Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “January, 2022”

Zinc-Manganese Dioxide Flow Batteries

New battery technology that could halve storage cost and approach that of hydrogen.

MIT researchers have created a semisolid flow battery that might be able to outperform lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow batteries. It features a new electrode made of dispersed manganese dioxide particles shot through with an electrically conductive additive, carbon black.

[] – Low-cost manganese dioxide semi-solid electrode for flow batteries
[] – MIT scientists develop semisolid zinc-manganese dioxide flow battery for wind, PV storage

CNN – “A complete shutdown would be ‘catastrophic'”

The US are busy trying to steal the Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence, so they can place missiles in Ukraine, 500 km from Moscow with the ultimate goal to organize a regime change in Russia. Russia, obviously, doesn’t fancy this too much and threatens to invade Ukraine to prevent this scenario. The greatest US groupie in Germany is the woke London-“educated”, intellectual lightweight, serial plagiarist, CV-faker and insufferable dilettante Annalena Baerbock, de facto heading the war party in Germany. This idiot thinks it is a good idea to “threaten” Russia with closing down North Stream 2, on orders of her principals in the US…

Baerbock is a Soros drone and water carrier for the US global empire annex envisioned world state, run from the Washington-New York-London axis by billionaire oligarchs, One World Without Borders, with everything mixed and all identities wiped-out, and the holocaust as the new world religion, with Russia next on the target list and China after that, a dangerous pipe-dream. Communism via the American backdoor.

This would amount to starting a hunger strike against an adversary, who would say: “die already”.

Now even the lads at CNN begin to fathom the enormous implications and stupidity of their geopolitical designs, namely that without Russian fossil fuel, everything will come to a shrieking halt in Europe and especially Germany. What these US Beltway Clouseau’s overlook is that reality is even worse than that, namely that president Putin merely has to pick up the phone and have a chat with his pals in Tehran, who can direct their Houthi chums in Yemen, overlooking the entrance to the Red Sea and Suez Canal, that the moment is there to fire 1-2 missiles against oil tankers, depriving Europe from ALL fossil fuel. Indefinitely. This could very well create revolutionary conditions in Germany. No, the Berlin Wall can’t be brought down a second time, but the der Spiegel tower in Hamburg can, the most visible icon of US imperial power in Germany.

Fortunately, the government senior party SPD has much more maturity and there is a decades-old pro-Russian undercurrent in that party. Remember the three post-war SPD chancellors, like Brandt and his Ostpolitik, Schmidt and his Erdgasroehrengeschaeft and most of all Gerhard Schroeder, who frustrated the US (and his Green Khmer foreign minister Joshka Fisher) by refusing to participate in the slaughter in Iraq, together with Putin and Chirac, and who is now a Gazprom executive. But there are many more saner heads in the SPD:

[] – “The US are not a friend of Europe”, Hamburg’s former mayor, Klaus von Dohnanyi, is calling for Europeans to adopt a more independent policy towards Russia
[] – Klingbeil warnt vor Krieg »mitten in Europa«

So much so that the US imperial bullhorn der Spiegel is alarmed:

[] – “The SPD has a Russia -Problem”

The SPD doesn’t have a Russia problem, Germany has a der Spiegel problem.

[] – Europe could live with less Russian gas. A complete shutdown would be ‘catastrophic’
[] – Geht es an den Geldbeutel der Bürger, wird Deutschland bei Putin ganz schnell weich
[] – Putin drosselt: Wenn es kalt wird, bekommen wir ohne russisches Gas ein Problem
[] – Gerhard Schröder wirft Ukraine »Säbelrasseln« vor
[] – Das Ende des amerikanischen Zeitalters: Deutschland und die neue Weltordnung

Despite all this, Ukraine is merely a side-show in a global drama, that will eventually be decided in the South China Sea. The global change of the guard is coming and China will replace the US as the next #1:

And that moment could come much faster than many anticipate, like shortly after the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, when China could indirectly come to the aid of beleaguered Russia and finally makes its move against Taiwan, forcing the US to divide its attention on two fronts.


Fraunhofer – “Don’t Mix Natural Gas with Green Hydrogen”


According to the Fraunhofer Institute, it’s a bad idea to mix green hydrogen with natural gas and pump it into the European gas grid. There are better alternative uses for hydrogen. Fraunhofer produced a 50p report to make the point, see link below.

[] – The limitations of hydrogen blending in the European Gas Grid


  • 1. Policy makers face a choice of how to cost effectively deploy the limited amounts of green hydrogen that will be available in the medium-term. There are a number of no-regret options for sectors where green hydrogen should be deployed (such as for the replacement of grey hydrogen and in industry or shipping).
  • 2. Blending green hydrogen into the grid indiscriminately instead risks “wasting“ hydrogen by having it deployed to sectors like heating where more efficient and cost effective solutions such as direct electrification using heat pumps are possible. The analysis shows that a 5% blending target within the EU 2030 scenario would require about 50 TWh of hydrogen. This represents a significant share of the total green hydrogen (132 TWh) that would be available in 2030 under the COM hydrogen strategy.
  • 3. Green hydrogen blending offers only GHG savings in the amount of replaced natural gas. 50 TWh of additional direct H2 use instead of blending, on the other hand, could save an estimated additional 3 million t CO2eq (30 % more) compared to 10 million t CO2eq when blended.
  • 4. The adaptation measures for hydrogen blending into the grid will increase costs for end users (by up to 43 % for industrial end-users and up to 16 % for households at a blending level of 20 Vol-%). The current cost increases for gas prices show how political this factor is.
  • 5. In the long term, a H2 backbone transport network can provide an efficient infrastructure for central H2 consumers. However, this will only use part of the current natural gas network, due to high localised future hydrogen demands in industrial clusters.
  • 6. Therefore blending, even at low percentages, constitutes a sub-optimal pathway for the deployment of hydrogen and should be avoided in favour of policy instruments, which can deliver hydrogen to specific sectors. Doing so would avoid lock in risks, generate greater GHG savings for the investments made and avoid added costs being put on all gas consumers.

[] – Fraunhofer waarschuwt EU voor bijmengen waterstof in aardgasnet
[] – ‘Expensive, wasteful, limited CO2 reduction: Blending hydrogen into gas grid should be avoided’

Capacitor Storage by Skeleton Technologies

HQ: Talinn, Estonia
Production: Dresden, Germany
Financed: a.o. European Investment bank

YouTube text:

The search for cheaper, lighter, and safer, and more efficient energy sources has been on for most of human history. And while there have been many pretenders to the throne, sometimes a group of people come along with a technology that threatens to turn the whole search on its head.

And that’s precisely what Skeleton Technologies is trying to do. The company is trying to replace batteries for a new cutting-edge technology.

Now, replacing batteries is no mean feat. Batteries have been with us for at least a century, and are basically how anything that isn’t constantly plugged into electricity works. If Skeleton Technologies is trying to replace them, they must have something that works just as well, and even better, right?

Well, that’s where it gets a little bit complicated.

In today’s video, we’ll be taking a look at Skeleton Technologies and how they plan to disrupt the energy industry. We’ll also be checking out the specifics of their tech, and will be deciding for ourselves if they can do it.

There are multiple ways to store energy. But today, we’ll be focusing on two important ones — batteries, and capacitors. There are many different kinds of batteries and they are mostly distinguished by their chemical makeup. The chemical unit is called the cell and contains three main parts; a positive terminal called the cathode, a negative terminal called the anode, and an electrolyte.

Both sides are submerged in a liquid electrolyte and are then separated by a micro-perforated separator that only allows ions to pass through. During the process of charging and discharging the battery, the ions flow back and forth between the cathode and anode. The heat generated during this process allows the battery to heat up and expand, which ends up degrading the battery.

These degradations affect the lifespan of the battery, which is the reason why batteries lose their energy storage capacity after some time.

[] – Corporate site
[] – Skeleton Technologies
[] – Skeleton Technologies raises another €51 million to scale up its ultracapacitor business

330 m Solar Bicycle Path

Another “largest in the world”. The Netherlands already had several experiments with “Solaroads”, now there is another solar bicycle path in Maartensdijk, in the Utrecht province, along the N417. Price tag 1.3 million euro, which is a lot for solar panels, but the bicycle path comes for free. And the solaroad concept is still in the development phase. The cost of the original 73 m path in Krommenie was 3.6 million, that’s a large decrease. And the de facto city state Netherlands has a lot of money, but space, not so much. The 7-year-old concept is far from dead. Trial and error is inevitable in these things. Consider that it took 5 decades or more to develop wind power.

Estimated annual yield: 55 MWh or 55,000/ 2.730 = 20 average Dutch households.

The Netherlands has 37,000 km fietspad. That would be sufficient for 2.2 million households. The country has 8 million households.

The 2 billion euro/year construction company Strukton has put its weight behind it. They estimate a Dutch solar road potential of 450 km2. The 10 m2 solar panels on my roof deliver 1.6 MWh/year. Subtract 30% for the horizontal position to arrive at 1.12 MWh/10 m2. For 450 km2 that would amount to 50,400,000 MWh or 19 million households, more than double the amount the Netherlands actually has. The potential is enormous. The sport is to bring down the cost per unit as much as possible. Solaroad and Strukton are working on it and smell a huge global business.

But it still makes more sense to occupy all free roof space first.

And I repeat here my earlier idea: why not develop solar tiles for garden terraces, sufficient for 3.1 GW continuously? That’s an even less demanding environment than public bicycle roads.

[Strukton – Maartensdijk]

[] – Dutch province unveils solar bicycle path
[] – Zonnefietspad op koers voor 40% van beoogde opbrengst
[deepresource] – Our Solaroad posts
[] – Solaroad consortium site
[] – The electricity-generating road
[] – Zonnefietspaden: verspilde energie en geldverslindend
[Google Maps] – Maartensdijk, Netherlands

At [2:25], yield 17 MW, apparently on a sunny day, sun rays coming in at 45 degrees tilt. That’s 3 large offshore wind turbines. Not bad for 330 m concrete! Let’s assume that the peak is at 20 MW. As a rule of thumb for Dutch conditions, the yearly yield in kWh is ca. 0.85 times the peak in kW. My panels for instance have a peak of 1800 Watt and a yearly yield of 1600 kWh. Hence, 20 MW maps onto an annual power yield of 0.85 * 20 MW = 17 MWh, considerable less than the 55 MWh quoted above. Something doesn’t add up here.

Read more…

Solar PV Efficiency – New Breakthrough

YouTube text:

Solar photovoltaic panels are currently limited to a maximum efficiency of about 30%, and in practice only actually achieve about 20% to 23% efficiency. Now a team in Cambridge has developed a film that can amplify the number of photons that the panel can use, with a potential increase in efficiency to as much as 35%. So how do they do that?

High energy photons can’t be used to excite electrons from silicon. But by using a filter, these high energy photons can be converted into lower energy photons, that can excite electrons from silicon, thus increasing the yield in an unexpected manner.

[] – Solar cells that make use of wasted light
[] – Company site

Record 2.1 GW Peak PV Installation in the Netherlands

In 2021 a record of 2.1 GW PV installation was realized in the Netherlands. That is equivalent with about 0.2 GW continuously. Total average Dutch electricity consumption is ca. 13 GW, so 1.5% fossil electricity generation was replaced by solar.

The solar share of Dutch electricity generation is now almost 10%.

[] – nieuw record Nederland met installatie 2,1 gigawattpiek zonnepanelen via SDE+(+)

[] – Zonnepanelen kunnen de helft van de Nederlandse elektriciteitsbehoefte opwekken

According to Deloitte, the Netherlands and its 9 million buildings have 892 km2 roof that could be used for solar electricity generation. If exhausted, this would amount to ca. 50% of total current Dutch electricity consumption.


Electro-wired trouser and vest cost about 100 euro. They arrived from China after 6 weeks, after I got a warning of delays due to excessive demand.

Last November, I executed an experiment in bringing down natural gas consumption and stay warm regardless. A report about that exercise here:

[deepresource] – One Month Without Natural Gas Central Heating

The essence of the solution was to create a small corner in your home, around your desk, next to a large window, with a thick curtain dividing the living room in a large 22 m2 and a small 8 m2 part. The latter was kept sufficiently warm with 1-2 300 Watt infrared panels, one under the desk, the other one on the desk for the legs and the other for direct radiation of the upper body.

But with more severe energy shortages looming in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, I tried to see if I could go even further. Preliminary result: it is possible to stay warm on a budget of ca. 6 euro cent per day (0.26 kWh), if you reduce your goals from keeping your house warm to merely keeping your body warm.

That’s where electro-wired clothing comes in, see pictures at the top and below:

The 2 red circles indicate the position of the 2 batteries and 2 buttons, that light up in color. Repeatedly pressing the button iterates through 5 degrees of heating. After a while, the first red position gets too hot.

A day has 16 hours. A single powerbank charge lasts ca. 4 hours, so that would make 8 charges per day times 33 Wh = 0.26 kWh. In the Netherlands, that’s about 6 euro cent per day electricity cost or 2 euro per month!

This solution is perfect for very poor people or people that have been disconnected from the natural gas grid for not paying their bills. Or for well-off people like me (or you), who anticipate that the energy situation in Europe could go terribly wrong in the wake of an escalating crisis over Ukraine, the Gulf, Korea and Taiwan (“WW3”).

[] – TENGOO Smart Heated Underwear Set Phone APP Control Winter Heating Suit USB Recharging Heated Thermal Tops Pants Winter Set

In order for this to work, you need 4 powerbanks: 2 for keeping you warm for perhaps 3-4 hours, while the other 2 are recharging. The silver one I bought a few years ago at an airport for ca. 80 euro, the 2 red ones from HAMA with 10.000 mAh capacity, I bought yesterday for 20 euro each; capacity 33 Wh.

Is Groningen the most walkable city in the world?

Originally German documentary after an American make-over.

25 GW Offshore Wind for Scotland


Spectacular offshore wind breakthrough in Scotland. The original target was 10 GW, but the auction resulted in almost 25 GW worth of new capacity, all around Scotland, with a large share for floating wind. 17 bids have been selected from a grand total of 74. The Scottish treasury gained £700 million from this exercise, which in 2022 can be called modest.


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