The Anonymous Widower

UK Energy Exports To Europe At Record High

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

I have a couple of extra thoughts.

Blending Natural Gas With Hydrogen

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

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

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

The Isle of Grain already has a blending capability.

NeuConnect

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

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

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

Should We Develop More Gas Fields?

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

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

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

Should We Develop More Gas Fired Power-Stations?

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

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

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

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

Keadby Power Station

 

This is an existing

Conclusion

We will be exporting more energy to the Continent.

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

Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

Medway Council is working with Network Rail and other industry players in an effort to make restoration of a passenger service to Hoo on the Isle of Grain branch feasible. The Council was awarded £170 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2020 to support schemes to facilitate building of 12,000 new houses in the area, with £63 million of the HIF money for reinstatement of services on the Hoo Branch.

The article mentions, this new infrastructure.

  • A new station South of the former Sharnal Street station.
  • Works to level crossings, of which there are six between Gravesend station and proposed site of the new Hoo station.
  • A passing place at Hoo Junction, where the branch joins the North Kent Line.
  • A passing place at Cooling Street.

Note.

  1. The single-platform Bow Street station cost £8 million.
  2. The single-platform Soham station cost nearly £22 million, but it has a bridge.
  3. Reopening the Okehampton branch and refurbishing Okehampton station cost £40 million.

I think costs will be very tight.

Possible Train Services

This is said in the article about the train service on the branch.

While third rail electrification was originally proposed, this idea has been discarded in favour of self-powered trains on the branch, such as battery-operated trains. Possible destinations include Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet for interchange with trains going to London, or extension of London to Dartford or Gravesend services over the branch, using hybrid third-rail/battery trains.

Consider.

  • Merseyrail will be using battery-electric trains to provide services to the new Headbolt Lane station, as permission was not available for extending the existing third-rail track.
  • Electrification would probably cost more than providing a charging system at Hoo station.
  • Turning the trains at Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet could be difficult and a new bay platform would probably break the budget.
  • Both Dartford and Gravesend have two trains per hour (tph), that could be extended to the new Hoo station.
  • Hoo junction to Hoo station is no more than five or six miles.
  • The Dartford services have a possible advantage in that they stop at Abbey Wood station for Crossrail.
  • It may be easier to run services through Gravesend station, if the terminating service from Charing Cross were to be extended to Hoo station.
  • A two tph service between London Charing Cross and Hoo stations, with intermediate stops at at least London Bridge, Lewisham, Abbey Wood and Dartford would probably be desirable.

I feel that the most affordable way to run trains to Hoo station will probably be to use battery-electric trains, which are extended from Gravesend.

It may even be possible to run trains to Hoo station without the need of a charging system at the station, which would further reduce the cost of infrastructure.

Possible Trains

Consider.

  • According to Wikipedia, stopping Gravesend services are now run by Class 376, Class 465, Class 466 and Class 707 trains.
  • Real Time Trains indicate that Gravesend services are run by pathed for 90 mph trains.
  • Class 376, Class 465 and Class 466 trains are only 75 mph trains.
  • Class 707 trains are 100 mph trains and only entered service in 2017.

I wonder, if Siemens designed these trains to be able to run on battery power, as several of their other trains can use batteries, as can their New Tube for London.

In Thoughts On The Power System For The New Tube for London, I said this.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled London Underground Deep Tube Upgrade.

This is an extract.

More speculatively, there might be a means to independently power a train to the next station, possibly using the auxiliary battery, in the event of traction power loss.

Batteries in the New Tube for London would have other applications.

  • Handling regenerative braking.
  • Moving trains in sidings and depots with no electrification.

It should be born in mind, that battery capacity for a given weight of battery will increase before the first New Tube for London runs on the Piccadilly line around 2023.

A battery-electric train with a range of fifteen miles and regenerative braking to battery would probably be able to handle a return trip to Hoo station.

An Update In The July 2022 Edition Of Modern Railways

This is said on page 75.

More positive is the outlook for restoration of passenger services on the Hoo branch, where 12,000 new houses are proposed and Medway Council is looking to build a new station halfway down the branch to serve them. As the branch is unelectrified, one idea that has been looked at is a shuttle with a Vivarail battery train or similar, turning round at Gravesend or another station on the main line.

Steve White worries that this could mean spending a lot of money on infrastructure work and ending up with what would be a sub-optimal solution. ‘Do people really want to sit on a train for 10 minutes before having to get out and change onto another train? I don’t think so. Ideally what you want is through trains to London, by extending the Gravesend terminators to Hoo.’

That would require a battery/third rail hybrid unit, but Mr. White thinks that is far from an outlandish proposal; with Networker replacement on the horizon, a small bi-mode sub-fleet could dovetail neatly with a stock renewal programme. Medway Council and rail industry representatives are working on coming up with a solution for Hoo that could do what it does best; facilitating economic regeneration in a local area.

Note that Steve White is Managing Director of Southeastern.

I’ll go along with what he says!

Conclusion

I believe that a well-designed simple station and branch line could be possible within the budget.

A battery-electric upgrade to Class 707 trains could be a solution.

But the trains could be very similar to those needed for Uckfield and to extend electric services in Scotland.

 

 

 

 

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

NeuConnect Awards Two Major Contracts

This page on the NeuConnect web site is entitled NeuConnect Awards Over £1.5 billion Of Major Contracts As First Ever UK-German Energy Link Moves An Important Step Closer.

NeuConnect is a proposed interconnector between England and Germany.

  • It will have a capacity of 1.4 GW.
  • The interconnector will be around 450 miles long.
  • It will be HVDC, like many similar undersea power cables.
  • As the title says, it will be the first-ever UK-German energy link.

Wikipedia describes the route like this.

The cable will run between the Greystones substation on the Isle of Grain, in Kent in England to the new Fedderwarden substation in Wilhelmshaven in the Lower Saxony region of Germany. Landfall will be next to Grain Coastal Park, in Kent, and at Hooksiel, near Wilhemshaven in Germany.

Two contracts have been awarded.

  • The contract to design, manufacture, install, test and commission the 725km interconnector has been awarded to Prysmian Group.
  • The contract to design and build two converter stations in the UK and Germany has been awarded to Siemens Energy.

This sounds like a very simple plan to add an important interconnector between the UK and Germany.

I have some observations and thoughts.

The Isle Of Grain

The Isle of Grain is described in Wikipedia like this.

Isle of Grain (Old English Greon, meaning gravel) is a village and the easternmost point of the Hoo Peninsula within the district of Medway in Kent, south-east England. No longer an island and now forming part of the peninsula, the area is almost all marshland and is a major habitat for diverse wetland birds. The village constitutes a civil parish, which at the 2011 census had a population of 1,648, a net decrease of 83 people in 10 years.

Apart for the birds, over the last few decades it has been home to the following.

  • Until 1982, it was the location of a BP oil refinery.
  • In the 1990s, the isle was used to make the segments for the lining of the Channel Tunnel.
  • Following completion of the Channel Tunnel, the site is now part-occupied by Thamesport, the UK’s third largest container port.
  • Next to the former BP site is Grain Power Station, built in the 1970s, which previously burnt oil.
  • This power station was demolished in the 2015 and replaced with a 1.275 GW gas-fired power station.
  • Another major installation is a new Grain Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import facility, which takes heat from the gas-fired power station.
  • The Isle of Grain is the landing point for the BritNed undersea power cable between The Netherlands and the UK.

The Google Map shows the Isle of Grain.

Note.

  1. Thamesport is in the South-West corner
  2. To its North is the LNG import facility.
  3. To the North-East of Thamesport is the 735 MW Medway power station.
  4. There is a rail connection to Hoo Junction on the North Kent Line.

This second Google Map shows the Eastern side of the Isle.

Note.

  1. Grain Coastal Park, where NeuConnect will make landfall, is marked by the green arrow at the top of the map.
  2. Towards the South-Eastern corner of the map is the 1.275 GW Grain gas-fired power station.
  3. To the East of the power station, there is more switchgear than you see in a bad Frankenstein film.
  4. The smaller square at the bottom with the two white squares could be the converter station for the BritNed interconnector.

I am sure there is space on the island for a connection for NeuConnect.

There is also a total of 2.01 GW of gas-fired power stations on the Isle of Grain.

Wind Power In The Thames Estuary

This Google Map shows the Thames Estuary.

Note that the red arrow indicates the Isle of Grain.

This map from Wikipedia shows the wind farms in the area.

These are the ones that are operational.

  • 2 – East Anglia Array – 714 MW
  • 8 – Greater Gabbard – 504 MW
  • 9 – Gunfleet Sands – 184 MW
  • 13 – Kentish Flats – 140 MW
  • 15 – London Array – 630 MW
  • 27 – Thanet – 300 MW

Note.

  1. The Isle of Grain is just above the second o in London.
  2. I have ignored the Ramplion wind farm (21!), as it is too far from the Isle of Grain.
  3. This is a total of nearly 2.5 GW.

Planned extensions in the area include.

  • East Anglia Array – 3.1 GW – Completion date of 2026

But the Wikipedia entry for the East Anglia Array says this about the wind farm.

The target capacity for the entire East Anglia Zone is 7200 MW which could require up to 1200 turbines.

Could we see one of the following?

  • A connector from the East Anglia Array to the Isle of Grain.
  • One or more new wind farms in the Thames Estuary connected to the Isle of Grain.
  • German investment in a wind farm or farms connected to the Isle of Grain.

The Isle of Grain could become an island of energy providing power for London, the South-East of England, Germany and The Netherlands.

An Electrolyser On The Isle Of Grain

Consider.

  • There will be plenty of renewable electricity.
  • As there is a liquified natural gas terminal, there is plenty of gas storage.
  • One or both of the gas-fired power stations can be converted to run on hydrogen.
  • As more and more trucks are converted to hydrogen, there will be a large demand for hydrogen for heavy transport.

This must surely make a large electrolyser on the Isle of Grain a possibility.

The BritNed Interconnector

The BritNed interconnector is described like this in Wikipedia.

BritNed is a 1,000 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) submarine power cable between the Isle of Grain in Kent, the United Kingdom; and Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The BritNed interconnector would serve as a link for the foreseeable European super grid project.

Up to now, most of the electricity flow has been to the UK.

But surely, as more wind farms are developed power will flow the other way.

Wilhelmshaven Will Be A German Hub For Green Hydrogen

In Uniper To Make Wilhelmshaven German Hub For Green Hydrogen; Green Ammonia Import Terminal, I described plans by the Germans for a hydrogen hub at Wilhelmshaven.

The original story came from an article with the same name on Green Car Congress.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Under the name “Green Wilhelmshaven,” Germany-based international energy company Uniper plans to establish a German national hub for hydrogen in Wilhelmshaven and is working on a corresponding feasibility study.

Plans include an import terminal for green ammonia. The terminal will be equipped with an ammonia cracker for producing green hydrogen and will also be connected to the planned hydrogen network. A 410-megawatt electrolysis plant is also planned, which—in combination with the import terminal—would be capable of supplying around 295,000 metric tons or 10% of the demand expected for the whole of Germany in 2030.

As I said in the original post, I’m not happy about green ammonia, but the 1.4 GW NeuConnect interconnector has more than enough power to run a 410 MW electrolyser plant at full capacity.

It could even run three electrolysers of this size.

Hooksiel And Wilhelmshaven

NeuConnect will make landfall at Hooksiel.

This Google Map shows Hooksiel and Wilhelmshaven.

Note.

  1. Hooksiel is the village outlined in red.
  2. The water to the right of the map is the Jade Bight.
  3. The square block sticking out into the bight appears to be a container port.
  4. There appears to be chemical works or oil refineries North of the port.
  5. Wilhelmshaven is the town to the South of the port.

There would appear to be plenty of space for Uniper to construct Green Wilhelmshaven.

German And UK Wind Power Production

According to this page on Wikipedia, which is entitled Wind Power By Country, in 2020, these were installed wind power in various countries.

  • Germany – 62,184 MW
  • Spain – 27,089 MW
  • UK – 24,665 MW
  • France – 17,382 MW
  • Italy – 10,389 MW
  • Netherlands – 6,600 MW

In 2020 we were 37.5 GW behind Germany.

It looks like we’ll commission 3.3 GW this year and 6.1 in 2023, with Wikipedia saying that 12.9 GW is under development, which should close the gap to a certain extent.

In ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations, I described how Scotland will add 15.1 GW of floating and 9.7 GW of fixed foundation offshore wind.

It looks like initially, we’ll be buying German wind-generated electricity, but in the future the direction could easily change around.

Boris And Olaf

There were mumblings from Boris, that energy was talked about in their meeting in Downing Street last week.

It does appear there is a lot of ways that the UK and Germany can co-operate in the future with respect to energy.

  • German finance can be used to build wind farms in UK waters.
  • German companies can build the turbines and the interconnectors we need to develop vast offshore wind farms.
  • We can supply surplus energy to Germany through the NeuConnect interconnector.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Boris and Olaf had signed a very comprehensive energy co-operation agreement.

 

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment