The Anonymous Widower

EC To Consider Hydrogen Produced From Nuclear Power As Low-Carbon

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

This is the opening paragraph.

The European Commission (EC) will consider hydrogen produced from nuclear power as “low-carbon”, Paula Abreu Marques, head of unit for renewables and CCS policy told the European Commission’s energy directorate. “Electrolysis can be powered by renewable electricity, which would then be classified as renewable hydrogen,” she said.

I think that those advocating this have a point, as no carbon-dioxide will be released once the nuclear plant has been built.

This type of hydrogen is referred to as purple hydrogen in the article.

I wonder how costs will compare with Shell’s new process, that I wrote about in Shell Process To Make Blue Hydrogen Production Affordable.

Conclusion

Nuclear power used to generate hydrogen with electrolysers could be a valuable way to generate hydrogen for transport needs, in a country that because of geography can’t generate a lot of electricity from renewables. A farm of small modular nuclear reactors linked to a large electrolyser could be the most affordable way to satisfy their needs.

It could also be a way for an industrial company to generate large amounts of hydrogen for steelmaking or an integrated chemical plant.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Sizewell The Ideal Site For A Fleet Of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors?

As someone who spent forty years in project management, the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor or SMR could be a project manager’s dream.

Suppose you were putting a fleet of SMRs alongside Sizewell B.

This Google Map shows the current Sizewell site.

Sizewell A power station, with Sizewell B to its North, is on the coast.

This second Google Map shows the power stations to an enlarged scale.

Note the white dome in the middle of Sizewell B.

Sizewell A

Sizewell A power station was shut down at the end of 2006 and is still being decommissioned, according to this extract from Wikipedia.

The power station was shut down on 31 December 2006. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is responsible for placing contracts for the decommissioning of Sizewell A, at a budgeted cost of £1.2 billion. Defuelling and removal of most buildings is expected to take until 2034, followed by a care and maintenance phase from 2034 to 2092. Demolition of reactor buildings and final site clearance is planned for 2088 to 2098.

Only a few of those, reading this post, will be around to see the final end of Sizewell A.

Note that the size of the Sizewell A site is 245 acres.

It appears to me, that if any power station will be able to be built on the cleared site of Sizewell A, until the late 2080s or 2090s.

Sizewell B

Sizewell B power station opened in 1995 and was originally planned to close in 2035. The owner; EDF Energy, has applied for a twenty-year extension to 2055.

Sizewell C

Sizewell C power station is currently under discussion.

  • It will be built by the French, with the help of Chinese money.
  • It will have an output of 3260 MW or 3.26 GW.
  • It will cost £18 billion.
  • It will take twelve years to build.

This Google Map shows Sizewell B and the are to the North.

I would assume it will be built in this area.

 

A Fleet Of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

These are my thoughts on building a fleet of SMRs at Sizewell instead of the proposed Sizewell C.

Land Use

In Rolls-Royce signs MoU With Exelon For Compact Nuclear Power Stations, I gave these details of the Rolls-Royce design of SMR.

  • A Rolls-Royce SMR has an output of 440 MW.
  • The target cost is £1.8 billion for the fifth unit built
  • Each SMR will occupy 10 acres.
  • Eight SMRs would need to be built to match the output of Hinckley Point C, which will occupy 430 acres.

It looks on a simple calculation, that even if the SMRs needed fifteen acres, the amount of land needed would be a lot less.

Connection To The National Grid

The transmission line to the National Grid is already in place.

This Google Map shows the sub-station, which is to the South-West of Sizewell A.

From Sizewell, there is a massive twin overhead line to Ipswich.

This Google Map shows the overhead line as it crosses Junction 53 of the A14 to the West of Ipswich.

The pylons are in the centre of the map, with the wires going across.

The line has been built for a massive amount of nuclear power at Sizewell.

The Sizewell Railhead

This Google Map shows the railhead at Sizewell.

It can also be picked out in the South West corner of the first map.

  • The railhead is used to take out spent fuel for processing.
  • In the past, it brought in construction materials.
  • Wikipedia suggests if the Sizewell C is built, the might be a new railhead closer to the site.
  • If a fleet of SMRs were to be built, as the modules are transportable by truck, surely they could be move in by rail to avoid the roads in the area.
  • I am an advocate of reinstating the railway from Saxmundham to Aldeburgh, as this would be a way of doubling the frequency on the Southern section of the East Suffolk Line between Saxmundham and Ipswich stations.

I hope that whatever is built at Sizewell, that the rail lines in the area is developed to ease construction, get workers to the site and improve rail services on the East Suffolk Line.

Building A Fleet Of SMRs

One of the disadvantages of a large nuclear power station, is that you can’t get any power from the system until it is complete.

This of course applies to each of the individual units, but because they are smaller and created from a series of modules built in a factory, construction of each member of the fleet should be much quicker.

  • Rolls-Royce are aiming for a construction time of 500 days, from the fifth unit off the production line.
  • That would mean, that from Day 501, it could be producing power and earning money to pay for its siblings.
  • If the eight units were built in series, that would take eleven years to build a fleet of eight.

But as anybody, who has built anything even as humble as a garden shed knows, you build anything in a series of tasks, starting with the foundations.

I suspect that if a fleet were being built, that construction and assembly would overlap, so the total construction time could be reduced.

That’s one of the reasons, I said that building a fleet could be a project manager’s dream.

I suspect that if the project management was top-class, then a build time for a fleet of eight reactors could be nine years or less.

Resources are often a big problem in large projects.

But in a phased program, with the eight units assembled in turn over a number of years, I think things could be a lot easier.

Financing A Fleet Of SMRs

I think that this could be a big advantage of a fleet of SMRs over a large conventional large nuclear power station.

Consider

  • I said earlier, that as each unit was completed, it could be producing power and earning money to pay for its siblings.
  • Hinckley Point C is budgeted to cost £18 billion.
  • Eight Rolls-Royce SMRs could cost only £14.4 billion.

I very much feel that, as you would get a cash-flow from Day 500 and the fleet costs less, that the fleet of smaller stations is easier to finance.

Safety

SMRs will be built to the same safety standards as all the other UK reactors.

In this section on Wikipedia this is said about the Rolls-Royce SMR.

Rolls-Royce is preparing a close-coupled three-loop PWR design, sometimes called the UK SMR.

PWRs or pressurised water reactors are the most common nuclear reactors in the world and their regulation and safety is well-understood.

This is from the History section of their Wikipedia entry.

Several hundred PWRs are used for marine propulsion in aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and ice breakers. In the US, they were originally designed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for use as a nuclear submarine power plant with a fully operational submarine power plant located at the Idaho National Laboratory. Follow-on work was conducted by Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.

Rolls-Royce have a long history of building PWRs, and Rolls-Royce PWRs have been installed in all the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines except the first. The Royal Navy’s second nuclear submarine; HMS Valiant, which entered service in 1966, was the first to be powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR.

How much of the design and experience of the nuclear submarine powerplant is carried over into the design of the Rolls-Royce SMR?

I don’t know much about the safety of nuclear power plants, but I would expect that if there was a very serious accident in a small reactor, it would be less serious than a similar accident in a large one.

Also, as the reactors in a fleet would probably be independent of each other, it is unlikely that a fault in one reactor should affect its siblings.

Local Reaction

I lived in the area, when Sizewell B was built and I also went over Sizewell A, whilst it was working.

From personal experience, I believe that many in Suffolk would welcome a fleet of SMRs.

  • Sizewell B brought a lot of employment to the area.
  • House prices rose!
  • Both Sizewell A and B have been well-run incident-free plants

Like me, some would doubt the wisdom of having a Chinese-funded Sizewell C.

Conclusion

Big nuclear has been out-performed by Rolls-Royce

November 19, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rolls-Royce signs MoU With Exelon For Compact Nuclear Power Stations

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Rolls-Royce and Exelon Generation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue the potential for Exelon Generation to operate compact nuclear power stations both in the UK and internationally. Exelon Generation will be using their operational experience to assist Rolls Royce in the development and deployment of the UKSMR.

Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium that is designing a low-cost factory built nuclear power station, known as a small modular reactor (SMR). Its standardised, factory-made components and advanced manufacturing processes push costs down, while the rapid assembly of the modules and components inside a weatherproof canopy on the power station site itself avoid costly schedule disruptions.

This is the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry of Exelon.

Exelon Corporation is an American Fortune 100 energy company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and incorporated in Pennsylvania. It generates revenues of approximately $33.5 billion and employs approximately 33,400 people. Exelon is the largest electric parent company in the United States by revenue, the largest regulated electric utility in the United States with approximately 10 million customers, and also the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the United States and the largest non-governmental operator of nuclear power plants in the world.

These two paragraphs from the press release flesh out more details.

The consortium is working with its partners and UK Government to secure a commitment for a fleet of factory built nuclear power stations, each providing 440MW of electricity, to be operational within a decade, helping the UK meet its net zero obligations. A fleet deployment in the UK will lead to the creation of new factories that will make the components and modules which will help the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and pave the way for significant export opportunities as well.

The consortium members feature the best of nuclear engineering, construction and infrastructure expertise in Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Rolls-Royce and TWI. Exelon will add valuable operational experience to the team.

This is not what you call a small deal.

This is the last section of the press release.

By 2050 a full UK programme of a fleet of factory built nuclear power stations in the UK could create:

  • Up to 40,000 jobs
  • £52BN of value to the UK economy
  • £250BN of exports

The current phase of the programme has been jointly funded by all consortium members and UK Research and Innovation.

But that is not all, as there is also a second press release, which is entitled Rolls-Royce Signs MoU With CEZ For Compact Nuclear Power Stations.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Rolls-Royce and CEZ have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the potential for compact nuclear power stations, known as small modular reactors (SMR), to be built in the Czech Republic.

Rolls-Royce is leading the UK SMR Consortium that is designing this type of low-cost nuclear power station. Its standardised, factory-made components and advanced manufacturing processes push down costs; and the rapid assembly of the modules inside a weatherproof canopy at the power station site itself speeds up schedules.

These are my thoughts.

What Is A Small Modular Reactor or SMR?

This is the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for Small Nuclear Reactor.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a type of nuclear fission reactor which are smaller than conventional reactors. This allows them to be manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be assembled. Modular reactors allow for less on-site construction, increased containment efficiency, and enhanced safety due to passive nuclear safety features. SMRs have been proposed as a way to bypass financial and safety barriers that have plagued conventional nuclear reactors.

This section on Wikipedia gives more details of the Rolls-Royce SMR.

Rolls-Royce is preparing a close-coupled three-loop PWR design, sometimes called the UK SMR.] The power output is planned to be 440 MWe, which is above the usual range considered to be a SMR. The design targets a 500 day construction time, on a 10 acres (4 ha) site. The target cost is £1.8 billion for the fifth unit built.

The consortium developing the design is seeking UK government finance to support further development. In 2017 the UK government provided funding of up to £56 million over three years to support SMR research and development. In 2019 the government committed a further £18 million to the development from its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The construction time, site size and cost make for one of the big advantages of SMRs.

Say you need to create a 3260 MW nuclear power station like Hinckley Point C.

  • This would need a fleet of eight 440 MW SMRs.
  • These would cost £14.4 billion
  • Wikipedia lists Hinkley Point C as costing between £21.5 billion and £ 22.5 billion.
  • I suspect there will be an adjustment for the connection to the National Grid, which is probably included in the Hinckley Point C figures.
  • Eight SMRs will occupy 80 acres.
  • Hinckley Point C will occupy 430 acres.
  • Hinckley Point C was planned to be built in seven years.
  • Eight SMRs built one after the other would take 11 years. But, they would probably be planned to be built in an optimal way, where reactors came on-line, when their power was needed.

The biggest advantage though, is that as each of the eight SMRs is commissioned, they can start supplying power to the grid and earning money. This means that financing is much easier and the first reactor helps to pay for its siblings.

Could An SMR Replace A Fossil Fuel Power Station?

Suppose you have a coal-fired power station of perhaps 800 MW.

The power station will have a connection to the grid, which will be able to handle 800 MW.

If the power station is closed, there is no reason, why it can’t be replaced by an appropriately-sized fleet of SMRs, provided the site is suitable.

Who Are TWI?

I would assume that TWI is The Welding Institute, who are described like this in their Wikipedia entry.

The Welding Institute (TWI) is a research and technology organisation, with a specialty in welding. With headquarters six miles south of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, since 1946, and with facilities across the UK and around the world. TWI works across all industry sectors and in all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication and whole-life integrity management technologies.

It strikes me, this organisation could be a very important part of the consortium.

 

November 10, 2020 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | 3 Comments

Energy In North-East Lincolnshire

A few weeks ago, I took a train from Doncaster to Cleethorpes and back.

The area is all about energy.

Keadby Power Station

Keadby power station is a 734 MW gas-fired power-station.

Keadby 2 Power Station

Keadby 2 is described on this page of the sseThermal web site.

These are the three opening paragraphs.

Keadby 2 is a new 840MW gas-fired power station in North Lincolnshire currently being constructed by our EPC contractor Siemens Energy. The project is adjacent to our operational Keadby 1 Power Station.

SSE Thermal has partnered with Siemens Energy to introduce first-of-a-kind, high-efficiency gas-fired generation technology to the UK. When completed, Keadby 2 is expected to become the cleanest and most-efficient gas-fired power station in Europe.

The station will also be capable of being upgraded to further decarbonise its generation through carbon capture or hydrogen technology, as routes to market develop.

Krsdby 2 is the under-construction power station in my pictures.

Keadby 3 Power Station

Keadby 3 is described on this page of the sseThermal web site.

These are the two opening paragraphs.

SSE Thermal is developing the option for a low-carbon combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) at our Keadby site in North Lincolnshire, which will be known as Keadby 3.

As part of our commitment to a net zero emissions future, Keadby 3 will only be built with a clear route to decarbonisation, either using hydrogen as a low-carbon fuel, or equipping it with post-combustion carbon capture technology. The project is at the early stages of development and no final investment decision has been made.

Keadby 3 is still in the consultation and planning stage.

This newsletter on the sseThermal web site, gives some useful information about Keadby 3.

These are the first three paragraphs.

We are proposing to build a new gas fired power station at Keadby, North Lincolnshire. The project, known as Keadby 3, will have a generating capacity of up to 910 megawatts (MW) and will provide the essential back up to renewable generation and reliable and flexible energy during the country’s transition to Net Zero.

Keadby 3 will be a highly efficient gas fired power station. It will either use natural gas as the fuel and be fitted with a Carbon Capture Plant (CCP) to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the emissions to air from the plant, or it will be fired on primarily hydrogen, with no carbon dioxide emissions to air from its operation. Both options are currently being considered, and government is also currently considering the roles of carbon capture and hydrogen in the power sector nationally.

Keadby 3 will require connections for natural gas and possibly hydrogen fuel, water for use in the process
and for cooling and possibly for a pipeline to export the captured CO2 into a gathering network being provided by others and from there to a permanent geological storage site. An electricity connection to export the generated electricity to the UK transmission system will also be required. The plant would be capable of operating as a dispatchable low-carbon generating station to complement the increasing role of renewables in supplying the UK with electricity

Note.

  1. The three Keadby gas-fired power stations can generate 2484 MW of electricity in total.
  2. By comparison, the under-construction Hinckley Point C nuclear power station will be able to generate 3200 MW.
  3. The addition of a Keadby 4 power station, if it were the same size as Keadby 3, would mean the Keadby cluster of gas-fired power stations had a capacity of 3394 MW and they would be larger than the big nuclear station.

In terms of power output, it is an interesting alternative to a larger nuclear power station.

What About The Carbon?

If you’re burning natural gas, you will produce some carbon dioxide.

Power generation from natural gas creates 0.2 Kg of CO2 per kWh according to this web page.

So a 3000 MW station that produces 3000 MW, will produce 3000 MWh or 3000000 kWh in an hour.

This will create 600,000 Kg or 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide in an hour.

As there are roughly 9000 hours in a year, that is roughly 5.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

This newsletter on the sseThermal web site, gives some information about sseThermal are going to do with the carbon dioxide.

As a low-carbon CCGT, Keadby 3 comprises one high efficiency gas turbine and associated steam turbine and either the infrastructure required to allow the CCGT to fire primarily on hydrogen gas, r inclusionof a post combustion Carbon Capture Plant (CCP) in a scenario where natural gas is used as the fuel. In the latter scenario, this is required in order that CO2 emissions are captured and directed to an offshore geological store through the Humber Low Carbon cluster pipeline network being developed by National Grid Ventures and partners.

A diagram of these components, and optional components, is shown below.

Note.

  1. Click on the image to get a larger view.
  2. The CCGT Power Plant is on the left.
  3. Most of the power is generated by the gas-turbine.
  4. Heat is recovered to create steam, which drives a turbine to create more electricity
  5. The Carbon Capture Plant is on the right.
  6. Carbon dioxide is extracted from the exhaust.

There are two outputs from the plant; electricity and carbon dioxide.

As the carbon dioxide is in a pipe from the drying and compression unit, it is easy to handle.

The newsletter says this about what will happen to the carbon dioxide.

CO2 emissions are captured and directed to an offshore geological store through the Humber Low Carbon cluster pipeline network being developed by National Grid Ventures and partners.

As there are several worked out gas fields in the area, there are places to store the carbon dioxide.

Storing The Carbon Dioxide

This map shows the Zero Carbon Humber pipeline layout.

Note.

  1. The orange line is a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline
  2. The black line alongside it, is a proposed hydrogen pipeline.
  3. Drax, Keadby and Saltend are power stations.
  4. Easington gas terminal is connected to gas fields in the North Sea and also imports natural gas from Norway using the Langeled pipeline.
  5. There are fourteen gas feels connected to Easington terminal. Some have been converted to gas storage.

I can see this network being extended.

Using The Carbon Dioxide

But I would prefer , that the carbon dioxide were to be put to use. Under Carbon Capture and Utilisation on Wikipedia, a variety of uses are shown.

Surprisingly, they don’t talk about using the carbon dioxide to promote the growing of crops in green houses.

I do think, though, that some clever chemists will find ways to convert the carbon into some form of advanced engineering plastics to replace steel.

Hydrogen-Fuelled Power Stations

Note how on the map the hydrogen pipeline goes through the Keadby cluster of power stations.

  • Hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel.
  • It will be produced offshore by wind turbines connected to electrolysers.
  • The hydrogen will be brought ashore using the existing gas pipeline network.
  • Excess hydrogen could be stored in the worked out gas fields.

I suspect there will be a massive increase in the number of wind turbines in the North Sea to the East of Hull.

Hydrogen Steelmaking

In ten years time, this will surely be the way steel will be made. British Steel at Scunthorpe would surely be an ideal site.

It would also be an ideal site for the HIsarna steelmaking process, which generates much less carbon dioxide and because it is a continuous process, what carbon dioxide is generated is easily captured.

Conclusion

Installations like this will mean that large nuclear power stations built with Chinese money are not needed.

 

October 20, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Untidy Railway

I took these pictures as I returned from Eridge.

You see it all over the railways and not just in the UK; general untidiness!

When I joined ICI in 1968, I went on a thorough and excellent induction course.

One very experienced engineer, gave a Health and Safety Lecture and one thing he said, was that a neat and tidy chemical plant was less likely to have silly accidents.

Some years later, I went to the United States to see some of Metier’s clients, of whom some were nuclear power stations. This must have been just after the Three Mile Island accident, which is described like this in Wikipedia.

The Three Mile Island accident was a partial meltdown of reactor number 2 of Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station (TMI-2) in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, and subsequent radiation leak that occurred on March 28, 1979. It is the most significant accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history.

Artemis was involved in maintenance at the nuclear stations I visited. I can remember at AEP Donald C Cook nuclear station being shown a database of work to do and many of the actions were referred to as TMIs and checking them had been mandated by the US regulatory authorities.

I should say, the site on the shores of Lake Michigan impressed me, but another I visited later didn’t. I won’t name it, as it is now closed and it was the most untidy industrial plant of any type I have visited.

As we left, I gave my opinion to our support engineer and he told me they had a very large number of TMIs to process. I wasn’t surprised!

So why are railways generally so untidy?

 

June 23, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Britain Goes Coal-Free For Two Months – Longest Period Since Industrial Revolution

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Britain is on course to pass an energy milestone as it reaches two months of coal-free power generation on Wednesday – the longest period the country has gone without using the fossil fuel since the industrial revolution.

It is partly due, to a lack of electricity demand due to COVID-19, but overall it is a good thing.

As I write this at 14:30 on the 9th June 2020, UK Electricity Production gives the various sources of production as follows.

  • Biomass – 3,045 MW
  • CCGT – 17,442 MW
  • Hydroelectric – 217 MW
  • Interconnects – 1,977 MW
  • Nuclear – 4,229 MW
  • Other – 75 MW
  • Pumped Storage – 0 MW
  • Solar – 4,800 MW
  • Wind – 697 MW

This all adds up to a total of 32.42 GW.

Note.

  1. CCGT  stands for combined cycle gas turbine.
  2. Solar power is generating more than nuclear.
  3. I don’t think today is a very windy day!

I have just used the site to look at a few solar farms in Kent. Most seem to be generating 14.8 % of their capacity.

 

 

June 10, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

Hydrogen Pilot Projects Could Eventually Boost Nuclear Plants’ Bottom Lines

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

The article discusses in depth. how producing hydrogen can help to improve the economics of nuclear power plants in the Mid-West, with particular reference to a plant called Davis-Besse at Oak Harbor, Ohio.

June 2, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Sizewell C: Nuclear Power Station Plans For Suffolk Submitted

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

A few points from the article.

  • It will provide enough electricity for six million homes.
  • It will create 25,000 jobs during construction.
  • Sizewell C will be a near replica to Hinckley Point C.
  • It will generate 3.2 GW of electricity.
  • It will be low-carbon electricity.

As a well-read and experienced engineer, I am not against the technologies of nuclear power.

But I do think, by the time it is completed , other technologies like wind and energy storage will be much better value. They will also be more flexible and easier to expand, should we get our energy forecasts wrong.

  • We will see higher power and more efficient wind farms, further out in the North Sea.
  • Massive energy storage systems, based on improved pumped storage technology and using new technology from companies like Highview Power, Zinc8 and others will be built.
  • Wind and solar power an energy storage are much easier to fund and financial institutions like L & G, Aberdeen Standard and Aviva have invested in the past for our future pensions.
  • If you want to go nuclear, small modular reactors, look to be much better value in the longer term.
  • I also don’t like the involvement of the Chinese in the project. History tells me, that all pandemics seem to start in the country!

It is my view that the biggest mistake we made in this country over energy was not to built the Severn Barrage.

My preferred design would be based on the ideas of Sir Frederick Snow.

There would have been a high and a low lake, either side of a central spine, behind an outer barrage.

  • Reversible turbines and pumps between the lakes would both generate and store electricity.
  • When proposed in the 1970s, it would have generated ten percent of the UK’s electricity.
  • A new road and rail crossing of the Severn, could have been built into the outer barrage.
  • A lock would have provided access for shipping.
  • It would have controlled the periodic, regular and often devastating flooding of the River Severn.

Some versions of the original design, even incorporated an international airport.

  • The runways would be in the right direction for the prevailing wind, with regard to take-off and landing.
  • Take-off would be over open sea.
  • High speed trains could speed travellers to and from London on an updated Great Western Railway.

I believe a modern design could be even better.

  • The central spine and the outer barrage would be the foundations for a large wind farm.
  • There would also be a large number of powerful floating wind turbines to the West of the outer barrage in the Severn Estuary.
  • A giant electrolyser on the central spine would produce hydrogen, that could be used to decarbonise the UK’s gas network.
  • A power interconnector could be built into the outer barrage to connect Wales to the nuclear power stations at Hinckley :Point.
  • A cluster of small nuclear reactors could be built on the central spine.
  • In the intervening fifty years, we have probably learned how to build a barrage like this, so that it can benefit birds and other wildlife.

I believe, it will never be too late to build a Severn Barrage.

 

May 27, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Highview Power Keeping Up Momentum

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

It’s full steam ahead for Highview Power as the energy storage provider’s CEO and President today updated on operations.

It does look thatHighview are optimistic since their partnership with Sumitomo Heavy Industries was announced, that I wrote about in Japanese Giant Sumitomo Heavy Invests In Liquid-Air Energy Storage Pioneer.

I am optimistic too!

  • Highview’s system uses no difficult technology or rare materials.
  • The system can provide large amounts of storage, which we are going to need with all the wind farms we are developing.
  • From my Control Engineering and mathematical modelling experience, I believe, these systems can be used to boost power, where it is needed, in the same way gas-fired power stations do.

But above all, Highview Power has created a standalone energy storage system for the Twenty-First Century, that catches the needs and moods of the Age!

Our energy system is changing and it not expressed any better, than in this article on Physics World, which is entitled Does The UK Need 40 GW Of Firm Capacity?

This is the opening sentence.

Whether it comes from nuclear plants or fossil fuel-fired power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS), the UK will need 30-40 GW of new “firm” low-carbon baseload generation by 2050 to meet the net-zero emissions target, Greg Clark reportedly said.

I don’t think that the country will allow any Government of the UK to build that much nuclear capacity and I have my doubts about the feasibility of large scale CCS. I also don’t think, the public will allow the building of large coal-fired power stations, even with CCS. And they don’t like nuclear either!

On Wikipedia, Wind Power in the UK, says this about the current Round 3 of proposals for wind farms.

Following on from the Offshore wind SEA announced by the Government in December 2007, the Crown Estate launched a third round of site allocations in June 2008. Following the success of Rounds 1 and 2, and important lessons were learnt – Round 3 was on a much bigger scale than either of its predecessors combined (Rounds 1 and 2 allocated 8 GW of sites, while Round 3 alone could identify up to 25 GW).

If you think UK politics is a lot of wind and bluster, that is pussy-cat’s behaviour compared to the roaring lions around our shores.

Wikipedia then lists nine fields, with a total power of 26.7 GW, but some are not being built because of planning.

But we ain’t seen noting yet!

Wikipedia says this about Round 4.

Round 4 was announced in 2019 and represented the first large scale new leasing round in a decade. This offers the opportunity for up to 7GW of new offshore capacity to be developed in the waters around England and Wales.

The Agreements for Lease will be announced in 2021.

Wikipedia then makes these points.

  • Nuclear power stations have funding and technical problems.
  • Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster public support for new nuclear has fallen
  • The UK government increased its previous commitment for 40 GW of Offshore wind capacity by 2030, in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019.
  • In 2020, this represents a 355% increase in ten years.
  • It is expected the Crown Estate will announce multiple new leasing Rounds and increases to existing bidding areas throughout the 2020-2030 period to achieve the governments aim of 40 GW.
  • The Scottish Government has plans to chip in 6 GW.

I will add these feelings of my own

  • I have ignored the contribution, that better wind-power technology will make to get more GW for each billion pounds of investment.
  • I can see a day, in the not too distant future, when on a day in the summer, no electricity in the UK comes from fossil fuel.
  • There will be a merging between wind power and hydrogen generation, as I described in ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration.
  • Traditional nuclear is dead, although there may be applications for small nuclear reactors in the future.
  • In parallel to the growth of wind power, there will be a massive growth of solar power.

But we will need to store some of this energy for times when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

  • Pumped storage hydroelectric schemes, as at Electric Mountain in Snowdonia may have a part to play as I described in The New Generation Of Pumped Storage Systems. But sadly, the UK doesn’t have the terrain for another 9.1 GWh scheme.
  • A lot of electricity will be converted to hydrogen to power industrial processes and augment and possibly replace natural gas in the UK’s gas network.
  • Some electricity will be stored in batteries in houses and vehicles, when it is most affordable and used, when it is more expensive.
  • Companies and funds, like Gresham House Energy Storage Fund will fund and build storage facilities around the UK.
  • Traditional lithium-ion batteries require a lot of expensive raw materials controlled by the Chinese!
  • But if we develop all these options, and generate tens of GWs using renewables, the UK will still need a substantial amount of GW-scale affordable energy storage systems.

It is my belief, that Highview Power is the only practical GW-scale affordable energy storage system.

My only worry about their system, is that the idea could be ripped off, by an unscrupulous country with a solid process plant industry!

 

 

 

May 2, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nuclear Option Has Been Blown Away

The title of this post is the main title of Alistair Osborne’s Business Commentary of today’s copy of The Times.

He is referring to the government’s announcement about new wind farms, that I discussed in Climate change: Offshore Wind Expands At Record Low Price.

I particularly liked his final paragraph.

And nuclear’s not even green: it comes with a vast clean-up bill. True, it brings baseload energy that wind can’t yet match. But storage technology is advancing all the time. So why’s the government persisting with last century tech that comes at a radioactive price? Yes, offshore wind might endanger a seabird that’s forgotten its specs. But, luckily, it’s a bigger threat to another species: nuclear white elephants.

Climate change is so serious, people won’t believe it’s happening and take action unless the medicine is delivered with a spoonful of humour.

September 21, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments