Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “May, 2021”

The Ukraine to Become EU’s Hydrogen valley

There is a fascinating solution in the works for the simmering controversial pipeline project North Stream 2. Poland is against it, as it historically dislikes any form of cooperation between its two mighty neighbors Germany and Russia. The Ukraine is also against NS2, but for different reasons, because it fears to lose out on a lot of transfer fees for transporting Russian fossil fuel to Europe over its soil via huge pipelines:

Yours faithfully once stood personally under such an impressive pipeline near Poltava.

Nevertheless, a way out of this dilemma is offering itself on a silver platter: how about using the existing pipeline, connecting the Ukraine and the EU for transport of hydrogen, produced on Ukrainian soil and territorial Black Sea waters?

Nine western European countries, among them Italy, Spain and the UK, are cooperating in a scheme to set up a pan-European dedicated transport infrastructure, called the European Hydrogen Backbone. The Ukraine would love to join and become a major European hydrogen province and upgrade the existing fossil fuel pipeline infrastructure, that could be obsolete soon due to NS2 coming online, to be able to carry hydrogen and transport it into the European Hydrogen Backbone.

To be continued.

[] – Ukraine Hydrogen Valley
[] – Ukraine ready for pipeline switch to fuel Europe’s hydrogen drive
[] – Gas infrastructure companies present European Hydrogen Backbone

European Hydrogen Backbone (Gasunie)

Nordlink Subsea Cable Germany-Norway Inaugurated

The European super grid got more integrated today with the inauguration of the Nordlink subsea cable Germany-Norway. German wind power gets connected with Norwegian pumped hydro storage capacity. Cable capacity: 6 million households. Owners: Norwegian transmission system operator StatNett (50%), Dutch grid operator TenneT (25%) and German bank KfW (25%).

[] – Nordlink
[] – NordLink – the “green cable” – between Germany and Norway is now fully in operation
[deepresource] – Our Nordlink posts

Read more…

Cambridge-UK Autonomous Shuttle Trial

Youtube text:

Aurrigo, which has been hugely instrumental in the development of ‘first and last mile’ transport solutions, will become the first firm in the country to undertake testing of a custom-made autonomous vehicle capable of carrying passengers on a main road surrounded by other traffic, including cars, lorries, vans, bikes and pedestrians.

Able to seat 10 people outside of social distancing restrictions, the three shuttles will take passengers from the Madingley Road Park and Ride site to and around the University of Cambridge’s West Campus.

The trial is part of an Innovate UK and Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV)-backed project, led by Aurrigo with Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and Smart Cambridge all working together to explore how autonomous technology could be used on the public transport network.

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Youtube text:

Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, Maryland, USA (acting as Explosives Design and Performance Subcontractor to Main Demolition Contractor, Dallas Demolition of Dallas, Texas who was working for RiverCap Ventures of Rocky River, Ohio, the General Demolition Contractor) performs the successful explosives felling of 90, Mitsubishi 1000A Wind Turbines in New Mexico. No effort was made to preserve foundations or other wind farm infrastructure. CDI’s crew felled the 90 Units in two (2) mobilizations to the site, permitting the Wind Farm Owner to complete salvage of blades and drive-train elements from some of the wind turbines to provide replacement parts for similar Units they operate at other wind farm locations. The Units were safely felled, exactly per plan, and ahead of schedule.

These turbines were taken down after 18 years of operation.

[] – Mitsubishi MWT-1000A

Difficult to find the reason for taking them down. Our guess would be that these 1 MW machines had become technically outdated, with too little power to bother to maintain them, as in 2021, 10 MW or more has become “state-of-the-art”.

[] – Tear down or leave up all the old wind turbines?

Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, Maryland, USA (acting as Explosives Subcontractor to Main Demolition Contractor, Keltbray Decommissioning of Glasgow, Scotland) performs the preparation for and explosives felling of one (1), 580’ tall, 1000 mt wind turbine and one (1), 328’ tall communications tower at the SSE National Off Shore Wind Turbine Test Facility in Hunterston, Scotland on Thursday, September 26, 2019.

75% Germans Want Completion Nord Stream 2

Only 17% demand cancellation, 8% has no opinion.

The poll of May 20 has lost some relevance since the US government decided since to waiver sanctions against the project, and with only 100 km remaining to be built, the pipeline is expected to be completed before the upcoming elections in September, with the (not very strong) possibility that the Greens, who are opposed to the pipeline, could lead a coalition government.

[] – Sanctions against Russia just aren’t working, says French President Macron, calling for dialogue & review of EU’s stance on Moscow

President Macron of France has reiterated his stance that Russia should be seen as part of a European security architecture, the classic Gaullist position (which we support), strongly enabled by Brexit, which enabled us to get rid of the notorious British anti-Europeans on the cheap.

The Greater European geopolitical transition will be required, once China replaces the United States as the new #1, probably before 2030. Combined with the strong possibility that the US will fall apart, like the USSR did in 1991, only Greater Europe will be able to contain China and prevent a Chinese-owned planet.

[Economist June 2020]

Obviously, the Ukraine and Belarus also will be included in the Common European Home. The Ukraine can’t wait and Belarus is about to get rid of the guy who forgot to pack his bags after the collapse of the USSR.

Inclusion of Russia into Greater Europe would mean that Vladimir Putin, the most competent statesman in this still young century, would achieve his life political aim.

[] – Klare Mehrheit für Fertigstellung von Nord Stream 2
[] – Russian EU-ambassador: “no limits to EU-Russian cooperation”
[] – Lord Heseltine suggests Brexit vote allows Germany to win WW2
[] – Common European Home

Spain to Build 500 MW Hydrogen Plant

Spanish renewable energy giant Iberdrola teams up with US power company Cummins to set up a 500 MW green hydrogen electrolyser plant in central Spain, with the intention to later expand to 1 GW.

Additionally, the two companies are building a 230 MW green hydrogen plant to produce green hydrogen for an ammonia fertiliser company Fertiberia in Andalusia.

The partnership between Cummins and the Spanish utility giant Iberdrola includes the construction of the 230MW Palos green hydrogen project in Andalusia, Spain, which will supply H2 to the ammonia-based fertiliser company Fertiberia.

As a side-note, there is a “special relationship” developing between Spain and the US in energy matters. Iberdrola is very big on US renewable energy markets, now Cummins is returning the favor and steps in real big in European green hydrogen, for which the US is not yet ready.

[] – Iberdrola and Cummins announce plans for Europe’s fourth hydrogen electrolyser gigafactory
[] – Cummings corporate site
[] – Cummins

Read more…

GE-Glosten 12 MW Floating Wind Platform


Floating wind expands the potential of offshore wind enormously, especially in Asia. France-based wind turbine manufacturer GE and US-based Glosten naval engineering offer a Haliade-X-based floating wind platform.

[] – GE, Glosten Present 12 MW Floating Wind Turbine Concept
[] – Glosten company site

Optimizing Monopile Dimensions

Hammering monopiles into the seabed comes with forces so big that the risk exists that the monopile buckles. With monopiles getting bigger and bigger, the answer is to increase wall thickness. The German government is now majority funding a 3 million euro program to determine once and for all the optimal dimension of the monopile. The program is joined by European stakeholder companies: EnBW, Equinor, Ørsted, RWE Renewables, ScottishPower Renewables, Shell, SSE Renewables, Total and Vattenfall. The program is led by BAM, German’s Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, the Technical University of Berlin and JBO with support from the Carbon Trust.

[] – Verification of Buckling Assessment and Behaviour in Large Monopiles
[] – Joint industry project set-up to increase understanding of monopile buckling to extend lifetime of offshore wind assets
[] – Offshore Wind Majors Tackle Monopile Buckle
[] – Joint industry project investigates monopile buckling

BASF/RWE Plan 2GW North Sea Offshore Wind

BASF Ludwigshafen

Yet another example where big companies take responsibility for their own future energy security and thus contribute significantly to the energy transition: green electricity for BASF in Ludwigshafen en green hydrogen for RWE.

As always, there will be no direct line from the North Sea to Ludwigshafen, it’s a bookkeeping exercise. The BASF/RWE sponsored offshore wind farm pumps electricity into the national grid (connected to the European grid) at the North Sea coast, in comparable amounts as BASF extracts electricity from the same grid in Ludwigshafen, 620 km from the North Sea.

Expected operational date 2030.

[] – BASF und RWE wollen einen der weltgrößten Offshore-Windparks bauen
[] – BASF and RWE Plan to Build 2 GW, Subsidy-Free Wind Farm Offshore Germany

Herenboeren – Radical New Form of Local Agriculture

All material in Dutch

The concept: a cooperation of 200 households with 500 persons commit themselves to a stable economic relationship with a single professional farmer, who produces what the 200 households will consume. The relationship is not anonymous, but strongly involved on both sides. Everybody knows how the food, vegetables, fruit, potatoes, meat, eggs, is produced, obviously in a sustainable fashion. The farmer produces on demand. The work is done by the farmer; volunteer labor is possible, but not required. The farmer has economic security, the associated cooperation members have food security, produced in a healthy, sustainable fashion and around the corner. It’s an economic marriage. An additional bonus for all involved is membership of a social community, a break-away from the atomized existence of lonely television watcher and supermarket frequenter, who no longer has a church to rely upon.

Practical details:

  • upfront investment of €2000,- per household, leading to participation
  • the farmer has a salary
  • weekly contribution per mouth: €12.30 (vegetarians €9.80). This is cheap and a consequence of eliminating middlemen and transport and storage
  • required soil: 15-20 hectares
  • food distribution: cooperation members distribute, typically 1 member for 5 households (minimize CO2 footprint)
  • farm visit times: Wednesday 16:00-18:00 or Saturday 11:00-13:00
  • no profit motive, no selling of excess food
  • supply: 5 different vegetables per week. 8 kg beef, 11 kg pork annually
  • yearly cultivation plan in consultation

[] – project site
[] – Stichting Herenboeren Nederland (list of cooperations)

Peak Oil 2026

The shape of the global oil production curve was never subject of debate, only the moment when it would peak, a point in time known as “peak oil”. The peak oil movement claimed it would happen in the first decade of this century and perhaps they were right, but only if you replace “oil” with “conventional oil”. Then came fracking.

This blog started in January 2012, 2542 posts ago, anticipating a global catastrophe in the wake of peak oil, after an imprudent intellectual diet of books like these:

Didn’t happen.

By December 2012, the insight grew that due to fracking, the world and industrial society would enjoy a delay of execution with at least a decade. Since 2012, the sense of foreboding of catastrophe disappeared entirely here and was replaced with a mild sort of optimism regarding the energy situation, as renewable technology made enormous progress. And more important, Europe began to embrace the new energy generation methods, in all segments of society: population, industry, government, media.

Where America sank back into complacency, bought SUVs only and decided to never look further ahead than three months, the European Union as of 2005 and targeted at 2050, began to develop a comprehensive renewable energy policy, that is beginning to take the world by storm, culminating in the Paris Accords of 2016, signed by the entire world, minus the US and Syria.

According to the Norwegian energy consultancy Rystad, the world needs to brace for peak oil 2026, at 101.6 mbd, five years from now, to remain on a plateau until 2030. Perhaps, this time it’s for real. Rystad refers to “peak oil demand”, suggesting that at no time demand will outstrip supply In other words, the world will leave oil before oil will leave the world.

In contrast to 2007, peak oil is no longer a frightful perspective, at least not for Europe, that is perfectly positioned to deal with it. Peak oil will even blast the last opposition against the transition out of the way, mostly barricaded in populist parties, because it will make discussions about the reality of man-made climate change superfluous. Peak oil will make the transition irreversible, with positive consequences for the geopolitical stature of Europe, that has an energy model on offer for the entire world.

Peak oil 2026: welcome.

[] – Slowing down as electric vehicles accelerate, oil demand set to peak at 101.6 million bpd in 2026
[] – Global oil demand to peak in 2026 -Rystad Energy
[] – Rystad
[] – Peak oil
[] – Energy policy of the European Union
[] – Paris Agreement

What if You Can’t Connect to Industrial Society?

VW Into Solid State Batteries

Volkswgen and its US-Battery partner Quantumscape have announced to build a 1 GWh solid state battery pilot plant in Salzgitter, Germany. Eventually its capacity will be expanded to 20 GWh, that is 400,000 cars with batteries of 50 kWh each.

After 30 years of trial-and-error, there is finally a product that has significant advantages over Lithium-Ion technology:

  • rapid charging in a matter of minutes
  • increased lifespan, typically exceeding that of the car
  • higher energy density of 0.5 kWh/kg, hence lower weight of the battery pack; resulting in ranges of over 1000 km
  • cost advantages

[] – Company site
[] – Solid-state battery
[] – QuantumScape and Volkswagen Sign Agreement to Select Location for Joint Venture Pilot-Line Facility
[] – VW-Feststoffakkus aus Salzgitter

Rising Sea Level Theme in Global Pop

The interval act, semi-final Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, yesterday. The act symbolizes the centuries-old struggle of the Netherlands against the water, with some Dutch maritime production placement interjected, but also the long-term threat of rising sea levels for the survival of the Netherlands.

[] – Eurovision 2021: The interval act of semi-final 1 has finally been revealed!
[] – Davina Michelle

Read more…

US Government Seems to Accept North Stream 2

According to media reports, the US government is waiving sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

[] – Biden to waive sanctions on company in charge of Nord Stream 2
[] – Biden verzichtet auf weitere Sanktionen
[] – VS ziet af van sancties tegen bedrijf achter Nord Stream 2

The pipeline will likely be completed before the long arm of the US deep state, the German Green Party, gets a chance to torpedo the project, in order to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. This party is keen on reigniting the Cold War against Russia:

[] – “Mit Dialog und Härte” (“With dialog and hardness”) April 24, 2021.

Armin Laschet, in contrast, is known by the German and as such US Stadtholder media as “Putin-Versteher”. Like Macron, he wants to improve relations with Russia:

[] – Was die Putin-Versteher in Deutschland antreibt

Laschet was critical about the US-sponsored Syrian civil war:

[] – Laschet critical of John Kerry, unheard of in German circumstances.

Armin Laschet is basically a CDU-Schroeder, the former German chancellor, who once remarked that the only thing he liked about the US is Elvis. Not that Laschet wants to break with the US, far from it, nor should he. It is just that he refuses to see in Putin-Russia an enemy. That’s good enough in the current circumstances.

For the rest, we keep our fingers crossed that the solid European Armin Laschet will become the next chancellor of Germany, in a coalition with the SPD and FDP. These people are more than green enough to see through the renewable energy transition. No need for woke Greens, whose open borders policies will only provoke the populist AfD to grow and threaten the energy transition and undermine the EU.

Euronews Climate Now

Euronews on how to interpret the cold 2021 spring against the background of a warming planet. Further new pictures from an offshore wind farm in operation.

213 GW Hydrogen Electrolyser Project Pipeline, 85% in the EU

  • Aurora’s global electrolyser database indicates 213.5 GW of projects planned for delivery by 2040, a one-thousand-fold increase from the 0.2 GW operating currently
  • The vast majority of electrolyser projects are located in Europe (85%); with Germany the clear front-runner with 23% of planned electrolyser capacity globally
  • Germany remains the most attractive market for low carbon hydrogen investment in Europe, despite promising policies and strategies recently being released by Italy, Poland and the UK
  • Key success factors for ‘green’ hydrogen from electrolysers are the cost and carbon footprint of electricity. France currently offers the lowest wholesale power prices, and its grid carbon intensity is one of the lowest in Europe. However, hydrogen made directly from renewable energy rather than the power grid can achieve the lowest carbon footprint. This may be the only type of hydrogen that can meet the carbon intensity thresholds set by the EU

[] – Companies are developing over 200 GW of hydrogen electrolyser projects globally, 85% of which are in Europe

800 km Range with Methanol Fuel Cell

All videos German language

Regarding powering cars: batteries vs hydrogen… batteries won, right?

Well, not so fast. It is true that batteries have a far higher efficiency than hydrogen fuel cell, so if you have a spare kWh electricity lying around, you better pump it directly into your car battery, rather than going via the hydrogen detour.

The point is: that electricity isn’t always readily available. And how about that super cheap solar electricity from the desert, at 1 cent/kWh? How to get that kWh from the Sahara to Germany? High-voltage power lines? And even if you have those in place, the sun doesn’t always shine in the Sahara either, certainly not at night. Difficult.

That’s where storage comes in. Most people think of pure hydrogen, but that’s not the only storage possibility. A deceased Hungarian engineer by the name of George Olah has been promoting the idea of the methanol economy later in his professional life. His prime selling point over the hydrogen economy is that the simple liquid methanol is far easier to handle than hydrogen. The energy density of methanol is a considerable 6.1 kWh/kg or 4.8 kWh/liter, which makes it suitable for transportation purposes.

A retired Audi engineer by the name of Roland Gumpert has built a car prototype with a methanol fuel cell, achieving a range of 800 km or more, see videos. And a refill merely takes 3 minutes, not hours like with batteries, where legacy petrol stations can be reused, rather than having to litter your country with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new charging poles.

The purpose of this post is not to decide between one form of storage or another, but as a reminder that there are many storage options.

[] – Ohne Ladekabel in nur 3 Minuten getankt: Damit packt dieses E-Auto 800 Kilometer
[deepresource] – The Methanol Economy With George Olah
[deepresource] – Methanol Economy Update

Read more…

Vestas CETEC Rotor Blade Recycling Project

Many detractors of wind energy, especially those in North-America, love to point at mostly imaginary landfills with stacked rotor blade junk, carelessly dumped there after 20-30 years of operation. The criticism usually comes from those who couldn’t give a damn about the environment in the first place.

Although it made perfect sense for engineers to concentrate first on designing robust industrial strength wind turbines, something needed to be done to deal with this PR-imperfection.

Vestas took up the gauntlet and initiated CETEC (Circular Economy for Thermosets Epoxy Composites), aiming at 100% recycling of rotor blades at the end of their life-cycle. A Danish R&D-cluster has developed a 2-step process to deal with the problem once and for all:

Firstly, thermoset composites are disassembled into fibre and epoxy. Secondly, through a novel chemcycling process, the epoxy is further broken up into base components similar to virgin materials. These materials can then be reintroduced into the manufacturing of new turbine blades, constituting a new circularity pathway for epoxy resin.

New turbine blades from old ones. Leave it to Denmark.

[] – Vestas Leads Project to Make Wind Turbine Blades Fully Recyclable

[source] Iconic Wyoming rotor blade grave. A solution from Europe is underway.

The Case for Agrivoltaics

Yes, plants need light, just like you need food. But just like that there is a limit to the amount of food that is beneficial to you, there is also a limit to the amount of light that a plant needs to flourish. Plant growth is proportional to CO2 absorption. The key measure here is photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). According to the video, there is a cut-off point above 1000 PAR, which means that the plants can do without a portion of the daily supply of sun rays and wouldn’t mind a sunscreen, just like you may have in your garden if it all gets too much in the summer:

During sunny days in Southern Europe, the solar influx could reach PAR-values of 1600-2000. In other words, 60-100% could be shaved off the peak value, without impact on agricultural yield. And those are also the hours when solar yield is maximal.

That’s where agrovoltaics come in, where solar panels can be used as sunscreens, providing a nice extra source of income for the farmer involved, without significant impact on his agricultural yield.

[] – Photosynthetically active radiation
[] – Agrivoltaics: opportunities for agriculture and the energy transition
[deepresource] – Airborn Solar Panels

Post Navigation