The Anonymous Widower

The Power Of Battery Storage

This article on Fastmarkets is entitled Neoen To Expand Li-ion Battery Capacity at Hornsdale Plant.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Australia’s Hornsdale Power Reserve, the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery plant, is set to expand capacity by 50% to 150 megawatts, according to Neoen SA, the French power producer that owns and operates the site.

If you read the article and the Wikipedia entry for Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR), you’ll see why it is being expanded.

This paragraph is from Wikipedia.

After six months of operation, the Hornsdale Power Reserve was responsible for 55% of frequency control and ancillary services in South Australia.[11] By the end of 2018, it was estimated that the Power Reserved had saved A$40 million in costs, most in eliminating the need for a 35 MW Frequency Control Ancillary Service.

Somewhat surprisingly, the power is mainly generated by the associated Hornsdale Wind Farm.

These are some statistics and facts of the installation at Hornsale.

  • There are 99 wind turbines with a total generation capacity of 315 megawatts.
  • HPR is promoted as the largest lithium-ion battery in the world.
  • HPR can store 129 MWh of electricity.
  • HPR can discharge 100 MW into the grid.
  • The main use of HPR is to provide stability to the grid.

HPR also has a nice little earner, in storing energy, when the spot price is low and selling it when it is higher.

It certainly explains why investors are putting their money in energy storage.

Wikipedia lists four energy storage projects using batteries in the UK, mainly of an experimental nature in Lilroot, Kirkwall, Leighton Buzzard and six related sites in Northern |England.  One site of the six  has a capacity of 5 MWh, making it one of the largest in Europe.

But then we have the massive Dinorwig power station or Electric Mountain, which  can supply ,1,728-MW and has a total storage capacity of 9.1 GWh

Coinsider.

  • Electric Mountain has seventy times the capacity of Hornsdale Power Reserve.
  • Electric Mountain cost £425 million in 1984, which would be a cost of £13.5 billion today.
  • Another Electric Mountain would cost about £1.6 billion per GWh of energy storage.
  • Hornsdale Power Reserve cost $ 50 million or about £26 million.
  • Hornsdale Power Reserve would cost about £0.2 billion per GWh of energy storage.

So it would appear that large batteries are better value for money than large pumped storage systems like Electric Mountain.

But it’s not as simple as that!

  • There aren’t many places, as suitable as North Wales for large pumped storage systems.
  • Omce built, it appears pumped storage system can have a long life. Electric Mountain is thirty-five years old and with updating, I wouldsn’t be surprised to see Electric Mountain in operation at the end of this century.
  • Battery sites can be relatively small, so can be placed perhaps in corners of industrial premises or housing developments.
  • Battery sites can be built close to where power is needed, but pumped storage can only be built where geography allows.
  • Pumped strage systems can need long and expensive connections to the grid.
  • I think that the UK will not build another Electric Mountain, but will build several gigawatt-sized energy storage facilities.
  • Is there enough lithium and other elements for all these batteries?
  • Electric Mountain is well-placed in Snowdonia for some wind farms, but many are in the North Sea on the other side of the country.

In my view what is needed is a series of half-gigawatt storage facilities, spread all over the country.

Highview Power looks to be promising and I wrote about it in British Start-Up Beats World To Holy Grail Of Cheap Energy Storage For Wind And Solar.

But there will be lots of other good ideas!

 

November 20, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Electric-Powered Passenger Aircraft To Launch By 2022

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

In the past few months, two serious electric small airliner projects have emerged.

And now Cranfield University are launching Project Fresson, which aims to convert Britten-Norman Islanders to electric propulsion.

  • There are hundreds of Islanders in service.
  • They were designed in the 1960s and are still in production.
  • They can carry nine passengers for nearly 900 miles.

In some ways, they are the Ford Transit of the small airliner industry. Unspectacular they may be, but they do what it says in the specification.

I’ve only flown in an Islander twice and that was between islands in the Caribbean.

There are several things to like about this project.

  • Cranfield University have an excellent reputation in aerospace design.
  • The project is well-backed by the British Government, Rolls-Royce, the University of Warwick and others.
  • The batteries appear to be coming from motorsport.
  • The Islander doesn’t have a reputation as a difficult or unsafe aircraft.
  • Over the years, the aerodynamics seem to have been improved.
  • There must be a large number of airlines around the world, who are satisfied with their current Islanders and would look seriously at an electric version.
  • The Islander is still in production.

I don’t think it carries any high level of risk.

  • The current aircraft structure will be virtually unchanged, but possibly uprated for a higher payload because of the weight of the battery.
  • The electric motors must meet a power output, energy consumption and weight.
  • The battery will probably be made from lots of standard small cells from a well-respected manufacturer like Hitachi, Samsung, Leclanche or others.
  • The battery must hold enough energy, fit in a defined space and not be too heavy.

I suspect Cranfield have already written the specifications for the motors and the battery.

Conclusion

In some ways this project has a lot in common with Harbour Air’s project to convert a Beaver.

  • Simple engineering with little risk.
  • Proven airframe.
  • No expensive airframe to certify.
  • A lot of engine and battery testing can be done safely on the ground.
  • Electric motor technology seems to be improving rapidly, with new ideas cropping up in trains, cars, boats, ships and planes.
  • A waiting market.
  • I think pilots and passengers will like the idea of an electric aircraft.
  • Pilot conversion to the electric plane will not be a long and expensive process.
  • Good green credentials.

I think both projects will succeed, if they go well in the next year or so.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson Vows New Life For High Streets And Axed Rail Lines

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Boris Johnson is promising to revitalise “left behind” high streets through tax cuts for pubs and shops and reversing some of the Beeching rail cuts to branch lines.

The article gives a map of the lines and here is a list of them.

  • Newcastle and Ashington/Blyth.
  • Bristol and Portishead
  • Camp Hill Line
  • Willenhall and Darlaston
  • Thornton-Cleveleys and Fleetwood
  • Okehampton and Exeter
  • March and Wisbech
  • Uckfield and Lewes
  • A new station he building of a station at Skelmersdale.

I will suggest other possibilities and add them here.

There could be several!

The Technology Is With Us!

Anyone who follows railway technology, as I do, knows that technology coming on stream will ease the creation of these routes.

  • Modern digital in-cab signalling, as already used on Thameslink.
  • Battery-electric trains.
  • Innovative charging for battery-electric trains.
  • Hydrogen-powered trains.
  • Tram-trains
  • Automatic train control
  • Remote services in simple depots.
  • Better bridge-raising and other construction techniques.

Many of these new routes will be able to use a standard train.

 

 

 

 

November 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nationalised British Broadband

Labour’s plans to nationalise broadband and provide it free to homes and small business is a cracker!

Advantages For Labour

It would have one big advantage for Labour!

It’s a great way of listening in to all their political opponents. They only have to ask the Chinese how to do it!

How for instance, would another political party, with a radical agenda organise?

But!

Consider these points.

  • Mobile phone traffic uses the same Internet backbone as broadband.
  • Internet tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google wouldn’t pay up without a fight
  • Everybody’s pension fund would suffer, as BT is often there and shares would be replaced by junk bonds.
  • Virgin Media and other broadband suppliers would be nationalised as well or could become worthless.
  • A lot of American Internet companies would go running to the US President and just as Trump has applied tariffs willy-nilly in his trade war with China, a future President wouldn’t take it lying down.
  • The high-tech industry has already said they don’t like it.

The biggest problem is that Internet usage will grow exponentially with 5G broadband and all the connected devices, like

  • Driverless cars.
  • Automated warehouses and delivery systems.
  • Connected smart household and other appliances.
  • Connected massive screens, which every business, school or home will have.
  • Every child watching content on mobile devices.
  • Collectinbg operating data from cars, trucks and trains to make them more reliable.
  • Automated care assistance for the ill, frail and elderly.

Can any government afford the cost of continual upgrading of capacity, which will not be like anything seen before?

It certainly, is a cracker!

And if it is implemented, it will blow up in the ultra-Marxists’ faces.

 

November 15, 2019 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , , | 4 Comments

Home Kits Signal End Of Cervical Smear Test

This is a headline on the front page of today’s copy of The Times.

Being male and living alone, I wouldn’t know what a woman thinks!

But there must surely be some women, who would think this is at least an improvement.

Health services across the world will also be able to save money, as the procedure must be more efficient and need less staff, who can probably be redeployed, where they are needed.

November 5, 2019 Posted by | Health | , | 2 Comments

Asthma Carbon Footprint ‘As Big As Eating Meat’

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Many people with asthma could cut their carbon footprint and help save the environment by switching to “greener” medications, UK researchers say.

I know more than a bit about metered dose inhalers.

I backed an inhaler, which is marketed under the name of Respimat, as when I saw the technology of the company, my physics knowledge told me that they had something.

The device was purely mechanical, with no batteries, electrical supply, gases or noxious chemicals. It effectively used the principle of an old-fashioned air pistol, that fired drugs instead of pellets.

I still have the prototype in my garage.

It was a bit of a roller-coaster of an investment, but I made a good return in the end, when we sold the device to Bohringer Ingelheim.

I was saying what Cambridge University are now saying, nearly twenty years ago!

 

October 30, 2019 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Ultrasound On A Chip

The latest episode of BBC Click is a must-watch.

One section is about a new ultrasound device from Butterfly Network.

Their product called Butterfly iQ; is an ultrasound sensor on a chip, that converts a smart phone into a full function medical ultrasound machine.

But as an engineer, who knows a bit about this sort of technology, I doubt that all the applications are medical ones.

Typical hospital ultrasound machines cost tens of thousands of pounds, but the price of the sensor on the Butterfly Network web site is in the order of a couple of grand. Software is probably extra, but even so, Southampton Hospital has bought four and one is in their paediatric ambulance.

I have one big question.

Is the device open source? This would enable, an imaginative programmer, as I once was, to convert the device, so that it is able to perform an important application.

I would be very disappointing if it wasn’t!

To get a snapshot of the power of ultrasound, read the Wikipedia entry for ultrasound.

A Video

I found this on the Internet.

As you can see, it’s not very big.

Conclusion

This is an amazing development and it will revolutionise so much of healthcare and other fields.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Health, World | , , | Leave a comment

Fracking Hell…Is It The End?

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in yesterday’s Sunday Times.

The article is an interesting read.

These two paragraphs are key.

Activism by Extinction Rebellion and growing public concern about climate change have weakened the chances of an industry once expected to create 64,500 jobs ever getting off the ground.

Cuadrilla Resources, the fracking company most active in Britain, has in recent days been removing equipment from its sole operating site in Lancashire. Petrochemicals tycoon Sir Jim Ratcliffe has vowed to pursue shale gas exploration overseas because of “archaic” and “unworkable” regulations at home.

But I think it’s more complicated than that!

I sometimes go to lectures at the Geological Society of London and two stand were about fracking.

Two were about fracking.

Fracked or fiction: so what are the risks associated with shale gas exploitation?- Click for more.

This is a video of the lecture.

What Coal Mining Hydrogeology Tells us about the Real Risks of Fracking – Click for more.

This is a video of the lecture.

This is a must-watch video from a good speaker.

I have also written several posts about fracking, with some of the earliest being in 2012-2013.

I have just re-read all of my posts.

  • In the posts I have tried to give information and at times, I have said we should start fracking.
  • But we should only start if we know what we’re doing.
  • In several places I ask for more research.

However, there are some interesting facts and inconvenient truths about fracking and natural gas in general.

  • Russia earns about €300billion a year or twenty percent of its GDP from gas exports to Europe. See Should We Nuke Russia?.
  • Putin backs the anti-fracking movement. See Russia ‘secretly working with environmentalists to oppose fracking’.
  • Fracking techniques  is used in the Scottish Highlands to obtain clean water from deep underground. See the second Geological Society of London video.
  • About forty per cent of gas usage is to heat housing. See the second  video.
  • The eighteen percent of the UK population, who don’t have a gas supply are more likely to be in fuel poverty. See the second  video.
  • Scotland has more need for energy to provide heat. See the second  video.
  • Natural gas with carbon capture and storage has a similar carbon footprint to solar power. See the second video.
  • Cowboy fracking, as practised in the United States, would not be allowed in the UK or the EU. See the second  video.
  • We have no historic earthquake database of the UK, which would help in regulation and research of fracking. See the second video.
  • Fracking has brought down the price of gas in North America.
  • In the United States fracked gas is cutting the need to burn coal, which produces more pollution and carbon dioxide to generate the same amount of energy. See A Benefit Of Fracking.

The article in the Sunday Times says pressure against fracking has started the shutdown of the industry in the UK.

But there is another big pressure at work.replacement of natural gas with hydrogen.

  • This would reduce carbon emissions.
  • It can be used as a chemical feedstock.
  • It could be delivered using the existing gas network.
  • The gas network could be changed from natural gas to hydrogen on a phased basis, just as the change from town to natural gas was organised around fifty years ago.

But it would mean that all gas users would need to change their boilers and other equipment.

Put yourself in the position of Jim Ratcliffe; the major owner and driving force behind INEOS.

INEOS needs feedstocks for chemical plants all over the world and affordable natural gas is one that is very suitable, as it contains two of the major elements needed in hydrocarbons and many useful chemicals; carbon and hydrogen.

If local sources are not available, then liquefied natural gas can be shipped in.

The Hydrogen Economy

It is possible to replace natural gas in many applications and processes with hydrogen.

  • It can be used for heating and cooking.
  • Important chemicals like ammonia can be made from hydrogen.
  • It can be transported in existing natural gas etworks.
  • Hydrogen can also replace diesel in heating and transport applications.

There is also a possibility of measures like carbon taxes being introduced, which using hydrogen would reduce.

There’s more in the Wikipedia entry for Hydrogen economy.

Have Jim Ratcliffe and others done their predicting and decided that the demand for locally sourced natural gas will decline and that the hydrogen economy will take over?

But there will need to be a readily available source of large amounts of hydrogen.

I used to work in a hydrogen factory at Runcorn, which was part of ICI, that created hydrogen and chlorine, by the electrolysis of brine. In some ways, the hydrogen was an unwanted by-product, back in the late 1960s, but similar and more efficient processes can be used to convert electricity into hydrogen.

The latest idea, is to cluster offshore wind farms around gas rigs in the seas around the UK. The electricity produced would be used to electrolyse water to extract the hydrogen, which would then be piped to the shore using existing gas pipelines.

It would be a way of reusing infrastructure associated with gas fields, that have no gas left to extract.

There would be no need to build an expensive electricity cable to the shore.

The Dutch, Danes and the Germans are proposing to build the North Sea Wind Power Hub, which is described like this in Wikipedia.

North Sea Wind Power Hub is a proposed energy island complex to be built in the middle of the North Sea as part of a European system for sustainable electricity. One or more “Power Link” artificial islands will be created at the northeast end of the Dogger Bank, a relatively shallow area in the North Sea, just outside the continental shelf of the United Kingdom and near the point where the borders between the territorial waters of Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark come together. Dutch, German, and Danish electrical grid operators are cooperating in this project to help develop a cluster of offshore wind parks with a capacity of several gigawatts, with interconnections to the North Sea countries. Undersea cables will make international trade in electricity possible.

Later, Wikipedia says that ultimately 110 GW of electricity capacity could be developed.

So could these planned developments create enough hydrogen to replace a sizeable amount of the natural gas used in Western Europe?

I suspect a lot of engineers, company bosses and financiers are working on it.

Conclusion

I have come to the following conclusions.

  • Fracking for hydrocarbons is a technique that could be past its sell-by date.
  • The use of natural gas will decline.
  • INEOS could see hydrogen as a way of reducing their carbon footprint.
  • The heating on all new buildings should be zero carbon, which could include using hydrogen from a zero-carbon source.

There are reasons to think, that electricity from wind-farms creating hydrogen by electrolysis could replace some of our natural gas usage.

 

 

October 15, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Energy Vault Receives $110 Million From SoftBank For Gravity-Assisted Power Storage

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

Energy Vault is a company, that is developing gravity-assisted power storage.

You don’t invest £110million in a company, even if you are as rich as Softbank, unless you are certain, that you’ll get a return!

So I suspect Energy Vault may have a working system for storing energy

Read the article and see what your think! It also links to a video.

This is an interesting quote from the company.

We knew we needed to be around three to four cents levelized cost per kWh ($30 – $40 per MWh) to add to PV or wind in order to be competitive below fossil.  This took a lot of innovation.

I shall be following the company.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

From Green Gin To Sustainable Steel, Government Fires Up £140m Hydrogen Push

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

The projects are wide ranging.

Green Gin

This is said about gin production by Orkney Distilling Ltd.

The successful projects feature a number of eye-catching initiatives, including the HySpirits project which has been awarded just under £200,000 to explore how the European Marine Energy Centre could work with local gin producer Orkney Distilling Ltd to convert its distillery from using liquid petroleum gas to hydrogen produced using renewable power.

I have been told that making whisky produces carbon dioxide. Does gin?

My source, also said carbon dioxide frpm Scotch whisky production has been used in the growing of soft fruit.

I found this article on The Courier, which is entitled Time To Cut Back On Whisky’s CO2 Emissions and this article on Scottish Capture and Storage, which is entitled Carbon Capture In The Heart Of The City.

Both are worth reading.

This is a paragraph from the second article.

The carbon capture process at this site is relatively simple, because the off gas from fermentation is already very pure in CO2. The process is not about enhancing CO2 concentration, but more about removing impurities. That involves a number of washing stages to remove water and impurities from the gas given off during fermentation, before it is compressed, stored, and eventually transported by road.

The article also says that the distillery produces four tonnes of carbon dioxide per day, which compared to the emissions of Chinese, Indian and United States coal-fired power stations is small beer, but it does show how in some industrial processes capturing the carbon dioxide can be relatively easy in some industrial processes and of a high quality for perhaps using in food and medical products.

But I can’t find a article connecting carbon dioxide from whisky to food production.

The Dolphyn Project

This is said about the Dolphyn Project.

A further £427,000 has been awarded to the Dolphyn project, which plans to mount electrolysers onto floating wind turbine platforms to produce hydrogen. One wind turbine alone has the potential to produce enough low carbon hydrogen to heat around 2,500 homes, fuel over 120-240 buses, or run eight to 12 trains,” the government said

I can’t find much on the Internet about this project, except this extract from this document on the Institution of Engineering and Technology web site, which is called Transitioning To Hydrogen.

The Deepwater Offshore Local Production of Hydrogen
(Dolphyn) project will consider large-scale retrofit
hydrogen production from offshore floating wind
turbines in deep water locations (Figure 19).

This is a partnership project led by ERM with Engie,
Tractebel Engie and ODE. The project looks to
utilise the vast UK offshore wind potential to power
electrolysers to produce hydrogen from the water the
turbines float on. Large 10MW turbines consisting of
desalinisation technology and PEM electrolysers will
feed hydrogen at pressure via a single flexible riser to
a sub-sea manifold with other turbines’ lines. The gas
is then exported back to shore via a single trunkline.
A 20-by-20 array array would have a 4GW capacity,
producing sufficient hydrogen to heat more then 1.5
million homes.

This project may include the offshore wind supply
of hydrogen supported with hydrogen from steam
methane reformation with carbon capture technology.
This project is well aligned to work the ACORN75
project at St Fergus.

Note that the project is talking about gigawatts of energy and providing enough hydrogen to heat millions of homes.

I think that the Dolphyn Project is badly named, as Google thinks you’re looking for projects about aquatic animals.

Gigastack

This is said about Gigastack.

Meanwhile, a consortium featuring Ørsted, ITM Power, and Element Energy is celebrating after securing just shy of £500,000 to help move forward with its Gigastack feasibility study, a six-month project to investigate the potential for delivering bulk, low-cost, and zero-carbon hydrogen.

There’s more here on this page on the ITM Power web site, where this is the first paragraph.

Project to demonstrate delivery of bulk, low-cost and zero-carbon hydrogen through gigawatt scale PEM electrolysis, manufactured in the UK.

As you’d expect from the name, they are looking at creating gigawatts of hydrogen.

Steel

This is said about steel.

The funding awards came as the government also launched a new call for evidence seeking views on how the government should structure and manage a planned £250m Clean Steel Fund. The government said the proposed fund would help the industry embrace clean technologies and move on to “a pathway that is consistent with the UK Climate Change Act” and its new net zero emission goal.

So what has hydrogen got to do with steel?

Search for hydrogen steelmaking on Google and you get lots of articles including this article from the Stockholm Environmental Institute, which is entitled Hydrogen Steelmaking For A Low-Carbon Economy.

This is a paragraph.

In the spring of 2016, three Swedish companies – LKAB (iron ore mining), SSAB (steel manufacturer) and Vattenfall (power utility) – announced their ambition to develop and implement a novel process for fossil-free steel production in Sweden. This process would use hydrogen (instead of coal) for the direct reduction of iron oxide/ore (H-DR), combined with an electric arc furnace (EAF). It would be almost completely fossil-free when the hydrogen is produced from electrolysis of water by use of renewable electricity. The concept is called Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology, or HYBRIT for short.

My knowledge of process engineering, tells me, that even if the Swedes don’t succeed, someone will and here in the UK, we’re ideally placed to take advantage, as we have the wind power to produce the hydrogen.

Conclusion

The future’s bright, the future’s green hydrogen!

, The North Sea can provide us with more than enough hydrogen, so long as the wind blows and there’s water to electrolyse..

August 30, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment