The Anonymous Widower

Have We Missed The Boat On Fracking?

I have just re-read my post from October 2019, which was entitled Fracking Hell…Is It The End?, where these were my conclusions.

  • Fracking for hydrocarbons is a technique that could be past its sell-by date.
  • The use of natural gas will decline.
  • INEOS could see hydrogen as a way of reducing their carbon footprint.
  • The heating on all new buildings should be zero carbon, which could include using hydrogen from a zero-carbon source.
  • There are reasons to think, that electricity from wind-farms creating hydrogen by electrolysis could replace some of our natural gas usage.

So will the Government’s lifting on the ban on fracking make any difference?

The announcement is detailed in this article on the BBC, which is entitled Fracking Ban Lifted, Government Announces.

These are my thoughts.

Fracking Is Not A Quick Fix

My personal view is that to achieve any significant amounts of gas from fracking will take some years, so it is not something that will be available in the short term.

Opposition To Fracking Won’t Help

There are very few inhabitants of the UK, who are enthusiastic about fracking.

Opposition to fracking will make it less likely to be the feasible short term fix we need in the UK.

Suppose There Was An Earthquake Near To A Fracking Site

Fracking also has the problem, that if there were to be a small earthquake near to a site, even if it was very likely to have not been caused by fracking, it would result in massive public uproar, which would shut down all fracking in the UK.

This to me is a big risk!

Would The Jackdaw Oil And Gas Field Be A Medium Term Solution?

I believe that with other gas field developments and imports, Jackdaw could keep us supplied with enough gas until the end of the decade.

Future Renewable Electricity Production

In Will We Run Out Of Power This Winter?, I summarised the likely yearly additions to our offshore wind power capacity in the next few years.

  • 2022 – 3200 MW
  • 2023 – 1500 MW
  • 3024 – 2400 MW
  • 2025 – 6576 MW
  • 2026 – 1705 MW
  • 2027 – 7061 GW

Note.

  1. Ignoring 2022 as it’s going, this totals to 19.2 GW.
  2. Hopefully, by the end of 2027, Hinckley Point C will add another 3.26 GW
  3. According to Wikipedia, there are currently 32 active gas fired combined cycle power plants operating in the United Kingdom, which have a total generating capacity of 28.0 GW.

I think it is not unreasonable to assume that some of the electricity will enable some of our gas-fired power stations to be stood down and/or mothballed.

Gas consumption would be reduced and some power stations would be held in reserve for when the wind was on strike!

Using Hydrogen To Eke Out Our Gas

Consider.

  • In Lime Kiln Fuelled By Hydrogen Shown To Be Viable, I wrote about how hydrogen can be used instead of or with natural gas to fuel a lime kiln.
  • There are other processes, where hydrogen can be used instead of or with natural gas.
  • Using more hydrogen will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted.

Perhaps we should strategically build a few huge hydrogen electrolysers, so that some large industrial users can cut back on their natural gas.

Will Energy Storage Help?

Energy storage’s main use is to mop up all the surplus electricity when demand is low at a low price and sell it back, when demand is high.

If we waste less energy, we will use less gas.

Will District Heating Schemes Help?

Consider.

More schemes like this should be developed, where there is a readily-available source of heat or electricity

Conclusion

As we add more renewables to our energy generation, it appears to me, that our gas usage will decline.

If we were to go fracking, we should have done it a lot earlier, so we can bridge the short term gap.

 

 

 

 

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Rolls-Royce Chief Warren East Spies Rebound For Air Travel

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

It is a must-read article.

This is the first paragraph.

Warren East, the outgoing chief executive of Rolls-Royce, has sounded a bullish note on aviation’s recovery from Covid-19, reporting increased demand from the jet-engine maker’s airline customers and expressing his belief that China will gradually open up to international travel.

Certainly, with all the chaos at the Channel this weekend, people are starting to travel again.

Support For The Military

This is a paragraph in the article.

Tom Bell, head of Rolls-Royce Defence, said the company was in talks with the US and UK militaries about supplying “deployable” reactors for military bases.

I’m sure that a reactor would have advantages to a large diesel or gas-turbine generator to power a military base.

  • Military bases need a lot of power.
  • It would not need refuelling every day.
  • It could be connected to an electrolyser, to generate hydrogen for vehicles.
  • It would be a lot quieter.
  • I wonder, if it could be transported in a large transport aircraft.

But I feel, it might have other applications.

  • It could provide power support after a large earthquake or natural disaster.
  • It could provide power in remote or difficult locations.
  • If the only power station for a remote community had a catastrophic failure, a deployable reactor could be brought in.
  • It could provide power for a large construction site, which would help to decarbonise the construction.
  • Power would be zero-carbon at point of generation.

The reactors might even be rail-transportable, so they could be moved to where they are needed safely and quickly.

But I don’t think they would necessarily be the same size as the Rolls-Royce SMRs, which are 470 MW.

A Scalable Reactor

This is a paragraph in the article.

Rolls also has a contract with the UK Space Agency to develop a “micro reactor” for space vehicles and satellites, Bell added. “These are really exciting opportunities for us to not only perpetuate our business undersea, at sea, on land, in the air, but also to go to space,” he said. East noted the advantage of nuclear reactors in space: “You can’t have air-breathing engines on the moon.”

Note.

  1. East is Warren East, who is the outgoing Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce.
  2. Nuclear power sources have been used in space before, usually by using an isotope, that gives out heat, as it decays.
  3. How small is micro?
  4. The US deployed a 1.75 MW nuclear power plant in Antarctica under the Army Nuclear Power Program. That reactor also provided heating and hot water. It is worth reading the Wikipedia entry, especially the section about the MM-1 reactor.

It does seem that Rolls-Royce are designing a reactor that can be scaled in size, to cover a whole spectrum of applications.

 

 

July 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fruits Of Victory Would Be Ashes In Our Mouth

These words from from President Kennedy’s speech on the Cuban Missile Crisis, seem to be the Russian aim, as they continue to lay waste to Ukraine.

Kennedy was talking about nuclear war, but pictures from Ukraine remind me more of the damage of atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima or from an all-destroying earthquake.

Vlad the Mad will certainly be remembered by history in the same way as Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin.

I don’t believe in the death penalty, but he is surely the one case, where anybody would make an exception.

I wonder how he would like Hitler’s most feared punishment. Hitler apparently, worried most about being exhibited in a zoo.

March 19, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Geothermal Power And The New Island Of Surtsey

I was on a tour which was called the South Shore Safari. The first real stop was in an area of geothermal power stations, which gave good views of the new island of Surtsey

I can remember the formation of the island of Surtsey being shown on the television in 1963. It was a well-reported news story of the time.

Geothermal power is important in Iceland and contributes nearly 600 MW of electricity, which makes up about thirty percent of what they need. The Icelanders have by no means fully developed the maximum amount of power available, but they do generate a lot of hot water to heat Reykjavik and other towns. For comparison, our large nuclear power station, Sizewell B generates 1,200 MW.

I think the geothermal power station we saw is Nesjavellir. Wikipedia says this about the capacity of the power station.

Plans for utilizing the Nesjavellir area for geothermal power and water heating began in 1947, when some boreholes were drilled to evaluate the area’s potential for power generation. Research continued from 1965 to 1986. In 1987, the construction of the plant began, and the cornerstone was laid in May 1990. The station produces approximately 120 MW of electrical power; it also delivers around 1,100 litres (290 US gal) of hot water (82-85°C) per second, servicing the space heating and hot water needs of the Greater Reykjavík Area.

I woiuld have loved to have a tour of the power station.

What surprised me about geothermal power, was that the Phillipines are very large users of the technology, which is described as a geothermal success story in this article in Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, twenty seven percent of their power comes from geothermal sources.

I suppose the only drawback with geothermal power is that for the generation of large amounts of energy, you are generally in an area prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

It may seem strange, but even in Cornwall, a company is trying to use geothermal energy to generate electricity. Read about the United Downs project on Wikipedia. Whether it will ever work as planned, will be down to the skill of the engineers and probably the will of politicians.

 

July 13, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blackpool Suffers A Couple Of Tremors

This report on the BBC says that Blackpool has been shaken by a couple of earthquakes.

They must have been really major, as BBC Breakfast isn’t reporting the tremors this morning. Perhaps, they couldn’t find a reporter and film crew, who wanted to go!

I wonder though how many people believe this is all down to fracking? I did check comments on a report in a tabloid and there were a few comments, suggesting that the anti-frackers will blame fracking.

August 26, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

The Real Iranian Problem

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a lecture at the Geological Society of London about earthquakes. One thing said, was that Tehran is due a very large and damaging quake, because of the way they have developed the city.

Then in Cambridge last week, I had an Iranian taxi-driver and when I told him this, he said that most people in the city believe it and are incensed that their money is spent on unwanted vanity projects by the corrupt Iranian government. It was one of the reasons why he left Iran.

The Turkey/Iran area has always been earthquake-prone. And always will be. Remember Bam.  The Wikipedia article pointed to, says some interesting things about Iran’s policy, including possibly moving the capital.

The Times today is saying that it can’t import the grain it needs because of sanctions stopping it being paid for. The sanctions are linked to non-compliance with international nuclear regulations.   The nuclear regulations were in part put in place as a quid quo pro for American assistance over the Bam earthquake.

February 1, 2012 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

A Real Honeymoon from Hell

This is documented in The Times today.  A couple called Svanström had to endure.

  • The blizzard of the century in Munich
  • A monsoon in Bali
  • Bushfires in Perth
  • Floods in Queensland
  • The EArthquake in Christchurch
  • The earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

C and I had a dreadful honeymoon and we suvived.  according to the report, these Swedes are still getting along well.

    April 6, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , | Leave a comment

    Paranoid About Japan’s Nuclear Plants

    Everybody seems to be paranoid about Japan’s nuclear power stations.

    I’ve been over several nuclear power stations.  Would I be worred to live anywhere near any of them? Possibly, but only one that was in the United States that was a site in a very restricted position.  I believe it has since been decommissioned. Look at these pictures by Sizewell.  But these two stations were built in an area with little population and no earthquakes.

    Properly designed, built and managed, we should have little worry about nuclear power plants.  What we should worry about though is chemical plants and other industrial processes, which are close to centres of population.

    Japan has built nuclear and chemical plants in areas with high seismic activity.  I suspect that they won’t be doing so in the future.  But what will that do for the Japanese economy?

    March 14, 2011 Posted by | News, World | , | Leave a comment

    Life Follows Art

    The Great Wave off Kanagawa is an iconic Japanese painting and as Ben Macintyre said in The TImes yesterday, it offers a grim reflection of reality.

    March 13, 2011 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

    The Earth Bites Back

    This was the title of a lunchtime lecture at University College London on March 3rd. Professor Bill Mcguire argued that we’d see a lot more natural disasters, as the earth responded to our treatment of it. 

    And now we’ve had two major earthquakes in a short space of time in Christchurch and now Japan.

    They may not be connected, but it doesn’t man that we should let up in our efforts to cut carbon emissions and other practices that damage our environment.

    March 11, 2011 Posted by | News, World | , , | 1 Comment