Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has commissioned a pilot electric thermal energy storage system (ETES) in Hamburg-Altenwerder, Germany.
– Storage capacity: 130 MWh for a week. Scaling into the GWh range is possible.
– Storage material: 1,000 ton volcanic rock.
– Storage temperature: 750°C/1382 °F.
– Efficiency: up to 50% (25% total cycle efficiency Hamburg pilot).
– Capital expenditure is up to ten times lower than batteries.
Efficiency is lower than with pumped hydro-storage, the trade-off is lower installation cost.
[siemensgamesa.com] – World first: Siemens Gamesa begins operation of its innovative electrothermal energy storage system
[windenergietage.de] – Electric Thermal Energy Storage (ETES)
[ec.europa.eu] – ETES Energy storage to the next level
[cleantechnica.com] – Siemens Gamesa Unveils World First Electrothermal Energy Storage System
Renewable energy has won once science can come up with a method to effectively store intermittent renewable electricity in some chemical form or another. Many candidates have been proposed: hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), methanol (CH3OH), metal powders like iron (Fe), formic acid (HCO2H), sodium borohydride (NaBH4),
Scientists from the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, have found a method to reduce CO2 into CO, where an iron catalyst is used instead of a golden one, with high efficiency (90% at low currents).
[phys.org] – Carbon-neutral fuels move a step closer (6-2019)
[phys.org] – The first low-cost system for splitting carbon dioxide (6-2017)
[phys.org] – Catalyzing carbon dioxide: System can transform CO2 into CO for use in industry (12-2017)
[physicsworld.com] – Improved carbon capture turns CO2 into energy storage material
[sciencealert.com] – This Low-Cost Carbon Dioxide Splitter Just Changed The Game For Solar-Powered CO2 Reduction (6-2017)
Prime time Dutch news item: king Willem Alexander opens the new factory of the insect company Protix, the largest in the world of its kind. The company produces high quality protein insects as animal feed. Currently one third of the global areal land is used to produce conventional animal feed. Entrepreneur Kees Aarts is in this business for nine years and hopes to contribute to freeing agricultural land for other purposes.
[nos.nl] – Insecten als veevoer: revolutie of ‘quasi-groen’?
[protix.eu] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Protix
[prnewswire.com] – Protix Acquires Fair Insects and Diversifies by Adding Mealworm, Cricket and Locusts to Its Portfolio
The renowned German Fraunhofer research institute has developed a new way to produce lithium-ion batteries, with potentially important implications for the German e-vehicle industry. The essence is that the old toxic way of working with paste electrolyte is replaced by a new production process, working with dry films instead.
The result is cheaper batteries, with higher storage energy density, less hazardous production process and less embedded energy. Advantages only.
The Finnish battery producer BroadBit is already producing the battery on a small scale. German and European car companies could become less reliant on expensive batteries produced overseas.
Recently there were headlines about the stagnation of the renewable energy transition in Germany, mainly due to the resistance of the population, not against the transition itself, but against too visible consequences for the local environment (“not in my backyard”). However, a breakthrough seems to have been achieved and new major grid lines, connecting the offshore wind parks in the north with the southern German states. The emphasis will be on underground power lines.
[tagesschau.de] – Stromnetz-Ausbau: Wirtschaftsminister Altmaier erzielt Einigung
[handelsblatt.com] – Bundeswirtschaftsminister und Länder einigen sich bei Ausbau von Stromnetzen
[deutschland.de] – Power line expansion deal
[deepresource] – Energy Transition in Germany Stagnating
Dutch national carrier KLM and the Technical University Delft are to develop a pilot into designing a radical new V-shaped aircraft. According to the engineers involved a reduction in fuel consumption of 20% per passenger should be feasible as compared to the Airbus A350, the most modern airplane in the world today. Key are better aerodynamics and less weight. Development is expected to take at least 20 years. A first scaled prototype is expected for October 2019. Earlier Schiphol Amsterdam Airport made the headlines by announcing to develop synthetic fuel for airplanes “out of thin air”.
[cnn.com] – KLM to fund development of fuel-efficient Flying-V plane
[rtlz.nl] – KLM en TU Delft bouwen opvallend vliegtuig in v-vorm
[businessinsider.nl] – KLM en TU Delft gaan de Flying-V ontwerpen
[ad.nl] – KLM en TU Delft werken aan V-vormig vliegtuig
[deingenieur.nl] – KLM Steekt Geld in “Vliegende V” uit Delft
[deepresource] – Amsterdam Airport Carbon-Neutral?
We’re in the mood for a back-of-an-envelope calculation. Let’s calculate how much offshore wind energy is required if a country like the Netherlands would phase out private car ownership and replace that old mobility model with a new one, namely electric ride sharing, as is being experimented with now in Hamburg.
According to the Dutch government bean counting institute CBS (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek), in 2016 all ca. 8 million Dutch cars drove 118.5 billion km or 13,200 km per car. The average occupation rate is ca. 1,25. So the total amount of passenger-km is 118.5 billion x 1.25 = 148 billion km.
The Volkswagen Moia has a battery of 87 kWh and a range of 300 km. Let’s assume an average occupation rate of 5 passengers for the 7 available seats. That’s 0.29 kWh/km/vehicle or 0.058 kWh/km/passenger.
Now back to the Dutch figures. 148 billion passenger km, driven in Volkswagen Moia’s, with an average occupancy rate of 5 would amount to 148 billion x 0.058 kWh = 8584 GWh/year. The annual output of the currently largest Dutch offshore windpark Gemini is ca. 2600 GWh/year. In other words, the Netherlands would need merely 3.3 of those wind parks to enable the current level of private mobility. Much larger windparks than Gemini are in pipeline, like the 1400 MW Borssele I-V, scheduled for completion in 2021. Together, Gemini and Borssele would suffice.
Obviously more capacity needs to be calculated to compensate for storage losses. But the message is clear: it is very well possible to remain mobile in a climate-friendly fashion after the end of the fossil fuel age.
[cities-today.com] – Hamburg trials Europe’s largest electric ride-sharing service
[cbs.nl] – Forse groei autokilometers
[electrive.net] – Volkswagen-Ridesharing: Moin, MOIA!
[wikipedia.org] – Gemini Wind Farm
[Source] Nyrstar factory in Budel
This blog reported earlier about the Zinc smelter Nyrstar. This company is interesting in the light of the potential of metal powder as a fuel, as well as the Metalot campus that should promote the “circular economy”. The company was on the verge of going broke, but was saved by the Belgian trading company Trafigura.
[bloomberg.com] – Trafigura to Take Over World’s Second-Largest Zinc Smelter
[finanzen.nl] – Trafigura krijgt zinksmelter Nyrstar in handen
[tijd.be] – Meer Nyrstar-geld voor Trafigura-topman
[deepresource] – Nyrstar – The Next Royal Dutch Shell?
[deepresource] – Metalot Campus
The Amsterdam Airport CEO knows that the current business model of flying planes on conventional fuel has no future in the light of the renewable energy policy of the European Union, that says that fossil fuels need to be phased out by 2050, thirty years from now. Enter synthetic kerosene, produced with the ingredients: CO2, water and renewable electricity. A German company has been asked to build an installation with which 1,000 liter of synthetic kerosene can be produced per day, as a pilot project. Radically new is that the CO2 is sourced from the air, not from industrial processes. As a first step, water and CO2 are converted into hydrogen and CO with renewable electricity. From this mixture, synthetic kerosene can be produced.
Independently, the construction of a plant in Delfzijl, in the Groningen province is planned, that will produce annually 75.000 tot 100.000 ton bio-kerosene, also for aviation purposes. Investment volume 250 million euro. For the moment bio-kerosene costs 2-3 times as much as conventional kerosene. Nothing that can’t be solved with higher air fares.
As an additional benefit, the production of renewable kerosene provides an excellent storage opportunity for renewable electricity.
[trouw.nl] – Schiphol en Rotterdam Airport gaan inzetten op synthetische kerosine
[bvm2.nl] – Synthetische kerosine als brandstof voor de luchtvaart (pdf, 58p)
[dvhn.nl] – Eerste Europese Raffinaderij voor Biokerosine in Delfzijl
[dvhn.nl] – Biokerosine: veel schoner, maar ook veel duurder dan gewone kerosine
[topsectorenergie.nl] – Take-off synthetic kerosene production in the Netherlands
[nrc.nl] – Synthetische kerosine is de enige oplossing
[bjmgerard.nl] – Tag: synthetische kerosine
Seven year old Siemens video
It already works for trains and trolleybuses, so why not for trucks as well? Trucks powered by overhead-wires. A test stretch has been build near Frankfurt, on the A5-motorway between Langen and Weiterstadt.
Sweden apparently has an eHighway as well.
[scania.com] – World’s first electric road opens in Sweden
This #Coal free run ended at 8 Days 1 Hour 25 Minutes.
This is the longest run without coal for Great Britain since 1882.
Generation during this time was met by: Gas 45%, Nuclear 21%, Wind 12%, Imports 10%, Biomass 6%, Solar 5%, Large Hydro <1%, Storage <1%
[source] Note that with given population numbers, current per capita energy use (USA 6800, EU 3200, China 2200 kg of oil equivalent, source World Bank), the impact of the Trump administration, as well as Chinese growth ambitions, Europe is destined to achieve a fossil fuel-free economy first.
The world’s biggest energy consumer is aiming for renewables to account for at least 35 per cent of electricity consumption by 2030, according to a revised draft plan from the National Development & Reform Commission seen by Bloomberg.
Chinese energy experts estimate that by 2050 the share of electricity from coal will decline to 30%-50%, and that the remaining 50%-70% will come from a combination of oil, natural gas, and renewable energy sources, including hydropower, nuclear power, biomass, solar energy, wind energy, and other renewable energy sources (Wikipedia).
China’s National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) has written a draft policy that would increase the renewable energy target from 20% to 35% by 2030. (Cleantechnica)
[forbes.com] – China Is Set To Become The World’s Renewable Energy Superpower
[scmp.com] – China’s revised renewable target of 35% by 2030
[cleantechnica.com] – China Wants 75% Increase 2030 Renewable Energy Target
[wikipedia.org] – Renewable energy in China
According to Bloomberg there are merely a dozen ships in the world that can install a large offshore wind turbine, which is understandable with a list price of ca. 300 million euro per ship. Currently almost all these vessels are operating in European waters. Europe is uniquely blessed with ca. 600,000 km2 shallow water with high wind speeds (North Sea, Baltic and Irish Sea, together an area larger than France) that can be utilized for offshore wind, in principle enough to supply the entire EU (300 GW on average), three-five times over.
[deepresource] – The Giants of a New Energy Age
[deepresource] – European Wind Energy Potential
[deepresource] – The Enormous Energy Potential of the North Sea
[deepresource] – Unleashing Europe’s Offshore Wind Potential 2030
Principle offshore wind installation vessel illustrated. About one turbine foundation can be realized per day or 4 per week, if fetching a new batch in port is included. The next generation is 10 MW, 13 MW is in the pipeline. Take the Netherlands: 13 GW average electricity consumption. That could be covered by 1,000 wind turbines, or 2,000 rather, if a conservative capacity factor of 50% for large turbines is taken into account. That’s 500 weeks or 10 years installation time. So, a single ship can realize the electricity transition of a country like Holland in a decade. For 100% renewable primary energy we need to calculate twice the amount of electricity consumed today, that’s only two decades! Productivity could be significantly enhanced if a simple cheap barge and tugboat is used to fetch a new batch of 4-6 monopiles from the harbor in Rotterdam, Vlissingen or Eemshaven, while the expensive installation vessel Aeolus merrily hammers away full-time. In that case 4,000 13 MW turbines could be installed in 4,000 days or 11 years. Note that in the mean time a lot of additional solar and onshore wind capacity has been, c.q. will be built. In conclusion: this single ship Aeolus is able to complete the energy transition of the Netherlands, the #17 in the global GDP ranking before 2030, not 2050 as the EU demands. Most likely developing sufficient storage capacity will be the real bottleneck, not electricity generation capacity.
1600 GW waiting to be raked in. EU average power consumption 300 GW. The old continent has no conventional fossil fuel reserves worth mentioning, fortunately Europe doesn’t need to. Armed with the Paris Climate Accords, Europe effectively dissed everybody else his fossil fuel reserves and is offering a viable alternative instead.
Some recent developments in the fields of offshore jack-up vessels:
[bloomberg.com] – Offshore Wind Will Need Bigger Boats. Much Bigger Boats
[auxnavaliaplus.org] – Vessels and platforms for the emerging wind market (pdf, 108p)
[deme-group.com] – DEME’s giant installation vessel ‘Orion’ launched in China
[a2sea.com] – A2SEA Invests in a New Jack-up Vessel
[4coffshore.com] – Construction Progressing for Next Gen Vessel
[cemreshipyard.com] – Offshore Vessels Demand for Offshore Wind Activities
[windenergie-magazine.nl] – Jan de Nul orders new installation vessel
[jandenul.com] – Getting ready for the next generation of offshore wind projects
[offshorewind.biz] – Jan De Nul Orders Mega Jack-Up
[industryreports24.com] – Massive hike by Wind Turbine Installation Vessel Market
[renews.biz] – Japan joins offshore wind jack-up brigade
[maritime-executive.com] – Wind Tower Service Firm Plans to Build Jones Act Ships
[iro.nl] – New design jack-up vessels to strengthen Ulstein’s offshore wind ambitions
[newenergyupdate.com] – Flurry US offshore vessel deals prepares market for huge turbines
“There is something in the air”… N2, O2, H2O, CO2, solar radiation. In principle all the ingredients are there to produce hydrogen H2, by using the solar light to split the moist H2O. That’s exactly what Japanese car company Toyota in Europe (TME) and DIFFER (Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research) have agreed to research upon. The self-imposed restriction of using moist, naturally present in the air, is justified by pointing at the pure character of the water vapor, no bubbles, as well as applicability in those places where water is not available.
new solid photoelectrochemical cell that was able to first capture water from ambient air and then produce hydrogen under the influence of sunlight. This first prototype immediately took 60 to 70 percent of the amount of hydrogen you can make from liquid water. The system is a membrane reactor in which polymer electrolyte membranes, porous photoelectrodes and materials that absorb water are combined.
When Toyota approached DIFFER, the latter group was already working on hydrolysis of water vapor. They have meanwhile shown that the idea works, but only for the 5% UV light. The next challenge is to expand the amount of light that can be used for the desired conversion. Once that has been achieved, scaling is next.
Both DIFFER and Toyota are operating in a social climate that is receptive towards hydrogen as an energy carrier. Both Japan as well as the Netherlands aspire to operate a hydrogen economy. The end goal is (very) local hydrogen production (like your roof), for instance for mobility, Toyota’s interest. Your home as the replacement for the petrol station.
[gasworld.com] – DIFFER and Toyota partner to produce hydrogen from humid air
[differ.nl] – Hydrogen Fuel from thin air
[differ.nl] – Catalytic and Electrochemical Processes for Energy Application
[newsroom.toyota.eu] – Hydrogen fuel from thin air
[hydrogenfuelnews.com] – Toyota and DIFFER explore innovative hydrogen production from humid air
[nl.wikipedia.org] – DIFFER (fusion & solar fuels)
Space heating is an important slice of the total energy consumption pie and storage of thermal heat is as important as storage of electricity. The German Fraunhofer institute has an innovation program for “chemical and sorptive thermal storage methods”.