DeepResource

Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “Belgium”

3D-Printed Houses Update

Westerlo, Belgium

3D-house printing could mean the end of the misery of all these shanty towns around the world. As a rule-of-thumb, a family can afford and finance a home that costs 3 times the yearly income. For $4000,- that means almost everybody on the planet. By the turn of the century, all people around the world living in a 3D-printed home, with a flat panel, space-based internet and solar panels on the roof, is a positive and realistic vision, something to work towards.

[e-architect.co.uk] – 3D-printed model home by Kamp C in Westerlo
[shell.com] – Grand Design: How 3D Printing Could Change Our World
[deepresource] – 3D-Printed Home for $4000,-
[biztechmagazine.com] – How 3D Printing Can Help Power the Energy Industry

Dubai

[businessinsider.com] – This building in Dubai is the largest 3D-printed structure in the world — and it took just 3 workers and a printer to build it

Sarens Cranes in the Wind Industry

[wikipedia.org] – Sarens

Hydrogen Filling Stations in NW-Europe

Netherlands: 15 hydrogen filling stations in 2020, 50 in 2025 and 200 in 2030

Norway E18 Highway 2020

Belgium first hydrogen filling station in 2018

Denmark building a hydrogen filling station in 48 hours, 2013

Floating Vessel Crane Collapse

Set-back for the offshore wind installation industry. A German-made crane (Liebherr), mounted on a Chinese-made offshore wind installation vessel, owned by the Belgian-based DEME Group, collapsed in the German harbor of Rostock during initial load tests. The ship was about to begin the construction of the 950 MW Moray East wind farm in Scottish waters. The exact cause is yet unknown.

[wikipedia.org] – DEME
[wikipedia.org] – Liebherr Group
[deme-group.com] – Accident on board of offshore installation vessel ORION 1 at the occasion of and during crane load tests

Sewage as the Heat-pump Cold Side

[source]

Homes can be heated much more energy efficient with a heat pump than a conventional CV-with-boiler. Heat-pumps pump heat from a source to the target, your home. That source can for instance be air, or a pipe-grid buried in your garden. The trouble is, in the winter the air is cold, where the heat pump works best with the smallest possible temperature difference between source and target (21 C). The magic formula in the world of heat pumps (and your fridge is one of them) is:

COP = Q/W

Q is the heat we want to pump in your living room, W is the “Work” (preferably emission-free renewable electricity) we need to get the heating job done.

The relationship between the lower temperature of the source TL and the higher temperature of your living room TH is:

COP = TL/(TH-TL)

Under good conditions COP values of 4 or higher can be achieved. A COP-value of 4 means that with a heat pump and 1 unit of electricity we can achieve the same heating result as with 4 units of electricity in a electric heater. “Good conditions” means: a as high as possible source temperature. Air in the winter can be 0 C or lower. The soil in temperate climate like NW-Europe is something like 10 C, which is already much better. The point is though that soil is a bad heat conductor, meaning that as you gradually extract heat from the soil, the temperature of the soil decreases, as the surrounding soil is not able to keep the temperature constant fast enough.

That is where the sewage idea comes in. Temperature sewage water: 10-15 C, which is high. And it flows! Meaning, there is a constant supply of (smelly) water of 10-15 C!. Brussels is now contemplating to use the sewage fluids as a heat source. In Raalte in the Netherlands they already have a swimming pool heating system working based on this idea. In Brussels and Raalte they have smelled a rat… err smelled the coffee!

[bbc.com] – Can we heat buildings without burning fossil fuels?
[ccsenergieadvies.nl] – Sewage water heating pool water
[wikipedia.org] – Heat pump and refrigeration cycle

The Raalte swimming pool has been heated with sewage heat since 2013. From the nearby sewage treatment plant, ‘clean’ sewage water with a temperature of 10-15 degrees Celsius is pumped towards the pool. Heat exchangers are installed in the pipes. The pool water is then brought up to temperature with a heat pump.

Sewage in Dutch is “riool”. Hence the word “riothermal”, prompting associations with the Copacobana rather than your toilet. In 2018 three Dutch swimming pools are heated this way (COP 5-6) and claim to be the world’s first. Additionally in Goes they are building a system for 60 homes:

The Goes project. Other pilot schemes exist in Amstetten in Austria, Glasgow in Scotland, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Belgium Integrates Offshore Wind Power Into European Grid

Energy Cost Webserver

Online LowTech Magazine has a privately-owned dedicated web server to run their sustainable magazine, powered by a 50 Watt solar panel and 0.17 kWh battery.

During the period under study (351 days), the solar powered website received 865,000 unique visitors. Including all energy losses in the solar set-up, electricity use is then 0.021 watt-hour per unique visitor. One kWh solar electricity can serve almost 50,000 unique visitors. This is all renewable energy and as such there are no direct associated carbon emissions.

If there is not enough sunshine, the site is offline. Yet the site was available for 98.2% of the time, with a downtime of only 152 hours over almost a year.

[lowtechmagazine.com] – How Sustainable is a Solar Powered Website?

Hydrogen Bus in Pau, France

[fuelcellsworks.com] – Pau unveils first of 8 hydrogen fuel cell buses
[spiegel.de] – Französische Stadt nimmt Wasserstoff-Schnellbus in Betrieb
[fuelcellbuses.eu] – Van Hool’s Fuel Cell Bus Awarded Bus of the Year at Busworld
[wikipedia.org] – Van Hool

Trafigura Takes Over Nyrstar

[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

Developments in Offshore Wind Jack-Up Market

New offshore wind installation mega-vessel “Voltaire”, able to lift 3,000 ton, ordered by Jan de Nul, Belgium, scheduled to become operational in 2022.

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

World’s Largest CO2 Storage Planned in the North Sea

The Netherlands is lagging behind in Europe with the implementation of renewable energy and as a consequence is lagging behind with reducing CO2-emissions, the country has committed itself to as a member of the EU. But there is an alternative to renewable energy sources to reduce emission and that is storing CO2 underground. The Harbors of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp and others will build the world’s largest CO2-storage in the North Sea with a capacity of 10 million tons CO2 per year, pending an EU-subsidy. A ring-pipeline will be built around Rotterdam, that harbors the largest refineries in Europe, a major source of CO2, that will collect the CO2 and pump it under the North Sea in an empty gas field, 10 km out of the coast. Cost: 450 million euro. Environmental organisations would prefer to invest this money in renewable energy generation. Rotterdam harbor is responsible for 17% of all Dutch emissions.

[volkskrant.nl] – Havens van Rotterdam, Antwerpen en Vlissingen willen samen CO2 opslaan in de Noordzee
[portofrotterdam.com] – CO2-opslag onder Noordzee technisch haalbaar en kosteneffectief
[spiegel.de] – Weltweit größter CO2-Speicher in der Nordsee geplant

[source] – Location “Porthos” storage near Rotterdam, in the North Sea

Convert Pollution in Hydrogen

[inverse.com] – This Amazing Chemistry Process Generates Power From Polluted Air
[engadget.com] – Belgian scientists turn polluted air into hydrogen fuel
[chemistryworld.com] – Challenging efficiency records of solar hydrogen production
[interestingengineering.com] – This Tiny Device Can Convert Polluted Air Into Hydrogen Fuel
[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov] – Monolithic cells for solar fuels
[pubs.rsc.org] – Monolithic cells for solar fuels
[standaard.be] – Multinationals in waterstofsector in het offensief
[vrt.be] – Waterstof uit de lucht halen: Belgische vondst gooit hoge ogen
[wattisduurzaam.nl] – Waterstof uit Vlaamse lucht is prachtig, maar meer ook (nog) niet

Solar Panels That Create Hydrogen Out of Thin Air

The university of Leuven in Belgium has developed a solar panel that can use the electricity it generated to convert atmospheric water vapor into hydrogen gas. Current production rate 0.25 m3 per panel per day (on average over a full year), where 15% of the sunlight is converted in hydrogen. The researchers claim that 20 panels can provide a family of electricity and heat all year around (1825 m3 hydrogen).

The claims are to be verified in a test home in Oud-Heverlee, near Leuven, where 20 “hydrogen panels” will be installed in combination with a 4 m3 hydrogen storage.

[kuleuven.be] – KU Leuven scientists crack the code for affordable, eco-friendly hydrogen gas
[sciencebusiness.net] – Solar panel produces hydrogen gas at KU Leuven
[cleantechnica.com] – Belgian Scientists Announce New Solar Panel That Makes Hydrogen
[twitter.com] – University Leuven, Solar Fuels
[kuleuven.be] – Solar Fuel Efficiency Records

[vrt.be] – Lots of Dutch language videos here

Read more…

New DEME Jackup Ship Apollo to be Inaugurated Tomorrow

Croatian built, Uljanik Shipyard. Leg length 107 m. Crane 800 ton. Owner: Flemish DEME Group.

[offshorewind.biz] – Apollo Readies for Naming Ceremony
[maritiemnieuws.nl] – Nieuwste self-propelled jack-up vessel ‘Apollo’ naar eerste opdracht
[wikipedia.org] – DEME
[wikipedia.org] – Uljanik

Large-Scale Hydrogen Project in the Works in Belgium

[source] Haven Zeebrugge

The companies Engie, Colruyt/Eoly, Hydrogenics, Fluxys and Elia, as well as Zeebrugge harbor, Gent university and the hydrogen club Waterstofnet are joining forces in the Greenports study. Goal is to create a blueprint for large-scale hydrogen production in an harbor environment, read: convert offshore wind electricity in hydrogen. Focal point is the harbor of Zeebrugge.

[fluxenergie.nl] – Greenports grootschalige waterstofproductie in havenomgeving
[waterstofnet.eu] – Grootschalige waterstofproductie in een havenomgeving
[power-to-gas.be] – Power-to-gas Belgium
[greenport.com] – Greenport site

Belgian offshore wind projects:

Project name MW Turbines
Belwind 171 56
Northwind 216 72
Nobelwind 165 50
Rentel 309 42

[wikipedia.org] – Wind power in Belgium

[source]

Iron Rhine Revitalized?

For obvious reasons, the Belgians have been pushing hardest for a revitalization of the IJzeren Rijn (Iron Rhine) railway between the Antwerp Harbor and German Ruhr-area industrial heartland. The Germans had a prudent approach, but the Dutch were least enthusiastic in cooperating with a project that would create an outright competitor with their own existing railway-lines between Rotterdam and Germany. Now the Germans are changing attitude and offer to take the lead in revitalizing the old railway-line. And there is a reason why even the Netherlands should reconsider its position. And that reason is the zinc-plant in Budel-Schoot and its potential to become a renewable energy fuel source, see previous post.

[deepresource] – Nyrstar – The Next Royal Dutch Shell?

A new proposal for revitalization of the Iron Rhine can be best accomplished using the 3RX-tracé, the ‘Rhein-Ruhr-Rail Connection’ (3RX), from Antwerp, via Mol and Hamont to Roermond and Venlo and finally to Viersen. It would be just as good as revitalizing the historic Iron Rhine, but at half the cost.

[nnieuws.be] – IJzeren Rijn : ‘Duitsland bereid overleg over 3RX-tracé te trekken’
[atv.be] – Opnieuw beweging in het dossier van de ‘IJzeren Rijn’
[mobielvlaanderen.be] – 3RX Feasibility study alternative Rhein – Ruhr Rail Connection (dec 2017)
[n-va.be] – Ook Duitsland nu gewonnen voor 3RX-tracé (IJzeren Rijn)
[wikipedia.org] – Iron Rhine
[wikipedia.org] – Zinkfabriek (Budel)
[statista.com] – The largest zinc smelters worldwide in 2017
Korea Zinc – 1,183
Nyrstar – 1,019 (Budel 350)
(metric kiloton)

[gemeenteraad.weert.nl] – IJzeren Rijn: resultaten 3RX-studie (jan 2018)

Pumped Hydro Storage in Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany

Coo-Trois-Ponts Hydroelectric Power Station

The largest pumped hydro storage power stations near the Netherlands:

Belgium:

Coo-Trois-Ponts – 1978, power: 1.16 GW. Location.

[wikipedia.org] – Coo-Trois-Ponts Hydroelectric Power Station

La Plate Taille – 2003, power: 140 MW. Location.

[fr.wikipedia.org] – Lampiris

Luxemburg:

Vianden – upper 10.8 million m3, lower 7.2 million m3. Power: 220 MW. Altitude difference: 291 m. Location.

[wikipedia.org] – Vianden Pumped Storage Plant

Esch-sur-Sûre – Power 11 MW. Location.

[wikipedia.org] – Esch-sur-Sûre Dam
[wikipedia.org] – List of power stations in Belgium

[deepresource] – NorNed

Germany

Herdecke – 1927, power 153 MW. Location.

[wikiwand.com] – Pumpspeicherkraftwerk Herdecke

Rönkhausen – 1969, power 140 MW. Location.

[wikiwand.com] – Pumpspeicherwerk Rönkhausen

[wikiwand.com] – Liste von Pumpspeicherkraftwerken

Read more…

De Prijs van een Warmtepomp

[source] Lucht-water warmtepomp

Type warmtepomp Gemiddelde kostprijs [euro]
grond-water 10-25k
water-water 15k +
lucht-lucht 4-7k
lucht-water 4-7k
hybride 5-7k

[warmtepomp-info.nl] – Kosten Warmtepomp
[groenehoedduurzaam.nl] – Alpha Innotec SW-42 warmtepomp, 4 kW (7.345,- incl BTW)

Ground Drilling Vertical Heat Exchanger for Heat Pump

Realistic price calculation:

Freestanding house: 750 m3
Two-three drilled wells of 85 meter each in the garden, 6 meter apart
Temperature cold side: 12 degrees centigrade
Project size: two men, one day
Energy saving: up to 70%

[aardwarmtepompen.be] – Average price tag:

Average residence, 8 kW heat loss and average geology, boiler 300 liter en floor heating 160 m2
Average space heating cost with natural gas for Dutch house-hold: 1,000 euro.

All-in prices for single household:

Soil-water heat pump with vertical heat exchangers: 20000 € excl. VAT
Soil-water heat pump with horizontal heat exchangers: 17000 € excl. VAT
Air-water heat pump: 14000 € excl. VAT
Subsidy: 1600 euro in 2018

Prices likely come down if you increase project scale. New homes will have no choice as proposed new regulation will forbid a natural gas connection for new-build homes. For the typical Dutch terraced houses, investment costs are lower.

[eigenhuis.nl] – In the Netherlands there are 7 million households. Of these 160,000 do own a heat pump. Currently this number increases with 20,000 per year. As per 2021 this number will increase as all new buildings by then will be deprived of a connection to the existing natural gas grid.

Can Society Run on Renewable Energy Alone?

Kris de Decker

The Flamish energy thinker Kris De Decker blogs at “Low Tech Magazine“, was guest author at “The Oil Drum” and writes for many prominent newspapers in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. De Decker presents a big picture view on the possibility of a 100% renewable energy society. De Decker preaches “low tech” if not “no tech”.

The article:

[lowtechmagazine.com] – How (Not) to Run a Modern Society on Solar and Wind Power Alone

The author admits that there is potentially more than enough renewable energy available. In Europe 10 times, in the US even 100 times present day electricity consumption, that’s not the problem. The real issue is intermittency. How can we guarantee that our energy grids remain stable, like they have been over the past hundred year, when we switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy? They author describes the intermittency of wind and solar in more detail and we assume he has done his homework. A first positive observation is that throughout the year solar and wind intermittency somewhat compensate each other. There is more wind in the winter months and more solar in the summer.

De Decker lists five strategies to combat the negative consequences of intermittency:

  • 1. Backup Power Plants. Don’t opt for 100% renewable energy supply but keep fossil fuel backup capacity alive. And since it regularly happens that no renewable energy is available at all, this would imply that all fossil fuel power generating capacity must remain in place. The only difference is with the present is that they will be (partially) idle for a long time. Essentially a hybrid system.
  • 2. Oversizing Renewable Power Production. “Solution”: build so much capacity that supply always matches demand. The author admits that this would lower the energy efficiency (EROI) because the energy system would over supply which necessitates switching power generation off.
  • 3. Supergrids. Another more practical way to combat intermittency is connecting large geographical areas into a single supergrid and use “statistics” to even out irregular supply. This would require a continental grid with much higher voltages and in Europe a renewed grid with twelve times more transport capacity.
  • 4. Energy Storage. The author claims that in the case of Europe, 400 TWh net storage capacity is needed or 1.5 months worth of consumption. Pumped hydro can supply 80 TWh and car batteries 7.5 TWh. The rest should be batteries.
  • 5. Adjusting Demand to Supply. The author (correctly) questions the necessity of “supply should always meet demand”. Why not consume energy if it is available. The Dutch of the 17th century for instance reclaimed new land by pumping it dry and sawed planks for their commercial fleet with wind power, despite its intermittency.

There is not much wrong with the article and De Decker basically supports the idea of a 100% renewable society even if he is skeptical that we can have a plug-and-play solution and instead advocates that we should learn to live with a less comfortable situation where demand will follow supply instead of the other way around.

Is he right? Eh no. He is ignoring the impact of other promising storage technologies. Take the blueprint of the 100%-renewable energy model as promoted by the renowned German Fraunhofer Institute. Note this is the overall energy picture, not just electricity. The model and numbers are for Germany, but can be scaled up for Europe, with adaptions in the numbers for the respective local situations:

[source] 100% renewable energy blueprint for Germany according to the Fraunhofer Institute

Summary in numbers:

Input: 542 GW intermittent renewable energy, mostly wind (200 GW) and solar (252 GW).

Storage: batteries 52 GWh, pumped hydro 60 GWh, power-to-gas (methane) 88 GW and other, see legenda:

Legenda:
Gud – “Gas und Dampf” (gas and steam).
KWK – “Kraftwärmekopplung” (co-generation. “power-heat-coupling”)
Solarthermie – thermal solar (solar collectors)
BHKW – “Blockheizkraftwerke” (co-generation. “block heat and power generation”)
Gas-Wärmepumpen – Gas-heatpumps
Pumpspeicher – Pumped storage (hydro)
Wärmespeicher – heat storage (water medium)
Wärmelast – heat load
WP – “Wärmepump” (heat pump)
Überschuss Wärme – Excess heat

Essential is the Energiesanierung (energy renovation) of buildings, which should result in a reduction of space heating energy requirement of 64.9% as compared to 2010 level.
According to the Fraunhofer Institute would the cost of this renewable energy system not be higher than our current fossil fuel based energy system.

[krisdedecker.org] – Kris de Decker
[fraunhofer.de] – 100 % Erneuerbare Energien fuer Strom und Waerme in Deutschland
[sueddeutsche.de] – Wie Deutschland auf 100 Prozent Ökostrom umsteigen kann
[acatech.de] – Stabilität im Zeitalter der erneuerbaren Energien

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