The Anonymous Widower

Engie Partners Innovate UK For £4 Million Energy Transition Competition

The title of this post is the same as this article on Current News.

  • This is an interesting link-up between the UK Government Agency; Innovate UK and the French energy giant; Engie.
  • Wikipedia defines energy transition as a long-term structural change in energy systems.
  • It is the first time Innovate UK has secured overseas private funding.
  • It aims to fund the very best of \british innovation in clean growth innovation.
  • Grants of between £100,000 and £1.2 million will be awarded.
  • There appears to be no mention of Brexit!

It looks to me, like a very strong endorsement of British innovation and the British energy industry by the French.

I also think, that if there is one industry where the British and the French should be linked, it is energy.

The UK has the following energy sources and resources.

  • Offshore and onshore oil and gas.
  • Redundant gas fields for carbon capture and storage.
  • Offshore and onshore wind.
  • Large areas of sea for offshore wind.
  • We have 8,183 MW of installed offshore wind capacity, which is the largest in the world.
  • The possibilities of tidal and wave power from a long Western coast.
  • Vast experience in building off-shore structures in some of the worst weather on the planet.
  • Interconnectors to Norway and Iceland to import their surplus geothermal and hydroelectric energy.

Could we become a renewable-energy powerhouse?

The French have the following.

  • Nuclear power, some of which will need replacing.
  • Only 500 MW of offshore wind.
  • More solar power than we have.
  • Easy connection to North Africa for solar power.

But in some ways, most important is the several interconnectors between the UK and France, with more planned.

Conclusion

Between the UK and France, with help from Ireland, Spain and Portugal, can develop a massive Western European renewable energy powerhouse, backed  by the following, non-renewable or external sources.

  • French nuclear power.
  • North African solar.
  • Icelandic geothermal power
  • Icelandic hydro-electric power
  • Norwegian hydro-electric power

It should be noted that in a few years, the UK will have joined Iceland, Norway and North Africa outside of the European Union.

I believe that Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hedge Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and other individuals, groups and organisations will increasingly see renewable energy as good places for long-term investment of their funds.

The two big problems are as follows.

  • What happens when all these renewable energy sources are producing more energy than we can use?
  • What happens when there is an energy deficit?

Energy storage is the solution, but the amount needed is massive.

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I looked at the mathematics in using car parks for electric cars for energy storage.

These are a few figures.

  • Electric Mountain is the UK’s largest electricity storage scheme with a capacity of 9.1 GWh.
  • The largest battery in the world is the Bath County Pumped Storage Station with a capacity of 24 GWh, which works on similar principles to Electric Mountain.
  • Building another Electric Mountain would cost £1350 million, if we could find somewhere to put it.

But supposing half the 35.5 million cars and light goods vehicles in the UK were replaced by new electric vehicles containing a battery of around 20 kWh, that would be a total storage of 355 GWh or nearly forty Electric Mountains.

Conclusion

Harnessing all of these batteries will be an enormous challenge, but it will be ideas like this, that will enable the world to go carbon neutral by 2050.

But I don’t think we’ll ever see Trump or Xi Jinping in an electric limousine..

 

June 21, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shape Of Solar Farms To Come

This article on Renew Energy is entitled Gannawarra Battery-Integrated Solar Farm – Australia’s Largest – Officially Opened.

These are the first two paragraphs.

The Gannawarra solar and energy storage project near Kerang in western Victoria has had its official launch on Friday, to mark the largest pairing of a solar farm and a grid-scale battery system in Australia.

State energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio officially anointed the landmark project, which has combined 60MW of PV panels and a 25MW/50MWh battery system – Tesla’s second-biggest battery in the country so far.

Form the video in the areticle, it appears that there are 120 hectares of solar panels and the farm provides enough electricity for 25,000 homes.

It is an interesting concept and I’m sure it will be repeated around the world.

Ausralia has lots of sun, but there is no reason, why a similar system can’t be developed with tidal, wave or wind power.

June 18, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt To Power Europe By Underwater Cable

The title of this post is the same as that of a short news item on page 32 of today’s Times.

Egypt appears to be using gas from four new offshoregas fields to generate the power.

But surely, they could also use solar, as I’ve heard Egypt gets a lot of sun!

I do think though, that countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco, which are all reasonably close to Europe could generate substantial amounts of solar power, which could then be exported to the North, through undersea cables, which are not very long using today’s technology.

I also think, that solar power will grow Southwards from the countries bordering the Mediterranean.

Will these basket case countries like Sudan, Mauritania, Somalia and Chad, acquire both an income and the electricity they need to improve the lot of their people?

Whether, their people will benefit, is another question, but Europe’s need for green energy could be the need, that these countries will fill, using unproductive desert.

I also think, there’s scope to combine solar farms with agriculture in the shade to create the food they need.

Read Solar Farms And Biodiversity on Solar Power Portal.

May 24, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Different Energy Storage Technology

Recently, two articles on the web have been caught in my Google alerts.

Both articles are about energy storage using a Vanadium Redox Flow Battery.

This is a paragraph from the Bushveld article.

The project will be implemented in two phases for a total of 1 400 MWh of energy storage capacity – 800 MWh in Phase 1 and an additional 600 MWh in Phase 2.

When you consider that with lithium-ion technology battery capacity is normally talked about in kWH, these are impressive amounts of stored energy.

Reading the Wikipedia post shows that the batteries rely on toxic chemicals like sulphuric acid and vanadium oxide, which would probably rule out mobile applications.

Conclusion

Having read all the two articles and the Wikipedia entry, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some form of technology like this emerge for large scale energy storage to back up intermittent power sources like solar, wind and wave.

 

May 7, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Britain Hoes A Record Five Days Without Burning Coal

The title of this post came from an article in Tuesday’s Times!

It says it all!

Good isn’t it!

Although it’s probably not true, as there must be a few blacksmiths, who used coke to shoe a few horses.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | 1 Comment

Battery Storage Backers Energized By Prospect Of New Tax Credit

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Bloomberg Tax

  • Thirty percent tax relief would be provided for energy storage.
  • It might also stand a chance of becoming law in the US.

Read the article and question as I did, that tax relief may be the best way to get investors to build energy storage to keep the lights on, when the wind’s not blowing and the sun’s not shining.

April 20, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Dutch Plan For Hydrogen

The Dutch Plan For Hydrogen

I have cut this out of The Train Station At The Northern End Of The Netherlands, so don’t read if if you’ve read it before.

Searching Google for hydrogen around Groningen, I found this document on the Internet, which is entitled Green Hydrogen Economy In The Northern Netherlands.

It is a fascinating read about what you can do with hydrogen generated from wind and biomass.

This is a sentence from the document.

Large scale green hydrogen product.ion together with harbor transport and storage facilities will be located at Eemshaven, with green chemicals production in Delfzijl

It is an ambitious statement.

Eemshaven

It also appears that Eemshaven will be the main connection point for electricity from offshore wind farms. This is said.

In the Eemshaven an offshore electricity cable from Norway, the NorNed cable with a capacity of 700 MW, comes on land. The Cobra cable, with a capacity of 700 MW, from Denmark is foreseen to connect at the Eemshaven to the onshore grid. The Gemini wind farm is connected to the grid in the Eemshaven with a capacity of 600 MW. Within 10 years it is foreseen that another 4.000 MW offshore wind will have their electricity cable to the Eemshaven.

Does all this explain, the building of a station at Eemshaven? Delfzijl station was built in 1883 and has its own connection to Groningen.

The following proposed actions are from the document

Build A 1,000 MW Electrolysis Plant

This is an extract from the  of the document.

A 1.000 MW electrolysis plant that runs 8.000 hours a year, uses 8 billion kWh and 1,5 million m3 pure water to produce 160 million kg Hydrogen. A reverse osmosis plant has to produce the 1.5 million m3 pure water, using sea water or surface water as input. If an electricity price of 2‐2,5 €ct/kWh and a total investment between 500 million and 1 billion Euro with a 10 year life time is assumed, a green hydrogen cost price around 2‐3 €/kg will be the result. This is about competitive with present hydrogen prices, produced from natural gas by steam reforming.

How much energy is contained in a Kg of hydrogen?

This page on IdealHY says the following.

Hydrogen is an excellent energy carrier with respect to weight. 1 kg of hydrogen contains 33.33 kWh of usable energy, whereas petrol and diesel only hold about 12 kWh/kg.

At three euros for a kilogram of hydrogen, that works out at nine euro cents for a kWh.

Build A 1000 MW Biomass Gasification Plant

The title is a section in the document and this is an extract from the section.

Green hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis using green electricity, but can be produced also from biomass via gasification. Biomass gasifiers use solid biomass as an input and deliver a green syngas, a mixture of hydrogen, carbon‐monoxide (CO) and carbon‐dioxide (CO2), and char as an output. The CO could be used, together with water (H2O), to produce extra hydrogen. The resulting products from biomass gasification are green hydrogen and CO2. However, from CO2 and green hydrogen every chemical product could be produced. Therefore, the combination of green hydrogen and CO2 or green syngas creates the opportunity for a fully green chemical industry in the Northern Netherlands.

The process is still being developed. My first question, is can you use animal manure as a feedstock? It should be noted that The Netherlands used to have a very large and smelly manure problem.

Offshore Hydrogen Production From Far Offshore Wind Farms

The title is a section in the document and this is an extract from the section.

Offshore wind farms produce electricity which can be brought onshore via an electricity cable. Such an offshore electricity cable is expensive. The farther offshore the wind farm is located the more expensive the electricity cable cost. At the North Sea, an alternative solution for these wind farms is to convert the electricity into hydrogen at an existing oil/gas platform and to transport this hydrogen eventually mixed with gas via an existing gas pipeline. Onshore the hydrogen is separated from the natural gas and cleaned to be transported via pipeline, ship or truck to the markets.

I think that the technology and existing infrastructure could be made to work successfully.

  • Europe has over fifty years experience of handling offshore gas networks.
  • Recent developments have seen the emergence of floating wind turbines.
  • Would it be easier to refurbish redundant gas platforms and use them to collect electricity and create hydrogen, rather than demolish them?
  • Hydrogen is only produced when the wind blows.
  • There is no need to store electricity and we’ve been storing gas since the Victorians.

There will be problems, like the integrity of an ageing pipeline, but I suspect that the expertise to solve them exists.

Will there be a North Sea, where every part has a large wind farm?

Note that the Hornsea Wind Farm has an area of 1830 square miles and could generate around 6 GW, when fully developed.You could fit 120 wind farms of this size into the North Sea. Even if only a small proportion could be developed, a sizeable amount of hydrogen could be produced.

A Market For 300,000‐tonnes Green Methanol + 300,000‐tonnes Green Ammonia

The title is a section in the document and this is an extract from the section.

Hydrogen (H2) and Carbon‐dioxide (CO2) can be used in chemical processes to produce a wide variety of chemical products. Two of the main building blocks in chemistry are methanol and ammonia. Methanol can be produced from H2 and CO2. Ammonia is produced from H2 and nitrogen (N2), captured from the air.

Wind power and biomass have been used tp create the basic chemicals for the petro-chemical industry.

The Construction Of Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Balanced Data Centres

The title is a section in the document and this is an extract from the section.

Google builds a very large data center in the Eemshaven, see picture below. The reasons for Google to choose for the Eemshaven are the existence of an offshore data cable, enough space and green electricity. Google as well as other companies that install and operate data centers wants to run on green electricity. Therefore, Google has signed a power purchase agreement with Eneco to buy green electricity for 10 years. For this reason, Eneco builds an onshore wind farm nearby. On a yearly average this wind farm produces enough electricity to meet the data center demand.
However, supply and demand are not at every time in balance. At moments that there is no wind, other power plants must take over the electricity supply. Now, these are fossil fired power plants.

In future, these power plants will be closed and supply and demand needs to be balanced in another way. And of course, that needs to be done with renewable electricity. This can be done by fuel cells fueled with green hydrogen. Fuel cells can follow demand and supply variations very fast with high efficiencies. Fuel cells are quiet and have no emissions, except very clean, demineralized, water.

I like this concept.

Surely, we could build a few data centres in places like Lincolnshire.

Build A Pipeline to Rotterdam And Germany

The Dutch have ambitious plans to export the hydrogen.

Other Ideas

The report is full of clever ideas and I suggest you take the time to read it fully!

Hydrogen Trains In The Northern Netherlands

The document says this about trains powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

In the Northern Netherlands, 50 diesel trains are daily operated on non‐electric lines. These trains, operated by ARRIVA have two or three carriages and a power of 450‐600KW supplied by Diesel‐Electric engines. Fuel cell‐electric hydrogen trains could replace these diesel trains. Alstom is a company that builds these fuel cell hydrogen trains and will perform a test next year on the line Groningen‐Bremen. Because the depreciation time for trains is 25 years, not all trains will be bought new. Some trains may need to be retrofitted with fuel cell‐electric power supply, which is technically feasible. When all these 50 diesel trains are replaced an investment in new and retrofitted trains of about …? Million Euros is needed. The total hydrogen consumption of these trains is about 5,000 ton.

These points are shown in a table.

  • Total (diesel) trains in the Northern Netherlands is 50 units
  • Hydrogen consumption approximately 25 kg H2/100km
  • Train operations average 6 days per week. Train is operated approximately 1.200 km per day, based on two times per hour per trajectory of 50km.
  • Train operations average 6 days per week. 330 days per year.
  • Capital expenditure per train approximately …. ? 50 Units  …? Million Euro
  • 50,000 tonnes of hydrogen will be needed.
  • The fuel bill at three euros a Kg will be 150 million euro.

Would this be economic?

From various comments, I suspect that Stadler are working on a hydrogen-powered GTW.

But failing that, as Stadler are developing a diesel/electric/battery Flirt for the South Wales Metro and some of the routes from Groningen are only about 30 km, I wouldn’t be surprised to see diesel/electric/battery GTWs running across the flat lands of the North.

Battery trains could be fitted with pantographs and recharge in Groningen, where most of the platforms are electrified.

There are a lot of possibilities and engineers will come up with the best solution with regards to operation and economics.

Conclusion

Thr Dutch have big plans for a hydrogen-based economy in the North of the Netherlands.

Where is the UK Government’s master plan for hydrogen?

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Heat From HS2 Trains Will Warm 500 New Homes

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the third paragraph.

HS2 Ltd, the company building the  £56 billion high-speed line, has produced plans to recycle waste heat from the electric motors and brakes of trains approaching and departing from a £1 billion “super hub” station at Old Oak Common, near Willesden, North West London.

Other points from the article include.

  • Five air source heat pumps will be used.
  • , Each heat pump costs around £11,400.
  • The carbon footprint of each house could be reduced by a fifth.
  • Plans are at an early stage, but the technology is proven.
  • Similar technology could be applied to tunnels on the Northern routes to Leeds and Manchester.

I can only see one problem with the idea.

The companies bidding to make the trains for HS2, will design trains with the following features.

  • Highly-efficient aerodynamics of both trains and tunnels, to reduce energy losses and power required to move the train.
  • Regenerative braking to onboard electricity storage.
  • Train systems like air-conditioning, lighting and toilets that use smaller amounts of electricity.

HS2 will also draw heavily on proven  innovative ideas from similar projects, to reduce the energy used by the trains, whether in the tunnels or the open.

But, I would also suspect that HS2’s proposal is based on a good assessment of the energy dissipated by the trains.

 

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Insurers Seek Rule Change To Invest In Green Power

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

The mouthpiece for the insurance industry has called on the regulator to overhaul rules to make it easier to invest in green energy projects, such as wind farms and solar power.

Green energy projects are bad investments for the first few years, as they just burn money during construction. After that, the wind or solar farm, just produces electricity, which gives an adequate return fpr perhaps around thirty years.

As the rules stand, the returns in the construction phase are a dodgy investment.

The Prudential Regulation Authority, who make the rules, was setup in 2013, with probably a bunch of dinosaurs drawing up the rules, based on the past not the future.

These figures show the total energy generated by wind power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 5.4 GHh
  • 2009 – 6.3 GWh
  • 2010 – 7.9 GWh
  • 2011 – 12.7 GWh
  • 2012 – 20.7 GWh
  • 2013 – 24.5 GWh
  • 2014 – 28.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 40.4 GWh
  • 2016 – 37.4 GWh
  • 2017 – 49.6 GWh

Note

  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by wind power has doubled.
  2. In 2017, seventeen percent of our electricity was generated by wind.

These figures show the total energy generated by solar power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 0.17 GHh
  • 2009 – 0.20 GWh
  • 2010 – .0.33 GWh
  • 2011 – 2.6 GWh
  • 2012 – 1.3 GWh
  • 2013 – 2.0 GWh
  • 2014 – 4.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 7.6 GWh
  • 2016 – 10.3 GWh
  • 2017 – 11.5 GWh

Note

  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by solar power has increased fivefold.
  2. In 2017, 3.4 percent of our electricity was generated by the sun.

This paragraph from Wind Power In The UK on Wikipedia, shows the major growth in offshore wind power.

The total offshore wind power capacity installed in the United Kingdom as of February 2019 is 8,183 MW, the largest in the world. The United Kingdom became the world leader of offshore wind power generation in October 2008 when it overtook Denmark. It also has the largest offshore wind farm in the world, the 175-turbine London Array wind farm, located off the Kent coast.

I don’t think the Prudential Regulation Authority saw that one coming.

Conclusion

The rules should be changed

 

 

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Government Turns Up Power On Offshore Wind

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in yesterday’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

A third of British electricity will be generated by offshore wind farms by 2030 under government plans.

Although Jeremy Corbyn said he would reopen coal mines a couple of years ago, I can’t see a change of Government stopping this.

A few other points from the article.

  • Last year offshore wind produced about eight percent of our electricity needs.
  • The offshore wind energy industry has said it will raise UK content from 48 to 60 percent.
  • The industry has promised to invest £250million in the supply chain.
  • There are 1,900 turbines in British waters, which can generate 8GW.
  • Another 6GW will come on stream by 2022-23.
  • Another 16GW are in the planning stage.

The author feels that as costs are reducing, this is driving the investment.

Conclusion

We have a very windy future.

 

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment