The Anonymous Widower

Highview Power’s Plan To Add Energy Storage To The UK Power Network

The plan was disclosed in this article on the Telegraph, which is entitled Britain Will Soon Have A Glut Of Cheap Power, And World-Leading Batteries To Store It, by Rupert Pearce, who is Highview’s chief executive.

His plan is to build twenty of Highview Power’s CRYOBatteries around the country.

  • Each CRYOBattery will be able to store 30 GWh.
  • Each CRYOBattery will be one of the largest batteries in the world.
  • They will have three times the storage of the pumped storage hydroelectric power station at Dinorwig.
  • They will be able to supply 2.5 GW for twelve hours, which is more output than Sizewell B nuclear power station.

The first 30 GWh CRYOBattery is planned to be operational by late 2024.

  • It will be built on Humberside.
  • Humberside is or will be closely connected to the Dogger Bank, Hornsea and Sofia wind farms.
  • When fully developed, I believe these wind farms could be producing upwards of 8 GW.

The Telegraph quotes Rupert Pearce as saying this.

We can take power when the grid can’t handle it, and fill our tanks with wasted wind (curtailment). At the moment the grid has to pay companies £1bn a year not to produce, which is grotesque.

I certainly agree with what he says about it being a grotesque practice.

It sounds to me, that Rupert’s plan would see Highview Power in the waste electricity management business.

  • The wasted wind would just be switched to the Humberside CRYOBattery, if there was too much power in the area.
  • The CRYOBattery might be conveniently located, where the wind farm cables join the grid.
  • Dogger Bank A and B wind farms are connected to Creyke Beck substation, which is North of the Humber.
  • Hornsea 1 and Hornsea 2 wind farm are connected to Killingholme substation, which is South of the Humber.
  • Hornsea 3 wind farm will be connected to Norfolk.
  • Hornsea 4 wind farms will be connected to Creyke Beck substation
  • It looks like the combined capacity of Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B and Hornsea 4 could be around 3.4 GW.
  • Sofia wind farm will be connected to Lazenby substation near Redcar.
  • As the CRYOBattery is buying, selling and storing electricity, I would assume that there’s money to be made.

This Google Map shows Creyke Beck substation.

Note.

  1. It is a large site.
  2. Creyke Beck Storage have built a 49.99 MW lithium-ion storage battery on the site.
  3. The Northern part of the site is used to store caravans.
  4. It looks like the combined capacity of Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B and Hornsea 4 could be around 3.4 GW.

It looks like a 30 GWh CRYOBattery with a maximum output of 2.5 GW would be an ideal companion for the three wind farms connected to Creyke Back substation.

The combination could probably supply upwards of 2.5 GW to the grid at all times to provide a strong baseload for Humberside.

Conclusion

Will the income from the Humberside CRYOBattery be used to fund the next CRYOBattery?

I very much think so as it’s very sensible financial management!

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Britain Will Soon Have A Glut Of Cheap Power, And World-Leading Batteries To Store It

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

This is the first four paragraphs.

Today’s electricity price shock is the last crisis of the old order. Britain will soon have far more power at times of peak production than it can absorb. The logistical headache will be abundance.

Wind and solar provided almost 60pc of the UK’s power for substantial stretches last weekend, briefly peaking at 66pc. This is not to make a propaganda point about green energy, although this home-made power is self-evidently displacing liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported right now at nosebleed prices.

It is a point about the mathematical implications of the UK’s gargantuan push for renewables. Offshore wind capacity is going to increase from 11 to 50 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 under the Government’s latest fast-track plans.

RenewableUK says this country currently has a total of 86GW in the project pipeline. This the most ambitious rollout of offshore wind in the world, ahead of China at 78GW, and the US at 48GW.

The article goes on to give a comprehensive account of where we are with renewables, where we are going and how we will handle things, when the wind doesn’t blow.

Dogger Bank

The article says this about the Dogger Bank wind farm, which is being developed by SSE.

The giant hi-tech turbines to be erected on the Dogger Bank, where wind conditions are superb, bear no resemblance to the low-tech, low-yield dwarves of yesteryear. The “capacity factor” is approaching 60pc, which entirely changes the energy equation.

A capacity factor of 60 % seems a bit high to me and is what can be expected with the latest floating turbines. But these are fixed to the sea floor.

The Wikipedia entry for the Dogger Bank wind farm, says this about the building of the the first two sections of the massive wind farm.

On 21 September 2020, it was announced that Dogger Bank A and B will use 190 GE Haliade-X 13 MW offshore wind turbines over both sites, meaning that 95 turbines will be used on each site.[19] The availability of upgraded Haliade-X turbines rated at 13 MW rather than 12 MW means that each site will be capable of generating up to 1.235 GW, for a total of 2.47 GW. Turbines will be pre-assembled at Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool, an activity that will lead to the creation of 120 skilled jobs at the port during construction. Turbine installation is expected to commence in 2023 at Dogger Bank A.[20] Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) for 15 years were signed in November 2020. Offshore cable laying started in April 2022. Installation of the turbine foundations was started in July 2022.

This GE data sheet about the Haliade-X offshore wind turbine, says this about capacity factor.

it also features a 60-64% capacity factor above industry standard. Capacity factor compares how much energy was generated against the maximum that could have been produced at continuous full power operation during a specific period of time.

A 60-64% capacity factor is exceptional.

Current plans for Dogger Bank indicate that 3.6 GW will be installed and operational by 2024/25.

Could that mean that Dogger Bank will be able to deliver 2.16 GW almost continuously, on GE’s figures? Sizewell B is only 1.25 GW.

Sofia Wind Farm

There was going to be a fourth section to Dogger Bank, but this is now the separate Sofia wind farm.

  • It is being developed by RWE.
  • The first phase of three has a capacity of 1.4 MW. Does that mean Sofia will eventually be a 4.2 GW wind farm?
  • RWE seem to be putting in a very large offshore substation. Could this support a lot more turbines?
  • The wind farm seems to be using high-specification SiemensGamesa 14MW SG 14-222 DD wind turbines, which have a Power Boost facility to deliver up to 15 MW.
  • I can’t find anything about capacity factor.

Wikipedia gives a delivery date of 2023 for the first phase of Sofia.

Storing Electricity

The article says this about storing electricity.

Much of the power will have to be stored for days or weeks at a time. Lithium batteries cannot do the job: their sweet spot is two hours, and they are expensive. You need “long duration” storage at a cost that must ultimately fall below $100 (£82) per megawatt hour (MWh), the global benchmark of commercial viability.

That is now in sight, and one of the world leaders is a British start-up. Highview Power has refined a beautifully simple technology using liquid air stored in insulated steel towers at low pressure.

I have had Highview Power on my radar for some time.

Highview Power

What is there not to like about Highview Power?

  • The original idea was developed in a shed in Bishop’s Stortford, by a lone inventor.
  • Sumitomo are one of their backers.
  • They are also backed by English Universities and the UK Government.
  • They have run a successful pilot plant in Bury.
  • They are now building their first full-size 50 MW/250 MWh commercial plant at Carrington near Manchester.
  • Much of the equipment they use to build their batteries is standard equipment from world-class companies like MAN.
  • There are no exotic and expensive materials used.

The writer of the article has obviously had a long chat with Rupert Pearce, who is Highview’s chief executive and ex-head of the satellite company Inmarsat.

Pearce happily discloses this monster.

Highview is well beyond the pilot phase and is developing its first large UK plant in Humberside, today Britain’s top hub for North Sea wind. It will offer 2.5GW for over 12 hours, or 0.5GW for over 60 hours, and so forth, and should be up and running by late 2024.

Note.

  1. The world’s largest battery is at Ouarzazate Solar Power Station in Morocco and it is 3 GWh.
  2. Highview’s Humberside battery is megahuge at 30 GWh.
  3. The world’s largest pumped storage power station is Fengning Pumped Storage Power Station in China and it is 40 GWh.
  4. My experience of doing the calculations for large reaction vessels and other structures, tells me, that Highview should be able to construct huge systems.

I suspect that it will be easier and more affordable to build the Humberside battery.

This is another pair of paragraphs.

Mr Pearce said Highview’s levelised cost of energy (LCOE) would start at $140-$150, below lithium, and then slide on a “glide path” to $100 with over time. The company has parallel projects in Spain and Australia but Britain is the showroom.

“The UK is a fantastic place to do this. It has one of the most innovative grids in the world and an open, fair, liquid, market mechanism with absolute visibility,” he said.

It looks to me, that Rupert Pearce has taken Highview Power to a different level, in his short tenure at the company.

The world will soon be very familiar with the name of Highview Power.

July 29, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | 9 Comments

SSE Thermal And Equinor To Acquire Triton Power In Acceleration Of Low-Carbon Ambitions

The title of this post, is the same as that as this press release from SSE.

These are the first three paragraphs.

SSE Thermal and Equinor have entered into an agreement to acquire Triton Power Holdings Ltd from Energy Capital Partners for a total consideration of £341m shared equally between the partners.

The transaction represents another step forward for the two companies’ existing collaboration, supporting the long-term decarbonisation of the UK’s power system whilst contributing to security of supply and grid stability through flexible power generation in the shorter term.

Triton Power operates Saltend Power Station which is 1.2GW CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) and CHP (Combined Heat & Power) power station located on the north of the Humber Estuary in East Yorkshire.

This deal is more complicated than it looks and these are my thoughts.

What About The Triton Power Workers?

The press release says this.

The 82 existing employees will continue to be employed by Triton Power. In line with just transition principles, the joint venture is committed to transitioning the assets for the net zero world through responsible ownership and operation, and in consultation with the local workforce and representatives.

It does sound that they are following the right principles.

Saltend Power Station

Saltend power station is no tired ancient asset and is described like this in Wikipedia.

The station is run on gas using single shaft 3 × Mitsubishi 701F gas Turbines machines with Alstom 400 MWe generators. The station has a total output of 1,200 MW; of that 100 MW is allocated to supply BP Chemicals. Each gas turbine has a Babcock Borsig Power (BBP) heat recovery steam generator, which all lead to one steam turbine per unit (single shaft machine means Gas turbine and Steam Turbine are on the same shaft). The waste product of electricity generation is steam at the rate of about 120 tonnes/h which is sold to BP Chemicals to use in their process. This makes Salt End one of the most efficient[clarification needed] power stations in the UK. The plant is scheduled to use hydrogen from steam reformed natural gas for 30% of its power.

Note.

  1. It was commissioned in 2000.
  2. It appears there are seven CCGT power stations in England that are larger than Saltend.
  3. The power station seems to have had at least four owners.

The press release says this about SSE and Equinor’s plans for Saltend power station.

The transaction underscores SSE Thermal and Equinor’s shared ambition to decarbonise the Humber, which is the UK’s most carbon-intensive industrial region, as well as the UK more widely. Initial steps to decarbonise Saltend Power Station are already underway, targeting partial abatement by 2027 through blending up to 30% of low-carbon hydrogen. In addition, carbon capture provides an additional valuable option for the site. SSE Thermal and Equinor will continue to work towards 100% abatement.

Note.

  1. It appears that initially, Saltend power station will move to running on a mixture of 30 % hydrogen and 70 % natural gas.
  2. Carbon capture will also be applied.
  3. It looks like that in the future all carbon-dioxide emitted by the power station will be captured and either stored or used.

The press release says this about the source of the hydrogen.

Saltend Power Station is a potential primary offtaker to Equinor’s H2H Saltend hydrogen production project. H2H Saltend is expected to kick-start the wider decarbonisation of the Humber region as part of the East Coast Cluster, one of the UK’s first carbon capture, usage and storage clusters.

H2H Saltend is described in this page on the Equinor web site, which has a title of The First Step To A Zero Carbon Humber, where this is said.

This project represents a bold but practical first step towards delivering the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040. This unparalleled project can play a leading role in the UK’s journey to net zero by 2050, renew the UK’s largest industrial cluster, and unlock technology that will put the UK at the forefront of a global hydrogen economy.

There is also a video.

SSE Thermal And Equinor Low-Carbon Thermal Partnership

This is a section in the press release, where after giving their policy about the workers, it says this about the acquisition of Triton Power.

This acquisition strengthens SSE Thermal and Equinor’s portfolio of joint projects, which bring together expertise in power, natural gas, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. This portfolio includes three development projects within the Humber region:

  • Keadby 3 Carbon Capture Power Station, which could be the UK’s first flexible power station equipped with carbon capture.
  • Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, which could be one of the world’s first 100% hydrogen-fuelled power stations.
  • Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage, located in East Yorkshire, which could be one of the world’s largest hydrogen storage facilities.

The two companies are also developing Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station, situated on the Aberdeenshire coast in Scotland and there are further opportunities for hydrogen blending across SSE’s generation portfolio, including at Keadby 2.

Note.

  1. There is no mention of the three Doggerbank Wind Farms, each of which will be 1200 MW, that are owned by SSE Renewables and Equinor.
  2. I wrote about Aldbrough Gas Storage in The Massive Hydrogen Project, That Appears To Be Under The Radar.
  3. According to this press release from Equinor, which is entitled SSE Thermal And Equinor Join Forces On Plans For First-Of-A-Kind Hydrogen And Carbon Capture Projects In The Humber, Keadby Hydrogen power station will have a capacity of 1800 MW.

The Complete System

The system has the following power sources.

  • Dogger Bank A – 1200 MW – Expected commissioning in 2023/24
  • Dogger Bank B – 1200 MW – Expected commissioning in 2024/25
  • Dogger Bank C – 1200 MW – Expected commissioning in 2024/25
  • Keadby power station – 735 MW
  • Keadby 2 power station – 893 MW – Could be Part-Hydrogen
  • Keadby 3 power station – 910 MW – Carbon Capture
  • Keadby Hydrogen power station – 1800 MW – Hydrogen
  • Saltend power station – 1200 MW – Part-Hydrogen

That totals up to 9138 MW.

Fuel will come from three sources.

  • The God of the winds.
  • Natural gas
  • Hydrogen

Hydrogen will be sourced from.

  • Blue hydrogen from H2H Saltend
  • Green Hydrogen could come from electrolysers driven by wind power.

Hydrogen would be stored in Aldbrough Gas Storage.

I am by training a Control Engineer and controlling these power sources is either a wonderful dream or your most entwined and complicated nightmare.

Conclusion

I suspect on an average day, this cluster of power stations and sources could reliably supply as much zero-carbon power as two large nuclear stations.

 

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Electricity ‘Superhighways’ Needed To Cope With Surge In Wind Power

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Energy companies are pushing for the rapid approval of new electricity “superhighways” between Scotland and England amid fears that a lack of capacity will set back the country’s wind power revolution.

Businesses including SSE and Scottish Power are calling on the industry regulator Ofgem to approve a series of major new north-south power cables in a bid to ease congestion on the existing electricity network.

These points are mentioned in the article.

  • Current capacity is 6 GW, which even now is not enough.
  • Another 17 GW of capacity will be needed by 2033.
  • Wind farms in Scotland have been switched off and replaced by gas-fired power stations because of a lack of grid capacity.
  • Another 25 GW of wind farms could be built after leases were awarded last month.

Two North-South interconnectors are being planned.

Peterhead And Drax

This is being proposed by SSE and National Grid.

  • It will be an undersea cable.
  • It will be two cables, each with a capacity of 2 GW.
  • Peterhead and Drax power station are four hundred miles apart by road and 279 miles as the seagull flies, as a lot of the route would be over the sea. So an undersea connection would appear to be sensible.
  • Peterhead is on the coast, so connecting an undersea interconnector shouldn’t be too challenging or disruptive to the locals.
  • Drax power station is a 4 GW power station and the largest in the UK, so it must have good grid connections.

This Google Map shows the location of Drax power station in relation to Hull, Scunthorpe and the rivers in the area.

Note.

  1. Drax is marked by the red arrow in the West of the map.
  2. The large body of water in the East is the Humber Estuary.
  3. Hull is on the North Bank of the Humber.
  4. Scunthorpe, which is famous for its steel industry is South of the Humber in the middle of the map.
  5. To the West of Scunthorpe the Humber splits into the Trent and the Ouse.
  6. The Ouse leads all the way to Drax power station.

I suspect an undersea cable could go up the Humber and Ouse to Drax power station.

Is it a coincidence that both Drax power station and the proposed link to Peterhead are both around 4 GW?

Consider.

  • Drax is a biomass power station, so it is not a zero carbon power station.
  • Drax produces around six percent of the UK’s electricity.
  • Most of the biomass comes by ship from North America.
  • Protest groups regularly have protests at Drax because of its carbon emissions.
  • Drax Group are experimenting with carbon capture.
  • Drax is a big site and a large energy storage system could be built there.
  • Wind is often criticised by opponents, saying wind is useless when the wind doesn’t blow.
  • The Scots would be unlikely to send power to England, if they were short.

This is also said about Drax in Wikipedia.

Despite this intent for baseload operation, it was designed with a reasonable ability for load-following, being able to ramp up or down by 5% of full power per minute within the range of 50–100% of full power.

I take this it means it can be used to top up electricity generation to meet demand. Add in energy storage and it could be a superb load-follower.

So could the similar size of the interconnector and Drax power station be deliberate to guarantee England a 4 GW feed at all states of the wind?

I don’t think it is a coincidence.

Torness And Hawthorn Pit And Torness and South Humberside

These two cables are being proposed by Scottish Power.

  • Each will be two GW.
  • Torness is the site of the 1.36 GW Torness nuclear power station, which is likely to be decommissioned before 2030.
  • Torness will have good grid connections and it is close to the sea.
  • Hawthorn Pit is a large closed coal mine to the North of Newcastle, with a large substation close to the site. I suspect it will be an ideal place to feed power into the grid for Newcastle and it is close to the sea.
  • Just South of Hawthorn Pit are the 1.32 GW Hartlepool nuclear power station, which will be decommissioned in 2024 and the landfall of the cables to the massive Dogger Bank wind farm.
  • As I showed earlier with Drax, the Humber would be an ideal estuary to bring underwater power cables into the surrounding area. So perhaps the cable will go to Scunthorpe for the steelworks.
  • As at Drax, there is backup in South Humberside, but here it is from the two Keadby gas-fired power stations.

The article in the Telegraph only gives the briefest of details of Scottish Power’s plans, but I suspect, that given the locations of the ends of the interconnectors, I suspect the cables will be underwater.

Conclusion

It strikes me that all three interconnectors have been well thought thought and they serve a variety of objectives.

  • Bring Scottish wind power, South to England.
  • Connect wind farms to the two nuclear power station sites at Hartlepool and Torness, that will close at the end of the decade.
  • Allow the big 4 GW biomass-fired station at Drax to back up wind farms and step in when needed.
  • Cut carbon emissions at Drax.
  • Use underwater cables as much as possible to transfer the power, to avoid the disruption of digging in underground cables.

It looks to be a good plan.

February 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Offshore Service Facilities

Some years ago at a wedding in The Netherlands, I got talking to a Dutch engineer, who had a lot to do with the creation of the Delta Works.

Also in The Netherlands, I visited the Watersnoodmuseum, which describes the floods in the Netherlands, that brought about the Delta Works.

So I was not surprised to see the spectacular offshore construction ideas talked about on the Offshore Service Facilities web site.

The site talks about a project to create a four GW wind farm, eighty kilometres off the coast, all serviced from an artificial island.

This is their overview of what they call the IJVER project.

IJmuiden Ver (IJVER) is one of the designated wind farm areas under the Dutch offshore wind road map 2030. With a capacity of at least 4 GW and a distance to shore of approximately 80 km, it is currently the largest foreseen Dutch wind farm zone, and the furthest from shore. The area also includes legacy oil & gas asset, including several gas pipelines that can be retrofitted to transport other gasses such as hydrogen or for CCS-purposes.

Note.

  1. 80 km. is not far offshore, when you consider the UK’s Dogger Bank C wind farm is 196 km from Teesside.
  2. There are depleted gas fields for storage and pipelines to transport gases to and from the shore.

This page describes the concept, starting with this introductory paragraph.

A multi-purpose island provides additional benefits over fixed offshore platforms (so-called jackets). It stimulates the energy transition, drives down the costs of the renewable energy transition, creates room for nature inclusive island design, facilitates Research & Development (R&D) and innovation, creates a safe working environment, as well as additional economic opportunities.

One feature they are proposing is an interconnector to the UK.

In Is There A Need For A Norfolk-Suffolk Interconnector?, I suggested that Bacton, Sizewell and Felixstowe could be places, where wind power from the North Sea were to be landed.

Distances to the IJVER island would be as follows.

  • Bacton – 85 miles
  • Sizewell – 77 miles
  • Felixstowe – 92 miles

These distances are feasible for an interconnector.

There is this explanatory video.

Conclusion

My experience of the Dutch, their civil and marine engineers and their creations, indicates to me, that the Dutch could build an island like this.

Once you have built the island and it can stand up to the weather, you could of course fit it out how you want. Even with a football pitch, as shown in the video.

As with many ideas, the realisation of this concept will depend on the costs involved.

It should be noted, that some UK wind farms have been built with offshore substations, but nothing appears to be as ambitious as this idea and is probably based on proven oil and gas platform technology.

The Dutch also have plans with the Germans and the Danes to create the North Sea Wind Power Hub in the middle of the North Sea.

  • This would probably connect to the UK’s Dogger Bank wind farms.
  • It would feed electricity as required to the countries around the North Sea.
  • Hydrogen could be created on the hub.
  • Over a hundred GW of electricity could be generated according to some forecasts.

I like the concept of the North Sea Wind Power Hub and suspect that the Dutch will see it built.

February 9, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, World | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dogger Bank C In UK Offshore Wind First To Provide Reactive Power Capability

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from the Dogger Bank wind farm.

This paragraph gives an explanation.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm has secured a UK power first by becoming the first offshore wind farm project to win a tender from National Grid ESO to provide reactive power capability. The sector-first contract will help deliver a greener grid, maintain a stable voltage power supply, and help drive down UK consumer costs by millions of pounds.

Note that the three Dogger Bank wind farms; A, B and C will each have a capacity of 1.2 GW and that Hartlepool nuclear power station has a capacity of 1.32 GW. The latter is due to be decommissioned in 2024.

So the wind farms will effectively replace the nuclear power station.

This paragraph describes the contract.

Under new £22.5m Pennines Voltage Pathfinder contracts announced today, National Grid ESO has awarded a 10-year power contract to Dogger Bank C that will see its onshore converter station at Lazenby in the North-East of England provide 200 MVAr* of reactive power capability between 2024 and 2034. This marks the first time that an offshore wind transmission asset has been awarded a contract through a reactive power tender by National Grid ESO.

I suspect that there will need to be some form of energy storage added to the system somewhere, either at Lazenby or could we see a system like one of Highview Power’s CRYOBattery installed offshore?

It should be noted that CRYOBatteries are no more complicated, than some of the equipment installed on offshore gas and oil platforms.

The Lackenby Substation

It does seem that there has been a mix-up between the two nearby villages of Lazenby and Lackenby.

I can’t find a Lazenby substation, but I can find one at Lackenby.

This Google Map shows that the location of the Lackenby substation.

This second map shows the substation in more detail.

Note.

  1. There are a lot of large chemical works on both banks of the Tees.
  2. I can find nothing on the route of the cable from Dogger Bank C to Lackenby substation.
  3. Perhaps, it’s planned to go up the River Tees or it could come ashore South of the mouth of the River Tees.

Plans must be published soon, so that the substation can be updated before the wind farm is commissioned.

February 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | 26 Comments

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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?

The headline of this post may be slightly tongue in cheek, but I believe that a plan is being hatched.

Preamble

I’ll start with a preamble, where I’ll outline some of the factors behind what may be happening.

Decarbonisation

It is generally accepted by most people that there is a need to decarbonise everything we do.

And large oil companies like Shell, BP and others are starting to move in the same direction.

Hydrogen

Using hydrogen instead of fossil fuels is becoming one of the major routes to decarbonisation.

Hydrogen can be used for the following.

  • Provide power for cars, buses, trucks, trains, locomotives and ships.
  • Hydrogen can be used in steelmaking instead of coking coal.
  • As a chemical feedstock to make ammonia, fertiliser and a large range of petrochemicals.
  • I believe that hydrogen could be a viable fuel to power aircraft over thousands of miles.

Hydrogen will become the most common zero-carbon fuel.

Hydrogen  And Natural Gas

In many applications hydrogen can replace natural gas, so for large users of natural gas, hydrogen offers a route to decarbonisation.

But hydrogen can also be mixed up to a level of around twenty percent in natural gas for partial decarbonisation of applications like space heating. Most industrial uses, boilers and appliances can be made to work very successfully with this mixture.

I grew up in the 1950s with coal gas, which according to Wikipedia had this composition.

  • hydrogen 50%
  • methane 35%
  • carbon monoxide 10%
  • ethylene 5%
  • When we changed over in the 1970s, all my appliances were converted.

This is the UK government description of natural gas.

It contains primarily methane, along with small amounts of ethane, butane, pentane, and propane. Natural gas does not contain carbon monoxide. The by-products of burning natural gas are primarily carbon dioxide and water vapour. Natural gas is colourless, tasteless and odourless.

As with the conversion from coal-gas to natural gas, conversion from Natural gas to a hydrogen/natural  gas mixture and eventually to hydrogen, will be a relatively painless process.

Note that carbon monoxide is a nasty poison and is not contained in either natural gas or hydrogen.

Green Hydrogen And Electrolysis Of Water

Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced exclusively from renewable energy sources.

Typically green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis of water using electricity produced by hydro, solar, tidal or wind.

The largest factory building electrolysers is owned by ITM Power.

  • It is located in Rotherham.
  • The factory has the capacity to build 1 GW of electrolysers in a year.
  • Typical electrolysers have a capacity of several MW.

Ryze Hydrogen are building an electrolyser at Herne Bay, that  will consume 23 MW of solar and wind power and produce ten tonnes of hydrogen per day.

Blue Hydrogen

‘Blue hydrogen is produced through a production process where carbon dioxide is also produced then subsequently captured via carbon capture and storage. In many cases the carbon dioxide is stored in depleted gas fields, of which we have plenty in the North Sea. Over the last few years, research has been ongoing into using the carbon dioxide. Applications in horticulture and agriculture, carbon structures and sustainable aviation fuel are being developed.

Shell have also developed the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process, where the carbon is extracted from methane as carbon dioxide and then stored or used.

CO2 In Greenhouse Horticulture

This paper from The Netherlands is called CO2 In Greenhouse Horticulture.

Read it and you might believe me, when I say, we’ll eat a lot of carbon in the form of tomatoes, salads and soft fruit. We’ll also buy flowers grown in a carbon-dioxide rich atmosphere.

Hydrogen As An Energy Transfer Medium

Every kilogram of natural gas when it burns releases energy, as it does in your boiler or gas hob. So it transfers energy in the form of gas from the gas well or storage tank to your house.

Electricity can also be transferred from the power station to your house using wires instead of pipes.

Hydrogen is being put forward as a means of transferring energy over hundreds of miles.

  • Electricity is converted to hydrogen, probably using an electrolyser, which would be powered by zero-carbon electricity.
  • The hydrogen is transferred using a steel pipe.
  • At the destination, the hydrogen is either distributed to end-users, stored or used in a gas-fired power station, that has been modified to run on hydrogen, to generate electricity.

It sounds inefficient, but it has advantages.

  • Long underwater cables have energy losses.
  • Electrical connections use a lot of expensive copper.
  • Re-use of existing gas pipes is possible.
  • Oil and gas companies like BP and their contractors have been laying gas pipes on land and under water for decades.

If hydrogen has a problem as an energy transfer medium, it is that it us difficult to liquify, as this statement from Air Liquide illustrates.

Hydrogen turns into a liquid when it is cooled to a temperature below -252,87 °C. At -252.87°C and 1.013 bar, liquid hydrogen has a density of close to 71 kg/m3. At this pressure, 5 kg of hydrogen can be stored in a 75-liter tank.

To transport, larger quantities of hydrogen by ship, it is probably better to convert the hydrogen into ammonia, which is much easier to handle.

The Germans and others are experimenting with using liquid ammonia to power large ships.

Hydrogen As An Energy Storage Medium

The UK has a comprehensive National Transmission System for natural gas with large amounts of different types of storage.

This section of the Wikipedia entry is entitled Natural Gas Storage and lists ten large storage facilities in salt caverns and depleted onshore gas fields. In addition, several depleted offshore gas fields have been proposed for the storage of natural gas. Rough was used successfully for some years.

I can certainly see a network of hydrogen storage sites being developed both onshore and offshore around the UK.

Iceland

With its large amount of hydro-electric and geothermal energy, Iceland can generate much more electricity, than it needs and has been looking to export it.

The UK is probably the only country close enough to be connected to Iceland to buy some of the country’s surplus electricity.

There has been a proposal called Icelink, that would build an electrical interconnector with a capacity of around a GW between Iceland at the UK.

But the project seems to have stalled since I first heard about it on my trip to Iceland in 2014.

Could the engineering problems just be too difficult?

The Waters Around The Northern Parts Of Great Britain

Look at a map of the UK and particularly Great Britain and there is a massive area of water, which is not short of wind.

Between Norway, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, the East Coast of England, the Northern Coasts of Scotland and Iceland, there are only a few islands.

  • Faroes
  • Orkney
  • Shetlands

To be complete we probably must include hundreds of oil and gas rigs and platforms and the Dogger Bank.

  • Oil and gas companies probably know most there is to know about these waters.
  • Gas pipelines connect the production platforms to terminals at Sullom Voe and along the East Coast from St. Fergus near Aberdeen to Bacton in Norfolk.
  • Many of the oil and gas fields are coming to the end of their working lives.

I believe that all this infrastructure could be repurposed to support the offshore wind industry.

The Dutch Are Invading The Dogger Bank

The Dogger Bank sits in the middle of the North Sea.

  • It is roughly equidistant from Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK.
  • The Western part is in UK territorial waters.
  • The Eastern part is mainly in Dutch territorial waters.

On the UK part, the Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being developed.

  • The turbines will be between 78 and 180 miles from the shore.
  • It could have a capacity of up to 5 GW.
  • It would be connected to East Yorkshire or Teesside.

On their side of the Dogger Bank, the Dutch are proposing the North Sea Wind Power Hub.

  • It is a collaboration between the Dutch, Germans, and Danes.
  • There have been reports, that up to 110 GW of turbines could be installed.
  • It will be connected to the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, as well as The Netherlands.

It is also planned that the connections to the Dogger Bank will create another interconnector between the UK and the Continent.

The Shetland Islands

The Shetland Islands are the only natural islands with a large oil and gas infrastructure in the waters to the North of Great Britain.

They have a large gas and oil terminal at Sullom Voe.

  • Oil is transported to the terminal by pipelines and tanker.
  • Oil is exported by tanker.
  • Gas is imported from oil and gas fields to the West of the islands through the West of Shetland Pipeline.
  • The gas-fired Sullom Voe power station provide about 80 MW of power to the islands.

This document on the APSE web site is entitled Future Hydrogen Production In Shetland.

It describes how the Shetland Islands can decarbonise and reposition themselves in the energy industry to be a major producer of hydrogen.

It gives these two facts about carbon emissions in the Shetlands Islands and Scotland.

  • Annual per capita CO2 emissions in the Shetland Islands are 17 tonnes.
  • In Scotland they are just 5.3 tonnes.

By comparison, the UK average is 5.55 and Qatar is 37.29.

Currently, the annual local market for road, marine and domestic fuel calculated
at around £50 million.

These are the objectives of the Shetland’s plan for future hydrogen production.

  • Supply 32TWh of low carbon hydrogen annually, 12% of the expected UK total requirement, by 2050
  • Provide more than 3GW of wind generated electrical power to Shetland, the UK grid, generating green hydrogen and electrification of the offshore oil and gas sector
  • Enable all West of Shetland hydrocarbon assets to be net zero by 2030 and abate 8Mt/year CO2 by 2050
  • Generate £5bn in annual revenue by 2050 and contribute significantly to the UK Exchequer.

They also envisage removing the topsides of platforms, during decommissioning of mature East of Shetland
oil fields and repurposing them for hydrogen production using offshore wind.

That is certainly a powerful set of ambitions.

This diagram from the report shows the flow of electricity and hydrogen around the islands, terminals and platforms.

Note these points about what the Shetlanders call the Orion Project.

  1. Offshore installations are electrified.
  2. There are wind turbines on the islands
  3. Hydrogen is provided for local energy uses like transport and shipping.
  4. Oxygen is provided for the fish farms and a future space centre.
  5. There is tidal power between the islands.
  6. There are armadas of floating wind turbines to the East of the islands.
  7. Repurposed oil platforms are used to generate hydrogen.
  8. Hydrogen can be exported by pipeline to St. Fergus near Aberdeen, which is a distance of about 200 miles.
  9. Hydrogen can be exported by pipeline to Rotterdam, which is a distance of about 600 miles.
  10. Hydrogen can be exported by tanker to Rotterdam and other parts of Europe.

It looks a very comprehensive plan!

The German Problem

Germany has an energy problem.

  • It is a large energy user.
  • It has the largest production of steel in Europe.
  • It prematurely shut some nuclear power stations.
  • About a quarter of electricity in Germany comes from coal. In the UK it’s just 1.2 %.
  • It is very reliant on Russian natural gas.
  • The country also has a strong Green Party.
  • Germany needs a lot more energy to replace coal and the remaining nuclear.
  • It also needs a lot of hydrogen to decarbonise the steel and other industries.

Over the last few months, I’ve written these articles.

Germany seems to have these main objectives.

  • Increase their supply of energy.
  • Ensure a plentiful supply of hydrogen.

They appear to be going about them with a degree of enthusiasm.

BP’s Ambition To Be Net Zero By 2050

This press release from BP is entitled BP Sets Ambition For Net Zero By 2050, Fundamentally Changing Organisation To Deliver.

This is the introductory paragraph.

BP today set a new ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero. The ambition is supported by ten aims

The ten aims are divided into two groups.

Five Aims To Get BP To Net Zero

These are.

  1. Net zero across BP’s operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.
  2. Net zero on carbon in BP’s oil and gas production on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.
  3. 50% cut in the carbon intensity of products BP sells by 2050 or sooner.
  4. Install methane measurement at all BP’s major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and reduce methane intensity of operations by 50%.
  5. Increase the proportion of investment into non-oil and gas businesses over time.

I would assume that by gas, they mean natural gas.

Five Aims To Help The World Get To Net Zero

These are.

  1. More active advocacy for policies that support net zero, including carbon pricing.
  2. Further incentivise BP’s workforce to deliver aims and mobilise them to advocate for net zero.
  3. Set new expectations for relationships with trade associations.
  4. Aim to be recognised as a leader for transparency of reporting, including supporting the recommendations of the TCFD.
  5. Launch a new team to help countries, cities and large companies decarbonise.

This all does sound like a very sensible policy.

BP’s Partnership With EnBW

BP seemed to have formed a partnership with EnBW to develop offshore wind farms in the UK

Their first investment is described in this press release from BP, which is entitled BP Advances Offshore Wind Growth Strategy; Enters World-Class UK Sector With 3GW Of Advantaged Leases In Irish Sea.

This is the first five paragraphs.

bp and partner EnBW selected as preferred bidder for two highly-advantaged 60-year leases in UK’s first offshore wind leasing round in a decade.

Advantaged leases due to distance from shore, lower grid cost, synergies from scale, and faster cycle time.

Projects expected to meet bp’s 8-10% returns aim, delivering attractive and stable returns and integrating with trading, mobility, and other opportunities.

Annual payments expected for four years before final investment decisions and assets planned to be operational in seven years.

In the past six months bp has entered offshore wind in the UK – the world’s largest market – and the US – the world’s fastest-growing market.

Note.

  1. EnBW are Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, who, according to Wikipedia, are the third largest utilities company in Germany.
  2. It also appears, that EnBW have developed wind farms.

BP have issued this infographic with the press release.

Note.

  1. The lease areas don’t appear to be far from the Morecambe Bay gas field.
  2. The Morecambe Bay gas field is coming to the end of its life.
  3. The Morecambe Bay gas field is connected to the Rampside gas terminal at Barrow-in-Furness.
  4. At peak production 15 % of the UK’s natural gas came from Morecambe Bay.

I just wonder, if there is a cunning plan.

Could the platforms be repurposed to act as electrical hubs for the wind turbines?

  • 3GW of electricity would produce 55 tonnes of hydrogen per day.
  • The hydrogen would be exported to the Rampside gas terminal using the existing pipelines.
  • There may be savings to be made, as HVDC links are expensive.
  • BP either has the engineering to convert the platforms or they know someone who does.
  • Would the industrial complex at Barrow-in-Furnace and the nearby Sellafield complex have a use for all that hydrogen?
  • Or would the hydrogen be used to fuel Lancashire’s buses and trucks on the M6.

It certainly looks to me, that it could be a possibility, to bring the energy ashore as hydrogen.

BP Seeking Second Wind Off Scotland

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

BP is preparing to bid for the rights to build wind farms off Scotland as it signals no let-up in expansion after a £900 million splurge on leases in the Irish Sea.

The London-based oil giant caused waves in February by offering record prices to enter the UK offshore wind market through a Crown Estate auction of seabed leases off England and Wales.

As I said earlier.

  • The Shetland Islands are developing themselves as a giant hydrogen factory.
  • There are pipelines connecting platforms to the Sullom Voe Terminal.
  • There are plans to convert some of the redundant platforms into hydrogen production platforms.
  • The islands will be developing ways to export the hydrogen to the South and Europe.

BP also operates the Schiehallion oil and gas field to the West of the Shetlands, which is connected to the Sullom Voe Terminal by the West of Shetland pipeline.

Could BP and EnBW be coming to the party?

They certainly won’t be arriving empty-handed.

Does BP Have Access To Storage Technology?

I ask this question because both the Morecambe Bay and Shetland leases could be built with co-located depleted gas fields and offshore electrolysers.

So could hydrogen gas be stored in the gas fields?

I think it could be a possibility and would mean that hydrogen would always be available.

Could Iceland Be Connected To Schiehallion Via A Gas Pipeline?

I estimate that Iceland and Schiehallion would be about six hundred miles.

This wouldn’t be the longest undersea gas pipeline in the world as these two are longer.

The Langeled pipeline cost £1.7 billion.

Conclusion

I think there’s more to the link-up between BP and EnBW.

I am fairly certain, that BP are thinking about converting some redundant gas platforms into hubs for wind turbines, which use the electricity to create hydrogen, which is then exported to the shore using existing gas pipelines and onshore terminals.

Could it be said, that BP will be recycling oil and gas platforms?

I feel that the answer is yes! Or at least maybe!

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind!

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Uniper To Make Wilhelmshaven German Hub For Green Hydrogen; Green Ammonia Import Terminal

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Green Car Congress.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Under the name “Green Wilhelmshaven,” Germany-based international energy company Uniper plans to establish a German national hub for hydrogen in Wilhelmshaven and is working on a corresponding feasibility study.

Plans include an import terminal for green ammonia. The terminal will be equipped with an ammonia cracker for producing green hydrogen and will also be connected to the planned hydrogen network. A 410-megawatt electrolysis plant is also planned, which—in combination with the import terminal—would be capable of supplying around 295,000 metric tons or 10% of the demand expected for the whole of Germany in 2030.

I can’t help feeling that there is some bad thinking here.

The Wikipedia entry for ammonia, says this about green ammonia.

Even though ammonia production currently creates 1.8% of global CO2 emissions, a 2020 Royal Society report claims that “green” ammonia can be produced by using low-carbon hydrogen (blue hydrogen and green hydrogen). Total decarbonization of ammonia production and the accomplishment of net-zero targets are possible by 2050.

So why is green ammonia imported rather than green hydrogen, which may have been used to manufacture the ammonia?

Green ammonia would appear to have two main uses in its own right.

  • As a feedstock to make fertiliser and other chemicals.
  • As a possible fuel for large ships, which could also be powered by hydrogen.

The only thing, I can think of, is that as liquid hydrogen boils at -253 ° C and liquid ammonia at -33 ° C, ammonia may be easier to transport by ship.

It may make a better fuel for large ships for the same reason.

This policy briefing from The Royal Society is entitled Ammonia: Zero-Carbon Fertiliser, Fuel And Energy Store.

This is the introductory paragraph.

This policy briefing considers the opportunities and challenges associated with the manufacture and future use of zero-carbon or green ammonia.

It is an excellent explanation of green ammonia and a must read.

Hydrogen for Wilhelmshaven

On the other hand, Wilhelmshaven, which is situated on Germany’s North West Coast would be in a good position to be a terminal for a hydrogen pipeline or electrical interconnector from the Dogger Bank, where both the Netherlands and the UK have plans for some of the largest windfarms in the world.

The UK’s Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which is being developed by SSE, looks to have an initial capacity of 4.8 MW, whereas the North Sea Wind Power Hub, being developed by the Danes, Dutch and Germans on their side of the Dogger Bank could be rated at up to 110 GW.

Wikipedia says this about how the two huge projects could be connected.

The power hub would interconnect the three national power grids with each other and with the Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

We could be seeing a 200 GW power station in an area of the sea, generally only known to those who listen to the shipping forecasts and fans like Marti Caine.

Under a section in the Wikipedia entry for the North Sea Wind Power Hub, which is entitled the North Sea Wind Power Hub Consortium, these points are made.

  • It is hoped that Norway, the United Kingdom, and Belgium will join the consortium.
  • Dutch gas-grid operator Gasunie has joined the consortium, suggesting converting wind power to gas and using near offshore gas infrastructure for storage and transport.
  • The Port of Rotterdam became the fifth member of the consortium.

This looks like a party, where some of our North Sea gas fields and infrastructure, lying in the triangle of the Humber, Teesside and the Dogger Bank could add a lot of value.

We could even see hydrogen generated in the European Eastern part of the Dogger Bank, stored in a worked-out gas field in the UK sector of the North Sea and then when needed, it could be pumped to Germany.

A 410 Megawatt Electrolyser

Ryze Hydrogen are building the Herne Bay electrolyser.

  • It will consume 23 MW of solar and wind power.
  • It will produce ten tonnes of hydrogen per day.

This would produce just 5.6 percent of the hydrogen of the Wilhelmshaven electrolyser

In H2 Green Steel Plans 800 MW Hydrogen Plant In Sweden, I wrote about a 800 MW electrolyser, that would produce 380 tonnes of hydrogen per day.

It looks like the Wilhelmshaven  electrolyser is very much a middle-sized one and would produce around 65,000 tonnes per year.

Conclusion

It looks like the Germans will be importing lots of green ammonia and green hydrogen from the North Sea.

April 18, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments