Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “June, 2019”

Key Efficiency Hydrogen Electrolysis is in Electrode Oxide-Layer

[] – Leids onderzoek biedt nieuw inzicht in elektrolyse van water

Dutch Climate Accord Presented

The Dutch government has presented ambitious plans to completely reorganize the energy landscape in the Netherlands. The plan needs to be realized in 2050 and 2030 is an important intermediate milestone. The bullet points:

  • By 2050 CO2-emissions reduced to 5% of 1990 level. In 2030 a reduction of 49% compared with 1990.
  • District heating in larger cities.
  • “heat fund”, providing cheap long-term loans to the public for energy transition purposes.
  • The Netherlands is divided in 30 energy regions, that each should provide plans (RES, “regional energy strategy”) how to achieve full decarbonization (thermal isolation, heat pumps, etc.).
  • Electricity to become cheaper, natural gas substantially more expensive. Heating and cooking on gas needs to be phased out.
  • Rapid closure of the 5 remaining coal power stations in the coming few years.
  • As of 2030, all new cars need to be e-vehicles. Two-wheelers must be electric as of 2025.
  • In the coming few years new e-vehicles are to be subsidized with 3000,- euro to stimulate demand.
  • Road pricing almost certainly to happen (paying per kilometer, probably as of 2026)
  • The size of the national livestock is to be diminished.
  • Industry CO2 tax in 2021. 30 euro per ton, gradually increasing to 150 euro in 2030.

[] – Klimaatakkoord leidt tot flinke ingrepen in het landschap
[] – Klimaatplannen van kabinet bekend: dit betekenen ze voor jou

30 energy regions that all need to come up with a detailed plan for the local situation.

Air Compression Example Projects

As of 2017, only 2 CAES installations are operational world-wide, one in Germany, one in the US.

Huntorf, Germany. Operational since 1978, output 290 MW daily or 321 MW max for 2 hours, thanks to storage, consisting of 2 135,000 m3 large underground cavities, at a depth of 650-800 meter, with air pressures of up to 50-70 bar. Efficiency at 42% if compression heat is not used (adiabatic compression). For the future, efficiencies of up to 70% are to be expected.

[] – Kraftwerk Huntorf
[] – Compressed air energy storage

McIntosh power plant in Alabama, operational since 1990. Output from CAES storage 110 MW over 26 hours, with heat recuperation, leading to an efficiency of 54%. The 2015 video confirms that until 2015 there were only two CAES plants in the world and only one in the US (the other Huntorf in Germany)

[] – Compressed air energy storage
[] – List of energy storage projects
[deepresource] – Liquid Air Energy Storage

Currently underway is a project in Northern Ireland, funded by the EU and hopefully survives the Brexit drama; 330 MW from storage for 6 hours:

[deepresource] – Europe Chases CAES GWh Energy Storage

Hydraulic Air Compressor Demonstrator Project

Hydraulic air compression site in Sudbury, Canada

Modern man is used to power distribution via electricity. There is an alternative though, that was once used in fairly sophisticated places like Paris: pneumatic power distribution. Pneumatic power distribution comes with efficient storage possibilities of excess renewable electricity (CAES). It’s even possible to contemplate skipping intermediate electric conversion altogether and use your wind turbine as a compressor.

A research project in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, wants to (re)introduce pneumatic technology in a mining environment. The pressure is generated via falling water from high altitude (the hydraulic part), in a near-isothermal, energy efficient process.

[] – Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) Demonstrator Project (pdf, p17)
[] – History and Future of the Compressed Air Economy
[] – The Paris Compressed-Air Power Network
[] – Innovation: Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) launch in Sudbury
[] – Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) Demonstrator
[deepresource] – Europe Chases CAES GWh Energy Storage

[Source] The place of CAES in the grand storage scheme

Hystock Hydrogen Factory Opened in the Netherlands

Potential hydrogen demand industrial clusters 2030

Today, the Dutch king Willem-Alexander opened a pilot hydrogen production facility named Hystock in Veendam, in the North of the Netherlands. The facility has a power-2-gas capacity of 1 MW, sufficient to permanently keep 80 cars going.

The so-called “hydrogen coalition” lobby organisation, that has a members all the big names like Tennet, Nuon, Gas-Unie, Tata Steel, Port of Rotterdam, TU-Eindhoven, Greenpeace and many others, pleads for 3-4 GW capacity by 2030. The Netherlands on average consumes 13 GW electricity. The country has a vast natural gas network that can be retrofitted for hydrogen. A price level of 1.5-3 euro per kg hydrogen is considered to be feasible for 2030. Required annual investment is 300 million euro until 2030.

[] – Koning opent groene waterstofinstallatie HyStock
[] – Pleidooi voor forse opschaling groene waterstof
[] – Manifesto hydrogen coalition (Dutch, 8p)
[] – Gasunie converts sustainable energy into hydrogen with first 1 MW Power-to-gas installation in the Netherlands
[] – The hydrogen project HyStock
[deepresource] – The Emerging Dutch Hydrogen Economy

VPRO Tegenlicht – Waterstof de Duurzame Oplossing

De Energietransitie: Is Waterstof Het Nieuwe Gas?

Met het initiatief van Haven Amsterdam, Tata Steel en Nouryon om een waterstofproductiefabriek in het Noordzeekanaalgebied te willen gaan bouwen, wordt de Metropoolregio Amsterdam het centrum van de productie in duurzame energie, opgewekt door windmolens op zee. Het lijkt alsof waterstof de heilige graal is naar een duurzaam alternatief voor fossiele brandstoffen. Maar wat is waterstof precies? En wat kunnen we er mee? En wie gaan dit gebruiken?

VPRO Tegenlicht – Deltaplan Waterstof

Wat betekent waterstof voor de energietransitie?

Een nieuw element dient zich aan als versneller van de energietransitie: waterstof. Het lichtste gas dat we kennen heeft alle potentieel om dé centrale plek van duurzame energiedrager in de economie van morgen in te nemen. Het kan namelijk de overtollige energie van zonnepanelen en windturbines opslaan, om zo te voorzien in een continue energiestroom voor industrie en huishoudens. Kunnen we, als Nederland straks van het aardgas af gaat, het bestaande gasnet gebruiken voor groene waterstof? Waterstofproductie biedt nieuwe kansen voor Groningen en de eerste auto’s aangevoerd door waterstof rijden al rond. Wat moet er daadwerkelijk gebeuren om het potentieel van waterstof waar te maken? Is waterstof nu werkelijk de absolute weg voorwaarts of is er nood aan nuance? Wat is het potentieel van waterstof voor de energietransitie?

Rumours About an Airbus Hybrid Plane A320neo Successor

Airbus is under strong pressure from European governments to reduce CO2 emissions. Bloomberg reports that Airbus is contemplating designing a hybrid electric-gasoline A320neo successor.

Prime time 2035?

[] – Insiders Say Airbus Wants To Create An Electric Hybrid To Replace The A320neo

World’s First Solar Car Presented in the Netherlands

Lightyear One is a Dutch startup, emerging from the Technical University Eindhoven-based Solar Team Eindhoven, that very successfully participated in several editions of the Australian World Solar Challenge, see links below. The company presented today their first “solar car”, a car that in sunny climates can drive for months without having to be recharged, provided it is parked in the sun and not under trees or under carports. With this condition fulfilled the car can drive ca. 20,000 km in sunny climates, like in most parts of the US or southern Europe, 10,000 km in cloudy Holland, without external charging. Note that in Holland average annual distance driven is ca. 13,000 km.

Data sheet:

– 5 m2 solar cells
– Max range with charged batteries and additional sun: 725 km
– No rear window, camera’s only
– CW-value: less than 0.20
– 4 electric motors in the wheels
– Weight ca. 1000 kg
– 2021 small scale production
– End 2022 1500/year production
– 2024-2025 mass production in Helmond
– Design Lowie Vermeersch (Ferrari e.o., #12 in world car designers ranking)
– Initial price low volume production: 119,000 euro

[] – Lowie Vermeersch
[] – Production site
[] – Eerste zonneauto van Helmondse Lightyear onthuld
[deepresource] – LightYear Solar Car – Update
[deepresource] – Solar Driving – State of the Art
[deepresource] – TU-Eindhoven Presents Stella Vie
[deepresource] – TU Eindhoven Wins Solar Challenge 2013 (Cruisers)
[deepresource] – Stella Lux (2015)
[] – 2019 edition

Sea Level Rise in Northern Europe

[] – Height map Netherlands

Electricity Storage Costs

Global energy storage power capacity shares by main-use case and technology group, mid-2017

2017 IRENA report about storage cost projections 2017-2030.

Electricity storage will play a crucial role in enabling the next phase of the energy transition. Along with boosting solar and wind power generation, it will allow sharp
decarbonisation in key segments of the energy market…

As variable renewables grow to substantial levels, electricity systems will require greater flexibility. At very high shares of VRE, electricity will need to be stored over days, weeks or months. By providing these essential services, electricity storage can drive serious electricity decarbonisation and help transform the whole energy sector.

[] – Electricity Storage and Renewables – Costs and Markets to 2030
[] – International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Electricity storage energy capacity growth by source, 2017-2030

Renewable Electricity Champs 2018

Renewable share electricity production:

Country %
Scotland 74
Portugal 55
Spain 46
Denmark 43
Germany 42
China 38
EU 32
UK 30
Italy 20
USA 15

Note that northern countries with low population density and high mountains and hence high proportion of hydro-power, like Norway, Sweden and Canada, have even higher shares. But we are for the moment more interested in those countries with high shares of wind and solar.

Presentation Lightyear One Next Week

[deepresource] – LightYear Solar One Goes in Production
[deepresource] – Stella Lux

Siemens-Gamesa Electric Thermal Energy Storage

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has commissioned a pilot electric thermal energy storage system (ETES) in Hamburg-Altenwerder, Germany.

– Storage capacity: 130 MWh for a week. Scaling into the GWh range is possible.
– Storage material: 1,000 ton volcanic rock.
– Storage temperature: 750°C/1382 °F.
– Efficiency: up to 50% (25% total cycle efficiency Hamburg pilot).
– Capital expenditure is up to ten times lower than batteries.

Efficiency is lower than with pumped hydro-storage, the trade-off is lower installation cost.

[] – World first: Siemens Gamesa begins operation of its innovative electrothermal energy storage system
[] – Electric Thermal Energy Storage (ETES)
[] – ETES Energy storage to the next level
[] – Siemens Gamesa Unveils World First Electrothermal Energy Storage System

Fuel Efficiency of Flying

[] – Fuel economy in aircraft

[] – British Airways is the least fuel-efficient transatlantic airline – and Norwegian the most

CO2 –> CO/C –> CO2 Fuel Cycle?

Renewable energy has won once science can come up with a method to effectively store intermittent renewable electricity in some chemical form or another. Many candidates have been proposed: hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), methanol (CH3OH), metal powders like iron (Fe), formic acid (HCO2H), sodium borohydride (NaBH4),

Scientists from the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, have found a method to reduce CO2 into CO, where an iron catalyst is used instead of a golden one, with high efficiency (90% at low currents).

[] – Carbon-neutral fuels move a step closer (6-2019)
[] – The first low-cost system for splitting carbon dioxide (6-2017)
[] – Catalyzing carbon dioxide: System can transform CO2 into CO for use in industry (12-2017)
[] – Improved carbon capture turns CO2 into energy storage material
[] – This Low-Cost Carbon Dioxide Splitter Just Changed The Game For Solar-Powered CO2 Reduction (6-2017)

Arkona 385 MW Offshore Wind Farm Completed

60 x 6 MW Siemens wind turbines. Currently the largest wind farm in the Baltic Sea.

[] – Arkona Offshore Wind Farm
[] – Siemens Gamesa Finishes 385 Megawatt Arkona Offshore Wind Farm In Record Time

Insect Proteins

Prime time Dutch news item: king Willem Alexander opens the new factory of the insect company Protix, the largest in the world of its kind. The company produces high quality protein insects as animal feed. Currently one third of the global areal land is used to produce conventional animal feed. Entrepreneur Kees Aarts is in this business for nine years and hopes to contribute to freeing agricultural land for other purposes.

[] – Insecten als veevoer: revolutie of ‘quasi-groen’?
[] – Company site
[] – Protix
[] – Protix Acquires Fair Insects and Diversifies by Adding Mealworm, Cricket and Locusts to Its Portfolio

Fraunhofer Sodium-Ion Dry Film Battery Breakthrough

The renowned German Fraunhofer research institute has developed a new way to produce lithium-ion batteries, with potentially important implications for the German e-vehicle industry. The essence is that the old toxic way of working with paste electrolyte is replaced by a new production process, working with dry films instead.

The result is cheaper batteries, with higher storage energy density, less hazardous production process and less embedded energy. Advantages only.

The Finnish battery producer BroadBit is already producing the battery on a small scale. German and European car companies could become less reliant on expensive batteries produced overseas.

[] – Economical energy storage for the electric car of tomorrow
[] – BroadBit project events and news
[] – Battery Breakthrough Solves Major Electric Car Problem

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