The Anonymous Widower

What Happens When The Wind Doesn’t Blow?

In Future Offshore Wind Power Capacity In The UK, I analysed future offshore wind power development in the waters around the UK and came to this conclusion.

It looks like we’ll be able to reap the wind. And possibly 50 GW of it! 

The unpredictable nature of wind and solar power means that it needs to be backed up with storage or some other method.

In The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery, I describe how a Highview Power CRYObattery with a capacity of 500 MWh is used to back up a large solar power station in the Atacama desert in Chile.

But to backup 50 GW is going to need a lot of energy storage.

The largest energy storage system in the UK is Electric Mountain or Dinorwig power station in Wales.

  • It has an output of 1.8 GW, which means that we’d need up to nearly thirty Electric Mountains to replace the 50 GW.
  • It has a storage capacity of 9.1 GWh, so at 1.8 GW, it can provide that output for five hours.
  • To make matters worse, Electric Mountain cost £425 million in 1974, which would be over £4 billion today, if you could fine a place to build one.

But it is not as bad as it looks.

  • Battery technology is improving all the time and so is the modelling of power networks.
  • We are now seeing large numbers of lithium-ion batteries being added to the UK power network to improve the quality of the network.
  • The first Highview Power CRYObattery with an output of 50 MW and a capacity of 250 MWh is being built at Carrington in Manchester.
  • If this full size trial is successful, I could see dozens of CRYOBatteries being installed at weak points in the UK power network.
  • Other battery technology is being developed, that might be suitable for application in the UK.

Put this all together and I suspect that it will be possible to cover on days where the wind doesn’t blow.

But it certainly will need a lot of energy storage.

Gas-Fired Power Stations As A Back Up To Renewable Power

Last summer when the wind didn’t blow, gas-fired power stations were started up to fill the gap in the electricity needed.

Gas-fired power-stations normally use gas turbines similar to those used in airliners, which have a very fast startup response, so power can be increased quickly.

If you look at the specification of proposed gas-fired power stations like Keadby2, they have two features not found in current stations.

  • The ability to be fitted in the future with carbon-capture technology.
  • The ability to be fuelled by hydrogen.

Both features would allow a gas-fired power-station to generate power in a zero-carbon mode.

Carbon Capture And Storage

I am not in favour of Carbon Capture And Storage, as I believe Carbon Capture and Use is much better and increasingly engineers, researchers and technologists are finding ways of using carbon-dioxide.

  • Feeding to tomatoes, salad vegetables, soft fruits and flowers in greenhouses.
  • Producing meat substitutes like Quorn.
  • Producing sustainable aviation fuel.
  • An Australian company called Mineral Decarbonation International can convert carbon dioxide into building products like blocks and plasterboard.

This list will grow.

Using or storing the carbon-dioxide produced from a gas-fired power station running on natural gas, will allow the fuel to be used, as a backup, when the wind isn’t blowing.

Use Of Hydrogen

Hydrogen will have the following core uses in the future.

  • Steelmaking
  • Smelting of metal ores like copper and zinc
  • As a chemical feedstock
  • Natural gas replacement in the mains.
  • Transport

Note that the first four uses could need large quantities of hydrogen, so they would probably need an extensive storage system, so that all users had good access to the hydrogen.

If we assume that the hydrogen is green and probably produced by electrolysis, the obvious place to store it would be in a redundant gas field that is convenient. Hence my belief of placing the electrolyser offshore on perhaps a redundant gas platform.

If there is high hydrogen availability, then using a gas-fired power-station running on hydrogen, is an ideal way to make up the shortfall in power caused by the low wind.

Conclusion

Batteries and gas-fired power stations can handle the shortfall in power.

January 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | 21 Comments

Green Hydrogen Searches For Industrial Outlets

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on E & T Magazine.

It is a detailed look at the uses for green hydrogen.

A few points from the article.

  • Like fossil fuel hydrogen can store energy for months.
  • Less that 10 % of green hydrogen will be used for energy storage.
  • Hydrogen has a poor round trip efficiency, if you create it with an electrolyser and then convert it back to electricity using appropriate technology.
  • Heavy transport may account for 25 % of the use of hydrogen.
  • Industrial and home heating applications could account for the use of another third.
  • One of the biggest uses today of hydrogen is in oil-refining to make low sulphur fuels.
  • Steelmaking could be a big user, but there are many different methods and some have problems.
  • Cement making could be a good use of green hydrogen.

The article is a must-read and it makes you think.

April 20, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , | 4 Comments

Orsted In Gigawatt-Scale Offshore Wind To Green Hydrogen Plan With Steel Giant ArcelorMittal

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

The title says a lot and at the heart of the plan is a 1 GW electrolyser.

Now that is enormous.

Will it be made in Rotherham by ITM Power?

The article is a must read.

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hydrogen: Can The Lightest Gas Turn Heavy Industry Green?

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

It is an excellent summary of how we will decarbonise heavy industries like steel, cement and chemicals using hydrogen.

If you don’t read anything else this morning, then read this article.

March 20, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

WindH2 Hydrogen Project Commissioned In Germany

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Salzgitter AG, Avacon and Linde have taken an important step on the path to decarbonizing the steel industry. With the commissioning of “Wind Hydrogen Salzgitter – WindH2”, Germany’s only cross-sector project, green hydrogen will be produced in future with electricity generated by wind power on the site of the steelworks in Salzgitter.

This sentence describes the hydrogen production.

Avacon, a member of the E.ON Group, operates seven newly built wind turbines with an output totaling 30 megawatts on the premises of Salzgitter AG. Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH has installed two Siemens 1.25 megawatt PEM electrolyzer units on its plant site that are capable of producing around 450 m3 per hour of ultra pure hydrogen.

It appears that Salzgitter AG are initially using hydrogen to cut their carbon footprint.

To get an impression of the size of the steelworks, look at this Google Map.

Note that if you click on the map to show it in a large scale, stahl is German for steel.

The article is certainly worth a read.

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , | 1 Comment

Fossil-​Free Steel A Giant Step In Scania’s Decarbonisation

This title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Automotive World.

This is the introductory sub-title.

“Now we are gearing up in our journey towards completely emission-free products!” This is how Scania’s Head of Purchasing Anders Williamsson sees the company’s decision to invest in and enter into a partnership with the company H2 Green Steel (H2GS).

Other points from the article include.

  • Each Scania truck contains five tonnes of steel.
  • Scania will have a close partnership with H2GS.
  • Scania will be able to get 90 % of their steel from H2GS.

H2GS will change steelmaking, when they start production in 2024.

March 2, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

H2 Green Steel Plans 800 MW Hydrogen Plant In Sweden

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

The title says it all.

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.

This would mean that H2 Green Steel’s electrolyser could be producing around one hundred and forty thousand tonnes of hydrogen per year or 380 tonnes per day.

What About Scunthorpe?

I very much believe that Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, would be the ideal place for hydrogen steelmaking in the UK as I outlined in Green Hydrogen To Power First Zero Carbon Steel Plant.

So could 800 MW of electricity be available to produce the hydrogen in the area.

Currently, the world’s largest offshore wind farm is Hornsea One with a capacity of 1218 MW, which feeds into the National Grid at Killingholme.

This Google Map shows the distance between Scunthorpe and Killingholme.

Note.

  1. Scunthorpe is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Killingholme is in the North-East corner of the map.

The distance is about twenty miles.

When fully developed, the Hornsea Wind Farm is planned to have a capacity of 6 GW or 6000 MW, so there should be enough renewable energy.

Could The Hydrogen Be Created Offshore?

In ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration, I wrote about combining wind turbines and electrolysers to create an offshore wind turbine, that generates hydrogen, rather than electricity.

This approach may be ideal for the later phases of the Hornsea Wind Farm.

  • Redundant gas pipes can be used to bring the hydrogen ashore.
  • Worked-out offshore gas fields can be used to store hydrogen.
  • Worked-out gas fields in the area, are already being used to store natural gas from Norway.
  • The hydrogen can be fed directly into the HumberZero hydrogen network.

But the main reason, is that some serious commentators feel it is more affordable approach in terms of capital and maintenance costs.

It is also easy to convert hydrogen back to zero-carbon electricity, if you have a handy gas-fired power station. There could be as many of three of these at Keadby.

Conclusion

It’s all coming together on Humberside.

Anything the Swedes can do, we can do better!

March 1, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Green Hydrogen To Power First Zero Carbon Steel Plant

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

This is the two introductory paragraphs.

A new industrial initiative, backed by EIT InnoEnergy, will build the world’s first large-scale steel production plant powered by green hydrogen, in north Sweden.

The H2 Green Steel industrial initiative, which will mobilise €2.5bn of investment, aims to deliver a project that will create a new green steel producer from inception.

These further points are made.

  • There will be downstream steel products manufacture.
  • The initiative will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
  • Production could start in 2024.
  • Up to five million tonnes of steel could be produced by 2030.

The plant will be built in the Boden-Lulea area of Northern Sweden.

Note.

  1. Boden is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Lulea is in the South-East corner of the map.

H2 Green Steel has a web site, which explains more.

What About Scunthorpe?

Surely, the obvious location for green steel production plant in the UK would be Scunthorpe.

  • The HumberZero network can bring in hydrogen and take away any carbon dioxide.
  • The steelworks makes world-class products like railway rails.
  • It is a massive site.
  • The site has good rail access.

But there don’t seem to be any plans for hydrogen steelmaking at Scunthorpe.

Conclusion

I hope we’ve not missed the boat for hydrogen steelmaking.

  • We’ve certainly got the sites, the renewable energy and the hydrogen technology.
  • On the other hand, I can remember sensible arguments for lots of much smaller steel plants from fifty years ago, as an alternative to nationalisation of the steel industry by the Wilson Government in 1967.
  • I can also remember proposals for nuclear steelmaking.

I just wonder, if a design of hydrogen steelmaking plant could be developed, perhaps even using a small modular nuclear reactor to generate the hydrogen.

If we are going to have a steel industry in the future, we must do something radical.

February 27, 2021 Posted by | Energy, World | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sweden’s Grand Plan To Make Zero-Carbon Steel

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

It adds a lot of colour and background to Sweden’s plan to make zero-carbon stell using a process called HYBRIT, that I wrote about in Funding Award to Supply An 8MW Electrolyser and is illustrated in this infographic.

The amount of hydrogen needed is large as this paragraph from the Telegraph article says.

HYBRIT’s demonstration plant, for which an investment decision is due in 2022, will require 400MW of power just for the electrolysers to make the hydrogen. Sweden’s largest existing wind farm, Björkhöjden, produces just 288MW. Then to store the hydrogen, Vattenfall plans to build 120,000 m3 of lined underground storage, enough to store 100GWh worth of the gas.

Will they procure the electrolysers from the UK’s experts in the field; iTM Power? This innovative company is building the world’s largest electrolyser factory in Rotherham, which will be able to produce a GW of electrolysers in a year.

Conclusion

This well-written article in the Telegraph explains a lot about steel produced using hydrogen instead of coal.

Sweden has a lot of advantages at Lulea to create steel.

  • The iron ore is mined locally.
  • Sweden has ninety percent of Europe’s iron ore.
  • Ships can sail to Lulea, which is at the top of the Baltic.
  • There is gigawatts of zero-carbon electricity from the River Lule.
  • They can build wind farms in the area, which has a low population.

It does look that they might export the iron ore as sponge iron, which can then be processed directly into steel products using electric arc furnaces.

 

December 29, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Green Light For Fossil-Free Steel In Oxelösund

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Green light for fossil-free steel in Oxelösund The Land and Environment Court has decided to grant SSAB Oxelösund an environmental permit to convert its steelmaking operations and reduce carbon dioxide activities by 2025. This also means that we will take a step nearer towards fossil-free steel production across SSAB in 2045.

This is an historic decision in many ways. It is the first time that Oxelösund has applied for changes in production to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Use of sponge iron made through HYBRIT technology, together with scrap iron as feedstock instead of iron ore and coal, will enable SSAB to reduce emissions in Oxelösund by around 80%.

Hydrogen steelmaking processes are surely the future of steelmaking, as they can be made zero-carbon.

It will need a lot of hydrogen and I can see processes like Shell’s Blue Hydrogen Process being ideal to produce the hydrogen.

But will China and the other countries that produce cheap steel, turn to hydrogen steel-making?

December 23, 2020 Posted by | Business, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment