The Anonymous Widower

The Creation Of The Coire Glas Monster

Loch Ness is probably most famous for the mythical monster, but it is about to be joined by a man-made monster of a different kind.

To the South-West of Loch Ness lies Loch Lochy.

This Google Map shows the South-Western part of the Great Glen, which runs diagonally across the Highlands from Fort William in the South-West to Inverness in the North-East.

Note.

  1. Fort Augustus in the North-East corner of the map, is at the South-West end of Loch Ness.
  2. In the South-West corner of the map, Loch Lochy can be seen.
  3. To the North-West of Loch Lochy, there are mountains.

This second Google Map shows Loch Lochy and the mountains.

SSE plan to create a pumped storage hydroelectric power station called Coire Glas.

  • Loch Lochy will be the lower reservoir.
  • The upper reservoir will be in the mountains to the North-West of the loch.
  • Energy will be stored by pumping water from the lower to the higher reservoir.
  • The power station will be able to provide 1.5 GW of electricity.
  • The upper reservoir will be able to store enough water to generate 30 GWh of electricity.

If that isn’t a monster of a power station, I don’t know what is! It has more than three times the storage capacity of both Dinorwig or Cruachan.

This article on Utility Week, which is entitled Inside £1bn Pumped Hydro Plans To ‘More Than Double’ Britain’s Electricity Storage, gives more details.

This is the sort of heroic engineering, that will defeat Vlad the Mad and his bloodstained gas.

 

August 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Can Highview Power’s CRYOBattery Compete With Pumped Storage Hydroelectricity?

In this article on the Telegraph, Rupert Pearce, who is Highview’s chief executive and ex-head of the satellite company Inmarsat, discloses this.

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.

The Humberside plant is new to me, as it has not been previously announced by Highview Power.

  • If it is built it will be megahuge with a storage capacity of 30 GWh and a maximum output of 2.5 GW.
  • Humberside with its connections to North Sea Wind, will be an ideal location for a huge CRYOBattery.
  • The world’s largest pumped storage hydroelectric power station is Fengning Pumped Storage Power Station in China and it is 40 GWh.

Pumped storage hydroelectric power stations are the gold standard of energy storage.

In the UK we have four pumped storage hydroelectric power stations.

With two more under construction.

As energy is agnostic, 30 GWh of pumped storage hydroelectric power at Coire Glas is the equivalent of 30 GWh in Highview Power’s proposed Humberside CRYOBattery.

Advantages Of CRYOBatteries Over Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power

I can think of these advantages.

  • Cost
  • Could be build on the flat lands of East Anglia or Lincolnshire
  • Factory-built
  • NIMBYs won’t have much to argue about
  • No dams
  • No flooding of valleys
  • No massive construction sites.
  • No mountains required
  • No tunnels
  • Small footprint

I suspect that a large CRYOBattery could be built well within a year of starting construction.

Rupert Pearce’s Dream

The Telegraph article says this and I suspect it’s a quote from Rupert Pearce.

Further projects will be built at a breakneck speed of two to three a year during the 2020s, with a target of 20 sites able to provide almost 6GW of back-up electricity for four days at a time, or whatever time/power mix is optimal.

6 GW for four days is 576 GWh, which if it were spread around twenty sites is 28.8 GWh per site, which is just under the 30 GWh of the proposed Humberside CRYOBattery.

Conclusion

You can just imagine the headlines in The Sun!

Man In Bishop’s Stortford Shed Saves The World!

This story on the BBC, which is entitled Meet The British Inventor Who Came Up With A Green Way Of Generating Electricity From Air – In His Shed, explains my suggested headline.

Now that’s what I call success!

 

July 29, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Loch Kemp Pumped Hydro

Loch Kemp Is a smaller loch just to the East of Loch Ness.

This Google Map shows Loch Kemp in relation to Loch Ness.

Note.

  1. Loch Ness is in the North West corner of the map, with partial cloud cover.
  2. Loch Kemp is in the South East corner of the map.

The proposed Loch Kemp pumped hydro scheme will have these characteristics.

  • Loch Kemp will be the upper reservoir.
  • Loch Ness will be the lower reservoir.
  • The power station will be on the banks of Loch Ness.
  • The power station will be designed to fit into the environment.
  • Eight dams will be built to enlarge Loch Kemp.
  • Trees will be planted.
  • Output of the power station will be 300 MW
  • Available storage could be 9 GWh.

The station will have almost as much storage capacity as Electric Mountain, but that power station has an output of 1.8 GW.

In Glendoe Hydro Power Station, I wrote about the Glendoe Hydro Scheme.

  • It is a 100 MW hydroelectric power station
  • It has the highest head at 600 metres of any power station in the UK.
  • It opened in 2009, making it one of the newest hydroelectric power stations in the UK.
  • The actual power station is in an underground cavern.
  • The dam and power station have been designed to be hidden from view.

This Google Map shows the location of Glendoe power station to the South of Loch Kemp.

Note.

  1. The red arrow indicates Loch Kemp.
  2. The loch in the South East corner is the reservoir that feeds Glendoe power station.
  3. Fort Augustus is at the Southern end of Loch Ness.

This Google Map shows the Northern end of Loch Ness.

Note.

  1. The red arrow indicates Loch Kemp.
  2. Foyers, which is a short distance to the North West, is the site of the Foyers pumped hydro scheme. I wrote about this scheme in The Development Of The Foyers Pumped Storage Scheme.
  3. Loch Duntelchaig, in the North-East corner of the map, is being used as the upper reservoir of the Red John pumped hydro scheme. I wrote about this project in Red John Pumped Storage Hydro Project.

On the East side of Loch Ness there seems to be four substantial hydro-electric schemes.

In order from South to North these schemes are.

Glendoe

Glendoe is a modern 100 MW hydroelectric power station, that opened in 2009.

In Glendoe Hydro Power Station, I felt it might be possible to expand Glendoe into a pumped hydro scheme, with upwards of 10 GWh of storage.

Loch Kemp

Loch Kemp is a proposed 300 MW/9 GWh pumped hydro storage station.

Foyers

Foyers is an existing 300 MW/10 GWh pumped hydro storage station.

Red John

Red John is a proposed 450 MW/2.8 GWh pumped hydro storage station, which has received planning permission.

These four power stations could be summarised as follows.

  • Glendoe – 100 MW/10 GWh
  • Loch Kemp – 300 MW/9 GWh
  • Foyers – 300 MW/10 GWh
  • Red John – 450 MW/2.8 GWh

Note.

  1. Totals are 1150 MW and 31.8 GWh
  2. Foyers was converted from a conventional hydroelectric power station, that was opened in 1895  to a pumped hydro storage station.
  3. If Foyers can be converted, why can’t Glendoe.

A very large pumped storage station of four separate units, can be built on the East side of Loch Ness.

Conclusion

This is only on the East side of Loch Ness, so if the West side can be similarly developed, Loch Ness could be developed into a real Loch Ness monster with over 60 GWh of pumped hydro storage.

 

March 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plan For New Nuclear Reactors At Wylfa And Trawsfynydd A Step Closer As Natural Resource Wales Looks At Designs

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Plans for new nuclear power stations at Trawsfynydd and Wylfa have taken a step closer after the UK Government asked government regulators to assess designs for the reactors.

Natural Resources Wales will be among those assessing the designs by Rolls-Royce, with both Wylfa and Trawsfynydd have been named as potential sites for housing them within the UK.

These are points about the reactors.

  • They will cost £1.8 billion each.
  • They are capable of powering a city the size of Cardiff, which has a population of about half-a-million.
  • I’ve read elsewhere that the reactors are planned to have a nameplate capacity of 470 MW.

The article did mention, that the Nimbys were lining up.

The Wylfa Site

The original Wylfa power station was a Magnox nuclear station generating 980 MW, that was decommissioned in 2015.

This Google Map shows the location of the site on Anglesey.

This second Google Map shows the site in more detail.

The power station doesn’t appear to have had a rail link, but there is a railway line a few miles away, with sidings that might have been used to handle fuel flasks.

There has been a proposal for a hybrid plant consisting of a wind farm and small modular nuclear reactors, which is described in this Wikipedia section, where this is said.

In January 2021, Shearwater Energy presented plans for a hybrid plant, to consist of a wind farm and small modular reactors (SMRs), to be installed adjacent to the existing Wylfa power station but separate from the proposed Wylfa Newydd site. Shearwater has signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale Power for the SMRs. The plant could start generation as early as 2027 and would ultimately produce up to 3 GW of electricity and power a hydrogen generation unit producing up to 3 million kg of hydrogen per year.

Note.

  1. Wylfa Newydd was a proposal by Hitachi to build a nuclear station on the site.
  2. Shearwater Energy is a UK developer of energy opportunities.
  3. NuScale Power is an American company with its own design of small modular nuclear reactor.

In Holyhead Hydrogen Hub Planned For Wales, I talked about hydrogen and the port of Holyhead.

The Trawsfynydd Site

The original Trawsfynydd power station was a Magnox nuclear station generating 470 MW, that was decommissioned in 1991.

This Google Map shows the location of the site in North Wales.

This second Google Map shows the site in more detail.

Note.

  1. The power station was built on the Northern shore of Llyn Trawsfynydd.
  2. Llyn Trawsfynydd is a man-made lake, that was built in the 1920s to supply water to the 24 MW Maentwrog hydro electric power station.
  3. There is a railway from near the site, that connects to the Conwy Valley Line at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The Trawsfynydd site is a lot more than just a decommissioned Magnox power station.

Pumped Energy Storage In Snowdonia

Currently, there are two existing pumped storage in Snowdonia.

A third scheme is under development at Glyn Rhonwy, which could have a capacity of 700 MWh.

Looking at the size of Llyn Trawsfynydd, I do wonder, if it could be the top lake of a future pumped storage scheme.

  • Llyn Trawsfynydd, contains 40 million tonnes of water.
  • There is a head of 190 metres.

That could give energy storage of 20 GWh. That sounds a lot of GWhs! But with two possible small modular nuclear reactors at possibly 500 MW each nearby and some help from windfarms, it could be filled within a day, if there is a suitable low-level reservoir.

Rolls-Royce And The Duisburg Container Terminal

In Rolls-Royce Makes Duisburg Container Terminal Climate Neutral With MTU Hydrogen Technology, I showed how Rolls-Royce and its subsidiary were providing an innovative climate neutral solution for Duisburg Container Terminal in Germany.

A North West Wales Powerhouse

Could Rolls-Royce be planning a Duisburg-style solution for North West Wales.

  • Small modular nuclear reactors at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd.
  • Hydrogen electrolysers to create hydrogen for the Port of Holyhead and heavy transport.
  • Adequate pumped hydro storage for surplus energy.

But there could be little serious above-ground construction.

Conclusion

Something is awakening in North West Wales.

March 11, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme

The Coire Glas pumped storage scheme, which is being developed by SSE Renewables will be the first large scale pumped storage scheme to be developed in the UK for more than 30 years.

  • It would have a power output of 1.5 GW.
  • Compared to Dinorwig (Electric Mountain) in Wales at 9.1 GWh and Cruachan in Scotland at 7.1 GWh, it will be a giant.
  • Planning permission has been obtained.

The Coire Glas project has a web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Coire Glas is a hydro pumped storage scheme with a potential capacity of up to 1500MW. Coire Glas is an excellent pumped storage site with a large lower reservoir (Loch Lochy) and a significant elevation of more than 500m between the lower and the new upper reservoir site over a relatively short distance.

There is also an explanatory video.

This map was clipped from this SSE planning document.

Note.

  1. Loch Lochy in the Great Glen will be the lower reservoir.
  2. Loch Lochy is a freshwater loch, that is up to seventy metres deep.
  3. The top reservoir is formed by building a dam across the stream, that runs into the Northern end of Loch Lochy.
  4. The green line leading from the pentagon in the lake behind the dam towards Loch Lochy is the headrace tunnel.
  5. It leads to the brown rectangle, which is the underground power station.
  6. The blue line leading from the power station, where water is discharged into the loch.
  7. The two orange lines are access tunnels.
  8. The yellow line is the emergency access tunnel.

It is a standard layout for a pumped storage power station.

  • To store electricity, water is pumped from Loch Lochy and stored in the new lake.
  • To generate electricity, water runs down the headrace tunnel, through the turbines and then down the tailrace into Loch Lochy.
  • The power station would have a number of pump/turbines, that can do both tasks.

In addition, any water from rain or snow melt, that runs into the top lake gives low-cost extra electricity.

This layout of the dam and the upper lake was clipped from this SSE planning document.


It would be an impressive structure.

Could this pumped storage scheme give the UK energy security?

February 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Power Storage Is The Next Big Net Zero Challenge

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Opinion from Bloomberg.

This is the sub-heading.

Britain’s pioneering plans for renewable energy show the global need could be massive. The means don’t yet exist.

The opinion is very much a well-written must-read.

One new project the article mentions is a 30 GWh pumped storage project at Coire Glas in the Scottish Highlands, that is planned by SSE.

I discuss this scheme in The Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme.

 

Bloomberg didn’t say it, but this pumped storage scheme could give the UK energy security.

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Could Norfolk And Suffolk Be Powered By Offshore Wind?

This week this article on the BBC was published, which had a title of Government Pledges £100m For Sizewell Nuclear Site.

These are the first three paragraphs.

The government is putting up £100m to support the planned Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk, Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has announced.

The investment marks the latest stage in efforts to build the £20bn reactor on the east coast of England.

However, it does not commit the government to approving the project, which is still subject to negotiations.

My view of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant is that of an engineer, who used to live within thirty minutes of the Sizewell site.

  • Hinckley Point C power station, which is currently being constructed, will have a nameplate capacity of 3.26 GW.
  • Sizewell C would probably be to a similar design and capacity to Hinckley Point C.
  • Sizewell C would likely be completed between 2033-2036.
  • Sizewell B is a 1250 MW station, which has a current closing date of 2035, that could be extended to 2055.
  • East Anglia and particularly the mega Freeport East, that will develop to the South at the Ports of Felixstowe and Harwich will need more electricity.
  • One of the needs of Freeport East will be a large supply of electricity to create hydrogen for the trains, trucks, ships and cargo handling equipment.
  • Sizewell is a large site, with an excellent connection to the National Grid, that marches as a giant pair of overhead cables across the Suffolk countryside to Ipswich.

But.

  • We still haven’t developed a comprehensive strategy for the management of nuclear waste in the UK. Like paying for the care of the elderly and road pricing, it is one of those problems, that successive governments have kept kicking down the road, as it is a big vote loser.
  • I was involved writing project management software for forty years and the building of large nuclear power plants is littered with time and cost overruns.
  • There wasn’t a labour problem with the building of Sizewell B, as engineers and workers were readily available. But with the development of Freeport East, I would be very surprised if Suffolk could provide enough labour for two mega-projects after Brexit.
  • Nuclear power plants use a lot of steel and concrete. The production of these currently create a lot of carbon dioxide.
  • There is also a large number of those objecting to the building of Sizewell C. It saddened me twenty-five years ago, that most of the most strident objectors, that I met, were second home owners, with no other connection to Suffolk.

The older I get, the more my experience says, that large nuclear power plants aren’t always a good idea.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

In Is Sizewell The Ideal Site For A Fleet Of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors?, I looked at building a fleet of small modular nuclear reactors at Sizewell, instead of Sizewell C.

I believe eight units would be needed in the fleet to produce the proposed 3.26 GW and advantages would include.

  • Less land use.
  • Less cost.
  • Less need for scarce labour.
  • Easier to finance.
  • Manufacturing modules in a factory should improve quality.
  • Electricity from the time of completion of unit 1.

But it would still be nuclear.

Wind In The Pipeline

Currently, these offshore wind farms around the East Anglian Coast are under construction, proposed or are in an exploratory phase.

  • East Anglia One – 714 MW – 2021 – Finishing Construction
  • East Anglia One North 800 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • East Anglia Two – 900 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • East Anglia Three – 1400 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • Norfolk Vanguard – 1800 MW – Exploratory
  • Norfolk Boreas – 1800 MW – Exploratory
  • Sheringham Shoal/Dudgeon Extension – 719 MW – Exploratory

Note.

  1. The date is the possible final commissioning date.
  2. I have no commissioning dates for the last three wind farms.
  3. The East Anglia wind farms are all part of the East Anglia Array.

These total up to 8.13 GW, which is in excess of the combined capacity of Sizewell B and the proposed Sizewell C, which is only 4.51 GW.

As it is likely, that by 2033, which is the earliest date, that Sizewell C will be completed, that the East Anglia Array will be substantially completed, I suspect that East Anglia will not run out of electricity.

But I do feel that to be sure, EdF should try hard to get the twenty year extension to Sizewell B.

The East Anglia Hub

ScottishPower Renewables are developing the East Anglia Array and this page on their web site, describes the East Anglia Hub.

This is the opening paragraph.

ScottishPower Renewables is proposing to construct its future offshore windfarms, East Anglia THREE, East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North, as a new ‘East Anglia Hub’.

Note.

  1. These three wind farms will have a total capacity of 3.1 GW.
  2. East Anglia ONE is already in operation.
  3. Power is brought ashore at Bawdsey between Felixstowe and Sizewell.

I would assume that East Anglia Hub and East Anglia ONE will use the same connection.

Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard

These two wind farms will be to the East of Great Yarmouth.

This map from Vattenfall web site, shows the position of the two wind farms.

Note.

  1. Norfolk Boreas is outlined in blue.
  2. Norfolk Vanguard is outlined in orange.
  3. I assume the grey areas are where the cables will be laid.
  4. I estimate that the two farms are about fifty miles offshore.

This second map shows the landfall between Eccles-on-Sea and Happisburgh.

Note the underground cable goes half-way across Norfolk to Necton.

Electricity And Norfolk And Suffolk

This Google Map shows Norfolk and Suffolk.

Note.

  1. The red arrow in the North-West corner marks the Bicker Fen substation that connects to the Viking Link to Denmark.
  2. The East Anglia Array  connects to the grid at Bawdsey in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. Sizewell is South of Aldeburgh in the South-East corner of the map.
  4. The only ports are Lowestoft and Yarmouth in the East and Kings Lynn in the North-West.

There are few large towns or cities and little heavy industry.

  • Electricity usage could be lower than the UK average.
  • There are three small onshore wind farms in Norfolk and none in Suffolk.
  • There is virtually no high ground suitable for pumped storage.
  • There are lots of areas, where there are very few buildings to the square mile.

As I write this at around midday on a Saturday at the end of January, 49 % of electricity in Eastern England comes from wind, 20 % from nuclear and 8 % from solar. That last figure surprised me.

I believe that the wind developments I listed earlier could provide Norfolk and Suffolk with all the electricity they need.

The Use Of Batteries

Earlier, I talked of a maximum of over 7 GW of offshore wind around the cost of Norfolk and Suffolk, but there is still clear water in the sea to be filled between the existing and planned wind farms.

Batteries will become inevitable to smooth the gaps between the electricity produced and the electricity used.

Here are a few numbers.

  • East Anglian Offshore Wind Capacity – 8 GW
  • Off-Peak Hours – Midnight to 0700.
  • Typical Capacity Factor Of A Windfarm – 20 % but improving.
  • Overnight Electricity Produced at 20 % Capacity Factor – 11.2 GWh
  • Sizewell B Output – 1.25 GW
  • Proposed Sizewell C  Output – 3.26 GW
  • Largest Electrolyser – 24 MW
  • World’s Largest Lithium-Ion Battery at Moss Landing – 3 GWh
  • Storage at Electric Mountain – 9.1 GWh
  • Storage at Cruachan Power Station – 7.1 GWh

Just putting these large numbers in a table tells me that some serious mathematical modelling will need to be performed to size the batteries that will probably be needed in East Anglia.

In the 1970s, I was involved in three calculations of a similar nature.

  • In one, I sized the vessels for a proposed polypropylene plant for ICI.
  • In another for ICI, I sized an effluent treatment system for a chemical plant, using an analogue computer.
  • I also helped program an analysis of water resources in the South of England. So if you have a water shortage in your area caused by a wrong-sized reservoir, it could be my fault.

My rough estimate is that the East Anglian battery would need to be at least a few GWh and capable of supplying up to the output of Sizewell B.

It also doesn’t have to be a single battery. One solution would probably be to calculate what size battery is needed in the various towns and cities of East Anglia, to give everyone a stable and reliable power supply.

I could see a large battery built at Sizewell and smaller batteries all over Norfolk and Suffolk.

But why stop there? We probably need appropriately-sized batteries all over the UK, with very sophisticated control systems using artificial intelligent working out, where the electricity is best stored.

Note that in this post, by batteries, I’m using that in the loosest possible way. So the smaller ones could be lithium-ion and largest ones could be based on some of the more promising technologies that are under development.

  • Highview Power have an order for a 50 MW/500 MWh battery for Chile, that I wrote about in The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery.
  • East Anglia is an area, where digging deep holes is easy and some of Gravitricity’s ideas might suit.
  • I also think that eventually someone will come up with a method of storing energy using sea cliffs.

All these developments don’t require large amounts of land.

East Anglia Needs More Heavy Consumers Of Electricity

I am certainly coming to this conclusion.

Probably, the biggest use of electricity in East Anglia is the Port of Felixstowe, which will be expanding as it becomes Freeport East in partnership with the Port of Harwich.

One other obvious use could be in large data centres.

But East Anglia has never been known for industries that use a lot of electricity, like aluminium smelting.

Conversion To Hydrogen

Although the largest current electrolyser is only 24 MW, the UK’s major electrolyser builder; ITM Power, is talking of a manufacturing capacity of 5 GW per year, so don’t rule out conversion of excess electricity into hydrogen.

Conclusion

Who needs Sizewell C?

Perhaps as a replacement for Sizewell B, but it would appear there is no pressing urgency.

 

 

January 29, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Expansion Plan To Take World’s Biggest Battery Storage Project To 3GWh Capacity

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Plans to nearly double the output and capacity of the world’s biggest battery energy storage system (BESS) project to date have been announced by its owner, Vistra Energy.

The Texas-headquartered integrated utility and power generation company said it wants to add another 350MW/1,400MWh BESS to the Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility in California’s Monterey Bay.

The project is based at the Moss Landing Power Plant, which was once the largest power plant in the state of California, with a generation capacity of 2560 MW.

There appear to be three phases.

  • Phase 1 is 300MW/1,200MWh and went online at the end of 2020
  • Phase 2 is 100MW/400MWh and went online in August 2021.
  • Phase 3 will be 350MW/1,400MWh.

This gives a maximum power output of 750 MW and prospective total capacity of 3 GWh. At full power, the battery could supply 750 MW for four hours.

For comparison, the two Scottish batteries I talked about in Amp Wins Consent For 800MW Scots Battery Complex, have a combined output of 800 MW and a total capacity of 1600 MWh, which would give a full power run of two hours.

Could the difference be that Scotland has 9.3 GW of installed windpower, whereas the much larger California has only 6 GW?

Both Scotland and California also have some pumped storage power stations.

This all shows the complex integrated nature of electricity networks.

January 28, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Happens When The Wind Doesn’t Blow?

In Future Offshore Wind Power Capacity In The UK, I analysed future offshore wind power development in the waters around the UK and came to this conclusion.

It looks like we’ll be able to reap the wind. And possibly 50 GW of it! 

The unpredictable nature of wind and solar power means that it needs to be backed up with storage or some other method.

In The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery, I describe how a Highview Power CRYObattery with a capacity of 500 MWh is used to back up a large solar power station in the Atacama desert in Chile.

But to backup 50 GW is going to need a lot of energy storage.

The largest energy storage system in the UK is Electric Mountain or Dinorwig power station in Wales.

  • It has an output of 1.8 GW, which means that we’d need up to nearly thirty Electric Mountains to replace the 50 GW.
  • It has a storage capacity of 9.1 GWh, so at 1.8 GW, it can provide that output for five hours.
  • To make matters worse, Electric Mountain cost £425 million in 1974, which would be over £4 billion today, if you could fine a place to build one.

But it is not as bad as it looks.

  • Battery technology is improving all the time and so is the modelling of power networks.
  • We are now seeing large numbers of lithium-ion batteries being added to the UK power network to improve the quality of the network.
  • The first Highview Power CRYObattery with an output of 50 MW and a capacity of 250 MWh is being built at Carrington in Manchester.
  • If this full size trial is successful, I could see dozens of CRYOBatteries being installed at weak points in the UK power network.
  • Other battery technology is being developed, that might be suitable for application in the UK.

Put this all together and I suspect that it will be possible to cover on days where the wind doesn’t blow.

But it certainly will need a lot of energy storage.

Gas-Fired Power Stations As A Back Up To Renewable Power

Last summer when the wind didn’t blow, gas-fired power stations were started up to fill the gap in the electricity needed.

Gas-fired power-stations normally use gas turbines similar to those used in airliners, which have a very fast startup response, so power can be increased quickly.

If you look at the specification of proposed gas-fired power stations like Keadby2, they have two features not found in current stations.

  • The ability to be fitted in the future with carbon-capture technology.
  • The ability to be fuelled by hydrogen.

Both features would allow a gas-fired power-station to generate power in a zero-carbon mode.

Carbon Capture And Storage

I am not in favour of Carbon Capture And Storage, as I believe Carbon Capture and Use is much better and increasingly engineers, researchers and technologists are finding ways of using carbon-dioxide.

  • Feeding to tomatoes, salad vegetables, soft fruits and flowers in greenhouses.
  • Producing meat substitutes like Quorn.
  • Producing sustainable aviation fuel.
  • An Australian company called Mineral Decarbonation International can convert carbon dioxide into building products like blocks and plasterboard.

This list will grow.

Using or storing the carbon-dioxide produced from a gas-fired power station running on natural gas, will allow the fuel to be used, as a backup, when the wind isn’t blowing.

Use Of Hydrogen

Hydrogen will have the following core uses in the future.

  • Steelmaking
  • Smelting of metal ores like copper and zinc
  • As a chemical feedstock
  • Natural gas replacement in the mains.
  • Transport

Note that the first four uses could need large quantities of hydrogen, so they would probably need an extensive storage system, so that all users had good access to the hydrogen.

If we assume that the hydrogen is green and probably produced by electrolysis, the obvious place to store it would be in a redundant gas field that is convenient. Hence my belief of placing the electrolyser offshore on perhaps a redundant gas platform.

If there is high hydrogen availability, then using a gas-fired power-station running on hydrogen, is an ideal way to make up the shortfall in power caused by the low wind.

Conclusion

Batteries and gas-fired power stations can handle the shortfall in power.

January 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | 21 Comments

Cheesecake Energy Secures £1M Seed Investment

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from Cheesecake Energy.

This is the first paragraph.

Cheesecake Energy Ltd (CEL), a Nottingham, UK-based energy storage startup today announced it has raised £1M in Seed funding to fuel the development of its manufacturing capabilities and support product development of its eTanker storage system. The round was led by Imperial College Innovation Fund alongside prominent investors including Perivoli Innovations, former Jaguar Chairman, Sir John Egan and other angel investors.

And the third and fourth paragraphs describe the technology.

The company’s unique technology, dubbed eTanker, takes established compressed air energy storage concepts and revolutionises them by storing two-thirds of the electricity in the form of heat which can be stored at far lower cost. To store the energy, electric motors are used to drive compressors, which deliver high pressure air & heat into storage units. When the electricity is required, the high-pressure air and heat is passed back through the same compressor (but now working as a turbine), which turns a generator to produce electricity. The company believes its system will cut the cost of storing energy by 30-40% and offers a solution that can be used in several sectors including electric vehicle (EV) charging, heavy industry and renewable energy generation.

The startup has filed 10 patents for stationary, medium-long-duration, long-lifetime energy storage technology. It is based on innovative design work by CEL, a spin-out from over a decade of research at University of Nottingham. Employing circular economy principles, truck engines are converted into zero-emission electrical power-conversion machines for putting energy into and out of storage. Its technology brings together the low cost of thermal storage, the turnaround efficiencies of compressed air energy storage, together with the long life and robustness of a mechanical system, making a game-changing technology in a modular containerised package.

It all sounds feasible to me and if I’d have been asked, I’d have chipped in some of my pension.

The system in some ways can almost be considered a hybrid system that merges some of the principles of Highview Power’s CRYOBattery and Siemens Gamesa’s ETES system of heating large quantity of rock. Although, Cheesecake’s main storage medium is comptressed air, as opposed to the liquid air of the CRYOBattery.

One market they are targeting is the charging of fleets of electric vehicles like buses and from tales I have heard about operators of large numbers of electric buses, this could be a valuable market.

I also noted that the Press Release mentions a National Grid report, that says we will need 23 GW of energy storage by 2030. Assuming we will need to store enough electricity to provide 23 GW for five hours, that will be 115 GWh of energy storage.

At present, pumped storage is the only proven way of storing tens of GWh of energy. In 1984, after ten years of construction, Dinorwig power station (Electric Mountain) opened to provide 9.1 GWh of storage with an output of 1.8 GW.

So ideally we will need another thirteen Electric Mountains. But we don’t have the geography for conventional pumped storage! And as Electric Mountain showed, pumped storage systems are like Rome and can’t be built in a day.

Energy storage funds, like Gresham House and Gore Street are adding a large number of lithium-ion batteries to the grid, but they will only be scratching the surface of the massive amount of storage needed.

Note that at the end of 2020, Gresham House Energy Storage Fund had a fleet of 380 MWh of batteries under management, which was an increase of 200 MWh on 2019. At this rate of growth, this one fund will add 2GWh of storage by 2030. But I estimate we need 115 GWh based on National Grid’s figures.

So I can see a small number of GWh provided by the likes of Gresham House, Gore Street and other City funds going the same route.

But what these energy storage funds have proved, is that you have reliable energy storage technology, you can attract serious investment for those with millions in the piggy-bank.

I believe the outlook for energy storage will change, when a technology or engineering company proves they have a battery with a capacity of upwards of 250 MWh, with an output of 50 MW, that works reliably twenty-four hours per day and seven days per week.

I believe that if these systems are as reliable as lithium-ion, I can see no reason why City and savvy private investors money will not fund these new technology batteries, as the returns will be better than putting the money in a deposit account, with even the most reputable of banks.

At the present time, I would rate Highview Power’s CRYOBattery and Siemens Gamesa’s ETES system as the only two battery systems anywhere near to a reliable investment, that is as safe as lithium-ion batteries.

  • Both score high on being environmentally-friendly.
  • Both rely on techniques, proven over many years.
  • Both don’t need massive sites.
  • Both systems can probably be maintained and serviced in nearly all places in the world.
  • Highview Power have sold nearly a dozen systems.
  • Highview Power are building a 50 MW/250 MWh plant in Manchester.
  • Siemens Gamesa are one of the leaders in renewable energy.
  • Siemens Gamesa have what I estimate is a 130 MWh pilot plant working in Hamburg, which I wrote about in Siemens Gamesa Begins Operation Of Its Innovative Electrothermal Energy Storage System.

Other companies are also targeting this market between lithium-ion and pumped storage. Cheesecake Energy is one of them.

I believe they could be one of the winners, as they have designed a system, that stores both compressed air and the heat generated in compressing it. Simple but efficient.

I estimate that of the 115 GWh of energy storage we need before 2030, that up to 5 GWh could be provided by lithium-ion, based on the growth of installations over the last few years.

So we will need another 110 GWh of storage.

Based on  50 MW/250 MWh systems, that means we will need around 440 storage batteries of this size.

This picture from a Google Map shows Siemens Gamesa’s pilot plant in Hamburg.

I estimate that this plant is around 130 MWh of storage and occupies a site of about a football pitch, which is one hectare.

I know farmers in Suffolk, who own more land to grow wheat, than would be needed to accommodate all the batteries required.

Conclusion

I believe that National Grid will get their 23 GW of energy storage.

 

 

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment