The Anonymous Widower

Rolls-Royce To Develop mtu Hydrogen Electrolyser And Invest In Hoeller Electrolyser

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

These are the three main points in the press release.

  • Holdings in start-up companies in northern Germany secure Rolls-Royce Power Systems access to key green hydrogen production technology.
  • Electrolysis systems for several megawatts of power.
  • First demonstrator in 2023 using a Hoeller stack.

This is the introductory paragraph to the deal.

Rolls-Royce is entering the hydrogen production market and acquiring a 54% majority stake in electrolysis stack specialist Hoeller Electrolyzer, whose innovative technology will form the basis of a new range of mtu electrolyzer products from its Power Systems division. Hoeller Electrolyzer, based in Wismar, Germany, is an early-stage technology company that is developing highly efficient polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) stacks, under the brand name Prometheus, for the cost-effective production of hydrogen.

This page on the Hoeller Electrolysis web site gives details of Prometheus.

  • Hoeller are planning small, medium and large electrolyser modules, the largest of which is rated at 1.4 MW.
  • Load changes of between 0 and 100 % within seconds.
  • Cold start capability.
  • It will produce 635 Kg/day.
  • They are talking of a cost of 4€/Kg.

It all sounds good to me.

This paragraph is from the press release.

Founded in 2016, Hoeller Electrolyzer has positioned itself, with Prometheus, as one of the few highly specialized expert players in the field of high-efficiency PEM electrolysis stacks. Its founder, Stefan Höller, has more than a quarter of a century’s experience of developing electrolysis technology and has already registered 14 patents connected with Prometheus. Particularly high efficiency is promised by special surface technologies for the bipolar plates which significantly reduce the use of expensive precious metals platinum and iridium as catalysts, as well as increased output pressure.

I know a small amount about electrolysis and feel that Rolls-Royce may have got themselves a high-class deal.

Rolls-Royce’s large German presence in companies like mtu, will also help to smooth any doubts about the deal.

This paragraph indicates a shared belief.

Rolls-Royce and Hoeller Electrolyzer are united by a shared belief in the opportunity of zero-carbon energy – both for power supply and the propulsion of heavy vehicles. With decades of experience and systems expertise, Rolls-Royce is going to develop a complete electrolyzer system and has a global sales and service network, which opens up the potential for significant worldwide sales.

But perhaps, this is the most significant paragraph of the press release.

Armin Fürderer, who heads up the Net Zero Solutions business unit of Power Systems, said: “We’re going to launch electrolyzers with several megawatts of power right from the start. A total output of over 100 megawatts is conceivable by combining several electrolyzers.”

A quick search of the Internet, indicates that 100 MW is the size of the world’s largest electrolysers.

Applications

I can see applications for these large electrolysers.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems

This is a sentence from the press release.

Hoeller Electrolyzer, whose innovative technology will form the basis of a new range of mtu electrolyzer products from its Power Systems division.

The Rolls-Royce Power Systems web site, has this mission statement.

The Power Systems Business Unit of Rolls-Royce is focused on creating sustainable, climate neutral solutions for drive, propulsion and power generation.

In Rolls-Royce Makes Duisburg Container Terminal Climate Neutral With MTU Hydrogen Technology, I describe one of Rolls-Royce Power Systems projects.

The title of this post, is the same as this press release from Rolls-Royce.

This is the first sentence.

Rolls-Royce will ensure a climate-neutral energy supply at the container terminal currently under construction at the Port of Duisburg, Germany.

There is also this Rolls-Royce graphic, which shows the energy sources.

It would appear batteries,  combined heap and power (CHP), grid electricity, hydrogen electrolyser, hydrogen storage and renewable electricity are being brought together to create a climate-neutral energy system.

Note.

  1. The system uses a large hydrogen electrolyser.
  2. I suspect the hydrogen will be generated by off-peak electricity and local renewables.
  3. Hydrogen will probably power the container handling machines, ships, trucks, vehicles and other equipment in the port.

Hydrogen appears to be used as a means of storing energy and also for providing motive power.

I would suspect, the ultimate aim is that the port will not emit any carbon dioxide.

Other ports like Felixstowe and Holyhead seem to be going the hydrogen route.

Refuelling Hydrogen Buses and Charging Electric Buses

If you look at the Duisburg system, I can imagine a similar smaller system being used to refuel hydrogen buses and charge electric ones.

  • The hydrogen electrolyser would be sized to create enough hydrogen for a day or so’s work.
  • Hydrogen would be generated by off-peak electricity and local renewables.
  • If an operator bought more buses, I’m certain that the architecture of the electrolyser would allow expansion.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells would boost the electricity supply, when lots of buses needed to be charged.
  • Any spare hydrogen could be sold to those who have hydrogen-powered vehicles.
  • Any spare electricity could be sold back to the grid.

It should be noted that manufacturers like Wrightbus have developed a range of hydrogen and electric buses that use the same components. So will we see more mixed fleets of buses, where the best bus is assigned to each route?

I have used buses as an example, but the concept would apply to fleets of cars, trucks and vans.

Green Hydrogen

Large efficient electrolysers will surely be the key to producing large quantities of green hydrogen in the future.

It appears that about 55 MWh is needed to produce a tonne of green hydrogen using existing electrolysers.

The Hoeller electrolyser appears to be about 53 MWh, so it is more efficient.

Green Hydrogen From An Onshore Wind Farm

If you look at the average size of an onshore wind farm in the UK, a quick estimate gives a figure of 62 MW. I shouldn’t expect the figure for much of the world is very different, where you ignore the gigafarms, as these will distort the numbers.

An appropriately-sized electrolyser could be added to onshore wind farms to provide a local source of hydrogen for transport, an industrial process or a domestic gas supply for a new housing estate.

A single 5 MW wind turbine with a capacity factor of around 30 % would produce around 680 Kg of green hydrogen per day.

Green Hydrogen From An Offshore Wind Farm

There are basic methods to do this.

Put the electrolyser onshore or put the electrolyser offshore and pipe the hydrogen to the shore.

I think we will see some innovative configurations.

In ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm, I described how Magnora ASA are developing the ScotWind N3 wind farm.

The floating turbines surround a concrete floater, which in the future could contain an electrolyser and tankage for hydrogen.

The ScotWind N3 wind farm is designed to be a wind farm rated at 500 MW.

I can see an electrolyser on the floater, of an optimal size to make sure all electricity is used.

Pink Hydrogen

Pink hydrogen, is zero-carbon hydrogen produced using nuclear-generated electricity.

There are industrial processes, like the making of zero-carbon chemicals, concrete and steel, that will require large quantities of zero-carbon green or pink hydrogen.

Rolls-Royce are developing the Rolls-Royce SMR, which will be a 470 MW small modular nuclear reactor.

One of these placed near to a steel works and coupled to one or more 100 MW electrolysers could provide enough zero-carbon electricity and hydrogen to produce large quantities of zero-carbon green steel.

Manufacturing

Rolls-Royce and their subsidiaries like mtu, seem to be extensive users of advanced manufacturing techniques and I would expect that they can improve Hoeller’s manufacturing.

Research And Development

The press release says this about the founder of Hoeller.

Its founder, Stefan Höller, has more than a quarter of a century’s experience of developing electrolysis technology and has already registered 14 patents connected with Prometheus.

If Rolls-Royce can develop and support Stefan Höller and his team, development could easily go to a higher level.

Conclusion

I think that Rolls-Royce have taken over a company, that will in the end, will design excellent efficient electrolysers.

 

 

 

June 29, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Rolls-Royce SMRs Be The Solution To Europe’s Gas Shortage?

Of all the offshore wind farms, that I’ve looked at recently, I find Magnora’s ScotWind N3 wind farm the most interesting.

I wrote about it in ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm.

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 very much like the idea of a concrete floater, which contains a huge electrolyser and gas storage, that is surrounded by an armada of giant floating wind turbines.

These are my thoughts.

Floating Concrete Structures

To many, they may have appear to have all the buoyancy of a lead balloon, but semi-submersible platforms made from concrete have been used in the oil and gas industry for several decades.

Kishorn Yard in Scotland was used to build the 600,000-tonne concrete Ninian Central Platform,in 1978. The Ninian Central Platform still holds the record as the largest movable object ever created by man.

The Ninian Central Platform sits on the sea floor, but there is no reason why a semi-submersible structure can’t be used.

Electrolysers

There is no reason, why a large electrolyser, such as those made by Cummins, ITM Power or others can’t be used, but others are on the way.

  • Bloom Energy are working on high temperature electrolysis, which promises to be more efficient.
  • Torvex Energy are developing electrolysis technology that used sea water, rather than more expensive purified water.

High Temperature Electrolysis

High temperature electrolysis needs a heat source to work efficiently and in Westinghouse And Bloom Energy To Team Up For Pink Hydrogen, I described how Bloom  Energy propose to use steam from a large nuclear power station.

Offshore Nuclear Power

I’ve never heard of offshore nuclear power, but it is not a new idea.

In 1970, a company called Offshore Power Systems was created and it is introduced in its Wikipedia entry like this.

Offshore Power Systems (OPS) was a 1970 joint venture between Westinghouse Electric Company, which constructed nuclear generating plants, and Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock, which had recently merged with Tenneco, to create floating nuclear power plants at Jacksonville, Florida.

Westinghouse’s reactor was a 1.150 MW unit, which was typical of the time, and is very similar in size to Sizewell B.

The project was cancelled before the reactors were towed into position.

Nuclear Knowledge Has Improved

Consider.

  • In the fifty years since Offshore Power Systems dabbed their toes in the water of offshore nuclear power, our knowledge of nuclear systems and engineering has improved greatly.
  • The offshore oil and gas industry has also shown what works impeccably.
  • The floating offshore wind industry looks like it might push the envelop further.
  • There has been only one nuclear accident at Fukushima, where the sea was part of the problem and that disaster taught us a lot.
  • There have been a large number of nuclear submarines built and most reached the planned end of their lives.
  • Would a small modular nuclear reactor, be safer than a large nuclear power plant of several GW?

I would suggest we now have the knowledge to safely build and operate a nuclear reactor on a proven semi-submersible platform, built from non-rusting concrete.

An Offshore Wind Farm/Small Modular Reactor Combination Producing Hydrogen

Consider.

  • A typical floating offshore wind farm is between one and two gigawatts.
  • A Rolls-Royce small modular reactor is sized to produce nearly 0.5 GW.
  • The high temperature electrolyser will need some heat to achieve an optimum working temperature.
  • Spare electricity can be used to produce hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen can be stored platform.
  • Hydrogen can be sent ashore using existing gas pipes.
  • Hydrogen could even be blended with natural gas produced offshore to create a lower-carbon fuel.
  • It would also be possible to decarbonise nearby offshore infrastructure.

A balance between wind and nuclear power can be obtained, which would provide a steady output of energy.

Conclusion

There are a large numbers of possibilities, to locate a Rolls-Royce small modular reactor close to a wind farm to use high temperature electrolysis to create green hydrogen, which can be used in the UK or exported through the gas network.

June 23, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on the Crown Estate Scotland web site.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Crown Estate Scotland has today announced the outcome of its application process for ScotWind Leasing, the first Scottish offshore wind leasing round in over a decade and the first ever since the management of offshore wind rights were devolved to Scotland.

The results coming just months after Glasgow hosted the global COP26 climate conference show the huge opportunity that Scotland has to transform its energy market and move towards a net zero economy.

Some highlights are then listed.

  • 17 projects have been selected out of a total of 74 applications.
  • A total of just under £700m will be paid by the successful applicants in option fees and passed to the Scottish Government for public spending.
  • The area of seabed covered by the 17 projects is just over 7,000km2.
  • Initial indications suggest a multi-billion pound supply chain investment in Scotland
  • The potential power generated will move Scotland towards net-zero.

This map shows the position of each wind farm.

Note, that the numbers are Scotwind’s lease number in their documents.

Fixed Foundation Wind Farms

These are the six fixed foundation wind farms.

  • 1 – BP Alternative Energy Investments – 859 km² – 2.9 GW
  • 6 – DEME – 187 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 9 – Ocean Winds – 429 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 13 – Offshore Wind Power – 657 km² – 2.0 GW
  • 16 – Northland Power – 161 km² – 0.8 GW
  • 17 – Scottish Power Renewables – 754 km² – 2.0 GW

Adding up these fixed foundation wind farms gives a capacity of 9.7 GW in 3042 km² or about 3.2 MW per km².

Floating Wind Farms

These are the ten floating wind farms.

  • 2- SSE Renewables – 859 km² – 2.6 GW
  • 3 – Falck Renewables Wind – 280 km² – 1.2 GW
  • 4 – Shell – 860 km² – 2.0 GW
  • 5 – Vattenfall – 200 km² – 0.8 GW
  • 7 – DEME Concessions Wind – 200 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 8 – Falck Renewables Wind – 256 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 10 – Falck Renewables Wind – 134 km² – 0.5 GW
  • 11 – Scottish Power Renewables – 684 km² – 3.0 GW
  • 12 – BayWa r.e. UK  – 330 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 14 – Northland Power – 390 km² – 1.5 GW

Adding up the floating wind farms gives a capacity of 14.6 GW in 4193 km² or about 3.5 MW per km².

Mixed Wind Farms

This is the single wind farm, that has mixed foundations.

15 – Magnora – 103 km² – 0.5 GW

This wind farm appears to be using floating wind turbines.

I have a few general thoughts.

Are Floating Wind Farms Further Out?

There does appear to be a pattern, where the wind farms that are further from the land tend to be floating wind farms and those closer to the land appear to be fixed.

Consider.

  • As the water gets deeper, fixed wind turbines will surely get more expensive.
  • Floating wind turbines are the newer and more unproven technology, so only those bidders, who have done their research and are happy with it, will have bid.

Falck Renewables Wind Seem To Be Working With BlueFloat Energy

In the three Falck Renewables successes with leases 3, 8 and 10, BlueFloat Energy is a partner in the lease.

According to their web site, BlueFloat Energy were very much involved in WindFloat Atlantic, where this is said.

Top members of our team were key contributors to the development and construction of the WindFloat Atlantic project from concept to Final Investment Decision to commissioning. This 25 megawatt (MW) floating offshore wind project in Portugal marked a turning point in the offshore wind industry as it was the first floating offshore wind project to secure bank financing. With 3 x MVOW’s 8.4 MW turbines, the WindFloat Atlantic project was the world’s first semi-submersible floating wind project and continental Europe’s first floating wind project.

So do Falck Renewables intend to use WindFloat technology in their areas, which are to produce a total of 2.7 GW?

Perhaps a fleet of two hundred floating wind turbines based on WindFloat technology each with a capacity of 14 MW would be ideal.

  • Wind turbines would be interchangeable between all three farms.
  • There could be a few standby turbines to allow for maintenance.
  • It would be possible to borrow a turbine to explore a new site.

All it would need is technology to be able to position and connect a turbine into the wind farm and disconnect and remove a turbine from the wind farm, with simple procedures.

Did BP Avoid the Floating Wind Farms?

BP, who are relatively new to offshore wind, only had one success, for a large fixed wind farm. So did they avoid the floating wind farms?

Do Shell and Scottish Power Have A Bigger Plan? 

Shell and Scottish Power were successful with leases 4 and 11, which are reasonably close together.

They also won lease 17, which I wrote about in MacHairWind Wind Farm, where I concluded this.

The MacHairWind wind farm seems a well-positioned wind farm.

  • It is close to Glasgow.
  • It can be used in tandem with the Cruachan pumped hydro power station.
  • It will have access to the Western HVDC Link to send power to the North-West of England.

Is Scotland replacing the 1.2 GW Hunterston B nuclear power station with a 2 GW wind farm, with help from Cruachan and other proposed pumped storage hydro schemes to the North of Glasgow?

So did Shell and Scottish Power get the pick of the bunch and will build two large floating wind farms close together?

Shell and Scottish Power seem to be using French company; Eolfi’s floating wind technology.

Why Do Floating Wind Farms Have A Higher Density?

The floating wind farms have an average energy density of 3.5 MW per sq. km, whereas the fixed wind farms only manage 3.2 MW per sq. km.

It may be only ten percent, but does that help the economics? It certainly, wouldn’t make them worse.

I do wonder though, if the reason for the higher density is simply that a floating turbine can be bigger, than a corresponding fixed turbine.

I also have a few more specific thoughts about individual farms.

Lease 15 – The Odd Bid Out

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 discuss this project in more detail in ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm.

A Conclusion About Floating Wind

The various successful bids in this round of Scottish wind farm leases can be split by capacity into two groups.

  • Floating + Mixed – 15.1 GW – 61 %
  • Fixed – 9.7 GW – 39 %

Note that I have included Magnora’s successful mixed bid with the successful floating bids, as it uses floating wind turbines to generate electricity.

The over 60 % of successful bids involving floating wind farms, indicates to me, that the day of floating wind farms has arrived.

 

 

March 27, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments