The Anonymous Widower

Exploring Germany Under The Latest Travel Rules

Because of the lack of travel brought about by the Covids, I’ve built up a list of places that I want to visit in Germany.

  • Hamburg to see the Siemens Gamesa ETES energy storage and see how the Alstom Coradia iLint hydrogen train is getting on.
  • Karlsruhe to see the newly-opened tram-tunnel in the city.
  • Stuttgart to see how the construction work for Stuttgart 21 is faring and Alstom’s new battery trains.
  • The Lake Constance Belt Railway.

The latest rules mean that travelling back to the UK is easy, so if I chose a route that allowed me to visit all the places I want from say a hotel in somewhere worth visiting like Stuttgart, would it be possible to book an appropriate stay there as a package?

Would this mean all the paperwork going to Germany would be handled by someone else, so if a mistake was made, it’s not my fault?

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cheesecake Energy Secures £1M Seed Investment

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from Cheesecake Energy.

This is the first paragraph.

Cheesecake Energy Ltd (CEL), a Nottingham, UK-based energy storage startup today announced it has raised £1M in Seed funding to fuel the development of its manufacturing capabilities and support product development of its eTanker storage system. The round was led by Imperial College Innovation Fund alongside prominent investors including Perivoli Innovations, former Jaguar Chairman, Sir John Egan and other angel investors.

And the third and fourth paragraphs describe the technology.

The company’s unique technology, dubbed eTanker, takes established compressed air energy storage concepts and revolutionises them by storing two-thirds of the electricity in the form of heat which can be stored at far lower cost. To store the energy, electric motors are used to drive compressors, which deliver high pressure air & heat into storage units. When the electricity is required, the high-pressure air and heat is passed back through the same compressor (but now working as a turbine), which turns a generator to produce electricity. The company believes its system will cut the cost of storing energy by 30-40% and offers a solution that can be used in several sectors including electric vehicle (EV) charging, heavy industry and renewable energy generation.

The startup has filed 10 patents for stationary, medium-long-duration, long-lifetime energy storage technology. It is based on innovative design work by CEL, a spin-out from over a decade of research at University of Nottingham. Employing circular economy principles, truck engines are converted into zero-emission electrical power-conversion machines for putting energy into and out of storage. Its technology brings together the low cost of thermal storage, the turnaround efficiencies of compressed air energy storage, together with the long life and robustness of a mechanical system, making a game-changing technology in a modular containerised package.

It all sounds feasible to me and if I’d have been asked, I’d have chipped in some of my pension.

The system in some ways can almost be considered a hybrid system that merges some of the principles of Highview Power’s CRYOBattery and Siemens Gamesa’s ETES system of heating large quantity of rock. Although, Cheesecake’s main storage medium is comptressed air, as opposed to the liquid air of the CRYOBattery.

One market they are targeting is the charging of fleets of electric vehicles like buses and from tales I have heard about operators of large numbers of electric buses, this could be a valuable market.

I also noted that the Press Release mentions a National Grid report, that says we will need 23 GW of energy storage by 2030. Assuming we will need to store enough electricity to provide 23 GW for five hours, that will be 115 GWh of energy storage.

At present, pumped storage is the only proven way of storing tens of GWh of energy. In 1984, after ten years of construction, Dinorwig power station (Electric Mountain) opened to provide 9.1 GWh of storage with an output of 1.8 GW.

So ideally we will need another thirteen Electric Mountains. But we don’t have the geography for conventional pumped storage! And as Electric Mountain showed, pumped storage systems are like Rome and can’t be built in a day.

Energy storage funds, like Gresham House and Gore Street are adding a large number of lithium-ion batteries to the grid, but they will only be scratching the surface of the massive amount of storage needed.

Note that at the end of 2020, Gresham House Energy Storage Fund had a fleet of 380 MWh of batteries under management, which was an increase of 200 MWh on 2019. At this rate of growth, this one fund will add 2GWh of storage by 2030. But I estimate we need 115 GWh based on National Grid’s figures.

So I can see a small number of GWh provided by the likes of Gresham House, Gore Street and other City funds going the same route.

But what these energy storage funds have proved, is that you have reliable energy storage technology, you can attract serious investment for those with millions in the piggy-bank.

I believe the outlook for energy storage will change, when a technology or engineering company proves they have a battery with a capacity of upwards of 250 MWh, with an output of 50 MW, that works reliably twenty-four hours per day and seven days per week.

I believe that if these systems are as reliable as lithium-ion, I can see no reason why City and savvy private investors money will not fund these new technology batteries, as the returns will be better than putting the money in a deposit account, with even the most reputable of banks.

At the present time, I would rate Highview Power’s CRYOBattery and Siemens Gamesa’s ETES system as the only two battery systems anywhere near to a reliable investment, that is as safe as lithium-ion batteries.

  • Both score high on being environmentally-friendly.
  • Both rely on techniques, proven over many years.
  • Both don’t need massive sites.
  • Both systems can probably be maintained and serviced in nearly all places in the world.
  • Highview Power have sold nearly a dozen systems.
  • Highview Power are building a 50 MW/250 MWh plant in Manchester.
  • Siemens Gamesa are one of the leaders in renewable energy.
  • Siemens Gamesa have what I estimate is a 130 MWh pilot plant working in Hamburg, which I wrote about in Siemens Gamesa Begins Operation Of Its Innovative Electrothermal Energy Storage System.

Other companies are also targeting this market between lithium-ion and pumped storage. Cheesecake Energy is one of them.

I believe they could be one of the winners, as they have designed a system, that stores both compressed air and the heat generated in compressing it. Simple but efficient.

I estimate that of the 115 GWh of energy storage we need before 2030, that up to 5 GWh could be provided by lithium-ion, based on the growth of installations over the last few years.

So we will need another 110 GWh of storage.

Based on  50 MW/250 MWh systems, that means we will need around 440 storage batteries of this size.

This picture from a Google Map shows Siemens Gamesa’s pilot plant in Hamburg.

I estimate that this plant is around 130 MWh of storage and occupies a site of about a football pitch, which is one hectare.

I know farmers in Suffolk, who own more land to grow wheat, than would be needed to accommodate all the batteries required.

Conclusion

I believe that National Grid will get their 23 GW of energy storage.

 

 

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Siemens Gamesa Could Give Coal Plants a Second Life

This article on Greentech Media is a must-read as it makes you think. This is the sub-title.

The ETES thermal battery can offer coal plants a new life as heat and power storage hubs. The first customer for a full-size version could be on-board as early as next year.

It talks about the philosophy of reusing coal-fired power station sites and some of their equipment like turbines.

It is an idea much more applicable to countries like the US and Germany rather than the UK, as they still have lots of operational coal-fired power stations and and we only have a few.

I first came across this idea, when Highview Power were talking about their 50/MW/400 MWh installation in Vermont, which was to be built on the site of a demolished coal-fired power station. The utility company and Highview were in that case just reusing the grid connection.

But then I’ve heard of other energy storage systems using old power station sites.

And not to forget that Highview Power’s installation at Carrington is close to a gas-fired power station.

 

May 22, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Bang Goes My Holiday!

There are various things I want to visit in Germany and I felt that the best thing to do would be go for a few days,

But the BBC are reporting these facts about travel to Germany.

  • From Sunday, people travelling from the UK will not be allowed to enter Germany
  • The decision is down to a rise in cases of the Indian variant in the UK
  • German citizens and residents, plus people with an exceptional reason, can still enter – but face a two-week quarantine

So bang goes my holiday!

I particularly wanted to go to Hamburg to take a few pictures of the Siemens Gamesa ETES trial installation in the city.

However I’ve been able to locate the installation on Google Maps.

Note.

  1. The wind-turbine towards the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Siemens Gamesa ETES trial installation is the prominent odd shaped building towards the South-East corner of the map, just below the shadow of the turbine.
  3. The installation seems to have lots of pipes connected to it.

This second map shows the installation from an angle.

 

This page on the Siemens Gamesa web site describes the installation.

  • The nominal power is 30 MW.
  • The capacity is 130 MWh.
  • 80 % of the technology is off the shelf.

The picture on the front says “Welcome To The New Stone Age”.

If anybody should find themselves in Hamburg with some time to waste, I’d be very grateful for a copyright-free image.

The installation appears to be just off the VollHöfner Weiden.

 

 

May 22, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage, Health, Transport/Travel, World | , , | 2 Comments

Highview Power Unveils $1bn Of Liquid-Air Energy Storage Projects In Spain

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

The article is based on this press release from Highview Power, which is entitled Highview Power Developing 2 GWh of Liquid Air Long Duration Energy Storage Projects in Spain.

This is the introductory paragraph from the press release.

Highview Power, a global leader in long duration energy storage solutions, announced today it is developing up to 2 GWh of long duration, liquid air energy storage projects across Spain for an estimated investment of around $1 billion. These projects will enable several Spanish regions to move towards their net zero emissions target.

The press release also says this about location and size.

Highview Power is planning to develop up to seven CRYOBattery™ projects ranging from 50 MW/300 MWh in Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y Leon, and the Canary Islands.

Three of these areas are in Northern Spain and the other is a group of islands.

As Spain has at least two large pumped storage systems, perhaps geography rules this proven technology out in these areas.

System Modularity 

According to the Wikipedia entry for Highview Power, the two current CRYOBatteries under development are sized as follows.

  • Carrington, Manchester, UK – 50 MW/250 MWh – Under construction
  • Vermont, USA – 50 MW/400 MWh – Under development

Do the figures indicate that several systems will share the same 50 MW core power system, with a number of liquid air tanks to give the appropriate capacity?

I have extensively modelled chemical plants in my past to see, how different sizes work and I am fairly certain, that Highview Power have developed a design, that is extremely flexible.

It looks like if initial calculations show that a system capable of supplying 50 MW for five hours is needed, but operation proves that a capacity of six hours would be better, that all Highview Power need to do is add another 50 MWh tank.

This is surely an operator’s dream, as if say a developer builds a thousand dwellings and/or a windfarm nearby and more energy storage is needed, an appropriate number of extra tanks can be added.

Sourcing The 50 MW Core Power System

I talked about how the first system at Carrington will use a system from MAN Energy Solutions in MAN Energy Partners With Highview Power On Liquid-Air Energy-Storage Project.

This surely is an approach that minimises risk.

Sourcing The Storage Tanks

I have been searching the Internet for manufacturers of cryogenic gas tanks and I’ve found them in countries like Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the US.

But then most hospitals have one for their liquid oxygen.

This image was from shutterstock.

They are not difficult to find.

Spain And Renewable Energy

Spain is a large producer of renewable energy and also a leader in wind and solar power technology.

See Renewable Energy in Spain on Wikipedia for more details.

Siemens Gamesa, which was created by a merger of a German and a Spanish company and is headquartered at Zamudio in Spain,  have also developed the Siemens Gamesa ETES, which is a volcanic rock-based energy storage system about the same size of Highview Power’s CRYOBattery.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Highview Power have closed a good sale.

May 20, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | 4 Comments

Alternative Energy Storage Technologies To Challenge Electrochemistry

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Battery and Energy Storage Magazine.

It gives a good summary of two energy storage system; Highview Power and Gravitricity, that I rate highly promising.

It also gives details of a Danish system called Stiesdal Storage Technologies, which is developing a hot rocks energy storage system.

The article says this about the system.

The pumped-heat ESS uses pea-sized crushed basalt, rock in insulated steel tanks with the stored energy released by turbine.

SST CEO Peder Riis Nickelsen said: “The cost of crushed stone is at a totally different level per unit of energy than practically any other material for energy storage. Our charging and discharging system can utilise well-known technologies that have been applied for a century within other industries and are well-suited for mass production.”

The cost of materials is estimated to be €10 ($12) per kWh.

The first demonstration project, a 1-2MW, 24h capacity unit, will be installed at a power plant in Denmark next year, and will operate commercially.

This page on the Striesdal web site, explains the technology.

It sounds like the system uses very similar principles to Siemens Gamesa ETES, with a different heat storage medium.

Conclusion

At my last count, there now appears to be upwards of half-a-dozen viable alternatives to chemical batteries and traditional pumped storage. Some of the technologies are also backed, by large companies, organisations and countries, who can afford to take a long-term view.

I hope those, who claim that renewables will never power the world, have at least got the recipe for the cooking of humble pie ready.

April 30, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | Leave a comment

Malta Inc Energy Storage Explained

Malta Inc first came to my notice in 2018 and I wrote Gates Among Billionaires Backing Alphabet Energy Spinoff.

But I couldn’t find much information at the time, but they now have a web site that gives a good explanation.

This page on the web site is entitled Our Solution.

This infographic from the web page, lays out the key features.

This sentence outlines the method of operation.

The Malta energy storage system takes electricity, converts and stores that electricity as heat, and then converts it back to electricity to be redistributed on the electric grid. In charge mode, the system operates as a heat pump, storing electricity as heat in molten salt. In discharge mode, the system operates as a heat engine, using the stored heat to produce electricity.

The operation is explained in five stages.

  1. Collects – Energy is gathered from wind, solar, or fossil generators on the grid as electrical energy and sent to Malta’s energy storage system.
  2. Converts – The electricity drives a heat pump, which converts electrical energy into thermal energy by creating a temperature difference.
  3. Stores – The heat is then stored in molten salt, while the cold is stored in a chilled liquid.
  4. Reconverts – The temperature difference is converted back to electrical energy with a heat engine.
  5. Distributes – Electricity is sent back to the grid when it is needed.

Note.

  1. The operation of the system is based on well-understood thermodynamic principles.
  2. Entergy is stored as both heat and cold.
  3. It provides several hours of energy storage.
  4. Systems are built using standard components, that are readily available.

In some ways the Malta Inc PHES is based on similar principles to Highview Power’s CRYOBattery and Siemens Gamesa’s ETES.

Conclusion

This is a company to watch, as they seem to have got the technology right.

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | 2 Comments

Spanish Govt Approves Energy Storage Strategy, Sees 20 GW In 2030

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renewables Now!

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Spanish government on Tuesday approved the energy storage strategy, targeting some 20 GW of storage capacity in 2030 and reaching 30 GW by 2050 from today’s 8.3 GW.

How will Spain increase their storage capacity?

Pumped Storage Systems

Spain already has a couple of large pumped storage systems.

The La Muela II Pumped Storage Power Station

The La Muela II Pumped Storage power station is based on the Cortes-La Muela Reservoir

This Google Map shows the dam.

In terms of generating capacity, it is about the same size as Dinorwig power station in Snowdonia., which is the UK’s largest pumped storage power station.

The Aldeadávila Dam

The Aldeadávila Dam is a 1243 MW hydro-electric power station with a pumped storage addition on the River Douro between Spain and Portugal.

This Google Map shows the dam.

It certainly looks like a place to visit.

Both these pumped storage station seem to have been converted from earlier hydro-electric power stations.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn, that the Spaniards, were going to increase their number of pumped storage power stations.

  • Spain certainly has the mountains, with big rivers running through!
  • Bolarque dam already uses pumped-storage techniques.

Are there any other existing hydro-electric power stations in Spain, that can be converted to pumped storage or be upgraded?

Concentrated Solar Power

Spain has around thirty concentrated solar power or CSP power stations, either in operation, under construction or planned.

Some also store electricity as heat.

Spain is not short of sun.

Spain is considered a world leader in this technology.

This Google Map shows the Andasol solar power station.

The specification includes.

  • It uses technology called a parabolic trough.
  • A nameplate capacity of 149.7 MW
  • A capacity factor of 37.7 %
  • Annual net output of 495 GWh
  • a storage capacity of 1.123 GWh
  • The energy storage is based on a mixture of potassium and sodium nitrates.
  • The power station takes up an area of six square kilometres.

Will Spain build more of these CSP power stations or add energy storage to some of the existing stations?

Batteries

The article has this sentence.

the government wants to add large-scale batteries, behind-the-metre batteries — minimum 400 MW in 2030 — and make the most of the vehicle-to-grid technology, according to the document.

It should be noted that Spain has installed capacity of over 25 GW of wind power, according to this article on Wikipedia, which is entitled Wind Power In Spain.

These are some points from the article.

  • Spain has a lot of indigenous wind turbine manufacture.
  • The Spanish wind-power industry employs upwards of 60,000 people.
  • A central control centre for Spanish wind power needs to be developed.
  • There is little opposition to onshore wind, although perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there is some opposition to offshore wind.

After reading what Wikipedia had to say, it appears to me, that Spain needs a ;pt of batteries to support all these wind turbines.

The world’s second largest wind-turbine manufacturer is Siemens Gamesa, who are Spanish-based.

Siemens Gamesa have an innovation storage battery based on hot volcanic rock, which I wrote about in Siemens Gamesa Begins Operation Of Its Innovative Electrothermal Energy Storage System.

This gives a brief description of the pilot plant.

The heat storage facility, which was ceremonially opened today in Hamburg-Altenwerder, contains around 1,000 tonnes of volcanic rock as an energy storage medium. It is fed with electrical energy converted into hot air by means of a resistance heater and a blower that heats the rock to 750°C. When demand peaks, ETES uses a steam turbine for the re-electrification of the stored energy. The ETES pilot plant can thus store up to 130 MWh of thermal energy for a week. In addition, the storage capacity of the system remains constant throughout the charging cycles.

It was taken from this press release from Siemens Gamesa.

This page on the Siemens web site gives the nominal output of the system as 30 MW.

So it would need just over a dozen systems like these to perhaps be strategically-placed near large wind farms to meet Spain’s target of 400 MW of energy storage.

Highview Power’s liquid air systems would be another possibility, but I doubt, they’d perform as well in the heat of Spain, as a system based on hot rocks.

Conclusion

Spain’s plan seems achievable and could create a lot of employment.

It also seems to me, that their natural resources of mountains, big rivers and lots of sun are a great help.

 

 

 

February 11, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Battery Life: The Race To Find A Storage Solution For A Green Energy Future

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

It is a long article, that gives a good review of the technologies available to store energy from wind and solar power.

It gives a lot more details and an image of the Siemens Gamesa hot rock energy storage system in Hamburg.

  • It uses a thousand tonnes of volcanic rock.
  • It can store 130 MWh of electricity.

The system has apparently been designed to re-use the turbines from closing coal-fired power stations, which is an innovative idea.

 

November 23, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Will BALDIES Save The World?

I just had to use this new acronym, I’ve just found on the Internet.

BALDIES are Build-Anywhere-Long-Duration-Intermittent-Energy-Storage.

June 19, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | 2 Comments