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Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “June, 2021”

Australian Startup Claims it Can Cut Cost Electrolisys by a Third

The news is a little thin on technical details. Plasma electrolysis?

From Rechargenews:

Understandably, HSA is keeping the details of its technology close to its chest, but executive director Brian Power tells Recharge that it works by using electrical power inside a plasma chamber at certain frequencies that elicit favourable responses from the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water — a process that he says requires much less power than standard PEM or alkaline electrolysers.

“We’re letting the frequencies do all the work, whereas [a standard electrolyser] lets the electricity do all the work,” he says.

[rechargenews.com] – Plasma electrolysers cut cost green hydrogen by a factor of 3
[hydrogensystems.com.au] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Plasma (physics)
[ufz.de] – Electrode less water “electrolyses” using a radio frequency plasma (2016)
[mdpi.com] – Contact Glow Discharge Electrolysis (2020)
[aip.scitation.org] – Plasma-driven solution electrolysis (2021)
[researchgate.net] – Hydrogen Production by Plasma Electrolysis (2006)

Read more…

China rolls out first renewable energy sky train

Youtube text:

A glass-bottom sky train of China’s first renewable energy-suspension railway demonstration line rolled off in southwest China’s Chengdu on June 26. The sky train has glass paneling on three sides, offering passengers on board a stunning 270-degree view. The maximum capacity of one carriage is 120 people. Driven by new energy resources, the sky train is greener and more economical. According to its developer, the train tops out at 80 kilometers per hour and costs only about one-sixth to one-eighth of a regular subway.

Breaktrough Liquid Metal Battery

Exploring Solar Panel Efficiency Breakthroughs in 2020

Hollandse Kust Zuid OWF Jacket Foundation Installed

Watching the video is just as interesting as watching the grass grow in your garden. The Heerema Sleipnir picked up the jacket in Norway and installed it days later in Dutch waters.

Heerema Marine Contractors’ heavy lift vessel Sleipnir has installed the second offshore substation jacket foundation at the Hollandse Kust Zuid wind farm offshore the Netherlands.

Located 22 kilometres off the Netherlands coast, the 2,852-tonne jacket will support TenneT’s 700 MW Hollandse Kust Zuid Beta transformer platform which will be ready for use in 2022.

[offshorewind.biz] – Hollandse Kust Zuid Beta Jacket Foundation Stands
[wikipedia.org] – SSCV Sleipnir

Geothermal Could Supply 50% Of Global Electricity Needs

Less Green Electricity in Germany in H1-2021

[source]

In H1-2021 the yield of renewable electricity in Germany (43%) was less than in H1-2020 (50%), a direct consequence of the variability of the weather. This was a rather cold spring and the installation of new capacity is stalling.

[spiegel.de] – Ökostrom-Versorgung geht deutlich zurück

Vestas, Vattenfall Support Modvion Wooden Wind Tower

Timber! The Swedish wooden wind tower specialist Modvion is gaining traction with well-established fellow Scandinavian wind developers Vestas and Vattenfall.

[modvion.com] – Vestas Ventures invests in wood technology company Modvion
[nsenergybusiness.com] – Vestas buys stake in Modvion
[renews.biz] – Vattenfall, Modvion forge timber tower pact
[deepresource] – Our Modvion posts

Read more…

The Classical Water-pumping Dutch Windmill

The idea that on-land wind power can be used as a tool is thousands of years old. Examples are China, Babylon and Egypt.

Wind-powered machines used to grind grain and pump water, the windmill and wind pump, were developed in what are now Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan by the 9th century. The first practical windmills were in use in Sistan, a region in Iran and bordering Afghanistan, at least by the 9th century and possibly as early as the mid-to-late 7th century.

Wind power development got an enormous boost in the Netherlands, where they were used for land reclamation purposes, wood sawing and grain grinding. Like the one shown in the video.

[wikipedia.org] – History of wind power
[historyofwindmills.com] – History of wind power

Hexicon Wind Farm Principle

Hexicon is a Swedish offshore wind design, where floating twin rotors are automatically direct themselves towards prevailing winds. Recently, a scale model was successfully tested in the Marin test center in the Netherlands. The next step is to evaluate the test data in order to achieve a pilot at Metcentre in Norway in 2023.

[hexicon.eu] – Developer site
[offshorewind.biz] – Hexicon Completes Model Test for Its Two-Turbine Floater

Dutch test site Marin

Fishermen Blocking Saint-Brieuc Wind Development

[rechargenews.com] – No fishermen friends for offshore wind

45 GW Wind/Solar/Hydrogen for Kazakhstan?

Artist impression from the developers site

It sounds a little too Wild West, or Wild East rather, but the company Svevind AB (Swedish? German?) has announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Kazakh investment firm about developing a 45 GW wind and solar farm, combined with 30 GW hydrogen capacity in Western and Central Kazakhstan. Cost and commissioning date are vague:

The overall development, engineering, procurement and financing phases are expected to take about three to five years. Construction and commissioning phases are predicted to take approx. five years.

About Svevind:

Svevind is a privately owned group of companies in the renewable energy industry, based in Weißenbrunn (Germany), Piteå (Northern Sweden), Dresden (Germany) and Almaty (Kazakhstan). The Svevind group plans, develops, designs, sells, and operates onshore wind power and solar PV as well as green hydrogen projects. The projects vary in size and scope from single turbines to farms of 1,101* turbines and up to Gigawatt-scale green hydrogen projects. Svevind’s largest project to date is located in Markbygden in the municipality of Piteå. It is expected to become one of the largest wind farms in Europe, and perhaps the world. Total production is expected to be up to 12 TWh.

[svevind.se]

The story could win in plausibility if it could be shown that the project has Chinese financial backing. So far, Svevind has realized 1 GW wind power and 1.5 GW under construction.

Grain of salt.

[svevind.se] – SVEVIND and Kazakh Invest National Company JSC sign a memorandum of understanding
[innovationorigins.com] – Duitse steppestroom uit Kazachstan
[windpowermonthly.com] – Svevind plans 45GW wind- and solar-to-green hydrogen
[crunchbase.com] – Svevind AB

[source] Kazakhstan has excellent wind resources

Baihetan Hydropower Station

The Baihetan Dam is a large hydroelectric dam on the Jinsha River, an upper stretch of the Yangtze River in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, in the southwest of China. The dam is a 277 m tall double-curvature arch dam with a crest elevation of 827 m, and a width of 72 m at the base and 13 m at the crest. It is considered the last large hydropower project in China to be completed since a series of projects starting with the Three Gorges Dam, the third largest dam in China and the fourth in the world, in terms of dam volume. The facility will generate power by utilizing 16 turbines, each with a generating capacity of 1,000 MW, taking the generating capacity to 16,000 MW. In terms of generating capacity, it will be the second largest hydroelectric power plant in the world, after the Three Gorges Dam.

The new hydropower station will be fully operational by the end of 2022.

[wikipedia.org] – Baihetan Dam
[globaltimes.cn] – World’s largest hydropower project under construction starts operations marking China’s world leadership

Ulco Vermeulen (Gasunie) over NortH2

[source] Ulco Vermeulen, directeur Gasunie.

“Misschien wel het meest ambitieuze wind-tot-waterstofproject in Europa”, zo noemen de initiatiefnemers het zelf. Met hun plan voor 4 gigawatt groene waterstof in 2030 gooiden Gasunie, Shell en Groningen Seaports begin vorig jaar een enorme steen in de vijver. Inmiddels doen ook Equinor en RWE mee. Hoe ver staat het nu met de plannen? Doet de Nederlandse politiek – die dol zégt te zijn op groene waterstof – ook boter bij de vis? En is blauwe waterstof de komende jaren niet veel goedkoper én gunstiger voor het klimaat? Ik vraag het Ulco Vermeulen, lid van de Raad van Bestuur van Gasunie.

[soundcloud.com/studio-energie] – Afl. 90: Ulco Vermeulen (Gasunie) over NortH2 en de noodzaak van groene én blauwe waterstof
[gasunie.nl] – Ulco Vermeulen

First Chinese Offshore Wind Turbine Installed Abroad

The first Chinese offshore wind turbine was installed off the coast of Vietnam, a modest GW155-3.3MW.

[offshorewind.biz] – Goldwind Goes International as First Offshore Wind Turbine Outside China Stands

Western US Entering Period of Megadrought

A megadrought (or mega-drought) is a prolonged drought lasting two decades or longer.

[nationalgeographic.com] – ‘Megadrought’ persists in western U.S., as another extremely dry year develops
[forbes.com] – Scientists Said The West Was Entering A Megadrought. Now It’s Twice As Bad
[wikipedia.org] – Megadrought

Green Hydrogen Storage via Methylcyclohexane (C7H14)

The Japanese companies Eneos and Chiyoda claim to eventually be able to produce green hydrogen for a third of the cost of today. Through a patented electrolysis method, the cost of the equipment can be reduced to $3 per kilo hydrogen in 2030 and even to $2 later. The hydrogen will be stored in the liquid C7H14. And since the cost of a solar kWh in the desert is about 1 euro cent, the cost of the electrolyser equipment almost equals the total cost of hydrogen.

The method developed by Eneos and Chiyoda enables the electrolysis of water and toluene simultaneously, rather than through separate processes, to form methylcyclohexane (C7H14). This simplification of the process cuts equipment investment in half.

Liquid C7H14 will be supplied at ambient temperature to power plants and other facilities where hydrogen will be produced from it for energy. This is much more cost effective than delivering hydrogen, which must be transported at -253 ° C in a special container.

Conventional oil technology can be used to handle the methylcyclohexane at ambient conditions.

The upshot is that the world has now NH3, C7H14 and NaBH4 to choose from as possible carriers of hydrogen. No doubt there are many more chemical storage possibilities.

[gadgettendency.com] – Japan has found a way to reduce the cost of “green” hydrogen by two-thirds
[asiatimes.com] – Japanese firms aim to slash hydrogen costs
[energy.gov] – Introduction of Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier and the Global Hydrogen Supply Chain Project
[nature.com] – A final link in the global hydrogen supply chain

Demo plant in Brunei, realizing the world’s first hydrogen chain.

Read more…

Chinese Greenhouses

[lowtechmagazine.com] – Reinventing the Greenhouse
[resilience.org] – Solar greenhouses, Chinese-style

Read more…

What About Thorium?

The advantage of Thorium over Uranium: more abundant fuel available, less waste, reactors are safer. Most promising design: molten salt reactor.

So why don’t we see thorium reactors in practice?

First, because of the link between the uranium cycle and nuclear weapons.

Second, because of engineering challenges to contain corrosive molten salt.

Interest for thorium technology does exist, though, notably in India and China, but also in the US.

[wikipedia.org] – Thorium
[wikipedia.org] – Thorium fuel cycle
[wikipedia.org] – Molten salt reactor

More Heavyweights Join AquaVentus Hydrogen Project

Now that Australia has dropped its plans for a multi-GW hydrogen facility, all eyes are directed at the North Sea to really kick off green hydrogen production. The German AquaVentus 10 GW wind-hydrogen project was from the start joined by Shell, RWE, GASCADE and Gasunie. Ørsted, Equinor, and WindMW were added later. Now the Japanese utility J-Power and the Japanese-Swiss joint venture Hitachi ABB Power are the latest members, as well as the US oil & gas company McDermott. To top if off, the Dutch offshore installation company van Oord could be dded to the list, as well as several others.

[offshorewind.biz] – McDermott, Van Oord Join AquaVentus Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen Project
[aquaventus.org] – Flagship project for green hydrogen

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