Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “May, 2018”


Dutch-British project involving storing/retrieving electricity by lifting/sinking large weights in a mine shaft (59,000 of those in the UK alone). Claim made by startup “Gravitricity”: power up to 20 MW per installation, life span ±50 year and a storage efficiency of 80 à 90%.

[] – Nederlands-Brits team bouwt mijnschacht om tot energieopslag
[] – Short-term energy storage with “Gravitricity” – iron versus ion
[] – Why don’t we use weights to store energy?

Wire Up Geothermal Heat With Graphene

Two Russian scientists discovered that graphene can have exceptionally large thermal conductivity, up to 5300 W/(m.K), something like 12,000 times better than copper and got rewarded with the Nobel Prize in 2010. Watch the video below showing how you can cut though ice with a graphene blade, using heat from your fingers. The Manoj Bhargava Indian billionaire thinks that graphene (carbon) cables could revolutionize how we extract heat from geothermal wells and distribute heat and invests in the technology. The idea is to abandon the concept of geothermal heat transfer through fluid motion, and instead use thermal conductivity of graphene to bring heat to the surface of the earth via wires, without moving material, pumps and pipes.

[] – Manoj Bhargava
[] – Physicists show unlimited heat conduction in graphene
[] – Graphene
[] – Could a new approach to thermal conductivity revolutionise geothermal?
[] – Thanks to Graphene, We May Harness The “Limitless Energy” Beneath Earth’s Surface
[] – Graphene thermal conductivity

Volkswagen SEDRIC Autonomous Concept

[] – VW Cedric
[] – Volkswagen unveils Sedric, its first fully autonomous vehicle
[] – Sedric in Shanghai: Self-Driving Car without a cockpit celebrates premiere in China

Autonomous Driving with Volkswagen MOIA

Uniti Electric Car

New electric car from Sweden, the Uniti. Project began at the university of Lund starting with a crowd funding of €1,227,990. To be bought online and brought to your doorstep (still by a human driver). On the market as of 2019/2020, first in India.
Range: 300 km, weight 450 kg, charge to 80% in less than 15 minutes, 75 kW peak power, 0-80 kmh < 3.5 sec, battery 22 kWh, efficiency 20 km on 1.0 kWh. Topspeed 90-130 kmh, depending on the version. 2 passengers sitting behind each other. The car has autonomous driving functions. Price tag “under €19,900” or ~$23,400 USD.

German industrial giant Siemens is involved and a production facility near Malmo will produce 50,000 units per year as off 2018.

[] – Official site
[] – Uniti
[] – Uniti Electric Car Pre-Orders Reach $60 Million



Power-to-heat (PTH) relates to the storage of electricity by converting it into heat, usually generated with heat pumps, often for space heating as the final destination. The electricity is often sourced from excess renewable electricity. Denmark is the country with the most experience with PTH. Denmark began to experiment with PTH ca. 2005 and in 2014 has 350 MW PTH capacity installed, including heat pumps of 30 MW. This number was to be increased to 450 MW in 2015, produced by 44 installations.

[] – Power to Heat
[] – Power-to-Heat
[] – Power-to-heat for renewable energy integration
[] – “Power-to-heat” oder “Power-to-gas”?
[] – Power to Heat
[] – Vattenfal, Spandau, 120 MW power-to-heat

Two-Blade Wind Turbines Are Back, This Time Offshore

Why three blades if two blades work as well? It is all the fault of 1970s Danish garage pioneers, who insisted there needed to be three blades. NASA did experiment at the same time with 2-blades (WTS-4), but that project was cancelled under Reagan, who decided that oil was American, not wind. And now we are stuck with three blades.

Or are we? The originally Dutch company Sea Wind Technology is betting on two-blades, especially for offshore, with higher wind speeds (higher loads) and more difficult installation.

Advantages two blades:

– simpler design
– less material (50% less weight, no heavy tower/monopiles necessary)
– easier offshore transportation and mounting (just pile them up)
– simpler installation vessels, flat barges suffice
– more rotor flexibility, 2 degrees of freedom: rotating and teetering, reducing load
– 2% less electricity gain, but offset by much lower installation and operational cost
– Levelized cost (LCOE) reduction: 50%

[] – Company site
[] – Two-bladed offshore turbines could cut the cost of energy by 50%
[] – Why two blades are better than three for floating wind turbines
[] – Seawind Ocean Technology
[] – Are three blades really better than two? (2011)
[] – The Scientific Reason Why Wind Turbines Have 3 Blades

Offshore wind hub Eemshaven in the Netherlands. After [1:30] you see an (onshore) two-bladed windturbine in operation.

[] – Nieuw type windmolen met slechts twee wieken getest in Eemshaven

Read more…

Boskalis Monopile Scour Protection

[] – Boskalis


Solar Panel Array Automatic Cleaning

This is NOT what you want, because of the water:

Live Energy Production Data

[] – UK

Price of Hydrogen Production via Electrolysis


It was the old idea of the hydrogen economy (first use term: 1970): intermittent renewable electricity in –> hydrogen out. Storage problem solved. The idea got discredited for cost reasons. These reasons are no longer valid and hydrogen is making a come-back.

Basic fact: It takes about 50 kWh of electrical energy to electrolyze 9 liters of water to obtain 1 kg of Hydrogen.

Price hydrogen from electrolysis: 2-3 euro/kg

Energy density (MJ/kg):
Hydrogen: 143
LNG: 56
Diesel: 48
Gasoline: 46

[] – Hydrogen made by the electrolysis of water is now cost-competitive
[] – Hydrogen Economy
[] – Veel wegen leiden naar waterstofeconomie

Noah Recyclable Car

Students of the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands have developed a “100% recyclable car”.

Should be on the road by the end of 2018.

Made from flax fiber and sugar.
Elektromotor 15 kW, 6 x 10 kg batteries.
Speed 100 kmh
Range 240 km
Not suitable for a first date.

[] – Official site
[] – TU/ecomotive leaves Eco-marathon behind with ‘circular’ Noah
[] – Dieses Auto soll sich komplett recyceln lassen

Geothermal Energy in the Netherlands


[] – Dutch government overview of geothermal projects in the Netherlands
[] – Geothermal Energy

Cleaning the Oceans from Plastic

Swiss, Dutch and American initiatives to clean up the world’s oceans from plastic, mainly originating from Asian rivers.

[] – SeaCleaners
[] – Ocean Cleanup
[] – Ocean Cleanup
[] – Almost all plastic in the ocean comes from just 10 rivers

Netherlands – Natural Gas Connections Prohibited in Newly Built Homes

[] – Official Dutch government announcement that as of July 1, 2018, it is forbidden to connect newly built homes to the national natural gas grid.

[] – Dutch national newspaper is afraid that the government is pushing too hard with the transition and is running the risk of putting too much burden on society. Heat pumps (6-20k) and solar panels (5k) don’t come cheap as compared to gas heating (2k).

N.B. the solution could be public/private financing/renting schemes over 10-30 years. Heat pumps earn themselves back in 7-14 years. Solar panels in 6-9 years.

NordLink – Connecting Germany and Norway

[] – NordLink

E-Road, E-Vehicles Breakthrough in Sweden?

2 km of rail has been embedded in a road near Stockholm, capital of Sweden. Purpose: offering the infrastructure required to charge vehicles while they are driving, reducing the need for have batteries. If the entire Swedish highway network of 20,000 km would be equipped with these kind of rails, batteries would only be needed to bridge a maximum of 45 km, reducing the size of car batteries with a factor of 5-10.

[] – E-road Arlanda
[] – World’s first electrified road for charging vehicles opens in Sweden
[Google Maps]

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