The Anonymous Widower

UK Energy Exports To Europe At Record High

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Britain has exported record amounts of gas to Europe so far this year as its liquefied natural gas terminals receive shipments destined for the Continent.

Electricity exports also have surged to unprecedented highs in recent weeks after an unexpected glut of gas pushed down short-term gas prices and resulted in gas-fired power plants generating more for export.

Who’d have thought it, that all those gas pipelines and electricity interconnectors between the UK and the Continent of Europe would be part of the replacementliqui for Russian gas.

According to Wikipedia, we have three liquified natural gas terminals; two at Milford Haven; South Hook and Dragon, and Grain on the Isle of Grain.

Note.

  1. South Hook is Europe’s largest liquified natural gas terminal and is owned by a partnership of the Qataris, ExxonMobil and Elf.
  2. South Hook and Dragon together can provide 25 % of the UK’s natural gas needs.
  3. Grain is owned by National Grid and according to Wikipedia, is in terms of storage capacity it is the largest LNG facility in Europe and the eighth largest in the world.
  4. Grain can supply 20 % of the UK’s natural gas needs.
  5. Grain has a reloading facility, so that gas can be exported.
  6. Grain seems to be continually expanding.
  7. Both Milford Haven and the Isle of Grain have large gas-fired power-stations.

Politicians say we don’t have enough gas storage, but we do seem to have world-class LNG terminals.

I have a couple of extra thoughts.

Blending Natural Gas With Hydrogen

HyDeploy is a project investigated blending hydrogen natural gas to cut carbon emissions. The project is described in this post called HyDeploy.

Surely, these terminals could be places, where hydrogen is blended with our natural gas supply.

  • The terminals are connected to the UK gas network.
  • Both Milford Haven and the Isle of Grain should have access to large amounts of offshore wind energy in the next few years, which could be used to generate green hydrogen.
  • The terminals would need electrolysers to generate the hydrogen.

The Isle of Grain already has a blending capability.

NeuConnect

NeuConnect is an under-development interconnector between the Isle of Grain in Kent and Wilhelmshaven in Germany.

  • It will have a capacity 1.4 GW.
  • All the planning permissions seem to be in place.
  • Prysmian have won a € 1.2 million contract to deliver the interconnector.
  • Arup and German engineering firm Fichtner have formed a joint venture to provide project services for the interconnector.
  • Construction could start this year.

It looks like the Germans will be replacing some of Putin’s bloodstained gas with clean zero-carbon energy from the UK.

Should We Develop More Gas Fields?

There are some gas fields in the seas around the UK, like Jackdaw, that could be developed.

Suppose, we extracted the gas and sent it to the reloading terminal on the Isle of Grain through the gas transmission network, where it could be exported by ship, to the Continent.

The UK would not be increasing its carbon emissions, as that would surely be the responsibility of the end-user.

Should We Develop More Gas Fired Power-Stations?

I believe it is possible to develop carbon-capture technology for gas-fired power stations.

The carbon dioxide would be either used in a beneficial way or stored in perhaps a worked-out gas field under the North Sea.

So long as no carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, I don’t see why more gas-fired power stations shouldn’t be developed.

What is happening at Keadby near Scunthorpe would appear to be one model for zero-carbon power generation.

Keadby Power Station

 

This is an existing

Conclusion

We will be exporting more energy to the Continent.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?

In the 1970s and 1980s, when I was developing Artemis, which was the first desk-sized project management system, we were heavily involved in North Sea Oil, with dozens of systems in Aberdeen.  As Norway developed the oil business on the other side of the North Sea, the number of systems there grew to at least twenty.

Increasingly, I became aware of a Norwegian company called Kværner, which seemed to have large numbers of Artemis systems.

In 2002, Kværner merged with Aker Maritime and this eventually led to the formation of Aker Solutions in 2008, which is a company that is headquartered in Oslo and employs nearly 14,000.

According to Wikipedia, the Kværner name was dropped somewhere along the way, as non-Scandinavians have difficulty pronouncing Kværner.

Aker Solutions appears to be wholly Scandinavian-owned, with Aker ASA owning a third of the company.

They are a very respected company, when it comes to offshore engineering for oil and gas and wind projects.

Aker ASA also have a subsidiary called Aker Horizons, which has this web site, where they call themselves a planet-positive company.

This page on the Aker Horizons is entitled Northern Horizons: A Pathway for Scotland to Become a Clean Energy Exporter.

These first two paragraphs outline the project.

A vision to utilise Scottish offshore wind resources in the North Sea to make the country an exporter of clean energy has been unveiled at the COP 26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

The Northern Horizons Project has been unveiled by Aker Horizons’ portfolio companies Aker Offshore Wind and Aker Clean Hydrogen, who have the technical know-how and expertise to realise the project, and DNV, the independent energy expert and assurance provider.

Various targets and ambitions are listed.

  • 10 GW of renewable energy in the North Sea.
  • 5 GW of green hydrogen.
  • Giant turbines nearly as tall as the London Shard on floating platforms more than 130km from Shetland.
  • Enough liquid hydrogen will be produced to power 40 percent of the total mileage of local UK buses.
  • Enough synthetic fuel to make 750 round trips from the UK to New York.

A completion date of 2030 for this project is mentioned.

This article on The Engineer is entitled Northern Horizons Plans Clean Energy Exports For Scotland.

The article is dated the 4th of November 2021 and starts with this sub-heading and an informative video.

Aker Horizons’ new initiative, Northern Horizons, aims to make Scotland a clean energy exporter by utilising offshore wind resources in the North Sea.

There is an explanatory graphic of the project which shows the following.

  • Floating wind turbines.
  • A floating DC substation.
  • A floating hydrogen electrolyser.
  • An onshore net-zero refinery to produce synthetic aviation fuel and diesel.
  • A hydrogen pipeline to mainland Scotland.
  • Zero-carbon energy for Shetland.

It is all very comprehensive.

These are some other thoughts.

Project Orion

Project Orion how has its own web site and the project that seems to have similar objectives to Northern Horizons.

The title on the home page is Building A World-Leading Clean Energy Island.

There is this statement on the home page.

Orion is a bold, ambitious project that aims to transform Shetland into the home of secure and affordable clean energy.

We will fuel a cleaner future and protect the environment by harnessing the islands’ renewables potential, using onshore and offshore wind, tidal and wave energy.

The graphic has similar features to that Northern Horizons in the article on The Engineer, with the addition of providing an oxygen feed to Skyrora for rocket fuel.

German Finance

I feel very much, that the Germans could be providing finance for developments around Shetland, as the area could be a major source of hydrogen to replace Vlad the Mad’s tainted gas.

In Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?, I described how BP is working with German utilities and finance to give Germany the hydrogen it needs.

NorthConnect

The NorthConnect (also known as Scotland–Norway interconnector) is a proposed 650 km (400-mile) 1,400 MW HVDC interconnector over the floor of the North Sea.

  • It will run between Peterhead in North-East Scotland and Norway.

This project appears to be stalled, but with the harvesting of more renewable energy on Shetland, I can see this link being progressed, so that surplus energy can be stored in Norway’s pumped storage hydro.

Icelink

Icelink is a proposed electricity interconnector between Iceland and Great Britain.

  • It would be the longest undersea interconnector in the world, with a length of 620 to 750 miles.
  • It would be a 800–1,200 MW high-voltage direct current (HVDC) link.
  • National Grid is part of the consortium planning to build the link.
  • Iceland has a surplus of renewable energy and the UK, is the only place close enough for a connection.

I believe that if Icelink were to be built in conjunction with energy developments on and around Shetland, a more powerful and efficient interconnector could emerge.

Conclusion

This ambitious project will transform the Shetlands and the energy industry in wider Scotland.

This project is to the North-East of Shetland, but the islands are surrounded by sea, so how many other Northern Horizons can be built in a ring around the islands?

March 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Germany Weighs Norway Hydrogen Pipeline To Avoid Russian Energy

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

This the introductory paragraphs.

Germany and Norway are considering building a hydrogen pipeline linking the two nations to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy supplies.

The countries plan to soon conduct a feasibility study on the project that would eventually transport green hydrogen from Norway to Germany, they said after a meeting between German Economy Minister Robert Habeck and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

There is a joint statement that gives more details.

Developments like this and lots of wind power in the North Sea and around the UK, are the sort of actions, that could seriously reduce the size of Russia’s oil and gas industry and the money it pays to that group of war criminals like Vlad the Mad and his friends.

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

Shell Resurrects Plans For Rejected North Sea Gasfield

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Shell has submitted a revised plan for a North Sea gasfield that was rejected by regulators on environmental grounds last year.

The oil and gas major is seeking to develop the Jackdaw field, about 155 miles east of Aberdeen, which it says could produce 6.5 per cent of UK domestic gas output at peak — enough to heat 1.4 million homes. It hopes to start production in 2025 at the field, which would keep producing until 2033.

Other points in the article include.

  • The platform would be unmanned.
  • One of the problems with the field is that the gas naturally contains a lot of carbon dioxide.
  • Shell plans to capture and store this carbon dioxide.
  • The gas would be brought to shore using a nineteen mile pipeline to the Shearwater platform.

Surprisingly, the Shearwater platform is connected by the 295 mile SEAL pipeline to the Bacton terminal in Norfolk. But then Bacton is connected by the BBL pipeline to the Netherlands.

  • There are depleted gas fields connected to Bacton, that can be used to store the carbon dioxide from the Jackdaw gas field.
  • Shell manage the BBL pipeline.
  • Shell are sitting in the middle with gas, that can be sold to the highest bidder.

It could be good for Shell without a great deal of expenditure on infrastructure.

In the short term, Jackdaw could make up our gas shortage, but as we start to blend wind-produced hydrogen into the gas network, we can export the surplus gas to the Continent. Shell might have plans for other gas fields to participate in the export of British gas to Germany, that has been replaced by wind-produced hydrogen.

It would be an interesting point, as to who would be responsible for the carbon dioxide produced by Jackdaw’s gas, that is burned in Germany. I suspect it will be the Germans.

In the long-term, when Shearwater and Jackdaw have given up all their gas, I wonder if Shell’s plans could be.

  • Surround the platforms serving these fields with floating wind farms.
  • Put a giant electrolyser on the Shearwater platform and bring hydrogen to the shore in the SEAL pipeline.
  • Distribute the hydrogen from Bacton to the UK or through the BBL pipeline to the Continent.

I feel that Shell could do very nicely thank you out of the Jackdaw gas-field.

But it is also a plan, that produces a lot of energy, without emitting vast amounts of carbon dioxide.

 

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Mathematics Of Blending Twenty Percent Of Hydrogen Into The UK Gas Grid

HyDeploy is a project, that is investigating blending hydrogen into the UK’s natural gas supply to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the burning of natural gas in power stations, industrial processes and in our homes and other buildings.

To find out more about the project, visit the HyDeploy web site.

This is a paragraph from this page on the HyDeploy web site, which describes the current progress of the project.

HyDeploy is progressing well. The HSE gave the go ahead for a live demonstration, at Keele University, of blended hydrogen and natural gas which began in Autumn 2019 and completed in Spring 2021. The HSE are satisfied that the blend of gas will be as safe as the gas we all currently use. The hydrogen content will be up to 20% and has so far reached 15%.

Note that HSE is the Health and Safety Executive, who are closely involved.

HyDeploy has now moved on to Phase 2 in the North East.

For our North East demonstration, we have contacted everyone who will be involved in that demonstration – more than 650 homes – and arranged for our engineers to carry out Gas Safe checks on their gas appliances and gather information on the range of appliances in the demonstration area. The Gas Safe checks were free of charge. Almost 90% of those homes have engaged with us.

What would be the effects of 20 % of hydrogen blended into natural gas?

Will current boilers, cookers and other gas-powered devices work on a blend of hydrogen and natural gas?

This is one for the scientists and it is one of the objectives of the HyDeploy trial to understand how every use of gas performs if instead of natural gas, the fuel is a mixture of eighty percent natural gas and twenty percent hydrogen.

I will assume that these problems are solvable.

I am not just hoping, but I can remember in the early 1970s, when our elderly gas cooker was successfully converted from town gas, which was typically a mixture of hydrogen (50%), methane (35%),carbon monoxide (10 %) and ethylene (5%), to natural gas, as North Sea gas started to flow.

This document from the UK government is entitled Fuels: Natural Gas, which contains a section entitled Material Properties Relevant To Use, where this is said.

Natural gas is a combustible gas that is a mixture of simple hydrocarbon compounds. It contains primarily methane, along with small amounts of ethane, butane, pentane, and propane. Natural gas does not contain carbon monoxide. The by-products of burning natural gas are primarily carbon dioxide and water vapour. Natural gas is colourless, tasteless and odourless. Because it is odourless, an odorant (80% tertiarybutyl mercaptan, 20% dimethyl sulphide) is added to the gas, to give the gas a distinctive smell. Other beneficial properties of natural gas are a high ignition temperature and a
narrow flammability range, meaning natural gas will ignite at temperatures above 593°degrees and burn at a mix of 4 – 15% volume in air (St. Lawrence Gas, 2015)

As ethane (C2H6), butane (C4H10), pentane (C5H12) and propane (C3H8) are all similar simple hydrocarbons to methane, which burn to produce carbon dioxide and water, I will assume in this analysis, that natural gas is all methane (CH4).

It is reasonable to assume, that currently we use a fuel which is equivalent to 100 % methane and that in the future we could use 80 % methane and 20 % hydrogen. Also in the past, we used to use a fuel, that was 50 % hydrogen and 35 % methane. The carbon monoxide is a poison, so I’ll ignore it, but ethylene (C2H4) is another of those simple hydrocarbons, which burn to release just carbon dioxide and water.

So if we were able to go from town to natural gas fifty years ago, by just adjusting gas equipment, surely we can go partly the other way in the Twenty-First Century.

I can certainly see the UK gas supply containing twenty percent hydrogen, but wouldn’t be surprised to see a higher level of hydrogen in the future.

How Much Hydrogen Needs To Be Added?

This page on worldodometer says this about UK gas consumption.

The United Kingdom consumes 2,795,569 million cubic feet (MMcf) of natural gas per year as of the year 2017.

I will now calculate the weight of hydrogen needed to be added.

  • 2,795,569 million cubic feet converts to 79161.69851 million cubic metres.
  • I will round that to 79161.7 million cubic metres.
  • Twenty percent is 15832.34 million cubic metres.
  • A cubic metre of hydrogen weighs 0.082 Kg, which gives that in a year 1,298.25188 million kilograms will need to be added to the UK gas supply.

This is 1,298,251.88 tonnes per year, 3,556.85 tonnes per day or 148.2 tonnes per hour.

How Much Electricity Is Needed To Create This Amount Of Hydrogen?

In Can The UK Have A Capacity To Create Five GW Of Green Hydrogen?, I said the following.

Ryze Hydrogen are building the Herne Bay electrolyser.

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

The electrolyser will consume 552 MWh to produce ten tonnes of hydrogen, so creating one tonne of hydrogen needs 55.2 MWh of electricity.

To create 148.2 tonnes per hour of hydrogen would need 8,180.64 MW of electricity or just under 8.2 GW.

How Much Carbon Dioxide Would Be Saved?

This page on the Engineering Toolbox is entitled Combustion Of Fuels – Carbon Dioxide Emission and it gives a list of how much carbon dioxide is emitted, when a fuel is burned.

For each Kg of these fuels, the following Kg of carbon dioxide will be released on combustion.

  • Methane – 2.75
  • Gasoline – 3.30
  • Kerosene – 3.00
  • Diesel – 3.15
  • Bituminous coal – 2.38
  • Lignite 1.10
  • Wood – 1.83

Engineering Toolbox seems a very useful web site.

I will now calculate how much carbon dioxide would be saved.

  • In 2017, UK methane consumption was 79161.7 million cubic metres.
  • One cubic metre of methane weighs 0.554 Kg.
  • The total weight of methane used is 43,855,581.8 tonnes.
  • Multiplying by 2.75 shows that 120,602,849.95 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be produced.

As twenty percent will be replaced by hydrogen, carbon dioxide emission savings will be 24,120,569.99 tonnes.

That seems a good saving, from a small country like the UK.

The UK would also reduce natural gas consumption by twenty percent or 15832.34 million cubic metres per year.

How many other countries with good renewable and zero-carbon electricity resources like Australia, Chile, Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Jordan, Morocco, Norway, Sweden and the United States will take this route, as it seems a good way to save large amounts of carbon?

There is also the collateral benefit, that countries with a good supply of hydrogen can use hydrogen to decarbonise the heavy transport sectors of rail, road and sea freight transport.

The big winners would appear to be those companies like ITM Power, who manufacture electrolysers and those companies like Fortescue Future Industries, who are prospecting, developing and promoting the hydrogen resources of the planet.

The losers will be countries, who are reliant on importing large amounts of gas and other fossil fuels, who don’t have access to large amounts of renewable energy like geothermal, hydro, nuclear, solar and wind.

Germany’s energy policy of no nuclear, more coal and Russian gas seems to have been a mistake.

But I’m sure, if Olaf Sholz talked nicely to Boris, there is a deal to be made.

  • German utilities have already arranged to fund BP’s move into wind farms in Morecambe Bay and the North Sea.
  • Norfolk’s gas terminal at Bacton is less than three hundred miles from Germany’s new hydrogen terminal at Wilhelmshaven.

The biggest loser could be Vlad the Poisoner.

 

 

 

 

February 6, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is There A Need For A Norfolk-Suffolk Interconnector?

The coast of East Anglia from the Wash to the Haven Ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich is becoming the Energy Coast of England.

Starting at the Wash and going East and then South, the following energy-related sites or large energy users are passed.

Bicker Fen Substation

Bicker may only be a small hamlet in Lincolnshire, but it is becoming increasingly important in supplying energy to the UK.

Nearby is Bicker Fen substation, which connects or will connect the following to the National Grid.

  • The 26 MW Bicker Fen onshore windfarm.
  • The 1,400 MW interconnector from Denmark called Viking Link.
  • The proposed 857 MW offshore wind farm Triton Knoll.

This Google Map shows the location of Bicker Fen with respect to The Wash.

Bicker Fen is marked by the red arrow.

The Google Map shows the substation.

It must be sized to handle over 2 GW, but is it large enough?

Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm

The Dudgeon offshore wind farm is a 402 MW wind farm, which is twenty miles off the North Norfolk coast.

  • It has 67 turbines and an offshore substation.
  • It is connected to the shore at Weybourne on the coast from where an underground cable is connected to the National Grid at Necton.
  • It became operational in Oct 2017.
  • Equinor and Statkraft are part owners of the windfarm and this is the home page of the wind farm’s web site.
  • Equinor is the operator of the wind farm.

This Google Map shows the location of Weybourne on the coast.

Note.

  1. Weybourne is in the middle on the coast.
  2. Sheringham is on the coast in the East.
  3. Holt is on the Southern edge of the map almost South of Weybourne.

This second map shows the location of the onshore substation at Necton, with respect to the coast.

Note.

  1. The Necton substation is marked by a red arrow.
  2. Holt and Sheringham can be picked out by the coast in the middle.
  3. Weybourne is to the West of Sheringham.
  4. Necton and Weybourne are 35 miles apart.

Digging in the underground cable between Necton and Weybourne might have caused some disruption.

Looking at Weybourne in detail, I can’t find anything that looks like a substation. So is the Necton substation connected directly to Dudgeon’s offshore substation?

Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm

The Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm is a 316.8 MW wind farm, which is eleven miles off the North Norfolk coast.

  • It has 88 turbines and two offshore substations.
  • As with Dudgeon, it is connected to the shore at Weybourne on the coast.
  • But the underground cable is connected to an onshore substation at Salle and that is connected to the National Grid at Norwich.
  • It became operational in Sept 2012.
  • Equinor and Statkraft are part owners of the windfarm and this is the home page of the wind farm’s web site.
  • Equinor is the operator of the wind farm.

This second map shows the location of the onshore substation at Salle, with respect to the coast.

Note.

  1. The Salle substation is marked by a red arrow.
  2. Holt, Weybourne and Sheringham can be picked out by the coast in the middle.
  3. Weybourne is to the West of Sheringham.
  4. Salle and Weybourne are 13.5 miles apart.

Could the following two statements be true?

  • As the Sheringham Shoal wind farm was built first, that wind farm was able to use the shorter route.
  • It wasn’t built large enough to be able to handle the Dudgeon wind farm.

The statements would certainly explain, why Dudgeon used a second cable.

Extending The Dudgeon And Sheringham Shoal Wind Farms

Both the Dudgeon And Sheringham Shoal web sites have details of the proposed join extension of both wind farms.

This is the main statement on the Overview page.

Equinor has been awarded an Agreement for Lease by the Crown Estate, the intention being to seek consents to increase the generating capacity of both the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm and the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm.

They then make three points about the development.

  • Equinor is proposing a joint development of the two projects with a common transmission infrastructure.
  • As part of the common DCO application, the Extension Projects have a shared point of connection at the National Grid Norwich Main substation.
  • These extension projects will have a combined generating capacity of 719MW which will make an important contribution to the UK’s target of 30GW of electricity generated by offshore wind by 2030.

This statement on the Offshore Location page, describes the layout of the wind farms.

The Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm extension is to the north and the east of the existing wind farm, while its Dudgeon counterpart is to the north and south east of the existing Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm site. The proposed extension areas share the boundaries with its existing wind farm site.

They then make these two important points about the development.

  • Equinor is seeking to develop the extension project with a joint transmission infrastructure. A common offshore substation infrastructure is planned to be located in the Sheringham Shoal wind farm site.
  • The seabed export cable which will transmit the power generated by both wind farm extensions will make landfall at Weybourne.

There is also this map.

Note.

  1. The purple line appears to be the UK’s ten mile limit.
  2. The Sheringham Shoal Extension is outlined in red.
  3. The Dudgeon Extension is outlined in blue.
  4. The black lines appear to be the power cables.

I suspect the dotted blue lines are shipping routes sneaking their way through the turbines.

This statement on the Onshore Location page, describes the layout of the offshore and onshore cables.

A new seabed export cable will bring the electricity generated by both the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm extensions to shore at Weybourne, on the coast of Norfolk.

They then make these two important points about the development.

  • From there a new underground cable will be installed to transmit that power to a new purpose built onshore substation, which will be located within a 3km radius of the existing Norwich main substation, south of Norwich. This will be the National Grid network connection point for the electricity from both wind farm extensions.
  • The power will be transmitted from landfall to the substation using an HVAC system which eliminates the need for any relay stations along the onshore cable route.

There is also this map.

It will be a substantial undertaking to build the underground cable between Weybourne and South of Norwich.

Bacton Gas Terminal

The Bacton gas terminal is a complex of six gas terminals about ten miles East of Cromer.

  • It lands and processes gas from a number of fields in the North Sea.
  • It hosts the UK end of the BBL pipeline to The Netherlands.
  • It hosts the UK end of the Interconnector to Zeebrugge in Belgium.
  • The Baird and Deborah fields, which have been developed as gas storage, are connected to the gas terminal. They are both mothballed.

This Google Map shows the location of the terminal.

Note.

  1. The Bacton gas terminal is marked by a red arrow.
  2. Sheringham is in the North West corner of the map.
  3. Cromer, Overstrand, Trimingham and Mundesley are resort towns and villages along the coast North of Bacton.

This second map shows the Bacton gas terminal in more detail.

Would you want to have a seaside holiday, by a gas terminal?

Norfolk Boreas And Norfolk Vanguard

Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard are two wind farms under development by Vattenfall.

  • Norfolk Boreas is a proposed 1.8 GW wind farm, that will be 45 miles offshore.
  • Norfolk Vanguard is a proposed 1.8 GW wind farm, that will be 29 miles offshore.

This map shows the two fields in relation to the coast.

Note.

  1. The purple line appears to be the UK’s ten mile limit.
  2. Norfolk Boreas is outlined in blue.
  3. Norfolk Vsnguard is outlined in orange.
  4. Cables will be run in the grey areas.

This second map shows the onshore cable.

Note.

  1. The cables are planned to come ashore between Happisburgh and Eccles-on-Sea.
  2. Bacton gas terminal is only a short distance up the coast.
  3. The onshore cable is planned to go from here across Norfolk to the Necton substation.

But all of this has been overturned by a legal ruling.

This article on the BBC is entitled Norfolk Vanguard: Ministers Wrong Over Wind Farm Go-Ahead, Says Judge.

These are the first four paragraphs.

A High Court judge has quashed permission for one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms to be built off the east coast of England.

The Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm was granted development consent in July by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

But Mr Justice Holgate overturned the decision following legal action from a man living near a planned cable route.

A Department for BEIS spokeswoman said it was “disappointed by the outcome”.

I bet the spokeswoman was disappointed.

Vattenfall and the BEIS will go back to the drawing board.

But seriously, is it a good idea to dig an underground cable all the way across Norfolk or in these times build a massive overhead cable either?

Perhaps the solution is to connect the Norfolk Boreas And Norfolk Vanguard wind farms to a giant electrolyser at Bacton, which creates hydrogen.

  • The underground electricity cable across Norfolk would not be needed.
  • Bacton gas terminal is only a few miles up the coast from the cable’s landfall.
  • The UK gets another supply of gas.
  • The hydrogen is blended with natural gas for consumption in the UK or Europe.
  • A pure hydrogen feed can be used to supply hydrogen buses, trucks and other vehicles, either by tanker or pipeline.
  • Excess hydrogen could be stored in depleted gas fields.

The main benefit though, would be that it would transform Bacton gas terminal from a declining asset into Norfolk’s Hydrogen Powerhouse.

Great Yarmouth And Lowestoft

Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour and the Port of Lowestoft have not been the most successful of ports in recent years, but with the building of large numbers of wind farms, they are both likely to receive collateral benefits.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the support ships for the wind farms switching to zero-carbon power, which would require good electrical connections to the ports to either charge batteries or power electrolysers to generate hydrogen.

Sizewell

Sizewell has only one nuclear power station at present; Sizewell B, but it could be joined by Sizewell C or a fleet of Small Modular Reactors (SMR).

The Sizewell Overhead Transmission Line

Sizewell also has a very high capacity overhead power line to Ipswich and the West.

I doubt, it would be possible to build an overhead transmission line like this today.

Sizewell And Hydrogen

EdF, who own the site are involved with Freeport East and may choose to build a large electrolyser in the area to create hydrogen for the Freeport.

East Anglia Array

The East Anglia Array will be an enormous wind farm., comprising up to six separate projects.

It will be thirty miles offshore.

It could generate up to 7.2 GW.

The first project East Anglia One is in operation and delivers 714 MW to a substation in the Deben Estuary, which connects to the Sizewell high-capacity overhead power line.

Most projects will be in operation by 2026.

Freeport East

As the Freeport develops, it will surely be a massive user of both electricity and hydrogen.

Problems With The Current Electricity Network

I don’t believe that the current electricity network, that serves the wind farms and the large energy users has been designed with the number of wind farms we are seeing in the North Sea in mind.

Every new windfarm seems to need a new connection across Norfolk or Suffolk and in Norfolk, where no high-capacity cables exist, this is stirring up the locals.

There is also no energy storage in the current electricity network, so at times, the network must be less than efficient and wind turbines have to be shut down.

Objections To The Current Policies

It is not difficult to find stories on the Internet about objections to the current policies of building large numbers of wind farms and the Sizewell C nuclear power station.

This article on the East Anglia Daily Times, which is entitled Campaigners Unite In Calling For A Pause Before ‘Onslaught’ Of Energy Projects ‘Devastates’ Region is typical.

This is the first paragraph.

Campaigners and politicians have called on the Government to pause the expansion of the energy industry in Suffolk, which they fear will turn the countryside into an “industrial wasteland” and hit tourism.

The group also appear to be against the construction of Sizewell C.

I feel they have a point about too much development onshore, but I feel that if the UK is to thrive in the future we need an independent zero carbon energy source.

I also believe that thousands of wind farms in the seas around the UK and Ireland are the best way to obtain that energy.

Blending Hydrogen With Natural Gas

Blending green hydrogen produced in an electrolyser  with natural gas is an interesting possibility.

  • HyDeploy is a project to investigate blending up to 20 % of green hydrogen in the natural gas supply to industrial and domestic users.
  • Partners include Cadent, ITM Power, Keele University and the Health and Safety Executive.
  • Natural gas naturally contains a small amount of hydrogen anyway.
  • The hydrogen gas would be distributed to users in the existing gas delivery network.

I wrote about HyDeploy in a post called HyDeploy.

Thje only loser, if hydrogen were to be blended with natural gas would be Vlad the Poisoner, as he’d sell less of his tainted gas.

An Interconnector Between Bicker Fen And Freeport East

I believe that an electricity interconnector between at least Bicker Fen and Freeport East could solve some of the problems.

My objectives would be.

  • Avoid as much disruption on the land as possible.
  • Create the capacity to deliver all the energy generated to customers, either as electricity or hydrogen.
  • Create an expandable framework, that would support all the wind farms that could be built in the future.

The interconnector would be a few miles offshore and run along the sea-bed.

  • This method of construction is well proven.
  • It was used for the Western HVDC Link between Hunterston in Scotland and Connah’s Quay in Wales.
  • Most wind farms seem to have existing substations and these would be upgraded to host the interconnector.

Connections en route would include.

Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm

The interconnector would connect to the existing offshore substation.

Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm

The interconnector would connect to the existing offshore substation.

Dudgeon and Sheringham Shoal Extension Offshore Wind Farms

These two wind farms could be connected directly to the interconnector, if as planned, they shared an offshore substation in the Sheringham Shoal Extension offshore wind farm.

Bacton Gas Terminal

I would connect to the Bacton Gas Terminal, so that a large electrolyser could be installed at the terminal.

The hydrogen produced could be.

  • Stored in depleted gas fields connected to the terminal.
  • Blended with natural gas.
  • Exported to Europe through an interconnector.
  • Supplied to local users by truck or pipeline.

After all, the terminal has been handling gas for over fifty years, so they have a lot of experience of safe gas handling.

Norfolk Boreas And Norfolk Vanguard

These two wind farms could be connected directly to the interconnector, if they shared an offshore substation.

It would also help to appease and silence the objectors, if there was no need to dig up half of Norfolk.

Great Yarmouth And Lowestoft

It might be better, if these ports were supplied from the interconnector.

  • Either port could have its own electrolyser to generate hydrogen, which could be.
  • Used to power ships, trucks and port equipment.
  • Liquefied and exported in tankers.
  • Used to supply local gas users.
  • Hydrogen could be supplied to a converted Great Yarmouth power station.

Both Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft could become hydrogen hub towns.

Sizewell

This site has a high-capacity connection to the National Grid. This connection is a big eyesore, but it needs to run at full capacity to take electricity from the Energy Coast to the interior of England.

That electricity can come from Sizewell B and/or Sizewell C nuclear power stations or the offshore wind farms.

East Anglia Array

There would probably need to be a joint offshore substation to control the massive amounts of electricity generated by the array.

Currently, the only wind farm in operation of this group is East Anglia One, which uses an underground cable connection to the Sizewell high-capacity connection to the Bullen Lane substation at Bramford.

Freeport East, Ipswich And Bullen Lane Substation

This Google Map shows the area between Ipswich and the coast.

Note.

  1. Sizewell is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Felixstowe, Harwich and Freeport East are at the mouth of the rivers Orwell and Stour.
  3. The Bullen Lane substation is to the West of Ipswich and shown by the red arrow.

I would certainly investigate the possibility of running an underwater cable up the River Orwell to connect the Southern end of the interconnector Between Bicker Fen And Freeport East.

This Google Map shows the Bullen Lane Substation.

It looks impressive, but is it big enough to handle all the electricity coming ashore from the offshore wind farms to the East of Suffolk and the electricity from the power stations at Sizewell?

Conclusion

I believe there are a lot of possibilities, that would meet my objectives.

In addition, simple mathematics says to me, that either there will need to be extra capacity at both Bicker Fen and Bullen Lane substations and onward to the rest of the country, or a large electrolyser to convert several gigawatts of electricity into hydrogen for distribution, through the gas network.

 

 

January 30, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Why Use A Hydrogen Pipeline Rather Than A Electricity Cable To Bring Electricity Ashore From A Windfarm?

A comment to the post entitled Siemens Gamesa Partners On Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen, was as follows.

Trying to get my head around this concept. Build an electrolysis plant in the North Sea and run a hydrogen pipeline to shore, rather than generating electricity and transferring the power by undersea cable to a shore based electrolysis plant. Can it really be better technically and economically? Someone convince me.

The reasons probably all come down to saving money and hassle.

Reusing Existing Infrastructure

Supposing, you have an offshore gas field, which is on the point of being worked out.

  • It has a well-maintained platform on top.
  • It has a pipe to an onshore terminal that handles the natural gas and distributes it to end-users.

Supposing the following are possible.

  • Building a large wind farm in the vicinity of the platform.
  • Using the gas field for hydrogen storage.
  • Converting the gas terminal from natural gas to hydrogen.
  • The end-users can convert to hydrogen.

In some cases the end-users might even prefer hydrogen to natural gas, to help their own decarbonisation.

I would suspect that there will be a sound economic case to use hydrogen, where wind farms are developed, in the same areas as worked-out gas fields.

  • Platform demolition costs are deferred.
  • No HVDC link is needed, with an expensive converter station at the shore end.
  • The new system comes with energy storage.

The only extra cost might be that an offshore electrolyser is more expensive than an onshore one.

Engineering Resources

The engineering resources needed for a gas pipeline are different to those needed for an electrical system.

But because gas pipelines are a declining industry, they will be readily available.

Less Planning Hassle

There have been some objections to the development of wind farm terminals by Nimbies.

If a terminal is converted from natural gas to hydrogen, I suspect there will be fewer objections.

Better Control Of Wind Farms

There have been stories of wind farms having to be switched off because there is no-one to buy the electricity.

If some form of offshore hydrogen storage is possible, then the electricity can be used to generate hydrogen, which can be piped ashore, when it is needed.

It Won’t Be One Type Fits All

I suspect we’ll see some hybrid systems and other innovative engineering.

Conclusion

I believe that in a drive to cut costs, we’ll see a lot of energy brought ashore as hydrogen gas.

I

 

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Carlton Power, Stag Pool Knowledge For UK Energy Storage, Green H2

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

British energy infrastructure developers Carlton Power and Stag Energy are merging their operations with plans to develop projects that will help improve energy storage, grid stability and green hydrogen production in the UK.

The article says this about Carlton Power.

Yorkshire-based Carlton has delivered more than 6 GW of thermal and renewables generation in the past 30 years. It is the lead developer of the Trafford Energy Park in Manchester, which foresees a 50-MW/250 -MWh liquid air energy storage plant to be built in partnership with Highview Power, a 200-MW hydrogen electrolyser and commercial hydrogen hub for use in transport and heating as well as a 250-MWe battery energy storage facility. Carlton also plans to expand its Langage Energy Park near Plymouth with the addition of energy storage and electrolyser facilities.

They certainly seem to have a history, that will be worth extending into the future, with energy storage and hydrogen production.

The article says this about Stag Energy.

Edinburgh-headquartered Stag Energy, for its part, has previously developed open-cycle gas-turbine (OCGT) plants in England and Wales and has a joint venture with Lundin to build the Gateway offshore underground gas storage facility in the Irish Sea using salt caverns. Stag Energy is also part of the National Grid’s Pathfinder process to uncover ways to improve electricity system stability.

This article on Hydrocarbons Technology is entitled Gateway Gas Storage Facility and starts with these two paragraphs.

The Gateway Gas Storage Company (Gateway) is developing an underground natural gas storage facility, Gateway Gas Storage Facility (GGSF), 25km offshore south-west Barrow-in-Furness, UK, in the East Irish Sea.

The GGSF plant has a strong locational advantage for developing offshore salt cavern gas storage facilities, according to the British Geological Survey.

In my time at ICI in Runcorn, I learned a lot about salt caverns and once had a memorable trip into their salt mine under Winsford, which was large enough to accommodate Salisbury cathedral. A couple of years later, I worked with a lady, who arranged for ICI’s historic documents to be stored in the dry air of the mine.

Natural Gas Storage In Salt Caverns

This section in Wikipedia describes how caverns in salt formations are used to store natural gas.

In the 1960s, ICI used to create boreholes into the vast amount of salt, that lay below the surface and then by pumping in hot water, they were able to bring up a brine, which they then electrolysed to obtain chlorine, hydrogen, sodium hydroxide and sodium metal.

When they had taken as much salt out of a borehole, as they dared, they would move on.

Provided the salt stayed dry, it didn’t cause any problems.

It sounds like the Gateway Gas Storage Facility will use new caverns carefully created under the Irish Sea.

This document from the Department of Energy and Climate Change is an environmental impact assessment of the project.

It has a full description of the project.

The proposed gas storage facility will be located southwest of Barrow-in-Furness, approximately 24 km. offshore from Fylde, North West England. It will comprise 20 gas storage caverns created in the sub-seabed salt strata. A single well will be drilled at each cavern location, and the salt will be removed using seawater pumped down the well. The dissolved salt, or brine, will then be discharged directly to the sea. The size and shape of the caverns will be controlled using an established technique known as Solution Mining Under Gas (SMUG). At each well location, a monopod tower facility will be installed, to house the solution mining equipment required during the construction phase, and the gas injection and extraction wellhead equipment that will be required for the storage operations. It is proposed that the monopod towers will be drilled into position, although there is a contingency for them to be piled into place if drilling is not feasible.

A short pipeline and methanol feeder pipe will connect each wellhead facility to an 8 km. ‘ring main’ linking all the caverns. The ‘ring main’ will consist of a single 36″ diameter gas pipeline with a ‘piggy-backed’ 4″ methanol feeder line. Two 36″ diameter carbon steel pipelines will connect the ‘ring main’ to the onshore gas compressor station at Barrow. A 4″ methanol feeder line will be ‘piggy-backed’ on one of these pipelines. Power for the offshore facilities will be provided via a single cable laid alongside the more southerly of the two pipelines, with individual connections to each monopod tower. The offshore sections of the pipeline and cable systems up to the point of connection with the ‘ring main’ will be approximately 19 km. in length. The pipeline and cable systems will be trenched, and the trenches allowed to backfill naturally. Where necessary this will be supported by imported backfill. The trenches for the two 36″ pipelines will be approximately 20 metres apart, and the trench for the power cable will be approximately 10 m from the more southerly of the two pipelines. The two pipelines will cross the Barrow Offshore Windfarm power cable and the ‘ring main’ will cross the Rivers Field export pipeline and the Isle of Man power cables. All crossings will be suitably protected.

Note.

  1. The multiple cavern structure would surely allow different gases to be stored. Natural Gas! Hydrogen? Methanol? Carbon Dioxide?
  2. On this page of the Stag Energy web site, they state that forty caverns could be created, with each having the capability of storing around 75 million cubic metres of working gas.
  3. Converting that amount of natural gas to gigawatt-hours (GWh) gives a figure of around 800 GWh per cavern.
  4. This page on the Statista web site, shows that we used 811446 GWh of gas in 2020, so we will need around a thousand of these caverns to store our gas needs for a year.

It sounds just like the sort of gas storage project we need for a harsh winter.

In Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?, I talked about BP’s plans for wind farms in the Irish Sea and speculated that they would create hydrogen offshore for feeding into the UK gas network.

The Gateway Gas Storage Facility would be ideal for holding the hydrogen created by electrolysis offshore.

Conclusion

The deal does seem to be one between equals, who have an enormous amount of practical knowledge of the energy industry.

I also think, that it will see full development of the Gateway Gas Storage Facility.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The Cambo Oil Field

There is an article in The Times today which is entitled Sturgeon Faces Backlash After Shell Pulls Out Of North Sea Oilfield.

I have been following the technology of Carbon Capture and Use and some very good ideas have come forward in the last couple of years.

  • Carbon dioxide is becoming increasingly important in the growing of flowers, salad vegetables, soft fruits and tomatoes in greenhouses.
  • At COP26, Australian company, Mineral Carbonation International won an award for their process that turns carbon dioxide into building materials like blocks and plasterboard.
  • A big investment was also made recently in an Italian company, who are using the properties of liquid and gaseous carbon dioxide to store energy.
  • Carbon dioxide has for years made a good fire extinguisher, which can’t be said for some chemicals currently used.
  • I suspect that some clever chemists are working on using carbon dioxide to create sustainable aviation fuel.

If the number of ideas for the use of carbon dioxide continues to increase, I can see gas-fired power stations being built, that are also used to produce much-needed high-quality carbon dioxide.

It should also be noted, that many like me, live in houses that are unsuitable for the fitting of heat pumps at an economical cost.

So we must wait for better technology or for hydrogen to be piped into our houses.

In the meantime, we will have to rely on gas. Or freeze!

I don’t know whether Cambo will produce any gas, but if it doesn’t, I can’t see much point in developing it.

Perhaps, Shell would prefer to develop a gas field.

December 3, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Drax Power Station Solve The Carbon Dioxide Shortage?

Drax Power station is the largest power station in the UK, with a  2.6 GW capacity when burning biomass.

It has also been a regular target of environmental activists complaining of the power station’s carbon dioxide and other emissions.

But could it be an unlikely saviour to replace the carbon dioxide that comes from two fertiliser plants run by the CF Industries, that have been shut down by high gas prices?

I wrote about the shortage in Food Shortages Looming After Factory Closures Hit Production.

Two and a half years ago I wrote Drax Becomes First Wood-Burning Power Plant To Capture Carbon, which was based on an article in the Financial Times.

I said this about the report.

This news has been treated in a more sensationalist way by other news media and sites, but the FT gives it very straight.

Drax power station is running an experiment, that removes a tonne of carbon dioxide a day.

But that is only the start of the process and most of it is released to the atmosphere.

They are currently, looking for profitable and environmentally-friendly ways of disposal, including selling it to beer manufacturers.

Didn’t we have a carbon-dioxide shortage a few months ago?

Now is probably a good time to dig a little deeper into what Drax is doing.

The Wikipedia entry for Drax power station has a section called Carbon Capture And Storage.

This is the last paragraph of the section.

In May 2018, Drax announced a new carbon capture and storage pilot scheme that it would undertake in conjunction with the Leeds-based firm, C-Capture. The focus of this pilot will be on capturing carbon post combustion from the biomass burners as opposed to the coal burners. Drax will invest £400,000 into the project. The company, C-Capture, is a side company of the Department of Chemistry established at the University of Leeds. This would yield about 1-tonne (1.1-ton) of CO2 stored per day from the process, which could be sold on for use in the drinks industry. The pilot scheme was launched in February 2019. The capture of carbon from biomas burners is known as Bio Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS).

Who are C-Capture?

Their web site is very informative and this page is called Our Story, which explains the project at Drax.

We designed, built, and installed a pilot plant and have been operating it on site, with real flue gas, since early 2019. The data gathered from this trial is feeding directly into the design process for a full-scale plant, with a target of 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per day captured from one of Drax’s four biomass fired boilers. A recent development has been the installation of equipment to bottle the captured CO2 to allow other organisations to test their own developing technologies with genuine Drax derived CO2.

That looks like a result to me for C-Capture.

This page is called Technology and has a very neat interactive guide to how the technology works.

Conclusion

This company has some very special technology, that has a lot of applications.

It is also significant that Drax and BP have taken a shareholding in C-Capture.

 

 

September 18, 2021 Posted by | Energy, World | , , , , , | 3 Comments