The Anonymous Widower

What Is INTOG?

This page on the Crown Estate Scotland web site outlines INTOG.

This is the introduction at the top of the page.

Innovation and Targeted Oil & Gas (INTOG) is a leasing round for offshore wind projects that will directly reduce emissions from oil & gas production and boost further innovation.

Developers can apply for seabed rights to build two types of offshore wind project:

IN – Small scale, innovative projects, of less than 100MW

TOG – Projects connected directly to oil and gas infrastructure, to provide electricity and reduce the carbon emissions associated with production

INTOG is designed, in response to demand from government and industry, to help achieve the targets of the North Sea Transition Sector Deal, which is a sector deal between government and the offshore oil and gas industry.

I have a few thoughts and have also found some news stories.

Isolated Communities

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity that were announced yesterday.

The document introduces the concept of Remote Island Wind, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Remote Island Wind.

I don’t know of one, but there might be isolated communities, with perhaps a dodgy power supply, who might like to improve this, by means of a small offshore wind farm, meeting perhaps these criteria.

  • Less than 100 MW.
  • Agreement of the locals.
  • A community fund.
  • An important use for the electricity.

Locations and applications could be.

  • A small fishing port, where winds regularly bring the grid cable down in winter.
  • A village with a rail station to perhaps charge battery-electric trains.
  • A deep loch, where floating wind turbines are erected.
  • To provide hydrogen for transport.

We shall see what ideas are put forward.

Floating Power Stations

Floating wind farms are generally made up of individual turbines on floats.

  • Turbines can be up to the largest used onshore or on fixed foundations.
  • The Kincardine floating offshore wind farm in Scotland uses 9.5 MW turbines.
  • The floats are anchored to the sea bed.
  • There is a power cable connecting the turbines appropriately to each other, the shore or an offshore substation.

But we are talking innovation here, so we might see some first-of-a-kind ideas.

Single Floating Turbines

A large floating wind farm, is effectively a large number of floating wind turbines anchored in the same area of sea, and connected to the same floating or fixed substation.

I can’t see any reason, why a single floating wind turbine couldn’t be anchored by itself to provide local power.

It might even be connected to an onshore or subsea energy store, so that it provided a more constant output.

Surely, a single turbine perhaps ten miles offshore wouldn’t be a very large blot on the seascape?

I grew up in Felixstowe and got used to seeing HM Fort Roughs on the horizon from the beach. That is seven miles offshore and some people, I know have windsurfed around it from the beach.

TwinHub

I talked about TwinHub in Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind.

TwinHub mounts two turbines on one float and this is a visualisation of a TwinHub being towed into place.

Note.

  1. The design turns into the wind automatically, so that the maximum amount of electricity is generated.
  2. A Contract for Difference for a 32 MW TwinHub has been awarded, at a strike price of £87.30/MWh, that will be installed near Hayle in Cornwall.
  3. With a capacity factor of 50 %, that will produce just over 140,160 MWh per year or over £12 million per year.

This article on the BBC, which is entitled Funding Secured For Floating Wind Farm Off Cornwall, gives more details of the Hayle TwinHub.

The possibility of a floating wind farm off the coast of Cornwall has moved a step closer after securing government funding, project bosses have said.

Swedish company Hexicon plans to install its TwinHub system, with the hope it could begin operating in 2025.

It would be deployed about 10 miles (16km) off Hayle.

Project supporters said it could be a boost to the local economy and help establish Cornwall in the growing renewable energy sector.

Figures have not been released, but it is understood the government funding has effectively secured a fixed price for the power TwinHub would produce for 15 years, making it economically viable.

The article says that this 32 MW system could develop enough electricity for 45,000 homes.

This could be a very suitable size for many applications.

  • As at Hayle, one could be floated just off the coast to power a remote part of the country. As Cornwall has a few old mine shafts, it might even be backed up by a Gravitricity system on shore or another suitable non-lithium battery.
  • Could one float alongside an oil or gas platform and be tethered to it, to provide the power?

Scotland’s hydroelectric power stations, prove that not all power stations have to be large to be successful.

Vårgrønn and Flotation Energy’s Joint Bid

This article on offshoreWIND.biz is entitled Vårgrønn And Flotation Energy To Jointly Bid in INTOG Leasing Round, gives a few details about their joint bid.

But there is nothing substantial about ideas and locations.

I can see several joint ventures with a suitable system, bidding for various projects around the Scottish coast.

Cerulean

Cerulean sounds like it could be a sea monster, but it is a shade of blue.

This article on offshoreWind.biz is entitled Cerulean Reveals 6 GW Floating Offshore Wind Bid Under INTOG Leasing Round.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Green energy infrastructure developer Cerulean Winds has revealed it will bid for four seabed lease sites with a combined capacity of 6 GW of floating wind to decarbonise the UK’s oil and gas sector under Crown Estate Scotland’s Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round.

This scale will remove more emissions quickly, keep costs lower for platform operators and provide the anchor for large-scale North-South offshore transmission, Cerulean Winds said.

Note.

  1. It looks like each site will be a hundred turbines.
  2. If they’re the same, they could be 1.5 GW each.
  3. Each site will need £6 billion of investment. So it looks like Cerulean have access to a similar magic money tree as Kwasi Kwarteng.

This paragraph describes their four hundred floating bases.

The steel floating bases would constitute hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel, which unlike cement fixtures, can be floated out from shore which is said to be ideal for the UK.

Building those bases, is a very large project.

On their web site, Cerulean Winds have a page entitled Targeted Oil And Gas Decarbonisation.

This the page’s mission statement.

Cerulean Winds, a green energy & infrastructure developer, is leading a pioneering bid to reduce carbon emissions from oil and gas production through floating offshore wind.

These three paragraphs describe the scheme.

Cerulean Winds pioneering bid proposes an integrated floating wind and hydrogen development across four offshore floating wind farms located West and East of the Shetland Islands and in the North and the South of the Central North Sea (CNS). The objective of the project is to generate electricity from floating wind farms located far offshore on otherwise unallocated and uneconomic seabed areas in order to power oil and gas platforms with green energy.

Cerulean Winds’ dedicated power transmission network will offer both green electrons and green molecules to oil & gas production facilities across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) with surplus energy used in the production of green hydrogen. This dual approach allows the project to support all ages of oil and gas platforms with constant, reliable power and minimal brownfield modifications.

The optimised scale at which Cerulean Winds’ proposed scheme operates makes it the world’s largest decarbonisation project. It offers green energy to operators for asset power generation, delivered through an affordable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Another big advantage is the scheme does not require any public subsidies, but funded entirely through private investment.

That is sensational.

Effectively, they’re building four 1.5 GW power stations in the seas around us to power a large proportion of the oil and gas rigs.

I do wonder, the gas, which will no longer be needed to power the rigs will give a boost to the supply to UK consumers.

They’ve thought of that one.

Under a heading of Reducing Gas Imports, this is said.

The project also aims to maximise recovery of energy from offshore platforms. With few exceptions, each platform have their own gas turbines for power generation, burning gas extracted from the reservoirs. Approximately 10% of the gas produced each year is used in offshore power generation. By replacing the need for gas power generation with a supply of clean, green energy, Cerulean Winds’ project frees important volumes of gas produced by platforms for consumption and reduces the UK’s import of gas from overseas.

It looks like Cerulean Winds are a very different energy company.

Will There Be An Offshore Wind Supermarket?

I can see the big turbine, float and electrical gubbins manufacturers establishing a one-stop shop for developers, who want to install small wind farms, that meet the INTOG criteria.

So suppose, the archetypal Scottish laird in his castle on his own island wanted a 6 MW turbine to go green, he would just go to the B & Q Offshore web site and order what he needed. It would then be towed into place and collected to his local grid.

I can see modular systems being developed, that fit both local infrastructure and oil and gas platforms.

Conclusion

I can see scores of projects being submitted.

I even know the son of a Scottish laird, whose father owns a castle on an island, who could be taking interest in INTOG. They might also apply under Remote Island Wind in another leasing round.

But we will have to wait until the end of March 2023, to find out who have been successful.

 

September 29, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

First Ever Gravity Green Energy Storage System Set For North Yorkshire Town

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

These paragraphs give an outline of the project.

Plans to create the UK’s first below ground gravity energy storage system have been unveiled in North Yorkshire.

Scottish energy storage firm Gravitricity is to apply to Ryedale District Council with its plan for a facility at East Knapton in Ryedale on the site of the former Knapton gas generator.

If completed, it could store up to four megawatt hours (4MWhs) of electricity – sufficient to power more than 9,000 homes for an hour.

It looks like the system will have an output of 4 MW.

This Google Map shows the two villages of West and East Knapton.

Note.

  1. The A64 road between Malton and Scarborough going across the map.
  2. Scarborough and the coast is about fifteen miles to the East.
  3. The Third Energy site in the North-East corner of the map.

This second Google Map shows the Third Energy site in more detail.

Note.

  1. The substation and a power line in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The 42 MW Knapton Generating Station used to be on this site and it was powered by local gas wells.

Third Energy have now called the site Knapton Energy Park and it now has a web page, which has this mission statement.

Third Energy is developing the former Knapton Generating Station into the Knapton Energy Park. The energy park will house multiple sources of power generation and energy storage. The aim of the project is to pay a part in the development and generation of renewable energy systems in North Yorkshire, and contribute to making the UK Net Zero by 2050.

This paragraph talks about weights.

One of our technology partners has also received government funding to conduct feasibility studies for a pilot project at Knapton which would utilise suspended weights to store energy as an alternative to the traditional battery storage technologies. This project will be developed through 2022 onwards.

It looks like Gravitricity has planted an acorn in Yorkshire.

The Third Energy web site is worth an explore. This is the mission statement on the home page.

At Third Energy our aim is to be at the forefront of North Yorkshire’s transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy. Our team are proactively playing a part in innovative energy solutions and energy development; transforming our facilities into a multi-purpose energy park and research centre.

I particularly like this page, which is entitled Plug & Abandon.

This is the outline of their P % A philosophy on the page.

As wells near the end of their life cycle they must be decommissioned and the land returned to its original state. Unfortunately, the current P&A practices of the oil and gas industry are cost prohibitive, resulting in delays to abandonment (as companies attempt to avoid the high cost), and poor abandonment practices that may be harmful to the environment.

Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem. Our ambition is to use new and innovative technologies to P&A the wells in a more effective and sustainable manner, and first to extend the period our wells may service the community by re-purposing them for geothermal energy.

Can they really convert abandoned gas wells into geothermal energy sources?

 

August 23, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The World Economic Forum Talk About Gravitricity

This article on the World Economic Forum is entitled How Gravity Batteries Will Help Us Switch To Renewable Energy.

The article is a must-read and Gravitricity must be very pleased with the contents and placement of the article.

As an investor in Gravitricity, through crowd-funding, I am certainly pleased.

July 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , | Leave a comment

Gravity—Yes, Gravity—Is the Next Frontier for Batteries

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

This is the first paragraph.

When the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t howling, suspended weights can step in to generate power.

The article goes on to explain Energy Vault and Gravitricity.

It is certainly an endorsement of the technique from one of America’s popular magazines.

June 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , | Leave a comment

Gravitricity And Arup Secure Funding To Develop Below Ground Hydrogen Storage

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

This is the first paragraph.

Edinburgh-based storage tech firm Gravitricity and British environment consultancy Arup have secured $372,073 (£300,000) from the UK government to study the feasibility of storing hydrogen in purpose-built underground shafts.

The biggest thing about this grant is that it has gone to Scottish start-up; Gravitricity and one of the UK’s most respected engineering consultancy companies; Arup, who have over 16,000 staff in their world-wide operation.

For Gravitricity, it is the sort of deal, that could make this small company.

It follows their link up with world-class Dutch winch specialist Huisman, who provide the winches they need.

If you judge a company, by their friends, Gravitricity now have two of the biggest and best.

This paragraph described the objectives of the study.

The parties will collaborate to deliver a complete system design and commercial feasibility report for the new idea, as well as identify a potential site for their underground hydrogen store. The design will also include integration with gravity energy storage and inter-seasonal heat.

This could turn out to be one of the most significant energy storage announcements of 2022.

Conclusion

I am not disappointed that I invested a small sum in Gravitricity through a crowd funding.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

Wind And Solar Boom Will Bring Energy Surplus

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

Under the picture, is this sub-title.

The government has set a target of 50 gigawatts of offshore wind farms by 2030, up from about 10 gigawatts at present.

According to this Wikipedia list of offshore wind farms, the UK currently has 2180 offshore turbines with a capacity of 8113 MW.

These wind farms appear to be planned.

Hornsea

The Hornsea wind farm is currently supplying 1.2 GW to the grid, but it is planned to be expanded to 6 GW, which is another 4.8 GW.

East Anglia Array

The East Anglia Array is currently supplying 0.7 GW to the grid, but it is planned to be expanded to 7.2 GW, which is another 6.5 GW.

Sofia

The Sofia wind farm will supply 1.4 GW from 2026.

Moray East

The Moray East wind farm will supply 0.95 GW from 2022.

Neart Na Gaoithe

The Neart Na Gaoithe wind farm will supply 0.45 GW from 2023.

Triton Knoll

The Triton Knoll wind farm will supply 0.86 GW from 2022.

Seagreen

The Seagreen wind farm will supply 1.1 GW from 2023.

Dogger Bank

The Dogger Bank wind farm will supply 3.6 GW from 2025.

Moray West

The Moray West wind farm will supply 1.2 GW from 2025.

Rampion 2

The Rampion 2 wind farm will supply 1.2 GW before 2030.

Norfolk Boreas

The Norfolk Boreas wind farm will supply 1.8 GW before 2030

Norfolk Vanguard

The Norfolk Vanguard wind farm will supply 1.8 GW before 2030

These wind farms total up to 31.1 GW

Morgan And Mona

The Morgan and Mona wind farms will supply 3 GW from 2028.

ScotWind

This map shows the wind farms in the latest round of leasing in Scotland.

These wind farms should be providing 24.8 GW by 2030.

Celtic Sea

In Two More Floating Wind Projects In The Celtic Sea, I give details of six wind farms to be developed in the Celtic Sea, that will produce a total of 1.2 GW.

All should be delivered by 2030.

Northern Horizons

In Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?, I talk about Northern Horizons, which will produce 10 GW of wind energy from 2030.

An Armada Of Wind Farms

As many of these wind farms will be floating and wind-powered, the collective noun must surely be an armada.

These are some figures.

  • The size is certainly spectacular at 70.1 GW.
  • As the UK electricity consumption in 2020-2021 was 265.4 TWh, the average hourly production throughout the year is 30.3 GW.
  • As I write this post, the UK is generating 30.1 GW.

As the best offshore wind farms have a capacity factor of around fifty percent, we should be able to power the UK with wind power alone.

So when The Times says this in the first two paragraphs of the article.

Britain will have excess electricity supplies for more than half of the year by 2030 as a huge expansion of wind and solar power transforms the energy system, a new analysis suggests.

Energy storage technologies, including batteries and electrolysers to make hydrogen, will need to be deployed at massive scale to prevent this surplus electricity going to waste, according to LCP, a consultancy.

The article would appear to correct.

The Need For Energy Storage

If we look at energy production at the current time, energy production is as follows.

  • Biomass – 0.5 GW
  • Gas – 17 GW
  • Nuclear – 5 GW
  • Onshore Wind – 12 GW with 20 % capacity factor – 2.4 GW
  • Offshore Wind – 8.1 GW with 30 % capacity factor – 2.4 GW
  • Interconnects – 0.4 GW
  • Others – 0.5 GW

This totals up to 28.2 GW.

In 2030, energy production could be as follows.

  • Biomass – 0.5 GW
  • Nuclear – 5 GW
  • Onshore Wind – 12 GW with 20 % capacity factor – 2.4 GW
  • Offshore Wind – 30 GW with 30 % capacity factor – 9 GW
  • Floating Offshore Wind – 40 GW with 50 % capacity factor – 20 GW
  • Others – 0.5 GW

This totals up to 37.4 GW.

So if you take a typical day, where on average throughout the day we are producing around 7 GW more of electricity than we need, we will actually produce around 7 * 24 GWh = 168 GWh of excess electricity

Whichever was you look at it, we have got to do something concrete with a large amount of electricity.

  • Store it in batteries of various types from lithium ion, through new types of batteries like those being developed by Highview Power and Gravitricity to pumped hydro storage.
  • Store the energy in the batteries of electric cars, vans, buses, trucks, trains and ships.
  • Store the energy in Norwegian pumped hydro storage.
  • Convert it to hydrogen using an electrolyser and blend the hydrogen with the natural gas supply.
  • Convert it to hydrogen using an electrolyser and use the hydrogen to make zero-carbon steel, concrete and chemicals.
  • Convert it to hydrogen using an electrolyser and develop new zero-carbon industries.
  • Convert it to hydrogen using an electrolyser and store the hydrogen in a depleted gas field.
  • Sell it to Europe, either as electricity or hydrogen.

Note.

  1. We are going to have to build a lot of batteries and I suspect they will be distributed all round the country.
  2. We are going to have to build a lot of hydrogen electrolysers.
  3. We have world class battery and electrolyser companies.

We should also fund the following.

  • Developments of technology, that makes better batteries, electrolysers, boilers and heat pumps.
  • I would also do a lot of work to increase the capacity factor of wind farms.

I also believe that if we have masses of electricity and hydrogen, we might find as a country, it’s very beneficial in terms of jobs, exports and a healthier economy to invest in certain industries.

Conclusion

The future is rosy.

 

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Australian Start-Up Eyes Disused Mine Shafts For Giga-Scale Gravity Energy Storage

Thye title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renew Economy.

This is the first paragraph.

A newly launched Australian start-up has unveiled its own take on gravitational energy storage technology that will use super-heavy weights in legacy mine shafts to capture and release energy, with around 3GWh of potential storage capacity already identified for development.

Note.

  1. The company is called Green Gravity.
  2. I can’t find a web site.

The idea seems very much like Gravitricity.

Gravitricity’s ideas may be patented.

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

ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm

I introduced this wind farm in ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations as Lease 15 – The Odd Bid Out.

I said this.

In any design competition, there is usually at least one design, that is not look like any of the others.

In the successful bids for the ScotWind leases, the bid from Magnora ASA stands out.

  • The company has an unusual home page on its offshore wind web site.
  • This page on their web site outlines their project.
  • It will be technology agnostic, with 15MW turbines and a total capacity of 500MW
  • It will use floating offshore wind with a concrete floater
  • It is estimated, that it will have a capacity factor of 56 %.
  • The water depth will be an astonishing 106-125m
  • The construction and operation will use local facilities at Stornoway and Kishorn Ports.
  • The floater will have local and Scottish content.
  • The project will use UK operated vessels​.
  • Hydrogen is mentioned.
  • Consent is planned for 2026, with construction starting in 2028 and completion in 2030.

This project could serve as a model for wind farms all round the world with a 500 MW power station, hydrogen production and local involvement and construction.

I have some thoughts.

The Location Of The Windfarm

This Google Map shows the area between Stornaway and Kishorn.

Note.

  1. The island in the North-West of the map is Lewis and Harris.
  2. The windfarm will be to the North-West of the island.
  3. Stornaway is on the isthmus, that connects the small peninsular on the East of the island.
  4. The port of Stornaway is on the South side of the isthmus.
  5. The port of Kishorn is shown by the red arrow.

This second Google Map shows the town of Stornaway.

Note that Stornaway has a substantial airport in the East and a large port.

This third Google Map shows Loch Kishorn in more detail.

Kishorn Yard at the Kishorn Port was originally built to create the large structures in steel and concrete for the development of North Sea Oil. This is an extract from the Wikipedia entry.

The yard was therefore well suited to build the 600,000-tonne concrete Ninian Central Platform, which was built in 1978. Material was supplied by sea and when complete the platform needed seven tugs to tow it to its operating position in the North Sea. The Ninian Central Platform still holds the record as the largest movable object ever created by man.

If the yard could build the Ninian Central Platform, I’m sure that Magnora ASA intend to build the concrete floater in Loch Kishorn.

The Floating Wind Turbines

In visualisations on the site, the floating wind turbines are shown as sitting on floating three-pointed star structures.

As Technip UK are partners in the project and I suspect they are a subsidiary of  TechnipFMC, who are a well-known company described like this in Wikipedia.

TechnipFMC plc is a French-American, UK-domiciled global oil and gas company that provides complete project life cycle services for the energy industry.

The company would certainly have the expertise to design a floating platform for a wind farm.

Like the WindFloat, it could be based on semi-submersible offshore platform technology.

The Magnora web site, say that 15 MW wind turbines will be used, so these will probably be some of the largest wind turbines in the world.

Currently, the largest floating wind turbines are the 9.5 MW units at the Kincardine Wind Farm in Scotland.

33 x 15 MW wind turbines would give a capacity of 495 MW.

I suspect the turbines would be towed to Stornaway or Kishorn for major servicing.

What Will The Concrete Floater Do?

There are a variety of tasks that the concrete floater could handle.

  • It could collect the electricity from the wind turbines. I suspect this would give advantages in the connection and disconnection of individual turbines into the windfarm.
  • Any electricity conversion necessary would be handled on the floater.
  • The floater would handle the seaward end of the connection to the shore.
  • There could be a battery or energy storage device on the floater.
  • Could a Gravitricity battery or something similar be built into the floater?
  • Magnora mention hydrogen on their web site. Could an electrolyser be built on the floater and the hydrogen distributed to Lewis and Harris by pipeline?

Some oil and gas platforms are very comprehensive and there is no reason why there can’t be substantial processing done on the floater.

The Concrete Floater

According to Wikipedia, offshore concrete structures have been in use successfully for about 50 years. Nearly fifty are in use in the oil and gas industry.

Wikipedia introduces its section on floating concrete structures like this.

Since concrete is quite resistant to corrosion from salt water and keeps maintenance costs low, floating concrete structures have become increasingly attractive to the oil and gas industry in the last two decades.

I also wonder if a floating concrete structure would make a good hydrogen storage tank, if there is electrolysis on the floater on the to turn electricity into hydrogen.

Conclusion

My original conclusion after reading about this wind farm was.

This project could serve as a model for wind farms all round the world with a 500 MW power station, hydrogen production and local involvement and construction.

I have no reason to change my mind and feel that the concept may have even more possibilities.

March 27, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration Programme, Stream 1 Phase 1: Details Of Successful Projects

The title of this post, is the same as that of this document from the UK Government.

This is the introduction.

Stream 1 aims to accelerate commercialisation of innovative longer duration energy storage projects through to actual demonstrations. During Phase 1, projects will be expected to mobilise their proposed technologies to prepare for potential deployment on the UK energy system.

These are the projects.

Ballylumford Power-to-X

This is the description of this project in Northern Ireland.

B9 Energy Storage will receive £986,082 to mobilise a 20MW membrane free electrolyser green hydrogen project. Using otherwise curtailed wind power, hydrogen produced will be stored in local underground salt caverns for later use as a fuel in transport and electricity sectors, creating a full-cycle hydrogen economy (production, storage, distribution and usage) on site.

Note.

Ballylumford power station is a 600 MW gas-fired power station, that provides half of Northern Ireland’s electricity.

A 20 MW electrolyser will produce just under nine tonnes of hydrogen per day.

This Google Map shows the location of the power station opposite the port of Larne.

Note.

Ballylumford power station is clearly visible to the East of the channel towards the bottom of the map.

Ballylumford is also the Irish end of the HVDC Moyle interconnector from Scotland, which has a capacity of 500 MW.

Ballylumford would appear to have enough power for a large electrolyser.

Salt Beds In Northern Ireland

This document on the British Geological Survey web site is entitled Geological Storage In Northern Ireland.

The document discusses Irelands energy needs and gives a good description of using compressed air energy storage in salt caverns.

Then these two paragraphs describe the salt bed in Northern Ireland compare them to other deposits under Great Britain.

Thick halite deposits, found both onshore in Northern Ireland and immediately offshore in the North Channel, offer potential for salt cavern storage facilities. The salt deposits occur as bedded deposits with minor halokinesis (geological movement of salt) forming salt swells rather than pillows or domes so that the height of any cavern may be restricted by bed thickness. Pure salt beds tend to be thin (approximately 100-250 metres maximum thickness) compared to those used elsewhere and the presence of significant insoluble impurities and minor intrusive dolerite dykes or sills may reduce their suitability.

The Larne and Carrickfergus area of County Antrim is the only part of the whole island where thick salt beds occur. Elsewhere in the UK parts of Cheshire, Lancashire, Teesside, Humberside and Dorset have similar, or thicker, developments of salt beds and gas storage facilities are either in construction, or are already in operation.

It would appear that the thick salt beds in the Larne and Carrickfergus area could be suitable for gas storage.

Ballylumford might actually be on top of the salt beds, as Carrickfergus is a few miles to the South.

On a personal note, I used to work for ICI Mond Division and during that time and immediately afterwards, I met many people, who had been into the salt mines and worked with boreholes extracting the salt and the one thing everybody said about the salt mine, was that water must not get in.

Membrane-Free Electrolysis

I saw this in operation when I worked at ICI Mond. Most of their hydrogen and chlorine was produced using the main Castner-Kellner process at Castner-Kellner works in Runcorn. That is a nasty process that uses a lot of mercury, which got into the air and plant operators’ bodies.

But ICI also had a much smaller plant, where they used simple electrolysers, that had a metal cell, with a concrete top, with the anode and cathode going through the concrete into the brine. I seem to remember that its main purpose was to provide mercury-free hydrogen, chlorine and sodium hydroxide. I can remember seeing workers rebuilding the cells, as was done on a regular basis.

These were membrane free electrolysers and had been running successfully for many years.

Searching the Internet for “membrane free electrolyser” I found a company in Doncaster called CPH2.

The home page on their web site declares

Clean Power Hydrogen are the manufacturers of the unique Membrane-Free Electrolyser

Turning to the About page, this is said.

Being passionate about hydrogen as clean energy for the future, we wanted to find an alternative to PEM electrolysers as these had barriers to adoption. We realised that the cleanest way to produce hydrogen was by membrane-free water electrolysis, and in doing so, it would be a less expensive and more robust technology.

Dr. Nigel Williamson and Joe Scott established CPH2 (Ireland) in 2012 with the ambition to help clean up the environment for our children and future generations. Entering the green technology sector; a high growth and profitable market, they developed a Membrane-Free Electrolyser™ to produce hydrogen faster, more reliably, and more cost-effectively than other electrolysers.

They also have the ambition to be leading developer and manufacturer of green hydrogen technologies and an Irish connection.

My experience says that their technology will work. Especially, with the application of modern materials.

Have the Government backed the Ballylumford Power-to-X project, as they can back two promising technologies with one grant?

GraviSTORE

This is the description of this project.

Gravitricity Limited will receive £912,410.84 to design their multiweight energy store demonstrator project, which will store and discharge energy by lifting and lowering multiple weights in a vertical underground shaft.

Note.

  1. I like the Gravitricity concept and have invested through crowdfunding.
  2. The project will be based on a brownfield site in Northern England.
  3. Gravitricity’s current demonstrator in Edinburgh, which I wrote about in Gravitricity Celebrates Success Of 250kW Energy Storage Demonstrator, only uses a single weight, but this project talks about multiple weights.

According to other sources on the Internet, the demonstrator will have a storage capacity of 4 MWh and will be built on a brownfield site.

Will we see Gravitricity coming to a disused deep coal mine near you?

Long Duration Offshore Storage Bundle

This is the description of this project.

Subsea 7 Limited and FLASC B.V. will receive £471,760.00 to further develop the Long Duration Offshore Storage Bundle which will store energy as a combination of pressurised seawater and compressed air, using an innovative hydro-pneumatic technology.

Note.

  1. Subsea 7 Limited are a subsea engineering, construction and services company serving the offshore energy industry, domiciled in Luxembourg with headquarters in London.
  2. According to their web site, FLASC B.V. is a spin-off of the University of Malta, established in The Netherlands in 2019.

On the page on the FLASC web site, which is labelled The Technology, this is said.

FLASC is an energy storage device that can be integrated directly into a floating offshore platform. Energy is stored using a hydro-pneumatic liquid piston, driven by a reversible pump-turbine.

Charging Mode: electricity is used to pump water into a closed chamber containing pre-charged air.

Discharging Mode: the pressurised water is released through a hydraulic turbine to generate electricity.

FLASC leverages existing infrastructure and supply chains, along with the marine environment itself as a natural heatsink, resulting in a safe, reliable and cost-effective solution.

There is also this video.

The news page on the FLASC web site is a comforting read.

My knowledge of modelling vessel systems for chemical plants, tells my brain to like it.

Vanadium Flow Battery Longer Duration Energy Asset Demonstrator

This is the description of this project.

Invinity Energy Systems will receive £708,371 to demonstrate how a 40 MWh Vanadium Flow Battery could deliver long duration storage-enabled power on demand from UK-based solar generation.

Note.

  1. I wrote about Invinity Energy Systems in UK’s Pivot Power Sees First Battery On Line By 2021.
  2. Invinity Energy Systems was formed by a merger of RedT and Avalon Battery.
  3. The project appears to be located at Bathgate in Scotland.

This picture from EdF shows a large vanadian flow battery.

Invinity Energy Systems flow battery at Energy Superhub Oxford

If this project works out, vanadium flow batteries would be a good replacement for lithium-ion batteries.

Cheshire Energy Storage Centre

This is the description of this project.

io consulting will receive £1 million to enable its consortium to develop an electricity storage facility which could use mothballed EDF gas cavities in Cheshire utilising Hydrostor’s Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage technology

Note.

  1. This is another project based on salt caverns.
  2. I wrote about Canadian company; Hydrostor in Gigawatt-Scale Compressed Air: World’s Largest Non-Hydro Energy-Storage Projects Announced.
  3. Hydrostor have received at least one large order for their system.

I have put Hydrostor on my list of tecnologies that should make it.

Conclusion

This is a well-balanced list of projects.

I would rate success as follows.

  • Ballylumford Power-to-X – 60 %
  • GraviSTORE – 80 %
  • Long Duration Offshore Storage Bundle – 60 %
  • Vanadium Flow Battery Longer Duration Energy Asset Demonstrator – 70 %
  • Cheshire Energy Storage Centre – 80 %

But then all these projects are a bit of a gamble

 

February 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Disused Coal Mine Could Host Gravity Energy Storage Project

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Power Engineering International.

It does seem that Gravitricity has made a breakthrough, with the announcement of a full-size demonstration project in the Czech Republic.

  • The project is based at the mothballed Staříč coal-mine in the Moravian Silesian region.
  • They have backing from the European Investment Bank.
  • This project will be delivered through the European Commission’s Project Development Assistance scheme.
  • The Czech Republic seem to have carried out checks, with their own consultants.

It looks to me, that Gravitricity have passed the due diligence procedures of some high-powered agencies.

But this paragraph from the article must be important.

Gravitricity estimates there are around 14,000 mines worldwide which could be suitable for gravity energy storage.

If they can successfully store energy in one mine in the Czech Republic, how many of the 14,000 will be suitable for use?

I doubt it will be a small number, as mining engineers tend to be a conservative bunch and most of those mines will have been built to similar rules by similar machines and techniques.

A search of the Internet indicates that Staříč coal-mine has a depth of over a kilometre.

Using Omni’s Potential energy calculator, 12,000 tonnes and a kilometre give a figure of 32.69 MWh.

32 MWh may seem a small amount, but it would power one of these 4 MW Class 90 locomotives for eight hours.

At their typical operating speed of 100 mph, whilst hauling eight coaches, they’d travel a distance of eight hundred miles or from London to Edinburgh and back!

February 3, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 1 Comment