Concept: let a wind turbine pump up water from a lower situated basin in times of over-supply of wind energy for storage purposes.
Storage capacity: 70 MWh from 160,000 m3 total water capacity (4 turbines).
Produces hydrogen for the national natural gas grid. The location is near the planned LNG terminal opening Brunsbüttel, enabling mixing at the source.
Der Spiegel sounds the alarm bells: the German Energiewende is stalling. Few new wind turbines are currently being installed, only 35 in H1-2019, the lowest rate since 2000! This year new installations to the tune of 1.5 GW can be expected at best, down from 5.3 GW in record year 2017. The minister of economic affairs and transition proponent Altmaier is forced to call for an emergency meeting with all parties involved. 26,000 jobs were lost in the wind branche since 2017. Several companies went bust.
Who are the main culprits?
1. German government (Altmaier’s ministry)
2. German public (“not in my backyard” attitude)
Ad 1) Since 2017, the German government introduced a new dubious tender system for new wind parks. Additionally: bureaucracy. A lot of wind projects are in the pipeline, waiting for approval… and stay there (10 GW or more). Furthermore, regulations are too restrictive, killing off projects for no good reason, like excessive distance from urban areas, radio masts, etc. Currently renewable electricity in Germany is at 40% and should be 65% in 2030. That’s going to be difficult to achieve, according to der Spiegel.
Hopefully the upcoming emergency meeting after the Summer will address the issues raised above.
[spiegel.de] – Die große Windkraftkrise
Germany Trade Invest presents its short film about Germanys Renewable Energy Revolution, the so called Energiewende (energy transition). Germany is pushing for 80 percent of its energy to come from renewable sources by the year 2050. (2017)
[stanford.edu] – Stefan Reichelstein
[researchgate.net] – Economics of converting renewable power to hydrogen
The recent sharp decline in the cost of renewable energy suggests that the production of hydrogen from renewable power through a power-to-gas process might become more economical. Here we examine this alternative from the perspective of an investor who considers a hybrid energy system that combines renewable power with an efficiently sized power-to-gas facility. The available capacity can be optimized in real time to take advantage of fluctuations in electricity prices and intermittent renewable power generation. We apply our model to the current environment in both Germany and Texas and find that renewable hydrogen is already cost competitive in niche applications (€3.23 kg⁻¹), although not yet for industrial-scale supply. This conclusion, however, is projected to change within a decade (€2.50 kg⁻¹) provided recent market trends continue in the coming years.
[wikipedia.org] – Hydrogen Economy
+50% economic growth
-9% primary energy consumption
-28% less emissions
[cleanenergywire.org] – Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts
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
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
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
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
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
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”.
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.
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.