The Anonymous Widower

Raven SR And Chart Industries To Work Together On Hydrogen And CO2 Capture

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Renewable fuels company Raven SR and Chart Industries announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on the liquefaction, storage, and transportation of hydrogen as well as pure CO2 produced from Raven SR’s non-combustion Steam/CO2 Reformation process that converts waste to renewable fuel.

Raven SR uses local waste as feedstock to produce transportation-grade H2 and synthetic fuels, including sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of the process, when liquefied is used for food and beverage production, fertilizer production, and other consumer needs and as a feedstock for concrete or alternative fuels.

Note.

  1. It appears like I do, that the companies feel it is better to use carbon dioxide, rather than store it.
  2. It also looks like they have improved the steam reforming process for making hydrogen.
  3. An advantage of the process is that it doesn’t need pure water.

There is a video in the article, which I suggest you watch.

It may be one of those processes that dies a premature and messy death, but my knowledge of catalysts and strange ways to produce gases like hydrogen and acetylene from working at ICI in the early 1970s, tells me that someone will develop a viable route to create hydrogen, that is better than the methods used today,

December 31, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , | Leave a comment

World’s First Net Zero Transatlantic Flight To Fly From London in 2023, Powered By The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000

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

These are the three main bullet points.

  • World first as Virgin Atlantic wins UK government funding to operate historic London – New York flight
  • Rolls-Royce, Boeing, Imperial College London, University of Sheffield, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and ICF also form part of an iconic British-led consortium 
  • Heralds future of low carbon aviation, with the wider sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry potentially creating thousands of UK jobs while supporting delivery of net zero aviation emissions by 2050 

Note.

  1. The flight will take place next year.
  2. The aircraft will be one of Virgin Atlantic’s flagship Boeing 787s, which are powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.
  3. When fully replacing kerosene, SAF can slash lifecycle carbon emissions by more than 70% compared to conventional fossil jet fuel.
  4. This flight is expected to be fuelled by SAF made primarily from waste oils and fats, such as used cooking oil.
  5. SAF could create a UK industry with an annual turnover of £2.4bn by 2040, and which supports up to 5,200 UK jobs by 2035.

The flight could be made net zero, if it used 100 % SAF and offset any carbon dioxide produced.

What Is Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

It is also known as Aviation biofuel, which has a comprehensive Wikipedia entry, which has this first paragraph.

An aviation biofuel or bio-jet fuel or bio-aviation fuel (BAF) is a biofuel used to power aircraft and is said to be a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The International Air Transport Association (IATA) considers it a key element to reducing the carbon footprint within the environmental impact of aviation. Aviation biofuel could help decarbonize medium- and long-haul air travel generating most emissions, and could extend the life of older aircraft types by lowering their carbon footprint.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) can be made in a variety of ways, which are described in the Wikipedia entry.

Could A Plane Run On Kerosene One Flight And SAF The Next?

I suspect that the practicalities of airline operation and schedules and the production and distribution of aviation fuel, will mean that if an airliner can run on both kerosene and SAF would be a great advantage.

This is a paragraph from the press release.

It comes hot off the heels of the world’s first sustainable fuel military transporter flight using 100% SAF, completed by the RAF last month using the iconic Voyager aircraft.

Note.

  1. The Voyager is an RAF military transport/tanker aircraft based on the Airbus 330 and fitted with Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-B-60 engines.
  2. Rolls-Royce Trent engines power both the Dreamliner and the Voyager.
  3. I’m sure that for operational reasons, the RAF would mandate a dual fuel capability.

This press release on the RAF web site, which is entitled Royal Air Force Completes World-First Sustainable Fuel Military Transporter Flight, gives more details of the RAF flight.

December 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rolls-Royce And Gulfstream Give Wings To Sustainable Business Aviation

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

These are the first two paragraphs of the press release.

Rolls-Royce and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. are leading the way towards sustainable business aviation by conducting the first original equipment manufacturer test flight of an ultralong-range business jet powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The test took place on the BR725-powered Gulfstream G650 twin-jet over Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia.

Demonstrating that current Rolls-Royce engines for business jet and large civil applications can operate with 100% SAF as a full “drop-in” option, this test lays the groundwork for moving this type of fuel towards certification. At present, SAF is only certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel and can be used on all current Rolls-Royce engines.

Note.

  1. The BR725 is described in this Wikipedia entry.
  2. The Gulfstream G650 is described in this Wikipedia entry.
  3. All current Rolls-Royce engines can run with blends of up to 50 % SAF and conventional jet fuel.

The BR725 or other engines in the family have other applications.

I can certainly see, the owners of business jets being very interested in operating a sustainable business jet.

But would the USAF be interested in running a seventy-year-old bomber on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

The Fuel Used In The Test

This paragraph of the press release describes the fuel.

The SAF that was used in the test consists of two components: HEFA (Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids), produced from waste fat and waste plant oils by low-carbon fuel specialist World Energy in Paramount, California, and (SAK) Synthesised Aromatic Kerosene made from waste plant-based sugars by Wisconsin-based Virent Inc. This innovative and fully sustainable fuel in development eliminates the need for the addition of further petroleum-based components and enables a 100% drop-in SAF that can be used in existing jet engines and infrastructure without any modifications. This sustainable fuel has the potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by about 80% compared to conventional jet fuel, with the possibility of further reductions in future.

That sounds impressive.

A Sustainable Airliner

The Boeing 717 is a hundred seat airliner, with about a hundred still in service. They appear to have a good safety record.

One of the operators is Hawaiian Airlines and might be the sort of airline, that would like to decarbonise their flights.

So might we see some airlines using the Boeing 717 on SAF to attract passengers?

I wouldn’t rule it out and after certifying the engine on the Gulfstream, certification on another type wouldn’t be the most demanding of certifications.

I also think, it is quite likely, that an aircraft manufacturer could use engines in the BR 725 family to create a hundred seat sustainable airliner.

 

December 20, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heart Aerospace Unveils New Airplane Design, Confirms Air Canada And Saab As New Shareholders

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Heart Aerospace.

These are the first two paragraphs of the press release.

Swedish electric airplane maker Heart Aerospace today unveiled significant design updates to its first electric aircraft and confirmed Air Canada, one of North America’s largest airlines and Saab, the Swedish aerospace and defense company, as new minority shareholders.

The new airplane design, called the ES-30, is a regional electric airplane with a capacity of 30 passengers and it replaces the company’s earlier 19-seat design, the ES-19. It is driven by electric motors powered by batteries, which allows the airplane to operate with zero emissions and low noise.

And this is a visualisation of the aircraft from Heart Aerospace..

It looks fairly normal, except that it has four electric engines instead of two turboprops.

This paragraph of the press release gives details of the engine configuration.

The airplane will also include a reserve-hybrid configuration, consisting of two turbo generators powered by sustainable aviation fuel. The reserve-hybrid system is installed to secure reserve energy requirements without cannibalizing battery range, and it can also be used during cruise on longer flights to complement the electrical power provided by the batteries.

Note.

  1. The slightly larger Dash 8-100 aircraft seats just under forty and has 2.7 MW of installed power.
  2. Rolls-Royce have a 2.5 MW hybrid turbo generator that runs on sustainable aviation fuel.
  3. Honeywell have a similar smaller hybrid turbo generator, based on the auxiliary power unit of an Airbus A 350.

I’m sure that Heart can find the hybrid turbo-generators they need for the ES-30.

This paragraph of the press release gives details of the performance.

This gives the airplane a fully electric range of 200 kilometers, an extended range of 400 kilometers with 30 passengers, and flexibility to fly up to 800 kilometers with 25 passengers, all-inclusive of typical airline reserves.

Eight hundred kilometres is sufficient range to serve Bordeaux, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Inverness, Paris and Shannon airports from London City Airport.

The press release also discloses that the company has received 96 letters of intent for the aircraft and expects that the in-service date will be 2028.

I don’t think that the date is unreasonable.

 

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Equinor Is Counting On Tax Breaks With Plans For North Sea Oilfield

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

These paragraphs outline the project.

Norway’s state-owned oil company is pushing ahead with plans to develop Britain’s biggest untapped oilfield after confirming that it stands to benefit from “helpful” tax breaks introduced alongside the windfall levy.

Equinor could lower its windfall tax bill by as much as £800 million in the years to come thanks to investment relief if it develops the Rosebank field, according to Uplift, a campaign group.

Rosebank, to the west of Shetland, could cost £4.1 billion to develop and may account for about 8 per cent of British oil output in the second half of this decade, producing 300 million barrels of oil by 2050.

Equinor said yesterday that it hoped to take a final investment decision on the field by next year and to start production by 2026. It has applied for environmental approval from the government.

Needless to say Greenpeace are not amused.

We Have Both Long Term And Short Term Energy Problems

In the UK, energy is generally used as electricity or gas and to power industry and transport.

Electricity

In the long term, we need to decarbonise our electricity production, so that all our electricity is produced from zero-carbon sources like nuclear, solar, tidal, wave and wind.

  • As I write this, our electricity production is around 26.8 GW of which 62 % is coming from renewable sources.
  • Surprisingly around 45 % of the renewables is coming from solar. Who’d have ever thought that in an predominantly-grey UK?
  • As we have committed to around 50 GW of wind power by 2030 and the 3.26 GW Hinckley Point C will be on stream by the end of the decade, the long term future of electricity production looks to be fairly secure.
  • It would be even more secure, if we added around 600 GWh of storage, as proposed in Highview Power’s Plan To Add Energy Storage To The UK Power Network, which would be used as backup when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

It looks to me, that our long term electricity problem is capable of being solved.

For the next few years, we will need to rely on our existing gas-fired power stations until the renewables come on stream.

Gas

Gas could be more of a problem.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of resistance to the replacement of natural gas for heating, cooking and industrial processes.
  • Natural gas is becoming increasingly difficult to source.
  • As I said in the previous section, we will still need some gas for electricity generation, until the massive wind farms are completed.

On the other hand, there is HyDeploy.

I like the HyDeploy concept, where up to 20 % of hydrogen is blended with natural gas.

  • Using a blend of hydrogen and natural gas doesn’t require any changes to boilers, appliances or industrial processes.
  • The hydrogen blend would make the most of our existing world class gas network.
  • Customers do not require disruptive and expensive changes in their homes.
  • Enormous environmental benefits can be realised through blending low carbon hydrogen with fossil gas.
  • The hydrogen blending could happen, where the natural gas enters the network at terminals which receive gas from the UK continental shelf or where liquified natural gas is imported.
  • Alternatively, it may be possible to surround a gas production platform with an offshore wind farm. This could enable hydrogen production and blending to be performed offshore.

The amount of gas we need would drop by twenty percent.

In The Mathematics Of Blending Twenty Percent Of Hydrogen Into The UK Gas Grid, I calculated that 148.2 tonnes per hour of hydrogen would be needed, to blend twenty per cent of hydrogen into UK natural gas supplies.

I also said this about the electricity needed.

To create 148.2 tonnes per hour of hydrogen would need 8,180.64 MW of electricity or just under 8.2 GW.

I also calculated the effect of the hydrogen on carbon dioxide emissions.

As twenty percent will be replaced by hydrogen, carbon dioxide emission savings will be 24,120,569.99 tonnes.

I believe that generating the 8.2 GW of electricity and delivering the 148.2 tonnes per hour of hydrogen is feasible.

I also believe that HyDeploy could be a valuable way to reduce our demand for natural gas by twenty per cent.

Transport

Not every vehicle, ship, aircraft and train can be powered by electricity, although batteries will help.

Hydrogen will help, but we must also develop our capability for sustainable fuels made from rubbish diverted from landfill and biologically-derived ingredients like used cooking oil.

Summing Up Our Long Term And Short Term Energy Problems

We obviously have got the problem of creating enough renewable energy for the future, but there is also the problem of how we keep everything going in the interim.

We will need gas, diesel, petrol and other fossil fuel derived products for the next few years.

Is Rosebank Our Short Term Solution?

This page on the Equinor web site is entitled Rosebank Oil And Gas Field.

This introductory paragraph described the field.

Rosebank is an oil and gas field 130 kilometres off the coast of the Shetland Islands. Equinor acquired the operatorship in 2019 and has since then been working to optimise and mature a development solution for the field together with our partners.

Could the field with its resources of oil and gas, be just the sort of field to tide us over in the next few difficult years.

But given the position, it will surely not be an easy field to develop.

These two paragraphs set out Equinor’s strategy in developing the field.

Equinor believes the field can be developed as part of the UK Government North Sea Transition deal, bringing much needed energy security and investment in the UK while supporting the UKs net zero target. According to a socioeconomic study (see link below) based on data and analysis by Wood Mackenzie and Voar Energy, if sanctioned Rosebank is estimated to create GBP 8.1 billion of direct investment, of which GBP 6.3 billion is likely to be invested in UK-based businesses. Over the lifetime of the project, Rosebank will generate a total of GBP 24.1 billion of gross value add (GVA), comprised of direct, indirect and induced economic impacts.
Equinor together with our partners are working with the supply chain to ensure that a substantial part of investment comes to Scotland and the UK. A supplier day was held in Aberdeen in partnership with EIC in order to increase the number of local suppliers to tender.

Note.

  1. The sums that could accrue to the UK economy are worthwhile.
  2. The Government North Sea Transition Deal is worth a read.
  3. A lot of the deal is about converting oil and gas skills to those of a renewable energy economy.

Planned properly, we should get all the oil and gas we need to get through difficult years.

I particularly like these two paragraphs, which are towards the end of the Government North Sea Transition Deal.

Through the Deal, the UK’s oil and gas sector and the government will work together to deliver
the skills, innovation and new infrastructure required to decarbonise North Sea oil and gas
production as well as other carbon intensive industries. Not only will it transform the sector in
preparation for a net zero future, but it will also catalyse growth throughout the UK economy.
Delivering large-scale decarbonisation solutions will strengthen the position of the existing UK
energy sector supply chain in a net zero world, securing new high-value jobs in the UK,
supporting the development of regional economies and competing in clean energy export
markets.
By creating the North Sea Transition Deal, the government and the UK’s oil and gas sector are
ambitiously seeking to tackle the challenges of reaching net zero, while repositioning the UK’s
capabilities to serve the global energy industry. The Deal will take the UKCS through to
maturity and help the sector pivot towards new opportunities to keep the UK at the forefront of
the changing 21st century energy landscape.

I believe that developing Rosebank could enable the following.

  • The oil and gas we need in the next few years would be obtained.
  • The economic situation of the UK would be improved.
  • The skills and techniques we need to decarbonise the UK would be delivered.
  • Net-zero would be reached in the required time.
  • Jobs will be created.
  • The export of surplus oil and gas.

I strongly believe that developing the Rosebank field would be worthwhile to the UK.

I have some other thoughts.

Electrification Of Platforms

This page on the Equinor web site is entitled Electrification Of Platforms.

This paragraph explains what that means.

Electrification means replacing a fossil-based power supply with renewable energy, enabling a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Equinor is fully committed to reducing emissions from our offshore oil & gas production.

Note.

  1. Typically, platforms use gas turbine engines running on natural gas to provide the electricity needed on the platform.
  2. Platforms in the future will get their electricity from renewable sources like wind and will have an electricity cable to the shore.
  3. Rosebank will be powered in this way.

This document on the Equinor web site is entitled Rosebank: Investing In Energy Security And Powering A Just Transition, which has a section called How Is Rosebank Different?, where this is said.

The key difference of Rosebank compared to other oil fields is that it
aims to draw on new technology applications to help reduce carbon
emissions from its production, through FPSO electrification.

Building offshore installations that can be powered by electricity reduces
reliance on gas powered generators which are the biggest source
of production emissions. The electrification of UKCS assets is vital to
meeting the North Sea Transition Deal’s target of reducing production
emissions by 50% by 2030, with a view to being net zero by 2050.

Electrification of Rosebank is a long-term investment that will drastically
cut the carbon emissions caused by using the FPSO’s gas turbines for
power. Using electricity as a power source on Rosebank results in a
reduction in emissions equivalent to taking over 650,000 cars off the
road for a year compared with importing 300 million barrels of oil from
international sources.

Note.

  1. An FPSO is a Floating Production Storage And Offloading Unit, which is the method of production, that  Equinor have chosen for the Rosebank field.
  2. If we are going to extract fossil fuels then we must extract them in a manner, that doesn’t add to the problem by emitting extra carbon dioxide.
  3. We will probably extract fossil fuels for some years yet, as they are the easiest route to some important chemicals.
  4. I also believe that we will increasingly find uses for any carbon dioxide captured in combustion and chemical processes.

I already know of a farmer, who heats greenhouses using a gas-powered combined heat and power unit, who pipes the carbon dioxide to the tomatoes in the greenhouses.

Despite what Greenpeace and others say, carbon dioxide is not all bad.

Energy Security

The last page of this document on the Equinor web site is entitled Rosebank: Investing In Energy Security And Powering A Just Transition, is entitled Energy Security.

Look at the numbers.

  • £8.1 billion – Total field investment with 78% of this being spent in the UK
  • 1600 – Estimated peak number of direct FTE jobs
  • £24.1 billion – Estimated gross value add
  • 8 % – Of UK oil production from Rosebank to 2030
  • 39 million cubic feet per day – Average daily gas production over the first 10 years of field life, equivalent to almost twice Aberdeen’s daily gas consumption
  • 250kt CO2 – Carbon avoided by reusing existing FPSO

And if you have time read it fully.

Could The Rosebank FPSO Be Powered By Floating Offshore Wind?

Floating wind turbines are now being installed around the world.

  • They can use the largest turbines.
  • Some designs perform in the roughest of seas.
  • They have a high capacity factor.
  • They are generally brought into a suitable port for servicing and updating.
  • Floating wind farms can be connected to floating substations

There is at least 20 GW of floating wind turbines planned for UK waters.

So could an appropriately-sized floating wind farm be placed near the Rosebank FPSO to provide it with electricity?

I don’t see why not, if there were some energy storage in the system, for when the wind wasn’t blowing.

Floating Offshore Wind Close To The Rosebank FPSO Would Be Challenging

Rosebank is an oil and gas field 130 kilometres off the West coast of the Shetland Islands.

That would be a challenging location for floating wind turbines.

But solving the installation problems would set precedents for floating wind farms all over the world.

Could The Rosebank FPSO Handle Hydrogen From Floating Offshore Wind?

It would surely be possible to put an electrolyser in the system somewhere, so that hydrogen was also stored in the tanks of the FPSO.

I also don’t think it unfeasible, that twenty percent of hydrogen could be blended into the natural gas to create the low-carbon natural gas, that has been proposed by the HyDeploy project.

August 7, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

News Of The Day From Rolls-Royce

This press release from Rolls-Royce is entitled Rolls-Royce Advances Hybrid-Electric Flight With New Technology To Lead The Way In Advanced Air Mobility.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rolls-Royce is officially announcing the development of turbogenerator technology, which includes a new small engine designed for hybrid-electric applications. The system will be an on-board power source with scalable power offerings and will complement the Rolls-Royce Electrical propulsion portfolio, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels and later as it comes available through hydrogen combustion.

This paragraph outlines the use of the new small engine.

Current battery technology means all-electric propulsion will enable eVTOL and fixed wing commuter aircraft for short flights in and between cities and island-hopping in locations like Norway and the Scottish Isles. By developing turbogenerator technology, that will be scaled to serve a power range between 500 kW and 1200 kW, we can open up new longer routes that our electric battery powered aircraft can also support.

There is also a video in the press release, which gives more information.

  • The turbogenerator is compatible to their electric power and propulsion offering.
  • The turbogenerator has a power of 500-1200 kW to serve different aircraft platforms.
  • The system is modular and can be tailored to different applications.
  • The turbogenerator can either power the aircraft directly or charge the batteries.
  • The system can be configured to provide primary power for other applications.
  • Rolls-Royce are designing all the components; the turbogenerator, the gas turbine, the generator, the power electronics, so they all fit together in a compact and lightweight solution.
  • Rolls-Royce intend to manufacture all components themselves and not rely on bought-in modules.
  • Every gram of weight saved is important.

I suspect that one of the keys to making this all work is a very comprehensive and clever control system.

I have a few thoughts.

Weight Is Key

Rolls-Royce emphasise weight saving in the video. Obviously, this is important with any form of flying machine.

An Example System

Let’s suppose you want an electric power system to power a railway locomotive or one of those large mining trucks.

  • The locomotive or truck has an electric transmission.
  • Power of 2 MW is needed.
  • A battery is needed.
  • Fuel will be Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) or hydrogen.

A series hybrid-electric power unit will be created from available modules, which could be very fuel efficient.

What Will Rolls-Royce’s System Be Able to Power?

Although the system is aimed at the next generation of electric flying machines, these systems will be used in any application that wants an efficient zero- or low-carbon power source.

Consider.

  • Some large trucks have diesel engines with a power of almost 500 kW.
  • A Class 68 bi-mode locomotive has a 700 kW diesel engine.
  • A Class 802 train has three 700 kW diesel engines.
  • Rolls-Royce subsidiary MTU are a large supplier of diesel engines for rail, road and water.

It looks to me that Rolls-Royce have sized the system to hoover up applications and they have MTU’s experience to engineer the applications.

Class 43 Power Cars

The iconic Class 43 power cars running on UK railways are an interesting possibility for powering with Rolls-Royce’s new system.

  • Despite being over forty-years old, there are over a hundred and twenty still in service.
  • They were upgraded with new 1.7 MW MTU diesel engines in the early part of this century.
  • Rolls-Royce is based in Derby.
  • The Class 43 power cars were developed in Derby.
  • Hydrogen-powered Class 43 power cars, hauling GWR Castles or ScotRail Inter7Cities would be tourist attractions.
  • The Class 43 power cars need to be either decarbonised or replaced in the next few years.

Decarbonisation using Rolls-Royce’s new system would probably be more affordable.

This all sounds like a project designed in a pub in Derby, with large amounts of real ale involved.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.

Will The System Be Upgradable From Sustainable Aviation Fuel To Hydrogen?

This is an except from the introductory paragraph.

The system will be an on-board power source with scalable power offerings and will complement the Rolls-Royce Electrical propulsion portfolio, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels and later as it comes available through hydrogen combustion.

This would appear that if used in aviation, it will be possible to upgrade the system from sustainable aviation fuel to hydrogen, when a suitable hydrogen supply becomes available.

But all applications could be upgraded.

A truck, like the one shown in the picture could be delivered as one running on sustainable aviation fuel and converted to hydrogen later.

Conclusion

Rolls-Royce have put together a modular system, that will have lots of applications.

 

 

June 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Affordable Blue Hydrogen Production

The title of this post, is the same as that of this page on the Shell Catalysts & Technologies web site.

This is said at the top of the page.

Natural gas producers are at a crossroads. They face a shifting regulatory landscape emphasising emissions reduction and an economic environment where cash preservation is critical. Shell Catalysts & Technologies offers resource holders a phased approach to diversifying their portfolios towards clean hydrogen fuels by leveraging proven and affordable capture technologies and catalysts.

My knowledge of advanced chemical catalysts is small, but I did work in the early 1970s on a project with one of ICI’s experts in the field and he told me some basics and how he believed that in the future some new catalysts would revolutionise chemical process engineering.

Wikipedia’s definition of catalysis, or the action of catalysts is as follows.

Catalysis is the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst.

When I heard that Velocys were going to develop a catalyst-based system to turn household waste into sustainable aviation fuel, I did make a small investment in the company, as I thought the project could have legs.

Shell’s process takes natural gas and converts one molecule of methane (CH4) into two molecules of hydrogen (H2) and one of carbon dioxide (CO2) using one molecule of oxygen (O2) from the air.

In the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process, does a clever catalyst extract the carbon atom from the methane and combine it with two oxygen atoms to create a molecule of carbon dioxide? If it does, then this would leave the four atoms of hydrogen to form two molecules of H2 and the catalyst to go and repeat its magic on another methane molecule.

The video on the Shell site claims to do the conversion 10-25 % cheaper than current carbon intensive methods like steam reforming.

For every two molecules of hydrogen produced, both the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process and steam reforming will produce one molecule of carbon dioxide.

If you look at steam reforming it is an endothermic process, which means heat has to be added. The classic endothermic process is dissolving ice cubes in a glass of water.

Shell don’t say, but does their process need less energy to be added, because their clever catalyst does a lot of the work?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the reaction takes place in a liquid, with hydrogen and carbon dioxide bubbling out.

  • The two gases would be separated by using their different physical properties.
  • Carbon dioxide is heavier for a start.

Whatever Shell have done, it is probably pretty impressive and has probably taken many years to develop.

If as I suspect, it produces pure carbon dioxide, that would be an added bonus, as some uses of carbon dioxide wouldn’t want impurities.

Uses of pure carbon dioxide include.

  • Feeding it to soft fruits, flowers, salad vegetables and tomatoes growing in large greenhouses.
  • Dry ice.
  • Mineral Carbonation International can use carbon dioxide to make building products like blocks or plasterboard.
  • It can be added to concrete.

The more of the carbon dioxide that can be used rather than stored the better.

May 18, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ZEROe Demonstrator Has Arrived

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Airbus.

This is the introductory paragraph.

2022 marks a new and exciting phase for ZEROe – Airbus’ ambition to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035. The multi-year demonstrator programme has officially been launched with the objective to test a variety of hydrogen technologies both on the ground and in the air.

The ZEROe demonstrator will be the first Airbus A 380 aircraft and it is shown in this Airbus visualisation.

Note.

  1. The four hydrogen tanks in the fuselage.
  2. The fifth engine mounted in a pod on the fuselage.
  3. There’s certainly lots of space inside the fuselage for more hydrogen tanks and test and monitoring equipment.

I have a few thoughts.

This Aircraft Will Be A Superb Demonstrator

The press release says this about the use of an A 380 as a demonstrator.

The A380 is the world’s largest and most spacious passenger jet ever built – a size that makes it ideally suited to the role of test platform.

Today, the A380 MSN1 test aircraft is earmarked for a new role: to take the lead on testing the technologies that will be vital to bringing the world’s first zero-emission aircraft to market by 2035.

“The A380 MSN1 is an excellent flight laboratory platform for new hydrogen technologies,” says Mathias Andriamisaina, Airbus ZEROe Demonstrator Leader. “It’s a safe and reliable platform that is highly versatile to test a wide range of zero-emission technologies. In addition, the platform can comfortably accommodate the large flight test instrumentation that will be needed to analyse the performance of the hydrogen in the hydrogen-propulsion system.”

Initially, I suspect the aircraft will fly as a four-engined turbofan aircraft running on standard or sustainable aviation fuel.

The performance of the hydrogen engine will be tested in all phases of operation and at different altitudes.

What Size Is The Fifth Engine?

This layout is clever.

If Airbus want to test a smaller hydrogen engine for say an Airbus A 320-sized hydrogen aircraft like the ZEROe Turbofan shown in this Airbus visualisation, they fit it to the fifth pylon.

Note.

  1. The fifth pylon on the ZEROe Demonstrator could be the proposed pylon for the ZEROe Turbofan.
  2. The ZEROe Demonstrator could probably carry a lot of hydrogen to test out the hydrogen engine over a long duration.
  3. The hydrogen engine could be tested out over the full flight envelop of an Airbus A 380.

I would suspect that the tests on the hydrogen engine would be some of the most comprehensive ever carried out on a new engine.

If Airbus want to test a larger hydrogen engine for say an Airbus A 350-sized hydrogen aircraft, they would probably replace one of the four main engines with the hydrogen engine.

It looks like Airbus will be able to test hydrogen engines for all sizes of plane in their current range.

What Will Happen To Current A 380s?

Consider.

  • The production of the A 380 has been stopped.
  • There are 251 aircraft in service.
  • They appear to be a reliable and safe aircraft.
  • The aircraft can run on sustainable aviation fuel.
  • The oldest aircraft are only thirteen years old.
  • They are still reasonably modern aircraft, that if they needed to be updated to the latest standards could probably be easily done so.
  • The aircraft have a lot of volume, which can hold over 500 passengers in a typical configuration.
  • The flying characteristics and structure of the aircraft is well known.

I suspect there are a lot of aircraft leasing companies, who feel these aircraft are too good to scrap, just because they are not zero-carbon.

Could Hydrogen Be Stored In The Wing Of An A 380?

Hydrogen storage will get more capable in the next few years and we will see hydrogen stored in strange places in vehicles and aircraft using the gas as a fuel.

The A 380 may well have an advantage in that its wing is relatively thick compared to that of other airliners.

  • The A 380 has a wing aspect ratio of 7.53.
  • The Boeing 787 has a wing aspect ratio of 11.
  • Gliders have wing aspect ratios as upwards of 30.

High aspect ratios are generally more economical on fuel.

But this relatively thick wing, may make it possible to store hydrogen in the wing of an A 380.

Could There Be A Hydrogen-Powered A 380?

I suspect part of the Airbus ZEROe progam will be to investigate the possibility of converting existing A 380 aircraft into a capable hydrogen-powered aircraft.

In Could An A320 neo Be Rebuilt As A ZEROe Turbofan?, I looked at the possibility of turning an existing Airbus A 320 neo into a ZEROe Turbofan running on hydrogen.

This was my conclusion.

I very much feel that there will be a route to convert some or all of the A 320 neo aircraft to hydrogen power.

So what will a ZEROe A 380 look like if it follows the same design route as an A 320 neo to a ZEROe Turbofan?

  • There would be a large hydrogen tank in the rear fuselage.
  • As I explained earlier, there may be a possibility for some hydrogen to be stored in the wing.
  • Both passenger decks would be shortened and perhaps be able to hold the 350-410 passengers of the Airbus A350-1000.
  • The cockpit, front part of the fuselage, wings, tailplane and landing gear would be unchanged.
  • The aircraft would fit existing jetways at any airport, that can handle an existing A 380.

 

I believe that converting an existing Airbus A380 to a hydrogen-powered aircraft is possible and the conversion falls within Barnes Wallis‘s rule of problem solving.

There is no greater thrill in life, that proving something is impossible and then showing how it can be done.

The quote comes from a BBC program, where he was interviewed by Chris Brasher, who was another for whom impossible was just a minor hurdle in the way of meeting objectives.

Could There Be A Hydrogen-Powered A 380 Freighter?

Consider.

  • I think it is likely, that companies like Amazon will come under pressure over their carbon footprint, as they transport increasing numbers of packages around the world.
  • In DHL Express Shapes Future For Sustainable Aviation With First Order Of All-Electric Cargo Planes From Eviation, I talk about how DHL Express have ordered twelve Eviation Alice aircraft to create a zero-carbon service. DHL must feel this would be good for their image. So would they like an intercontinental zero-carbon freighter?
  • Some people worry about the air-miles on their food!

There could be a worthwhile niche market for a high capacity intercontinental zero-carbon freighter.

Because it has such a large internal volume, an Airbus A 380 might make an ideal aircraft to convert.

Conclusion

Airbus will learn a lot from the ZEROe Demonstrator.

They may even learn how to develop, a long-range hydrogen-powered zero-carbon A 380 variant that could carry four hundred passengers between Europe and Australia.

 

 

April 10, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Velocys’s Waste-To-Fuel Project Moves Forward

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Let’s Recycle.

This is the first paragraph.

Velocys says it has completed works at its Altalto plant in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire, in preparation for a future connection to the East Coast Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) cluster.

In partnership with British Airways, Velocys is developing a facility that could convert up to 500,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste into fuel for planes and cars each year.

At last, this very interesting and important project is underway.

I believe that plants like this could be the way we keep flying until hydrogen-powered planes are developed.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The Cambo Oil Field

There is an article in The Times today which is entitled Sturgeon Faces Backlash After Shell Pulls Out Of North Sea Oilfield.

I have been following the technology of Carbon Capture and Use and some very good ideas have come forward in the last couple of years.

  • Carbon dioxide is becoming increasingly important in the growing of flowers, salad vegetables, soft fruits and tomatoes in greenhouses.
  • At COP26, Australian company, Mineral Carbonation International won an award for their process that turns carbon dioxide into building materials like blocks and plasterboard.
  • A big investment was also made recently in an Italian company, who are using the properties of liquid and gaseous carbon dioxide to store energy.
  • Carbon dioxide has for years made a good fire extinguisher, which can’t be said for some chemicals currently used.
  • I suspect that some clever chemists are working on using carbon dioxide to create sustainable aviation fuel.

If the number of ideas for the use of carbon dioxide continues to increase, I can see gas-fired power stations being built, that are also used to produce much-needed high-quality carbon dioxide.

It should also be noted, that many like me, live in houses that are unsuitable for the fitting of heat pumps at an economical cost.

So we must wait for better technology or for hydrogen to be piped into our houses.

In the meantime, we will have to rely on gas. Or freeze!

I don’t know whether Cambo will produce any gas, but if it doesn’t, I can’t see much point in developing it.

Perhaps, Shell would prefer to develop a gas field.

December 3, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment