The Anonymous Widower

Cadent Launches Report Mapping Out Routes To Hydrogen Fuelled Vehicles On UK Roads

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

This is the first paragraph.

A roadmap using hydrogen to decarbonise transport, particularly commercial transport, in the North West of the UK, has been unveiled by the country’s leading gas distribution network Cadent.

The article makes some points about hydrogen-powered transport.

  • Using Cadent’s network to deliver hydrogen, rather than tube trailers, massively reduces the cost and makes fuel cell electric cars (FCEVs) available to the general public for around the same price as a battery electric vehicle or a conventional diesel car.
  • FCEVs can travel further than battery electric vehicles and take the same time to refuel as a conventional petrol car.
  • Grid-supplied hydrogen is the most cost-effective way of supplying hydrogen transport fuel at the required volume – up to six times cheaper than if delivered by trailer and 70 per cent cheaper than electrolysis.

Cadent‘s interest in all this, is not about selling gas, as their interest and income is totalling in transporting gas from producers to end users. So they don’t care whether they transport natural gas or hydrogen.

Hydrogen Storage

The article also discloses plans of INOVYN, a wholly owned subsidiary of INEOS, to develop a grid-scale hydrogen storage facility.

It will be in salt caverns in mid-Cheshire.

It will be able to hold 2,000 tonnes of hydrogen.

It is cheaper to store hydrogen in salt caverns, than on the surface.

The salt caverns have been used to store gas for decades.

This is a quote from the INOYN spokesman.

Storage is a vital component of delivering a viable hydrogen energy system in the UK.

I only had an indirect quick glimpse underground, when I worked at ICI in the area around 1970, but ICI’s salt expert, said they had enough salt in Cheshire to last 9,000 years at the current rate of extraction.

Salt in Cheshire, is a unique geological formation, that is very valuable to the UK and it looks like in the future, thar could enable hydrogen power.

Hydrogen Generation

The hydrogen will still need to be produced. Wikipedia has an entry caslled Hydrogran Production, which is fairly dismissive of electrolysis.

But in my view, hydrogen could be produced by electrolysis using wind power, as other methods like steam reforming of methane produce carbon-dioxide.

I particularly like the idea of building wind farms in clusters around offshore gas platforms, that have extracted all the gas from the fields, they were built to serve.

  • Instead of running electricity cables to the wind farms,  hydrogen is produced by electrolysis on the platform and this is transported to the shore using the same gas infrastructure, that brought the natural gas onshore.
  • This could enable wind-farms to be developed much further offshore.
  • If carbon capture is ever successfully made to work, the existing gas pipe could also be used to transfer the carbon dioxide offshore for storage in worked-out gas fields.
  • The pipe between platform and shore could easily be made reversible, carrying hydrogen one way and carbon dioxide the other.

All of the technology required would also appear to be fully developed.

Conclusion

I am convinced that in the next few years, a hydrogen gas network can be created in parts of the UK.

The North West has advantages in becoming one of the first parts of the UK to have an extensive hydrogen network.

  • It has the means to produce hydrogen gas.
  • It has large wind farms in Liverpool Bay.
  • There are worked-out gas fields, that might in the future be used for carbon storage.
  • If INOVYN can store large quantities of hydrogen, this is a big advantage.

The biggest problem would be converting large numbers of houses and commercial premises from natural gas to hydrogen.

But, we’ve been through that process before, when we changed from town gas to natural gas in the 1960s and 1970s.

Should We Remove Gas From Our Houses?

I only use gas for heating.

  • I feel that naked flames are not a good idea to have anywhere near people, as they can produce oxides of nitrgen, that causes health problems.
  • Gas cookers are also a major cause of household fires.
  • Technology is moving against cooking with gas, as more more to electric induction hobs.
  • If you are fitting a new gas boiler, make sure it can be connected to hydrogen.

When I buy my next property, it will be all electric.

 

June 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Writing On The Wall For Oil Say Funds

The title of this post is the same as that of an article on page 37 of today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Several big fund managers believe that oil companies should shut themselves down because soon they will be impossible to invest in as the world switches to tenewable energy.

A survey of 39 fund managers with $10.2 trillion under manaement found that 24 per cent wanted the oil industry “to wind down their businesses and return cash to shareholders” All but two of the funds  said that oil stocks would not be attrative investments within ten years if they failed to respond to climate risks.

It’s pretty strong stuff.

So could we see a reduction in the use of oil and gas as a fuel?

In some countries including Denmark, Iceland, the United Kingdom and the United States, renewable energy is growing at a good rate.

The UK did draw the full set, in being blessed with the full set of coal, oil, wind, wave and tidal. We also have a bit of geothermal, hydro and solar.

We will still extract coal, gas and oil, but not for fuel.

  • Very high quality coal is needed for steel-making, where carbon-capture could be used.
  • Gas and oil are used as chemical feedstock for plastics, everyday chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Hydrogen gas, produced by electrolysis for use as fuel,  a chemical feedstock and central heating.

Shell have already purchased First Energy, who are a domestic energy supplier in the UK, so are they getting out of oil?

Are fund managers and oil companies starting to go in the same direction, with a lot of the world’s drivers sticking slavishly to petrol and the dreaded diesel?

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , | 1 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

Ban Gas Hobs And Heating In Six Years, Ministers Told

The title of this post is the same as that as an article on the front page of yesterday’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Gas boilers and cookers should be banned in new homes within six years to meet Britain’s legally binding emissions targets, the government’s climate change advisory body recommends today.

I don’t like gas, as I find that naked gas flames affect my health, so I cook electric.

In addition to its role in carbon dioxide production, I don’t like the safety problems with gas.

Would the Grenfell disaster have been so serious, if there had been no gas in the building?

 

February 22, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | 2 Comments

Funding Nemo: £600m Power Cable Connects UK And Belgium

The title of this post is the same as this article in The Guardian.

This is the first paragraph.

A £600m cable connecting the UK and Belgium’s energy systems is about to be switched on, becoming the first of a new generation of interconnectors that will deepen the UK’s ties to mainland Europe just as it prepares to leave the EU.

It runs between Richborough in Kent and Zeebrugge in Belgium and is the fifth interconnector to be connected to Great Britain.

Other interconnectors connect to Ireland, Northern Ireland, France and the Netherlands.

In Large Scale Electricity Interconnection, I discuss the rest of the interconnectors, that are being constructed or planned.

We could see up to fifteen in operation in a few years.

As to Nemo, it was originally thought that the UK would be importing energy from Belgium, but as Belgium needs to service its nuclear power stations and will be shutting them in the next few years, the power will sometimes be flowing the other way. Especially, as more large wind farms come on stream in the UK!

It is my view that Icelink could change everything and Belgium’s possible future power shortage, makes Icelink for likely.

Wikipedia describes the interconnector between Iceland and Scotland like this.

At 1000–1200 km, the 1000 MW HVDC link would be the longest sub-sea power interconnector in the world.

As more interconnectors are built between the UK and the Continent, including a possible link between Peterhead in North-East Scotland to Stavanger in Norway, which is called NorthConnect, the UK will begin to look like a giant electricity sub-station, that connects all the zero-carbon power sources together.

  • Denmark will supply wind power.
  • France will supply nuclear power.
  • Iceland will supply hydro-electric and geothermal power.
  • Norway will supply hydro-electric power.
  • The UK will supply nuclear and wind power.

Other sources like wind power from France and Ireland and tidal and wave power from the UK could be added to the mix in the next decade.

The Consequences For Gas

Our use of gas to generate electricity in Western Europe will surely decline.

If projects, like those I discussed in Can Abandoned Mines Heat Our Future?, come on stream to provide heat, the role of gas in providing heating in housing and other buildings will decline in the UK.

We also shouldn’t forget the role of hydrogen, which could also replace natural gas in many applications. It would be created by electrolysis of water or as a by-product of some industrial processes.

Hydrogen could also become a valuable way of storing excess electricity produced by tidal, wave and wind power.

It is unlikely, we will develop a totally gas-free economy, as methane is a valuable chemical feedstock to produce other chemical products we need.

Conclusion

Not many people will be sorry, except for President Putin and a few equally nasty despots in the Middle East.

 

 

 

 

December 7, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spark Energy Supply Ceases Trading

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

The important thing in the BBC’s post is this section.

Ovo Energy has confirmed it has entered into a conditional agreement to buy the company and take on its customers.

Ofgem said the energy supply for Spark’s 290,000 customers would continue as normal.

It advised customers to take meter readings, and said outstanding credit balances would be protected.

It appears that the safety-net is working.

Incidentally, I am a customer of OVO and I have had no problems, except with getting my smart meter installed.

I also have several friends, who chose OVO independently of me, who don’t seem to be having problems.

So hopefully, Spark Energy Supply’s customers will be looked after professionally.

Conclusion

My advice to anybody affected by the failure of Spark Energy or any other energy company, is make sure you have all your information with the meter numbers together.

Then sit tight for a few weeks and see how it all goes, before choosing a new supplier if you feel you need one.

It might also be a good idea to listen to Paul Lewis on Radio 4’s Moneybox today.

November 24, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | 2 Comments

Could Hydrogen Replace Natural Gas In Domestic Properties?

This post was suggested by this article on the Chronicle Live, which is entitled Thousands of Tyneside Homes Could Be Fuelled By Hydrogen Under £22bn Plan.

This is the first three paragraphs.

Thousands of homes across Tyneside and the wider North East could be converted to run on hydrogen in an effort to hit climate change targets.

The H21 North of England report, published today, has called for more than 700,000 homes across Tyneside and Teesside to be converted to run on hydrogen by 2034.

The moves have been proposed by Northern Gas Networks, which supplies gas to the North East, and its North West and Midlands counterpart Cadent, in association with Norwegian energy company Equinor.

It would be feasible to convert houses from natural gas to hydrogen.

In fact, there is a small proportion of hydrogen in natural gas anyway.

But just because it is feasible, it doesn’t mean it is a good idea.

Who Pays?

Consumers would feel, that they shouldn’t pay any more.

Conversion

I remember being converted from town to natural gas in the 1970s.

We only had an ancient gas cooker and conversion was not a problem, but what will happen, if your boiler or cooker is not convertible?

New Technologies

I don’t like gas cookers, so in my current house, I only have a four-year-old modern boiler, so houses like mine wouldn’t be a problem.

Also according to various people, I’ve met, the trend in cookers is to go to induction appliances, which would take a variable out of the conversion equation.

I see lots of new housing and other construction, advertised as low energy, with high insulation levels and solar panels everywhere.

Add in innovative district heating systems and I can see new housing being built without the need of a gas supply.

This must surely be safer, as gas does seems to cause a lot of deaths in homes.

Just Say No!

So what happens, if you say no and your area is being converted to hydrogen?

Do you lose your gas supply?

Creation Of The Hydrogen

This article on the Internet is entitled Northern Gas Networks: One Company’s Ambitious Plan To Cut Carbon Emissions For An Entire Nation.

This is said about the creation of the hydrogen.

The first step is getting access to enough hydrogen. The most widely used method to produce hydrogen is steam-methane reforming, which involves reacting methane (CH4) with high-temperature steam (H2O), which creates carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2). But hydrogen isn’t a clean fuel if that carbon dioxide is put into the atmosphere. So the reactor which produces hydrogen will have to be paired with carbon capture and storage, a process where carbon dioxide is captured before it enters the air, and then pumped underground for safe, permanent storage.

Companies, politicians and academics have been waffling on about carbon capture and storage for decades and I believe at the present time, it is one of those technologies, which is akin to burning large numbers of fifty pound notes.

I do think that at some point in the future, a clever chemist will design a chemical plant, where carbon dioxide goes in one end and sheets, rods or components of carbon fibre, graphene or other carbon form come out the other end.

In my view it is much better to not create the carbon dioxide in the first place.

The obvious way is to use surplus wind power to electrolyse water and produce hydrogen. It is a clean process and the only by-product is oxygen, which no-one has yet flagged up as dangerous.

Conclusion

The objective of this project may be laudable, but there is a lot of development and thinking that needs to be done.

 

November 23, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | 5 Comments

Steam Methane Reforming

In The Liverpool Manchester Hydrogen Clusters Project, I used an extract that describes the project.

This was a paragraph from the extract.

It proposes converting natural gas into clean-burning hydrogen gas, using a process called steam methane reforming. The process also removes CO2 from the gas, which can then be captured using existing carbon and capture storage technology and stored in depleted offshore gas reservoirs.

So what is steam methane reforming?

Methane is a chemical compound consisting of one carbon and four hydrogen atoms, that is the major component of natural gas.

This first paragraph is from the Wikipedia entry for steam reforming.

Steam reforming is a method for producing hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or other useful products from hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas. This is achieved in a processing device called a reformer which reacts steam at high temperature with the fossil fuel. The steam methane reformer is widely used in industry to make hydrogen. There is also interest in the development of much smaller units based on similar technology to produce hydrogen as a feedstock for fuel cells. Small-scale steam reforming units to supply fuel cells are currently the subject of research and development, typically involving the reforming of methanol, but other fuels are also being considered such as propane, gasoline, autogas, diesel fuel, and ethanol.

If the process has a problem, it is that is produces carbon dioxide, which in the case of the Liverpool Manchester Hydrogen Clusters Project is captured and will be stored depleted gas reservoirs.

April 10, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Electricity Shake-Up Could Save Consumers ‘up to £40bn’

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

The electricity shake-up was forecast in yesterday’s Sunday Times and I wrote about it in Giant Batteries To Store Green Energy.

In We Need More Electricity, I talked about what RWE are doing to create an all-purpose Energy Centre at Tilbury.

The Tilbury Energy Centre will feature.

  • Efficient energy generation from natural gas.
  • Substantial energy storage.
  • Peak energy production from natural gas.
  • Load balancing of wind power with storage and generation from natural gas.

But I suspect, it will get involved in other advanced techniques, like using carbon dioxide to get greenhouse fruit and vegetables to grow quicker.

The electricity market is changing.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | News, World | , , , | Leave a comment

We Need More Electricity

Everything we do, seems to need more and more electricity.

We are greening our transport and every electric train, car, bus and truck will need to be charged.

Unless it is hydrogen-powered, in which case we’ll need electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Computing and the Internet needs more electricity and is leading to companies putting server farms in countries like Iceland, where there are Gigawatts of low-cost electricity.

We’re also using more energy hungry equipment like air-conditioning and some household appliances.

And then there’s industry, where some processes like metal smelting need lots of electricity.

At least developments like LED lighting and energy harvesting are helping to cut our use.

Filling The Gap

How are we going to fill our increasing energy gap?

Coal is going and rightly so!

A lot of nuclear power stations, which once built don’t create more carbon dioxide, are coming to the end of their lives. But the financial and technical problems of building new ones seem insoluble. Will the 3,200 MW Hinckley Point C ever be built?

That 3,200 MW size says a lot about the gap.

It is the sort of number that renewables, like wind and solar will scarcely make  a dent in.

Unfortunately, geography hasn’t donated us the terrain for the massive hydroelectric schemes , that are the best way to generate loe-carbon electricity.

Almost fifty years ago, I worked briefly for Frederick Snow and Partners, who were promoting a barrage of the River |Severn. I wrote about my experiences in The Severn Barrage and I still believe , that this should be done, especially as if done properly, it would also do a lot to tame the periodic flooding of the River.

The Tilbury Energy Centre

An article in The Times caught my eye last week with the headline of Tilbury Planned As Site Of UK’s Biggest Gas-Fired Power Station.

It said that RWE were going to build a massive 2,500 MW gas-fired power station.

This page on the RWE web site is entitled Tilbury Energy Centre.

This is from that page.

RWE Generation is proposing to submit plans to develop Tilbury Energy Centre at the former Tilbury B Power Station site. The development would include the potential for a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station with capacity of up to 2,500 Megawatts, 100 MW of energy storage facility and 300MW of open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGT). The exact size and range of these technologies will be defined as the project progresses, based on an assessment of environmental impacts, as well as market and commercial factors.

The development consent application will also include a 3km gas pipeline that will connect the proposed plant to the transmission network which runs to the east of the Tilbury power station. The proposed CCGT power station would be located on the coal stock yard at the site of the former power station, but would be physically much smaller than its predecessor (a coal/biomass plant).

I will now look at the various issues.

Carbon Dioxide

But what about all that carbon dioxide that will be produced?

This is the great dilemma of a gas-powered power-station of this size.

But the advantage of natural gas over coal is that it contains several hydrogen atoms, which produce pure water under combustion. The only carbon in natural gas is the one carbon atom in methane, where it is joined to four hydrogen atoms.

Compared to burning coal, burning natural gas creates only forty percent of the carbon dioxide in creating the same amount of energy.

If you look at Drax power station, which is a 3,960 MW station, it produces a lot of carbon dioxide, even though it is now fuelled with a lot of imported biomass.

On the other hand, we could always eat the carbon dioxide.

This document on the Horticultural Development Council web site, is entitled Tomatoes: Guidelines for CO2 enrichment – A Grower Guide.

This and other technologies will be developed for the use of waste carbon-dioxide in the next couple of decades.

The great advantage of a gas-fired power station, is that, unlike coal, there are little or no impurities in the feedstock.

The Site

This Google Map shows the site, to the East of Tilbury Docks.

Note that the site is in the South East corner of the map, with its jetty for coal in the River.

These pictures show the area.

The CCGT power station would be built to the North of the derelict Tilbury B power station. I’ll repeat what RWE have said.

The proposed CCGT power station would be located on the coal stock yard at the site of the former power station, but would be physically much smaller than its predecessor (a coal/biomass plant).

Hopefully, when complete, it will improve the area behind partially Grade II* Listed Tilbury Fort.

Another development in the area is the Lower Thames Crossing, which will pass to the East of the site of the proposed power station. As this would be a tunnel could this offer advantages in the design of electricity and gas connections to the power station.

What Is A CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) Power Station?

Combined cycle is described well but in a rather scientific manner in Wikipedia. This is the first paragraph.

In electric power generation a combined cycle is an assembly of heat engines that work in tandem from the same source of heat, converting it into mechanical energy, which in turn usually drives electrical generators. The principle is that after completing its cycle (in the first engine), the temperature of the working fluid engine is still high enough that a second subsequent heat engine may extract energy from the waste heat that the first engine produced. By combining these multiple streams of work upon a single mechanical shaft turning an electric generator, the overall net efficiency of the system may be increased by 50–60%. That is, from an overall efficiency of say 34% (in a single cycle) to possibly an overall efficiency of 51% (in a mechanical combination of two cycles) in net Carnot thermodynamic efficiency. This can be done because heat engines are only able to use a portion of the energy their fuel generates (usually less than 50%). In an ordinary (non combined cycle) heat engine the remaining heat (e.g., hot exhaust fumes) from combustion is generally wasted.

Thought of simply, it’s like putting a steam generator on the hot exhaust of your car and using the steam generated to create electricity.

The significant figures are that a single cycle has an efficiency of say 34%, whereas a combined cycle could be possibly as high as 51%.

In a section in the Wikipedia entry called Efficiency of CCGT Plants, this is said.

The most recent[when?] General Electric 9HA can attain 41.5% simple cycle efficiency and 61.4% in combined cycle mode, with a gas turbine output of 397 to 470MW and a combined output of 592MW to 701MW. Its firing temperature is between 2,600 and 2,900 °F (1,430 and 1,590 °C), its overall pressure ratio is 21.8 to 1 and is scheduled to be used by Électricité de France in Bouchain. On April 28, 2016 this plant was certified by Guinness World Records as the worlds most efficient combined cycle power plant at 62.22%. The Chubu Electric’s Nishi-ku, Nagoya power plant 405MW 7HA is expected to have 62% gross combined cycle efficiency.

There is also a section in the Wikipedia entry called Boosting Efficiency, where this is said.

The efficiency of CCGT and GT can be boosted by pre-cooling combustion air. This is practised in hot climates and also has the effect of increasing power output. This is achieved by evaporative cooling of water using a moist matrix placed in front of the turbine, or by using Ice storage air conditioning. The latter has the advantage of greater improvements due to the lower temperatures available. Furthermore, ice storage can be used as a means of load control or load shifting since ice can be made during periods of low power demand and, potentially in the future the anticipated high availability of other resources such as renewables during certain periods.

So is the location of the site by the Thames, important because of all that cold water.

But surely using surplus electricity to create ice, which is then used to improve the efficiency of the power produced from gas is one of those outwardly-bonkers, but elegant ideas, that has a sound scientific and economic case.

It’s not pure storage of electricity as in a battery or at Electric Mountain, but it allows spare renewable energy to be used profitably for electricity generators, consumers and the environment.

The location certainly isn’t short of space and it is close to some of the largest wind-farms in the UK in the Thames Estuary, of which the London Array alone has a capacity of 630 MW.

Wikipedia also has a section on an Integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC), where a CCGT power station is combined with a solar array.

I can’t see RWE building a new CCGT plant without using the latest technology and the highest efficiency.

Surely the higher the efficiency, the  less carbon dioxide is released for a given amount of electricity.

Building A CCGT Power Station

The power station itself is just a big building, where large pieces of machinery can be arranged and connected together to produce electricity.

To get an idea of scale of power stations, think of the original part of Tate Modern in London, which was the turbine hall of the Bankside power station, which generated 300 MW.

Turbines are getting smaller and more powerful, so I won’t speculate on the size of RWE’s proposed 2,500 MW station.

It will also only need a gas pipe in and a cable to connect the station to the grid. There is no need to use trains or trucks to deliver fuel.

Wikipedia has a section entitled Typical Size Of CCGT Plants, which says this.

For large-scale power generation, a typical set would be a 270 MW primary gas turbine coupled to a 130 MW secondary steam turbine, giving a total output of 400 MW. A typical power station might consist of between 1 and 6 such sets.

I feel that this raises interesting questions about the placement of single unit CCGT power stations.

It also means that at somewhere like Tilbury, you can build the units as required in sequence, provided the services are built with the first unit.

So on a large site like Tilbury, the building process can be organised in the best way posible and we might find that the station is expanded later.

RWE say this on their web site.

The exact size and range of these technologies will be defined as the project progresses, based on an assessment of environmental impacts, as well as market and commercial factors.

That sounds like a good plan to me!

100 MW Of Energy Storage At Tilbury

RWE’s plan also includes 100 MW of energy storage, although they say market and commercial factors could change this.

Energy storage is the classic way to bridge shortages in energy, when demand rises suddenly, as cin the classic half-time drinks in the Cup inal.

In Wikipedia’s list of energy storage projects, there are some interesting developments.

The Hornsdale Wind Farm in Australia has the following.

  • 99 wind turbines.
  • A total generating capacity of 315 MW.

Elon Musk is building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery next door with a capacity of 129 MwH

But those energy storage projects aren’t all about lithium-ion batteries.

Several like Electric Mountain in Wales use pumped storage and others use molten salt.

Essex doesn’t have the mountains for the former and probably the geology for the latter.

But the technology gets better all the time, so who knows what technology will be used?

The intriguing idea is the one I mentioned earlier to make ice to cool the air to improve the efficiency of the CCGT power station.

What Is The Difference Between A CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) And An OCGT (Open Cycle Gas Turbine) Power Station?

RWE have said that they will provide 300 MW of 300MW of Open Cycle Gas Turbines, so what is the difference.

This page from the MottMacdonald web site gives a useful summary.

OCGT plants are often used for the following applications:

  • Providing a peak lopping capability
  • As a back- up to wind and solar power
  • As phase 1 to generate revenue where phase 2 may be conversion to a CCGT

CCGT plants offer greater efficiency.

I’ve also read elsewhere, that OCGT plants can use a much wider range of fuel. Used cooking oil?

Conclusion

There is a lot more to this than building a 2,500 MW gas-fired power station.

RWE will be flexible and I think we could see a very different mix to the one they have proposed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 23, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment