today, climate policy is largely national, decoupled and incremental. We need a new approach to effectively realise the potential of the North Sea and reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. We take a different perspective: harnessing the power of the North Sea requires a transnational and cross-sector approach to take the step-change we need.

Behind each half are two videos, which explain the concept of the programme.

It is a strange web site in a way.

  • It is written totally in English with English not American spelling.
  • The project is backed by Energinet, Gasunie and TenneT, who are Danish and Dutch companies, that are responsible for gas and electricity distribution networks in Denmark, Ger,many and The Netherlands.
  • There are four sections to the web site; Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and North Sea.

It is almost as if the web site has been designed for a British company to join the party.

Hubs And Spokes In North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme

If you watch the videos on the site, they will explain their concept of hubs and spokes, where not one but several energy islands or hubs will be connected by spokes or electricity cables and/or hydrogen pipelines to each other and the shore.

Many electrical networks on land are designed in a similar way, including in the UK, where we have clusters of power stations connected by the electricity grid.

The Dogger Bank

The Dogger Bank is a large sandbank in a shallow area of the North Sea about 100 kilometres off the east coast of England.

Wikipedia says this about the geography of the Dogger Bank.

The bank extends over about 17,600 square kilometres (6,800 sq mi), and is about 260 by 100 kilometres (160 by 60 mi) in extent. The water depth ranges from 15 to 36 metres (50 to 120 ft), about 20 metres (65 ft) shallower than the surrounding sea.

As there are Gunfleet Sands Wind Farm and Scroby Sands Wind Farm and others, on sandbanks in the North Sea, it would appear that the engineering of building wind farms on sandbanks in the North Sea is well understood.

The Dogger Bank Wind Farm

We are already developing the four section Dogger Bank Wind Farm in our portion of the Dogger Bank and these could generate up to 4.8 GW by 2025.

The Dogger Bank Wind Farm has its own web site, which greets you with this statement.

Building the World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

At 4.8 GW, it will be 45 % larger than Hinckley Point C nuclear power station, which is only 3.3 GW. So it is not small.

The three wind farms; Dogger Bank A, B and C will occupy 1670 square kilometres and generate a total of 3.6 GW or 0.0021 GW per square kilometre.

If this density of wind turbines could be erected all over the Dogger Bank, we could be looking at nearly 40 GW of capacity in the middle of the North Sea.

Interconnectors Across The North Sea

This Google Map shows the onshore route of the cable from the Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

Note.

  1. Hull and the River Humber at the bottom of the map.
  2. The red arrow which marks Creyke Beck sub station, where the cable from the Dogger Bank Wind Farm connects to the UK electricity grid.
  3. At the top of the map on the coast is the village of Ulrome, where the cable comes ashore.

The sub station is also close to the Hull and Scarborough Line, so would be ideal to feed any electrification erected.

I would assume that cables from the Dogger Bank Wind Farm could also link the Wind Farm to the proposed Dutch/Danish North Sea Wind Power Hub.

Given that the cables between the wind farms and Creyke Beck could in future handle at least 4.8 GW and the cables from the North Sea Wind Power Hub to mainland Europe would probably be larger, it looks like there could be a very high capacity interconnector between Yorkshire and Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands.

It almost makes the recently-opened North Sea Link to Norway, which is rated at 1.4 GW seem a bit small.

The North Sea Link

The North Sea Link is a joint project between Statnett and National Grid, which cost €2 billion and appears to have been delivered as planned, when it started operating in October 2021.

So it would appear that National Grid have shown themselves capable of delivering their end of a complex interconnector project.

Project Orion And The Shetlands

In Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?, I introduced Project Orion, which is an electrification and hydrogen hub and clean energy project in the Shetland Islands.

The project’s scope is described in this graphic.

Note that Project Orion now has its own web site.

  • Could the Shetlands become an onshore hub for the North Sea Power Hub Programme?
  • Could Icelink, which is an interconnector to Iceland be incorporated?

With all this renewable energy and hydrogen, I believe that the Shetlands could become one of the most prosperous areas in Europe.

Funding The Wind Farms And Other Infrastructure In The North Sea

In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I described how Aviva were funding the Hornsea wind farm.

I very much believe that City of London financial institutions will be able to finance a lot of the developments in the North Sea.

After all National Grid managed to find a billion euros in a sock drawer to fund their half of the North Sea Link.

Electrifying The North Sea: A Gamechanger For Wind Power Production?

The title of this section, is the same as that of this article on Engineering and Technology Magazine.

This article in the magazine of the IET is a serious read and puts forward some useful facts and interesting ideas.

  • The EU is targeting offshore wind at 60 GW by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050.
  • The UK is targeting offshore wind at 40 GW by 2030.
  • The article explains why HVDC electricity links should be used.
  • The major players in European offshore wind are the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark.
  • The foundations for a North Sea grid, which could also support the wider ambitions for a European super-grid, are already forming.
  • A North Sea grid needs co-operation between governments and technology vendors. as well as technological innovation.
  • National Grid are thinking hard about HVDC electrical networks.
  • By combining HVDC links it can be possible to save a lot of development capital.
  • The Danes are already building artificial islands eighty kilometres offshore.
  • Electrical sub-stations could be built on the sea-bed.

I can see that by 2050, the North Sea, South of a line between Hull and Esbjerg in Denmark will be full of wind turbines, which could generate around 300 GW.

Further Reading

There are various articles and web pages that cover the possibility of a grid in the North Sea.

I shall add to these as required.

Conclusion

I am coming to the conclusion that National Grid will be joining the North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme.

  • They certainly have the expertise and access to funding to build long cable links.
  • The Dogger Bank wind farm would even be one of the hubs in the planned hub and spoke network covering the North Sea.
  • Only a short connection would be needed to connect the Dogger Bank wind farm, to where the Dutch and Danes originally planned to build the first energy island.
  • There may be other possibilities for wind farm hubs in the UK section of the North Sea. Hornsea Wind Farm, which could be well upwards of 5 GW is surely a possibility.
  • Would it also give access to the massive amounts of energy storage in the Norwegian mountains, through the North Sea Link or Nord.Link between Norway and Germany.

Without doubt, I know as a Control Engineer, that the more hubs and spokes in a network, the more stable it will be.

So is National Grid’s main reason to join is to stabilise the UK electricity grid? And in turn, this will stabilise the Danish and Dutch grids.

 

October 9, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Danish Study On Links Between Coeliac Disease And Blood Clots

I am a coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet.

I am worried that the covids might prey on people like me, so I am researching hard to find out the truth.

Note that in much of Europe, North America and Australasia, coeliacs are at least 1-in-100 of the population and could be higher.

This morning I found on the Internet, a peer-reviewed Danish study which was entitled

Coeliac Disease And Risk Of Venous Thromboembolism: A Nationwide Population-Based Case-Control Study

The nation in the study was Denmark.

This was the introductory paragraph.

Patients with coeliac disease (CD) may be at increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), i.e. deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and its complication pulmonary embolism (PE), because they are reported to have hyperhomocysteinaemia, low levels of K-vitamin-dependent anticoagulant proteins, and increased levels of thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor.

One thing in this summary screams at me. The mention of vitamin-K!

Ten years ago, I had a serious stroke, that because of modern clot-busting drugs failed to kill me.

I am now on long-term Warfarin and know I have to eat a diet without Vitamin-K.

Given that in a nation like Germany with a population of eighty-three million, there could be nearly a million coeliacs, many of whom will be undiagnosed, this Danish study should be taken seriously, as it should be able to predict the number of clots down to coeliac disease in Germany. But I’m just an engineer and statistician and no medic. Although after the medical troubles of my family, I know a lot more medical knowledge than I did twenty years ago.

An article in The Times, also says that all but two who suffered clots after having the AstraZeneca vaccine were women.

It should be noted that the NHS states on its web site, that women are three times more likely to suffer coeliac disease than men.

I am absolutely certain, that more research needs to be done.

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Denmark To Build ‘First Energy Island’ In North Sea

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

This is the first three paragraphs

A project to build a giant island providing enough energy for three million households has been given the green light by Denmark’s politicians.

The world’s first energy island will be as big as 18 football pitches (120,000sq m), but there are hopes to make it three times that size.

It will serve as a hub for 200 giant offshore wind turbines.

It seems to follow the bigger-is-better offshore principle, I talked about in Crown Estate’s Auction Of Seabed For Wind Farms Attracts Sky-High Bids.

The BBC article says this about the energy generation of the island and its turbines.

The new island would supply an initial 3 gigawatts, rising to 10 over time.

For comparison the coal-fired Fiddlers Ferry power station on the banks of the Mersey near Widnes was a 2 gigawatt station and the nuclear Hinkley Point C will hopefully generate 3.2 GW.

These are my thoughts.

The Location Of The Island

According to the BBC, the Danes are being secretive about the location of the island, but the BBC does say this about the location of island.

While there is some secrecy over where the new island will be built, it is known that it will be 80km into the North Sea. Danish TV said that a Danish Energy Agency study last year had marked two areas west of the Jutland coast and that both had a relatively shallow sea depth of 26-27m.

According to Wikipedia, Denmark has a sizeable offshore gas industry and I did wonder, if the island would be built near to a large worked out field, so that the field could be used for one of the following.

  • Store hydrogen produced on the island from surplus electricity.
  • Store carbon dioxide produced on the mainland.

But the gas fields are further than 80 km. from the shore being closer to where Danish, German, Dutch and British waters meet.

Hydrogen And The Island

In ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration, I talked about a joint project between, electrolyser company; ITM Power of the UK and turbine manufacturer and developer; Ørsted of Denmark.

The post was based on this press release from ITM Power.

These were points from the press release.

  • Costs can be saved as hydrogen pipes are more affordable than underwater power cables.
  • It also stated that wind turbines produce DC electricity and that is ideal for driving electrolysers.

So will the island be connected to the mainline by a hydrogen gas line?

  • Cost will play a big part.
  • I don’t like the concept of electrical cables on the sea floor,
  • Gas pipes have been laid everywhere in the North Sea.
  • A hydrogen connection might better support different types of future turbines.
  • If there is a worked-out gas-field nearby, the hydrogen can be stored offshore until it is needed.

I think it is a distinct possibility.

Hydrogen could be generated in one of two ways.

  • Wind turbines based on the ITM Power/Ørsted design could generate the hydrogen directly and a gas network could deliver it to the island.
  • Conventional turbines could generate electricity and an electrical network could deliver it to the island, where a large electrolyser would convert water into hydrogen.

Both methods would be better suited to a hydrogen connection to the mainland.

Connection To Other Islands

The Dutch are already talking about a North Sea Wind Power Hub on their section of the Dogger Bank.

So could we see a network of islands in the Southern North Sea?

  • Some like the Danish island would support a network of wind turbines.
  • Some would store energy as hydrogen in worked-out gas fields.
  • Some would store captured carbon dioxide in worked out gas fields.
  • Some would supply hydrogen to onshore hydrogen and carbon dioxide networks like HumberZero.
  • Islands could be linked by electrical cables or gas pipelines.
  • Gas pipelines would allow both hydrogen or carbon dioxide to be stored or moved

The North Sea could become the largest power station in the continent of Europe, or even the world.

 

 

 

February 6, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Work Begins On New Substation For World’s Longest Electricity Cable Between Denmark and Lincolnshire

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

This is the sub-title.

Britain and Denmark will be able to share enough clean energy to power 1.5 million homes.

The Viking Link is a 1400 MW at 525 KV electricity interconnector between Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire and Revsing in Jutland, Denmark.

This Google Map, shows the location of Bicker Fen, about halfway between Boston and Sleaford.

This second map shows an enlarged view of the Bicker Fen area.

Note.

  1. The village of Bicker in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. In the North-West corner of the map is Bicker Fen Wind Farm.

This third map shows the wind farm.

Note the thirteen wind turbines between the two sub-stations full of wo electrical gubbins.

This sentence from the Wikipedia entry for Bicker, gives more details of the wind farm and the future plans for the area.

North of the main line of 400 kV pylons is the Bicker Fen windfarm consisting of 13 turbines producing 26 MW (2 MW each), enough for 14,000 homes. The construction of the windfarm met some local objection. The windmills sit north from Poplartree Farm and were built in June 2008 by Wind Prospect for EdF. They are of the type REpower MM82, made in Hamburg. Bicker Fen substation is also the proposed landing site for a 1,400 MW power cable from Denmark called Viking Link, as well as the proposed offshore wind farm Triton Knoll.

Triton Knoll is a big wind farm, with a planned capacity of 857 MW and should start producing electricity in the next couple of years.

Conclusion

The Viking Link and Triton Knoll are obviously a good fit, as the UK will be able to exchange energy as required.

But it would appear that there’s one thing missing from this setup – energy storage.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a large battery built at Bicker Fen. Something, like one of Highview Power‘s CRYOBatteries might be ideal.

December 3, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Battery Trains To Be Tested In Denmark

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Suppliers are to be invited to test battery-powered trains on regional lines in late 2020 and early 2021, ahead of a potential order which could see battery trains enter passenger service from 2025.

This order follows on from three confirmed or possible German battery train orders in Schleswig-Holstein, Baden-Württemberg and Chemnitz.

So far interest in battery trains in the UK, has not been so strong, with only orders in Wales.

November 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Nothing Seems To Be Happening At Syon Lane Station

I passed through Syon Lane station today and thought I’d have a look at the progress on the step-free access to the station.

This page on the South Western Railway web site describes in detail, the works that will be done.

This is the first paragraph.

From the beginning of April, we’ll be building a new accessible footbridge with a lift at Syon Lane. The project is expected to be completed later this year and is mainly funded by Hounslow Council. Making the station step free will be a real positive for people with limited mobility traveling round the Hounslow Loop, however the delivery of the new bridge will affect the station and the platforms. The station will remain operational throughout the works, but there will be some access changes during the project delivery:

Consider  the bit about being finished later this year, then look at these pictures.

It looks like they’ve all packed up and gone home.

Surely, if the bridge is going to be finished this year, workmen should be hard at work building foundations and putting up towers for lifts.

But even the tea-hut has gone.

It appears that the following has been done at the station.

  • Create a level step-free route from Syon Lane to the London-bound platform.
  • Move the ticket machines and the card readers.
  • Run temporary cable ducts, along the back of the platforms.
  • Clear some ground behind the fence, where the lift towers might be placed.
  • The long platforms have been narrowed, which Network Rail say is to give space for the work.

The 3D Google Map shows the station.

I don’t know when the picture was taken, but it does look that there could have been some ground clearing about halfway along the platform.

What Do I Think Is Happening?

I think, there could be these reasons for the lack of action.

  • The project has been delayed for some reason.
  • Something very different is happening at Syon Lane station!

Speaking to a couple of travellers  at the station today, they had heard nothing and one was looking forward to the bridge.

I have no evidence, but I do have a devious and sometimes theatrical mind.

Are Network Rail conducting an experiment on the good people, who use Syon Lane station?

They have only said this about disruption to passengers.

The station will remain operational throughout the works, but there will be some access changes during the project delivery:

Could Network Rail be bringing in the bridge in a few sections and just lifting them in with a crane?

Look at the 3D Google Map above and note that the station in surrounded by houses and lots of leafy trees, which would make getting bridge sections and the crane into place difficult.

But look at the cross-section of the average footbridge tower or bridge and it is about the same as that of a train.

For this reason, I believe that the bridge components will be brought in on a special train with a large crane.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

It is composed of the following major components.

  • Two towers with lifts.
  • Two sets of stairs
  • A bridge deck.

All components would be built in a factory.

  • They would be fully tested before delivery.
  • The components would be delivered by train.
  • The bridge would then be assembled using a rail mounted crane.

After testing, the Mayor could declare the bridge open

I suspect too, that the only preparation prior to the assembly of the bridge, is to have firm concrete bases for the bridge and a power supply for the lifts.

  • The construction of the bases could be done from the railway, so there would be no problems of bringing in the concrete.
  • The power supply might not even be needed, if the bridge had solar panels on the roof and a clear battery system.
  • It’s all a bit like giant Lego construction, but then the architect of the bridge was Danish!

Could  commuters on a Friday night return to a station little different to the one they’ve known for years and then on Monday morning  find a working step-free bridge has been erected?

Engineering is the sconce of the possible, whereas politics is dreams of the impossible!

Is This The Future Of Step-Free Bridges?

Obviously not all, but I believe that up to a third of all stations that need a step-free bridge can use a bridge of this type.

But the station upgrade to step-free application is just one of several.

  • New stations.
  • Step-free bridges over busy roads, rivers or canals.
  • Replacement of dangerous light-controlled road crossings.

The design could also be incorporated into other buildings.

Conclusion

Something different could be happening at Syon Lane station.

June 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

France, Denmark Eye Hydrogen Future

The title of thid post is the same as that of this article on Energy Reporters.

A few points from the article.

  • EDF has launched a hydrogen production and distribution company called Hynamics.
  • EDF is now the largest shareholder in McPhy, a electrolyses, hydrogen storage and charging station provider.
  • European gas-fired power stations will run on twenty percent hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen will be used to decarbonise the gas network by 2050.
  • Hynamics said it was planning 40 projects in France, Belgium, Germany and Britain.
  • In Denmark, Ørsted, is working on plans to convert electricity from its wind turbines into hydrogen.

The article is a must-read.

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Trouble With AnsaldoBreda Trains

In an article eighteen months ago entitled; A Train Builder With Form, I talked about the poor performance of Denmark’s IC4 Trains.

It would seem that according to this article in Global RailNews, that the situation might be improving, although it is still not sorted.

The only relief for the UK, is that none of the trains on order are from  AnsaldoBreda.

Incidentally, as the performance of the IC4 trains are pretty similar to InterCity125s, if Denmark still needs some high speed diesel units in a few years, perhaps we could lease them a few nearly fifty-year-old InterCity125s to get them through until the date, that the lines are electrified.

On the other hand, we could use them on longer cross-country trips all over the UK network.

December 10, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Train Builder With Form

I have been following the farce of the Fyra trains between Brussels and Amsterdam with interest. Modern Railways this month, gives a very full account of the problems and the big row between the Dutch and the Belgians and the Italian company; AnsaldoBreda who built the V250 trains. These trains were incidentally called Albatross by the makers.

I’ve just been reading about AnsaldoBreda on Wikipedia. It says this about the problems the company has had with an order for IC4 trains for Denmark.

Delivery of 83 IC4 trainsets for the Danish State Railways DSB was originally planned for 2003-2006. As of March 2013, 22 trainsets have still not been delivered,[52] On 2 July 2012, the DSB announced that the Transportation Authority had approved Denmark’s railway operator to put back into operation the fleet of 37 IC4s which had been withdrawn from service in November 2011. In December 2011, it was reported that one of the missing IC4 trainsets planned for delivery in Denmark was found in Libya. Reportedly, AnsaldoBreda and then Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi gave Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi the trainset as a present on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Gaddafi’s revolution in 2009.

I suppose now, it doesn’t work, as there is sand in the bogies!

No wonder the Dutch and the Belgians bought a load of dud trains, that go bunga bunga!

Incidentally, I  was led to look up AnsaldoBreda by looking at the progress of the Midland Metro extension to Birmingham New Street station.  I found that the same Italian company had sold a load of dodgy trams to the Brummies. The details are here.

June 28, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coast is in Denmark

Coast is one of my favourite telvision programs.  Today was all about Denmark.  I’ve been to the country a couple of times, although one was just to get a connection to Oslo.

My next-door neighbour at the football is also a man who has a Danish father, who had been trapped in the UK  at the start of the Second World War.

The program was about the Danish coast and agriculture, but with a fair amount of Second World War and other history thrown in. They also visited Heliogoland, which seems a fascinating place. A large part of the program was about how the Danes got most of their Jews to safety in Sweden.  They didn’t mention King Christian X, who surely became one of the unlikely heroes of the war.

I doubt many monarchs would have did what he did to give support to his people.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments