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Archive for the category “Germany”

Siemens-Gamesa Electric Thermal Energy Storage

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.

[] – World first: Siemens Gamesa begins operation of its innovative electrothermal energy storage system
[] – Electric Thermal Energy Storage (ETES)
[] – ETES Energy storage to the next level
[] – Siemens Gamesa Unveils World First Electrothermal Energy Storage System

Arkona 385 MW Offshore Wind Farm Completed

60 x 6 MW Siemens wind turbines. Currently the largest wind farm in the Baltic Sea.

[] – Arkona Offshore Wind Farm
[] – Siemens Gamesa Finishes 385 Megawatt Arkona Offshore Wind Farm In Record Time

Fraunhofer Sodium-Ion Dry Film Battery Breakthrough

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.

[] – Economical energy storage for the electric car of tomorrow
[] – BroadBit project events and news
[] – Battery Breakthrough Solves Major Electric Car Problem

Breakthrough Grid Expansion in Germany

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.

[] – Stromnetz-Ausbau: Wirtschaftsminister Altmaier erzielt Einigung
[] – Bundeswirtschaftsminister und Länder einigen sich bei Ausbau von Stromnetzen
[] – Power line expansion deal
[deepresource] – Energy Transition in Germany Stagnating

Carbon Concrete

Concrete with carbon wires/mats, stronger than steel enforced concrete, but with less weight.

[] – “Mit einem Schlag 50% Beton sparen”

Wind-Powered Mobility in the Netherlands

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.

[] – Hamburg trials Europe’s largest electric ride-sharing service
[] – Forse groei autokilometers
[] – Volkswagen-Ridesharing: Moin, MOIA!
[] – Gemini Wind Farm

Siemens eHighway

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.

[] – eHighway – Electrification of road freight transport
[] – Germany Launches eHighway Project
[Google Maps] – Location

Sweden apparently has an eHighway as well.

[] – World’s first electric road opens in Sweden

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:

[] – Offshore Wind Will Need Bigger Boats. Much Bigger Boats
[] – Vessels and platforms for the emerging wind market (pdf, 108p)
[] – DEME’s giant installation vessel ‘Orion’ launched in China
[] – A2SEA Invests in a New Jack-up Vessel
[] – Construction Progressing for Next Gen Vessel
[] – Offshore Vessels Demand for Offshore Wind Activities
[] – Jan de Nul orders new installation vessel
[] – Getting ready for the next generation of offshore wind projects
[] – Jan De Nul Orders Mega Jack-Up
[] – Massive hike by Wind Turbine Installation Vessel Market
[] – Japan joins offshore wind jack-up brigade
[] – Wind Tower Service Firm Plans to Build Jones Act Ships
[] – New design jack-up vessels to strengthen Ulstein’s offshore wind ambitions
[] – Flurry US offshore vessel deals prepares market for huge turbines

Chemical and Sorptive Thermal Storage Methods

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”.

[] – Chemical and sorptive thermal storage methods
[] – Sorptive Heat Storage
[] – Sorption thermal storage for solar energy (pdf, 26p)

In a sorption process, heat is stored by breaking the binding force between the sorbent and the sorbate in terms of chemical potential.

Record German Renewable Share of 54.5% in March

[] – Energy chart 2010-2019

In merely 9 years, economic super power Germany increased share renewable electricity (yearly maximum to maximum) from 24% to 54%

Large Lithium Reserves in Saxony-Germany

96.000 Tonn Lithium is hidden in the soil near Zinnwald in Germany. A new mine is to build in 2019, production start 2021. Market value: ca. 6 billion euro.

[] – Sachsen träumt vom Lithium-Wunder
[] – Unter Dorf in Sachsen liegt Milliarden-Schatz – den jahrzehntelang keiner wollte
[] – Zinnwaldit

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Germany Missing Out on Power-to-Gas Revolution


German magazine der Spiegel despairs at the way with which Germany plays a significant role as a power-to-gas (P2G) innovator, yet fails to make a commercial success out of its endeavors.

One of the largest P2G installations is located in Pritzwalk, in East-Germany. Capacity 360 m3/hour. The installation can be seen as an opposition against an all-electric world. In the Pritzwalk Region 4 times more renewable electricity is produced as is consumed. P2G-installations could absorb this electricity and store it locally, either as H2, NH3 or CH4. In several parts in Germany, renewable wind electricity production is regularly switched off because of overproduction. P2G-installations would fit in wonderfully here.

Germany has a natural gas grid of 500,000 km that could transport renewable H2 or CH4. The trouble is that Germany isn’t pushing hard enough to roll out P2G on a large scale. Other countries do: the Netherlands, Denmark and Japan as prime examples. Official German justification: too low efficiency, 50%. According to der Spiegel installations with 75% do exist and there is room for even better numbers.

[] – Die verschleppte Energierevolution
[deepresource] – The Netherlands is Placing its Bets on the Hydrogen Economy

Prof. Volker Quaschning on Energy Transition & Climate

German language videos.

Quaschning studied electrical engineering at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, then wrote his PhD on photovoltaics at the Technische Universität Berlin. After obtaining his habilitation on low-carbon power system scenarios for Germany, he worked for the German Aerospace Center in Almeria, Spain and lead research into concentrated solar power. In 2004, Quaschning was appointed professor of renewable energy systems at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin.

Quaschning is the author of several books, including the scientific textbook Regenerative Energiesystems (Renewable energy systems), first published in 1998. In 2015, the ninth edition of this book was released. The book has been translated in English, Arabian, and Russian and a translation to the Kazakh language is in progress. According to Panos Konstantin, the book is “highly recommendable”. In 2016, an updated second edition in English was published.

[] – Volker Quaschning

[video channel]

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The Smart Cities of the Future

ARTE French-German co-production, German language.

Jeremy Rifkind, “internet of energy”, Alstom CEO, Daniel Kaplan, Chris Greenwood, Adam Greenfield, Rand Hindi and others.

Energy Transition in Germany Stagnating

“Energy transition: how a great idea is under threat due to German small-mindedness”

Renewable energy showcase country Germany is showing signs of fatigue. Popular and political support for the Energiewende is still massive, the devil however is in the detail. With renewable electricity generation currently at 40%, the German power industry has arrived at a critical point, where storage no longer can be ignored. If no serious storage solution is provided, too much expensive fossil and/or nuclear reserve capacity is needed on stand-by to guarantee provider security.

Required conventional backup to guarantee energy security as a result of (as of yet) lacking storage options.

Another problem is the limited capacity of the grid. Plans and money for a substantial expansion are available, resistance however from the “yes-renewable-energy-but-not-in-my-backyard” crowd is a major stumbling block, especially against the Nord-Sued-Trasse, a massive new power line, aimed at bringing offshore wind energy from the North Sea to southern Germany.

Planned new power lines

Website comment: it is very well possible that the energy transition in Germany will stagnate for a couple of years, for political and technical reasons. But, the energy transition will come anyway, in leaps and bounds. The most pressing issue is storage. Many potential solutions already exist but need to come down further in price and achieve economy of scale. And climate change will provide the impetus to get the transition going.

[] – Deutschlands Bedarf an Reserve-Kraftwerken verdoppelt sich
[] – Murks in Deutschland
[] – Energiewende geht voran – aber nicht so rasch wie gewuenscht
[] – Pläne für Nord-Süd-Trassen

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First MOIA Ride-sharing Experience in Hamburg

Take your smart phone, start the MOIA app, enter 1 out of 10,000 predefined destinations and press submit. And wait until the MOIA e-van arrives, something in between a bus and a taxi. Price? Think 4.20 euro for 3 km. Price is known in advance, before you commit. Payment via app. Slight detours in order to pick up co-passengers are possible.

At some point in the future, the driver will be phased out, or so is the plan.

Autonomous Driving Update

[] – Audi AI:ME (2019)
[] – Audi AI:me Concept Teased Ahead Of Shanghai Debut
[] – Audi AI:ME is extra groen en zelfrijdend
[] – Audi presenteert eerste zelfrijdende stadsauto, de AI:ME

VW starts level-4 autonomous driving tests in Hamburg with 5 VW-Golf, driver-supervisor included, on a pre-selected 3 km route.


According to Tesla-CEO Elon Musk, all Tesla’s shipped are in principle capable of autonomous driving.


Musk: “autonomous driving is possible in 2020”.


Daimler Wants to be Decarbonized by 2040

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

[] – Mercedes-Benz car factories to become carbon neutral
[] – 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.

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

[] – Company site
[] – Swiss Startup Innolith Claims 1000 Wh/kg Battery Breakthrough
[] – A battery breakthrough?
[] – Electric car battery with 600 miles of range?
[] – 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.

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

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