Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “December, 2020”

Shell Peak Oil was 2019. Quo Vadis?

Royal Dutch Shell has announced that it will reduce oil production and that Shell oil production will never top the amount produced in 2019. Hence, Shell peak oil supply was 2019. The company intends to layoff 7-9000 people in the coming 2 years.

So what is next, for the Anglo-Dutch oil giant? Preparing for the retirement home? Not so fast, say many organizations in the Netherlands. Shell is an incredible competent company, that should play a major role in the energy transition. For that purpose it needs to reinvent itself. Shell already said it wants to become “greener”, wants to reduce the carbon-intensity of its products by 35% in 2035. The EU has as its target to increase offshore wind from 12 GW now to 300 GW in 2050 or 10 GW per year. If you realize that Vestas produced 13 GW capacity and Siemens-Gamesa 9 GW, it’s obvious that that goal is realistic. Many want to see that Shell takes over a third manufacturer. With Vestas worth $30B and Siemens-Gamesa $20B, a takeover by Shell would be doable, provided it doesn’t wait too long. Both Vestas and Siemens-Gamesa saw their worth double or more in a single year.

[] – Shell gaat olieproductie verminderen: ‘Nooit meer zo veel als in 2019’
[] – Shell, neem ‘t voortouw en word echt groen

Siemens-Gamesa – “Limit Size Offshore Wind Turbines”

“Enough is enough”, says David Molenaar, CEO of Siemens-Gamesa Renewable Energy Netherlands. The goal of development of offshore wind technology has been achieved to the tune that the market is willing to build offhore wind parks without a dime subsidy. That should be seen as a milestone. With the largest wind turbine in the world on the drawing board, the SG 14-222 DD of 15 MW peak, this might sound strange from a turbine champ like Siemens-Gamesa, but Molenaar wants regulation in place that limits the size of wind turbines.

Instead of developing ever larger turbines, towers and rotor-blades, the industry should concentrate on giving other parts of the industry planning security. Installers for instance want to build ships that will last for decades (editor: and not being forced to upgrade cranes every couple of years). The wind industry should concentrate on being able to guarantee 40 years of operation (editor: rather than 20-25 years).

[] – ‘Begrens de grootte van windturbines’

EnerTwin – Micro Turbine Technology

Micro Turbine Technology (MTT), based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, has worked on a “power station for private homes”, called the EnerTwin, since 2003 and for a couple of years has been successfully selling their multi-patented product, not least in the US.

Their selling item: producing electricity as a by-product of heat-generation. The EnerTwin is a gas-turbine, that apart from natural gas, can be fueled by hydrogen or biogas as well. The company claims that an energy saving cost of up to 25% per year can be realized:

With the EnerTwin, electricity can be generated locally at a cost of €0.06/kWh, rather than the grid price of €0.22-0.30/kWh in several North-West European countries.

MTT is looking for a partner in the US to handle growing US demand for the product.

[] – MTT company site
[] – Parallel company site
[] – Willy Ahout and his Enertwin

Global Top-13 Green Hydrogen Projects

The Dutch plans are centered around Eemshaven in the North-East

Name Location Size (GW) Date Cost ($B)
1. Asian Renewable Energy Hub Australia 14 2028 36
2. NortH2 Netherlands 10+ 2040
3. AquaVentus Germany 10 2035
4. Murchison Australia 5 2028 10-12
5. Beijing Jingneng Inner Mongolia China 5 2021 3
6. Helios Green Fuels Project Saudi-Arabia 4 5
7. Pacific Solar Hydrogen Australia 3.6
8. H2-Hub Gladstone Australia 3 2000
9. HyEx Chile 1.6
10. Geraldton Australia 1.5
11. Greater Copenhagen Denmark 2030
12. H2 Sines Portugal 1 2030 1.5
13. Rostock Germany 1

Note the great Australian ambitions, complete absence of the US and Japan and merely one Chinese project.

[] – Gigawatt-scale: the world’s 13 largest green-hydrogen projects

Gravity Light

With gravity and light weights, a pendulum clock can be powered for days. Likewise, a led-light for 20 minutes and 12 kg weight. Works everywhere, anytime.

EU – How to Deploy 450 GW Offshore Wind by 2050

[] – How offshore wind will help Europe go carbon-neutral

[report] – 80p pdf

Read more…

UK Opts for 100 GW Offshore Wind in 2050

[] – World’s first national roadmap to net zero by 2050 calls for 100GW backbone of offshore wind

Nel Hydrogen Will Deliver Dutch PosHYdon Electrolysis System

The plan is that a lot of Dutch offshore wind will be transformed into hydrogen at sea, using the extensive fossil fuel pipelines, lying idle on the North Sea floor, to get the hydrogen on shore. Nel Hydrogen of Norway will deliver the required electrolyzers.

[] – NEL Hydrogen to Deliver PosHYdon Electrolysis System

Nel Hydrogen electrolyzer

Dutch Renewable Primary Energy Grew with 24% in 2020

[] – 2020: kwart meer duurzame energie in Nederland
[] – Hoeveelheid duurzame energie stijgt in 2020 met een kwart

Perovskite Solar Cells With 29.5% Efficiency

Perovskite solar cells have drawn a lot of academic attention since a decade or so, most of all because it is a cheap technology, efficient not so much.

Until yesterday.

UK-based Oxford PV has announced a breakthrough in achieving 29.5% solar efficiency in a mixed silicon-perovskite solar cell and certified by an external laboratory. That’s big news.

The next step is to get rid of silicon completely, realizing that 35 kg of perovskite generates just as much electricity as 7,000 kilos of silicon. Oh, and silicon is more expensive than perovskite.

Note that in the Arabian desert, solar arrays have been realized that can produce electricity below 2 cent/kWh. And that’s with conventional silicon. Energy problems, what energy problems?

Oxford PV expects to begin to market the new cells in 2022.

Website comment: more proof that the renewable electricity generation problem is gradually being solved, for both wind and solar. The real remaining bottleneck is storage. But with the entire world pursuing that holy grail, rest assured that a satisfactory solution will be found as well.

[] – Oxford PV hits new world record for solar cell
[] – Perovskite solar cell
[] – Oxford PV retakes tandem cell efficiency record

*** UPDATE ***

We had missed that on January 30 this year, scientists at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin fuer Materialien und Energie (HZB) had announced a 29.15% conversion efficiency with a perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell. All Oxford PV did was adding another 0.35%.

[] – HZB hits 29.15% efficiency with perovskite/silicon tandem cell

Digging deeper:

[] – Rekord: Wirkungsgrad von Perowskit-Tandemsolarzelle springt auf 29,15 Prozent

The Germans report that their HZB had achieved several records in the past, like 25.5% by the end of 2018, superseded by Oxford PV with 28%.

We can only applaud this ongoing German-British competition, that is constructive for a change.

[] – Perowskit/Silizium Tandemsolarzellen an der Schwelle zu 30 % Wirkungsgrad

Autonomous Apple iCar Coming


According to rumors, computer giant Apple is roaming the labor market for skilled car manufacturing employees. Since 2014 is Apple working on a car in Project Titan. It is said to come with a revolutionary new battery, much cheaper and with greater range.

Target date: 2024.

Website comment: Good. Anything that destroys the disastrous global car culture is good. Autonomous driving has the great potential to eliminate private car ownership. Not because some green dictator will forbid it, but because autonomous, driverless door-to-door taxis have the potential to deliver transportation per mile 4-10 times cheaper than a privately-owned car can achieve. So why bother to own one, many will think.

[] – Baut Apple jetzt das iPhone auf Rädern?
[] – Alles over Project Titan en de Apple Car

US Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap

They are finally waking up in the US. The DOE just released a Grand Energy Storage Strategy, not a minute too early.

Targets: 5 cent/kWh storage cost by 2030, a reduction of 90% compared to 2020.
As per always, the US won’t be satisfied with anything less than “global leadership”, ignoring that the US has the largest trade deficit in the world and hardly isn’t leading with anything these days, not with cars, not with trains, not with planes, not with renewable energy, only with sugar water and Big Whoppers. These iPhones are all produced in China, but then again, what isn’t.

Nevertheless, on behalf of the environment, or what’s left of it, we can only welcome this apparent change of heart and implicit moving away from “clean coal”. Better late than never.

[] – Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap
[] – the 157p pdf

New British Wind Power Record

Getty images

Storm clouds are gathering over Britain, with positive and negative consequences.

In 1939, the British government involuntarily signed the death warrant of the British Empire by declaring war on Germany. She did so after she was pressured into the fatal Polish war guarantee by the Americans, who had one motivation only: set up Europe for war and establish a world empire, we are living in today, but not for much longer.

Today, the Brexit blunder could very well lead to the break-up of the UK, undoing the Union that was established in the wake of the Dutch military invasion of the British Isles in 1688 (“Glorious Revolution“) and their Protestant regime change, one of the very first color coded revolutions (color Orange) in history.

On a positive note, thanks to the recent stormy weather, British wind turbines generated no less than 17.2 GW on December 18, resulting in 43.2 % wind share of electricity and 74 % non-carbon electricity… for half an hour. There is still a lot of work to be done until 2050.

[] – Windfarms hit new record high for power generation in UK

Chinese BYD e-Buses in the Netherlands

French-owned public transport organization Keolis has ordered 259 e-buses from China and they are currently operational in the Netherlands.

[] – Keolis
[] – BYD K9

Damen Shipyards Group Preparing for 20+ MW Turbines

ATLAS C-Class jack-up ship

Vessel length: 170 m
Vessel width: 60.2 m
Name: ATLAS C-Class.
Weight: 18,000 tonnes,
Crane: 3,000 tonne
Capacity: 14-16 MW wind turbines, and some of the next generation 20+ MW turbines.
Water installation depth: 80 m

Danish ship designer Knud Hansen is a subsidiary of the Dutch ship builder Damen Shipyards Group.

[] – New Wind Turbine Installation Vessel (WTIV) ATLAS C-CLASS
[] – Ship designer site
[] – Damen Group
[] – People behind Damen

Recent Damen Shipyards upgrade projects:

Database European Large Scale Solar Heating Plants


With respect to the renewable energy transition, most attention is focused on wind, solar and e-driving. Remarkably, relatively little attention is paid to space heating, which in private households encompasses the largest share of the energy budget (in the case of the Netherlands for an average household the energy required for space heating is roughly 3 times that of electricity). On top of that, technology has advanced to the tune that the storage problem has been solved and that the technological solution offered is cheaper than the competing fossil conventional one. What are we waiting for?!

This database with European large scale solar heating plants contains entries up until the end of 2017 and thermal power larger than 700 kW. The largest are all in Denmark, that is leading the renewable energy transition in this field as well. Reason: a tradition of district heating, as well as no fossil fuel reserve worth mentioning.

[] – Ranking List of European Large Scale Solar Heating Plants
[] – Interactive map of Danish solar district heating projects

Here the largest projects from that database:

Silkeborg, Denmark

[] – Silkeborg’s solar district heating to cover 20 % of heating demand

Read more…

Heat and Cold Storage

Bodemwarmtewisselaar voor Warmte- en Koude Opslag

District Heating with Seasonal Storage in Vojens Denmark

In Vojens, in the not too sunny Denmark, the largest storage of seasonal solar heat project in the world is operational since 2016. Denmark is unique in that it has many district heating systems in place, that can be fairly easily adapted to cooperate with large arrays of solar thermal collectors and seasonal storage of the resulting heat in large pits, filled with gravel and water.

Operator: Vojens Fjernvarme
Storage volume: 200,000 m3
Depth storage: 13 m
Circumference: 610 m
Solar collector area: 70,000 m2
Pump capacity: 50 m3/hour
Charging time: 5 months
Location: old gravel pit
Insulation: 60 cm clay and plastic sheet
Number of households: 2,000
Solar heat coverage connected households: 45%
Consequences heating bill: 10-15% less (for 45% no more fuel, just amortization)
CO2-emissions avoided: 6,000 Tonnes/year
Other energy sources: 3xgas engines, 10 MW electric boiler, absorption heat pump, gas boilers
Price pit storage in 2020: 30 €/m3 for storage volume > 100,000 m3
Price storage pit per household: 1,500 €
Installation overhead per household: 100 m3 storage volume and 35 m2 solar thermal collectors

The positive news is that if you can get the thermal solar generation and storage scheme financed, your heating bill actually decreases with 10-15%. This could set in motion an avalanche of projects all over Europe, certainly in countries with more solar radiation than Denmark, that is almost everybody.

In the context of the renewable energy transition, focus is on wind and pv-solar. This is not justified. For an average Dutch household of 2.2 persons, the yearly consumption of energy for heating is 34 GJ. For electricity that is merely 12 GJ. The difference is almost a factor of 3.

[Google Maps] – Vojens district heating

[] – Vojens district heating
[] – Seasonal pit heat storages – Guidelines for materials & construction
[] – South-Jutland stores the sun’s heat in the world’s largest pit heat storage
[] – Seasonal thermal energy storage

Read more…

Carbon-neutral Fuel Made From Sunlight and Air

Researchers from ETH Zurich have developed a novel technology that produces liquid hydrocarbon fuels exclusively from sunlight and air. For the first time worldwide they demonstrate the entire thermochemical process chain under real field conditions. The new solar mini-refinery is located on the roof of ETH’s Machine Laboratory building in Zurich.

[] – Carbon-neutral fuel made from sunlight and air

Read more…

Post Navigation