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“Climate Change, Are We Doomed?” Public Discourse Heating Up in Holland

Ir. Guus Berkhout is niet zo maar iemand: afgestudeerd TU-Delft, lid Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau. O.a. gewerkt voor Shell. Berkhout heeft een open brief geschreven naar onze premier, zie hieronder. Daaronder ons kommentaar.

Geachte heer Rutte,

Geluk heeft te maken met geloof in de toekomst. Daarom kijken velen van mijn generatie met warme gevoelens terug naar de jaren ’60, waarin we veel minder welvaart hadden dan nu, maar waarin we vast geloofden dat alles beter zou worden. Bedrijfsinvesteringen lagen dan ook op een hoog niveau. Wat een verschil met nu, waarin onze welvaart weliswaar aanzienlijk hoger is dan toen, maar waarin het geloof in de toekomst ver te zoeken is. De huidige generatie wordt overladen met inktzwarte verhalen over de toekomst van de aarde. En ze krijgen al jaren te horen dat er in ons land honderden miljarden nodig zijn om te proberen catastrofale klimaatrampen te voorkomen. Het is volgens de klimaatbeweging vijf voor twaalf! Maar is dat wel zo?

Meneer Rutte, ik weet dat u met ons land graag voorop wilt lopen in het nemen van klimaatmaatregelen. Maar bent u er zich wel van bewust dat u vreselijk verkeerd bent voorgelicht? Realiseert u zich wel dat de werkelijkheid heel anders is dan het sombere beeld dat u nu al jaren voorgeschoteld krijgt? Weet u wel dat als we alles gaan uitvoeren wat er in uw kostbare klimaatplannen staat, de wereld slechts 0,00030C minder opwarmt? Dat getal is niet te meten!

In mijn brief wil ik u graag vijf aantoonbare onjuistheden in de argumenten van uw voorgenomen klimaatbeleid voorleggen.

De bewering dat 97% van de klimaatwetenschappers er van overtuigd is dat opwarming wordt veroorzaakt door de mens, is een gemanipuleerd getal. Van de 11.944 klimaatartikelen die werden geraadpleegd waren er 7930 die zich daar helemaal niet over uitlieten, slechts 41 artikelen die er echt in geloofden (slechts 41 van de 11.944!) en de resterende artikelen die min of meer twijfels hadden.

Klimaatverandering is een razend ingewikkeld proces en de wetenschap is er nog lang niet uit. Met name over de effecten van wolken en oceanen is nog weinig bekend. Bovendien, de nieuwste wetenschappelijke resultaten laten zien dat de invloed van CO2 op de temperatuur aanzienlijk kleiner is dan eerder geschat. Dat verklaart waarom tot nu toe de voorspellingen van klimaatmodellen altijd veel te hoog uitkwamen. De daaraan gekoppelde doemverhalen zijn dus niet op feiten maar op fictie gebaseerd.

De wereld van het klimaatonderzoek zit al jarenlang vol met bedenkelijk gedrag. Temperaturen uit vroegere warme perioden worden naar beneden bijgesteld, met als gevolg dat de hoge temperaturen van vandaag uniek lijken in de geschiedenis. Ook zien we regelmatig dat metingen van nu juist naar boven worden bijgesteld, met als gevolg dat metingen en modelresultaten goed overeen lijken te komen. Waarom deze misleidende acties in naam van de wetenschap?

Zon en wind kunnen bij lange na niet ons land voorzien van voldoende energie. Dat is geen zaak van technologie, maar van klimaat. Nederland heeft relatief weinig zon en wind, met ook nog eens een grote variatie in het aanbod. Bovendien, ons land is welvarend en gebruikt daardoor veel energie. We zullen ons land dus propvol moeten gaan zetten met windparken en zonneweiden. Als één van de dichtstbevolkte landen ter wereld is dat geen prettig vooruitzicht. Maar het is nog erger. We zullen ook nog een peperduur back-up systeem operationeel moeten houden om energie te leveren op dagen met weinig zon en wind.

De vaak genoemde optie van biomassa verbranden is aanwijsbaar veel slechter dan het verbranden van steenkool. Waterstof dan? Helaas, waterstof is een zeldzaam gas in de natuur. Dat gas moet de mens dus zelf maken en daarvoor is goedkope groene elektriciteit nodig. Maar die hebben we juist niet. Dus zitten we hier in een cirkelredenering.

In conclusie, meneer Rutte, de wetenschap weet het nog (lang) niet, de natuurlijke fenomenen zon + wind zullen in ons land nooit de benodigde hoeveelheid energie op een betrouwbare en betaalbare manier kunnen leveren, het verbranden van biomassa is erger dan het verbranden van steenkool en groene waterstof is pas toepasbaar als we de groene energie hebben om het te maken.

Maar wat u echt zorgen moet baren is dat de samenleving zienderogen polariseert. Steeds meer burgers willen Nederland niet zien veranderen in een jungle van gesubsidieerde windturbines en zonnepanelen, terwijl ze weten dat er geen meetbaar effect zal zijn op het klimaat. Ze beginnen nu ook te merken aan hun besteedbaar inkomen dat ze er wel veel armer van worden.

Daarom, tot slot meneer Rutte, mijn dringende advies aan u is om klimaatbeleid over een heel andere boeg te gooien. Het kan nu nog. Haal milieu- en klimaatbeleid uit elkaar, stop met de omvangrijke houtkap, temporiseer de energietransitie en geef de burger juiste informatie over de nationale kosten. De laatste wetenschappelijke stand van zaken laat zien dat we ruim de tijd hebben om met deskundige critici – die tot nu toe niet aan de klimaattafels van ja-knikkers mochten plaatsnemen – een alternatief voorstel op te stellen met als beginsel: aanpassen aan zaken waar de mens geen invloed op heeft (‘adaptatie’) en voorkomen van zaken waar de mens wél invloed op kan uitoefenen (‘mitigatie’). Is het bestuurlijk niet onverantwoord van uw kabinet om klimaatbeleid te gaan uitvoeren zonder kennis te hebben genomen van de nieuwe inzichten in het alternatieve voorstel?

[climategate.nl] – Open brief aan Mark Rutte
[climategate.nl] – Guus Berkhout: ‘Stop met doemdenken!’
[wikipedia.org] – Guus Berkhout

Onze reaktie:

Read more…

De Offshore-Windindustrie

Dutch language video.

TurkStream Completed (Nov 2018)

Construction start: May 2017
Completion date: November 2018
Contractor: Dutch company AllSeas B.V. with Pioneering Spirit vessel

Unfortunately this project was second choice for all those who favor good European-Russian relations and would have preferred the construction of South Stream instead, but the Americans managed to arm-twist and intimidate the Bulgarians. In the end of the day however, with weakening US grip on Europe, it is always possible to construct a new leg of say 50 km, directed at Bulgaria.

[wikipedia.org] – TurkStream
[wikipedia.org] – Pioneering Spirit (ship)
[allseas.com] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – South Stream
[energyworldmag.com] – Serbia, Hungary push for the second line of TurkStream

You’ve Got Mail!

The Aeolus is one of the most advanced offshore wind seejacking vessels in the world. It’s German-built, Dutch owned and operated by the Van Oord offshore enterprise.

The site marinetraffic.com offers the opportunity to follow global shipping. Just register and identify a ship of your choice and from then on you will receive email updates about events concerning that ship, like departure, arrival, berthing. Fortunately have not yet received mails reporting capsizing or sinking.

Yours faithfully has registered as well and chosen the Aeolus. The Aeolus is currently busy constructing the Belgian Norther offshore windfarm, see map below. The Aeolus picks up monopiles, towers, nacelles and rotor blades in Vlissingen, or Flushing as the town is known in Anglosphere (think “Flushing” and “Flushing Meadows tennis tournament“)

Belgian Norther windfarm

Here a summary of the most recent marinetraffic.com mails:

2019-04-21 21:52 – A new photo of AEOLUS has just been uploaded.
The photo shows the Aeolus, carrying 4 wind towers, nacelles and ditto rotor blades, leaving Flushing and heading for the Norther windpark in statu nascendi.

2019-04-21 15:30 – Departure: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-20 18:40 – Arrival: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-17 07:50 – Departure: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSING
2019-04-16 10:25 – Arrival: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-12 05:28 – Departure: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-09 20:51 – Arrival: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-05 13:49 – Departure: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN


etc., etc., etc.

OK, now let’s evaluate this data a little in a back-of-an-envelope calculation. The Aeolus is carrying 4 x 8.4 MW = 33.2 MW worth of nameplate wind power. Total Dutch (still largely fossil-based) power generation capacity = 29 GW. Average Dutch power consumption is 13 GW. How much time does it take for the Aeolus to install 29 GW of offshore windpower in order to complete the intended renewable energy transition?

From the list above you can conclude that the time for a full installation cycle can be 4, 5 or 7 days. Let’s say 6 days. Note that the installation of a complete wind turbines consists of 2 parts: 1. ramming a monopile into the sea bed and 2. placing the wind tower, nacelle and rotorblades on top of the monopile. In other words, it takes 2 x 6 = 12 days to install 4 wind turbines of 8.4 MW each or 33.2 MW in total.

In order to fully replace the total Dutch largely fossil-based power production of 29 GW, that would take 12 x 29,000/33.2 = 10,500 days or 29 years. Mind you, this is nameplate power and a capacity factor of 50% needs to be taken into account. That figure is however offset by the fact that in a couple of years 12-15 MW turbines will be installed, that can be handled by the same Aeolus. So we stick with 29 years. In other words, this single ship Aeolus alone is able to carry out the intended Dutch energy transition until 2050, the planned end date of said transition.

Note that this is a thought experiment. A lot of wind a solar capacity is planned to be installed onshore. On the other hand, as a rule of thumb, for a complete decarbonization of an average advanced western economy you need roughly 2 times the existing power generation capacity to keep the same standard of living, provided you replace conventional heating with heat pumps, implement thorough insulation, drive e-vehicles, etc.

The goal of the exercise is to point out that the renewable energy transition is a realistic enterprise and that the time frame of 2050 is doable.

[wikipedia.org] – MarineTraffic
[norther.be] – Norther project site
[deepresource] – The Giants of a New Energy Age

Current position Aeolus at the time of writing this post.

Africa’s Largest Wind Farm in Kenia

Scale: 310 MW
Operational: 2018
Funding: 630 million euro, private funding, Dutch government, EU
Turbines: 365 Vestas 850 kW

About the project: predictable strong winds from the Indian Ocean. A lot of social resistance needed to be overcome, tribal quarrels. The Kenyan government not living up to its promise to connect the wind farm to the national grid. Dolleman is an Africa lover, you have to be. He lives there for 40 years now. The plan to build a wind farm is old, but in 2005 it gets contours. With two friends from Holland Harry Wassenaar and Carlo van Wageningen, Wim Dolleman gets enthusiastic support. 300 MW, that would be 20% of the total Kenyan electricity generation. A test period is completed with the conclusion that wind conditions are superb. Most money required is collected from 88 befriended Dutch entrepreneurs, many of whom are in the wind energy business. The World Bank withdraws, and is replaced by the African Development Bank. That was the turning point. The nomads understand that their soil hasn’t been taken away and that their cattle can graze between the turbines.

[wikipedia.org] – Lake Turkana Wind Power Station
[volkskrant.nl] – Hoe het grootste windpark van Afrika er ondanks alles kwam
[volkskrant.nl] – Wind brengt welvaart, maar niet zonder slag of stoot
[Google Maps]

Dutch entrepreneur Wim Dolleman (“Wim Madman”) took the initiative for the wind project.

Read more…

Magnetic Gearing for Renewable Energy Devices

Renewable energy sources, such as wind and wave, can power our world. Currently, mechanical gears are used inside of these energy conversion systems to connect a high-speed electric machine to a low-speed physical energy source. Improving the design of the systems that convert these sources into electrical energy has far-reaching benefits.

[coastalstudiesinstitute.org] – Improving Efficiency, Maintenance and Power Output
[tees.tamu.edu] – Magnetic gears to advance renewable energy technology
[wikipedia.org] – Magnetic gear

Read more…

Solid Eco-Friendly Refrigerant

Air-conditioning, how it all began in 1833 in Florida with John Gorrie.

Ca. 20% of the world’s energy budget is used for cooling, tendency upwards. Today most refrigerators use flammable hydro-fluorocarbons and hydrocarbons as a working fluid, not exactly environmentally friendly. On top of that, cooling efficiency is not stellar either.

Researchers from Spanish and British universities propose to swap the working fluids mentioned above, with inexpensive neopentyl-glycol (NPG), a material that has a crystal structure, that places it between solids and liquids, due to weak bonds between the atoms of the compound. The material can be compressed, almost as if it were a gas, like with conventional refrigerators. Achievable cooling temperatures are comparable with conventional cooling machines.

[sciencedaily.com] – Green material for refrigeration identified
[nature.com] – Colossal barocaloric effects near room temperature in plastic crystals of neopentylglycol
[wikipedia.org] – Refrigeration
[wikipedia.org] – Neopentyl-glycol

It has been reported that plastic crystals of neopentyl glycol exhibit a colossal barocaloric effect (CBCEs), which is a cooling effect caused by pressure-induced phase transitions. The obtained entropy changes are about 389 joules per kilogram per kelvin near room temperature. This CBCE phenomenon is likely to be very useful in future solid-state refrigeration technologies.


Read more…

Solar Carpet

This could only have been invented in the Netherlands, notorious for lack of space. The idea to cover artificial grass sports fields with rollable thin film solar during the many hours the fields aren’t used. They are working on a solution to fully automate the idea.

Back-of-an-envelope calculation: hockey-field 100 x 60 meter = 6,000 m2 = 3,750 standard 300 Watt solar panels. One such panel in the Netherlands yields 0.85 x 300 = 255 kWh/year. The loss due to horizontal position is merely 10% –> 220 kWh/year. Entire field: 825,000 kWh/year. Consumer electricity price equivalent = 825,000 x 22 eurocent/kWh = 181,500 euro/year.

The chap in the video claims that in the small town of Zwolle, there are 70 sports fields, with half of them equipped with artificial grass. 60% of the time, these fields are not in use. One such field can provide sufficient energy to power 85 households (electricity + heating).

[solarmagazine.nl] – Zonnetapijt wint Innovation Challenge Energieneutrale Sportaccommodaties
[rtvfocuszwolle.nl] – Zonnetapijt winnaar van de Energy Pitch Overijssel
[siderea.nl] – De Ideale Hellingshoek (only 10% loss for horizontal positioning)

The idea could perhaps look a little like this:

LEF Minimalist Commuting

Price: € 3630,-
Efficiency: 15 Wh/km (67 km/kWh)
Range: 30 km (90 km with 3 batteries)
Battery life: 2000 charges/discharges
Battery price: € 500,-
Speed: 25 kmh

No pedals.

[evmobility.nl] – Company site

Holland 2018 – 3% Economic Growth, 1.5% Less Energy Use

[source]

2018 was an extremely good year for the Dutch economy with nearly 3% growth. Yet the total energy consumption declined with 1.5%. Total share fossil fuel decreased with 2%.

Natural gas: 40%
Oil: 40%
Coal: 11%

The rest is renewables, nuclear, biomass, electricity import. Holland is (not yet) a big player in renewable energy.

The most important message is, that regardless of the energy source, it is possible to have substantial economic growth and still use less energy.

[nu.nl] – Energieverbruik gedaald in 2018, vooral minder steenkool verbruikt

Daimler Wants to be Decarbonized by 2040

Including vehicles, factories, suppliers, ten years earlier as the Paris Accords prescribe.

[climateaction.org] – Mercedes-Benz car factories to become carbon neutral
[spiegel.de] – Künftiger Chef will Daimler bis 2040 zum CO2-freien Unternehmen machen

Innolith – 1 kWh/kg Battery Breakthrough

The Swiss company Innolith claims to have developed a battery that can store 1.0 kWh per kg, that is three times as high as the Tesla-3 achieves, extending the range of a single charge to 1,000 km. Innolith expects that the innovation will hit the market in 3-5 years time. If true, the Asian and US competition would be crushed. Innolith has its HQ in Basel, Switzerland, but the innovation was developed in Bruchsal, Germany. The technology is based on Lithium-ion, but with modifications and the specs are almost too good to be true. 50,000 charge cycles, no exotic materials, no fire hazard. The innovation was enabled by using pure materials. Innolith wants to focus on reserach and development and outsource production under license.

Tellingly, Innolith has received endorsement by Microsoft’s principal battery engineer Walter van Schalkwijk.

[linkedin.com] – Walter van Schalkwijk
[amazon.com] – Lithium Batteries: Advanced Technologies and Applications, van Schalkwijk e.a.

[innolith.com] – Company site
[cleantechnica.com] – Swiss Startup Innolith Claims 1000 Wh/kg Battery Breakthrough
[dailymail.co.uk] – A battery breakthrough?
[theverge.com] – Electric car battery with 600 miles of range?
[welt.de] – Verhilft die deutsche Superbatterie dem E-Auto zum Durchbruch?

Volkswagen Moia Autonomous Driving Prelude

Tomorrow, a new service will start that can be seen as a prelude towards a national car robot, aka public autonomous driving, cashing in on the new possibilities of location aware mobile smart phones. In Hamburg, Volkswagen will start a fleet of initially 100 MOIA’s (see video), with drivers included, that will be able to pick up people from 10,000 unmarked designated stops, distributed over 200 km2, delivering transport-on-demand for a price of 1 euro/km. The vans have a range of 300 km on a charge of 87 kWh, sufficient for a shift. The fleet is to be expanded to 1,000 e-vans eventually. In Hannover, a similar test on a smaller scale is already underway. The current competing regular bus-service operates with 1327 stops.

[spiegel.de] – So funktioniert VWs Volksfahrdienst
[spiegel.de] – Wirklich mobil ohne Auto? So schlägt Moia sich im Alltag

Read more…

Agro-Photoivoltaics or how to make 86% More Money from the Same Land

Farmer’s dilemma: should I use my land for electricity production or should I stay with farming. Do both! says the renowned German Fraunhofer Institute. In a time of global warming, growing crops actually get too much sun, even in Europe. A little shade won’t harm crop yield but will bring extra revenues from electricity harvesting.

[fraunhofer.de] – Agro-Photovoltaics
[cleantechnica.com] – Fraunhofer Reports Combining Farming With Solar 186% More Efficient In Summer Of 2018

Easy choice to make: either 100% crop or 100% solar? Wrong! Go for a combined 103% solar and 83% crop instead!

Intersolar Europe 2018 – Exhibition Highlights

[intersolar.de] – Inter Solar 2019/2020 exhibition dates

[cleantechnica.com] – Intersolar Announces 2019 Award Finalists In Smarter E Europe Show

Energy Storage in Denmark

[source]

When it comes to renewable energy, Denmark is our favorite country. There are other countries with higher penetration of renewable energy, like Norway, Canada and Uruguay, but that doesn’t really count from a viewpoint of the transition, because these countries are blessed with low population densities and lots of hydro-power, old-school renewable energy, so to speak. Good for them but not applicable to all.

One of the prime candidates to become such a country is Denmark, the country from where the wind turbine revolution started in the 1970s. Denmark got rewarded for its farsightedness by now owning the most potent wind energy industry in the world, adding to the already considerable wealth of this Nordic nation.

[wikipedia.org] – Wind power in Denmark

Denmark was a pioneer in developing commercial wind power during the 1970s, and today a substantial share of the wind turbines around the world are produced by Danish manufacturers such as Vestas and Siemens Wind Power along with many component suppliers. Wind power produced the equivalent of 42.1% of Denmark’s total electricity consumption in 2015, increased from 33% in 2013, and 39% in 2014. In 2012 the Danish government adopted a plan to increase the share of electricity production from wind to 50% by 2020, and to 84% in 2035. Denmark had the 6th best energy security in the world in 2014.

It can’t be stressed enough the importance of having at least one showcase of a country where the renewable energy transition has succeeded, in order to silence the numerous detractors of renewable energy, who claim that the transition can’t be done.

[wikipedia.org] – Electricity sector in Denmark
[wikipedia.org] – Solar power in Denmark
[wikipedia.org] – Denmark

Denmark key stats: 5.8 million people, GDP per capita $53k (PPP), $66k (nominal), population density 135/km2, area 43k km2. Electricity consumption 2017: 33k GWh or 5.859 kWh/capita.
Share renewable electricity in 2017: 66%, consisting of 44% wind, 19% biomass and 3% solar.

Here a report about how Denmark thinks to tackle the storage problem, with the explicit aim to allow for much larger penetration of renewable electricity than the 43.4% they had from wind alone in 2017 and that is expected to rise to 50% by 2020. It tackles in a simulation study both electricital and thermal energy storage needs.

[store-project.eu] – Facilitating energy storage to allow high penetration of
intermittent renewable energy (pdf)

Bringing Payloads in Space Without Rockets

A Spanish company called Zero2Infinity prepares to revolutionize the way satellites can be brought into orbit, in a very low-cost and environmentally friendly way: rocket + balloon = rockoon.

Bloostar is a launch vehicle currently in development, intended to compete in the small satellite launch market.[5] It is based on the rockoon concept: the first stage of the ascent is conducted by the use of a high-altitude balloon up to 30 km (19 mi), where the rocket platform is ignited and detached from the balloon to insert the payload into orbit.[6] The design is intended to be capable of delivering a 140 kg payload to a 200-km low Earth orbit, or a 75 kg payload to a 600-km sun-synchronous orbit

In a thinly veiled swipe against Jeff Bezos, the Spanish assert:

From the public to the gurus of aerospace, most people still think that Space will remain the realm of a few superpowers, large defense contractors and the odd billionaire…

It could get very crowded up in the skies.

[zero2infinity] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Zero 2 Infinity
[twitter.com] – Bloostar
[vimeo.com] – Bloostar, the New Space revolution
[zero2infinity] – Bloostar, the physics
[space.com] – Zero 2 Infinity Gets 3D-Printed Engine Part for Bloostar Launch Vehicle
[spacenews.com] – Zero 2 Infinity conducts first flight test of Bloostar balloon-assisted launcher

First test March 2017

Liquified Metal Battery

[wikipedia.org] – Donald Sadoway
[wikipedia.org] – Molten-salt battery

More on Salt Water Batteries

Technical University of Delft – Green Village, salt water battery test facility.

It is no surprise that salt water batteries are attracting a lot of attention in Holland, a country famously lacking altitude differences and hence no possibilities for pumped hydro storage, although exotic work-arounds do exist.

[deepresource] – Green Village Taking Shape in Delft

Here a comparative battery storage price indication, from a German producer of salt water batteries.
Salt water batteries win with domestic battery storage cost of 11 euro cent/kWh, set off against a storage volume of a few kWh’s.

[bluesky-energy.eu] – A cost comparison of battery storage at a glance

[bluesky-energy.eu] – AIB Saltwater Battery – Aqueous Ion Exchange Battery

[ft.com] – Beyond lithium — the search for a better battery

Read more…

Delft University Green Village Initiative

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