The Anonymous Widower

RWE Looking for Innovators To Boost UK’s Offshore Wind Supply Chain

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

RWE appear to be looking for innovators in three areas.

  • Autonomous solutions and the best way to integrate them into wind farm site investigations, construction, and operations and maintenance (O&M) is the first challenge for which RWE is looking for responses.
  • The second challenge is about solutions to measure and reduce the environmental impacts of offshore wind farm construction and operations on birds.
  • The last challenge focuses on ideas and innovations in cable monitoring and protection, aiming to secure a reduction in offshore wind farm cable failures.

As sums of around £25,000 are talked about in the article, it could be worth applying, if you have a relevant idea.

Is it slightly flattering to the UK’s skills, that a German company is backing British innovation?

But then I was involved in a British invention, which was also backed by the Germans and made me a reasonable amount of money.

October 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

National Grid’s North Sea Link Strengthens Electricity Supply And Repays Its Carbon Cost In Just Six Months

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from National Grid.

These are three bullet points from the press release.

  • World’s longest subsea electricity cable has been in operation since Oct 2021.
  • 5.7 terawatt (TWh) hours of clean power have been shared between GB and Norway, strengthening security of supply for consumers in both countries.
  • It has saved 800,000 tonnes of carbon in the first year, paying off its carbon cost after only six months of operation.

This must surely be considered a good start.

These two paragraphs describe the operation in the first year.

During its first year of operation, the link has imported 4.6 TWh of clean electricity – enough to power 1.5 million British homes for a year.

North Sea Link has also exported 1.1 TWh to Norway, demonstrating the vital role that interconnectors play in strengthening energy security and maximising the benefits of clean energy sources for consumers across the UK and Europe.

In The Monster In The Mountains That Could Save Europe’s Winter, I describe what makes the North Sea Link so important.

It gives the UK access to the Norwegian Bank Of Electricity or Ulla-Førre, which is a complex of five hydroelectric power stations and a massive lake in the Norwegian mountains to the East of Stavanger.

  • The power stations have a total generating capacity of 2.1 GW.
  • Lake Blåsjø is able to hold enough water to generate 7800 GWh of electricity.
  • Ulla-Førre can also supply electricity to Germany, through the 1.4 GW NordLink.

If Ulla-Førre has a problem, it is that if Norwegian weather is dry, the filling of Lake Blåsjø could be difficult, which is where the interconnector comes into its own, as excess UK wind power or the 1,185 MW Hartlepool nuclear power station, can be used to send electricity to Norway for storage.

In An Update To Will We Run Out Of Power This Winter?, I predicted we will add the following capacity to our renewable generation in the next three years.

  • 2023 – 2925 MW
  • 3024 – 3726 MW
  • 2025 – 6476 MW

This is a total of 13,127 MW.

As a Control Engineer, I can see the following happening.

  • Several of the UK’s gas-fired power stations will be mothballed.
  • Some of the UK’s gas-fired power stations will be fitted with advanced control systems so they can supply more precise amounts of electricity.
  • Some UK electricity is stored in Ulla-Førre for onward sale to Germany.
  • Some UK electricity is stored in Ulla-Førre for withdrawal back to the UK, when needed.

One of Ulla-Førre’s main tasks could be to ensure that no UK electricity is wasted.

Conclusion

With all these wind generated electricity and electricity transfers, the Crown Estate, National Grid and the Treasury should be coining it.

The Germans are already building the 1.4 GW NeuConnect between the Isle of Grain and Wilhelmshaven to import more electricity.

But I do believe that another interconnector will be needed.

 

 

 

October 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alstom’s Coradia iLint Successfully Travels 1,175 km Without Refueling Its Hydrogen Tank

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Alstom.

This paragraph describes the trip.

Alstom, global leader in smart and sustainable mobility, has demonstrated the effectiveness of its hydrogen powered solutions for long distance transportation. During a long-distance journey, an unmodified serially-produced Coradia iLint train covered 1,175 kilometres without refuelling the hydrogen tank, only emitting water and operating with very low levels of noise. The vehicle used for this journey comes from the fleet belonging to LNVG (Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen), the transport authority of Lower Saxony, and has been in regular passenger operation on the network of evb (Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser GmbH) since mid-August. For the project, Alstom also partnered with the gas and engineering company Linde.

The distance is around 730 miles.

This paragraph describes the detailed route.

Starting in Bremervörde, the route took the Coradia iLint across Germany. From Lower Saxony, where the hydrogen train was built and developed by Alstom, it travelled through Hesse to Bavaria, all the way to Burghausen near the German-Austrian border before coming to a stop in Munich. Following this remarkable journey, the train will now head for the German capital. Several trips through Berlin are on the agenda as part of InnoTrans 2022, the premier International Trade Fair for Transport Technology, to be held from 20 to 23 September.

It looks to be a good test of a hydrogen-powered train.

It looks like Alstom believe that hydrogen trains can replace diesel ones, providing there is a source of hydrogen.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

North Seas Countries Commit To 260 GW Of Offshore Wind By 2050

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

The nine member countries of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) on Monday committed to at least 260 GW of offshore wind energy by 2050.

The NSEC aims to advance offshore renewables in the North Seas, including the Irish and Celtic Seas, and groups Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the European Commission.

Note.

Intermediate targets are 76 GW by 2030 and 193 GW by 2040.

The UK has a target of 50 GW by 2030, of which 5 GW will be floating offshore wind.

The UK is not mentioned, but has joint projects with the Danes, Germans, Irish, Norwegians, Spanish and Swedes.

There is nothing about energy storage or hydrogen!

On the figures given, I think we’re holding our own. But then we’ve got more sea than anybody else.

September 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cummins Fuel Cell Technology Powers Coradia iLint Fleet In Germany

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Green Car Congress.

This is the first paragraph.

Cummins is powering the world’s first fleet of hydrogen trains in Bremervörde, Lower Saxony, Germany. The Alstom Coradia iLint trains (earlier post) are outfitted with Cummins fuel cell systems and will run on the world’s first 100%-hydrogen train route in passenger operation. The first zero-emissions passenger trains in the 14-train fleet arrived in mid-summer.

I rode  the prototype in March 2019 and wrote My First Ride In An Alstom Coradia iLint.

I took this picture at the time.

Note.

  1. The new fleet seem to have a slightly different front end with a snow plough, and a new colour scheme.
  2. According to the article, the Cummins fuel cell systems were assembled in Germany.

I have a few thoughts.

Cummins Fuel Cells

I must admit, I was a bit surprised to see that Cummins fuel cells are being used, as most other companies seem to be using Ballard.

But, having worked with Cummins on diesel engine testing and seen their thoroughness, I’m sure that their fuel cells will do a good job.

Is The Cummins Choice About Marketing?

Consider.

  • Alstom has manufactured or assembled trains for the US market at Hornell, New York.
  • Cummins is a large United States company.
  • United States and Canadian railways are standard gauge, like most of Europe.
  • United States and Canadian railways have a lot of track mileage without electrification.
  • United States and Canadian railways use right hand running as does Germany.
  • The Coradia iLint doesn’t need any electrification.
  • The Coradia iLint has a range of 600–800 kilometres (370–500 mi) on a full tank of hydrogen.

I suspect that a German-specification, Coradia iLint might be possible to run in the United States and Canada, with only a different interior and signage.

If you are an Alstom train salesman in the United States, selling a commuter train to American cities and transit authorities, must be easier if the train has a substantial United States content.

I don’t think Cummins will be worried that the smart new train has their fuel cells, as it might help convert truck, van and car drivers to Cummins hydrogen technology.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn, that Alstom got a premium deal from Cummins.

Are Hydrogen-Powered Trains Suited To North America?

Consider.

  • There is a lot of track without electrification.
  • Distances are long, which makes electrification expensive.
  • Providing hydrogen for trains should be no more difficult than in Europe.
  • In my experience hydrogen trains are a better passenger experience than diesel, in terms of noise and vibration.

I suspect that Alstom/Cummins could sell a lot of hydrogen-powered trains in the North America.

 

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Germany Has Potential For 82 GW Of Offshore Wind

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

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Germany has the potential to raise its offshore wind energy capacity to 81.6 GW which is above the federal government’s target of 70 GW by 2045, a study by research institute Fraunhofer IWES shows.

To exploit all the potential for wind energy in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, Germany needs to devise a strategy for more efficient use of the available space and use new offshore wind power technologies in additional areas in a way that will not raise concerns and affect nature conservation.

This map shows the German parts of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Note.

  1. White lines show the borders with The Netherlands, Denmark and Poland.
  2. Heligoland in the South-East corner of the North Sea. Could this island be used as a giant offshore substation?
  3. There are plenty of ports to service offshore developments.
  4. It looks like compared to the UK, a fair proportion of German offshore wind farms will be closer to the land.

Currently, Germany has 7.8 GW of offshore wind in operation, with around seventy percent of the turbines in the North Sea.

According to the Wikipedia entry called Wind Power In The UK, in 2019, the UK had installed 8.4 GW of offshore wind turbines, and there could be a potential to have a total of 120 GW in British waters.

With the Belgians, Danes, Dutch, Irish, Norwegians, Poles and Swedes joining this party, I can see the world’s largest wind power station being developed in the North and Baltic Seas.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should We Follow German Advice On Rural Rail Reopening?

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Benefits Accrue From Rural Railway Reopenings, Study Finds.

This is the opening paragraph.

Reopening rural railways offers an important spectrum of benefits, according to a study commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development & Building. These range from positive effects on land use to advantages for local and regional economies, transport, the environment and society.

It is an interesting article, which is very positive about reopening rural railways.

So perhaps we should follow Germany’s advice.

August 10, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

A German View Of The Euro 2022 Final

This article on DW.COM is German View of the match.

July 31, 2022 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Renewable Power’s Effect On The Tory Leadership Election

I wouldn’t normally comment on the Tory Leadership Election, as I don’t have a vote and my preference has already been eliminated.

But after reading this article on the Telegraph, which is entitled Britain Will Soon Have A Glut Of Cheap Power, And World-Leading Batteries To Store It, I feel I have to comment both about this election and the General Election, that will follow in a few years.

These two paragraphs from the article illustrate the future growth of offshore wind power.

It is a point about the mathematical implications of the UK’s gargantuan push for renewables. Offshore wind capacity is going to increase from 11 to 50 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 under the Government’s latest fast-track plans.

RenewableUK says this country currently has a total of 86GW in the project pipeline. This the most ambitious rollout of offshore wind in the world, ahead of China at 78GW, and the US at 48GW.

If we assume that there is eight years left of this decade, that means that we should install about 4.9 GW of offshore wind every year until 2030. If we add in planned solar and onshore wind developments, we must be looking at at least 5 GW of renewable energy being added every year.

We have also got the 3.26 GW Hinckley Point C coming on stream.

I think we can say, that when it comes to electricity generation, we will not be worried, so Liz and Rishi can leave that one to the engineers.

If we have an electricity problem, it is about distribution and storage.

  • We need more interconnectors between where the wind farms are being built and where the electricity will be used.
  • National Grid and the Government have published plans for two interconnectors between Scotland and England, which I wrote about in New Electricity ‘Superhighways’ Needed To Cope With Surge In Wind Power.
  • We need energy storage to back up the wind and solar power, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

I think it is reasonable to assume, that we will get the interconnectors we need and the Telegraph article puts forward a very feasible and affordable solution to the energy storage problem, which is described in these two paragraphs from the article.

That is now in sight, and one of the world leaders is a British start-up. Highview Power has refined a beautifully simple technology using liquid air stored in insulated steel towers at low pressure.

This cryogenic process cools air to minus 196 degrees using the standard kit for LNG. It compresses the volume 700-fold. The liquid re-expands with a blast of force when heated and drives a turbine, providing dispatchable power with the help of a flywheel.

The article also talks of twenty energy storage systems, spread around the UK.

  • They will have a total output of 6 GW.
  • In total they will be able to store 600 GWh of electricity.

The first one for Humberside is currently being planned.

Surely, building these wind and solar farms, interconnectors and energy storage systems will cost billions of pounds.

Consider.

  • Wind and solar farms get paid for the electricity they generate.
  • , Interconnectors get paid for the electricity they transfer.
  • Energy storage systems make a profit by buying energy when it’s cheap and selling it, when the price is better.
  • In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I talked about how Aviva were funding the world’s largest wind farm at Hornsea.
  • National Grid has a history of funding interconnectors like the North Sea Link from large financial institutions.

I believe that the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and the waters around our combined shores will become the largest zero-carbon power station in the world.

This will attract engineering companies and financial institutions from all over the world and we will see a repeat of the rush for energy that we saw for oil and gas in the last century.

If we get the financial regime right, I can see a lot of tax money flowing towards the Exchequer.

The big question will be what do we do with all this energy.

  • Some will be converted into hydrogen for transport, the making of zero-carbon steel and cement and for use as a chemical feedstock.
  • Industries that use a lot of electricity may move to the UK.
  • A large supply of electricity and hydrogen will make it easy to decarbonise housing, offices and factories.

The Telegraph article also says this.

Much can be exported to the Continent through interconnectors for a fat revenue stream, helping to plug the UK’s trade deficit, and helping to rescue Germany from the double folly of nuclear closures and the Putin pact. But there are limits since weather patterns in Britain and Northwest Europe overlap – partially.

I suspect that more energy will be exported to Germany than most economists think, as it will be needed and it will be a nice little earner for the UK.

Given the substantial amount of German investment in our wind industry, I do wonder, if Boris and Olaf did a deal to encourage more German investment, when they met in April this year.

  • BP have been backed with their wind farms by a German utility company.
  • RWE are developing the Sofia wind farm.
  • Only last week, the deal for the NeuConnect interconnector between the Isle of Grain and Wilhelmshaven was signed.
  • Siemens have a lot of investments in the UK.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see more German investments in the next few months.

The Golden Hello

Has there ever been a Prime Minister, who will receive such a golden hello, as the one Liz or Rishi will receive in September?

The Tory Leadership Election

Some of the candidates said they would reduce taxes , if they won and Liz Truss is still saying that.

I wonder why Rishi isn’t saying that he would reduce taxes, as he must know the cash flow that is coming. It may be he’s just a more cautious soul.

 

 

 

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

UK-German Energy Link Reaches Financial Close

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

These are the three introductory paragraphs.

A multibillion-euro 725 km interconnector between the UK and Germany has reached financial close, paving the way for construction works to begin in the coming months.

The £2.4bn (€2.8bn) NeuConnect interconnector will form an “invisible energy highway” with subsea cables allowing up to 1.4GW of electricity to flow in either direction between the UK and Germany and will help deliver a more secure and resilient energy supply, particularly as more renewable generation is added.

Independent analysis shows the project will create over £1.7bn in UK consumer benefits over 25 years.

Other points about NeuConnect include.

  • It has been privately funded by a consortium of over twenty national and international banks.
  • It will run between the Isle of Grain and a the new Fedderwarden substation in Wilhelmshaven.
  • It should be operational in 2028.

Although, it is bi-directional, it appears that one of its major uses will be to provide Germany with UK wind energy to compensate for the loss of Putin’s bloodstained gas.

July 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | Leave a comment