Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “Italy”

Italy’s E-Vehicle Market is Booming

The first six months of 2021 have marked a period of yet exceptional growth for electric mobility on a global scale. Europe is leading the charge, and Italy – the continent’s fourth largest market – is now on the verge of reaching double-digit market share for plug-in vehicles, following consistent monthly growth and quarter-end peak registrations.

[] – Italy’s EV Market More Than Quadrupled In The First Half Of 2021!

Italian Energy Dome Announces $50-60/MWh CO2-Battery

Italian start-up Energy Dome says it can deliver “CO2-batteries” in a few years, with a storage cost of $50-60/MWh, halving the cost of lithium-ion and that comes with a round-trip efficiency of 75-80%. The first module will come a a scale of 25MW/200MWh.

In Energy Done’s thermodynamic storage system, CO2 oscillates between a state of gas or liquid. CO2 is used to avoid extreme cryogenic temperatures and operates in a closed-system.

Core data: 1 kg CO2 has a volume between 1.3 liter (compressed at 70 bar and ambient temperature) or 550 liters (expanded). Energy density: 66.7 kWh/m3.

A first pilot of 2.5MW/4MWh will be built in Sardinia.

[] – New CO2 battery will make wind and solar dispatchable ‘at an unprecedented low price’
[] – Company site

Eni Expanding in France and Spain

It’s not just Vestas and Siemens, you know… Italian oil major Eni is boosting its investments into renewable energy projects around the world. Like in France and Spain, where it recently acquired 4.2 GW of operational or in advanced stage of development projects.

Continental European countries are conquering global renewable energy markets by storm. In the 17th century, it was the Netherlands and its iconic windmills that enabled the Dutch Golden Age. In the 19th century, it was coal and steam that enabled the British Empire. In the 20th century, it was oil and gas that enabled the US Empire, that is now walking on its last legs. American hegemony will be replaced by a multi-polar world order: a European world (including Russia and parts of a Balkanized North-America), a Chinese world, a Muslim world, an African world, a Hindu world, etc. “World’s” defined by historic legacy and identity, rather than the untenable material progress of the past four centuries and its perpetual economic growth.

[source] 400 years of Modernity spearheaded by three white, protestant, capitalist, Anglo empires. The often overlooked aspect that enabled these empires was its new energy source. Historians are seldom engineers, to their own detriment.

We’ll leave it to you as an exercise to figure out how the 21st century will look like, energy-wise. But it is too early for the likes of Donald Rumsfeld to write off “old Europe”. Donald Rumsfeld b.t.w. recently died… of old age.

[] – Eni boosts Spanish and French renewable portfolio with ‘strategic’ gigascale buy-ups
[] – Eni to buy Italian wind portfolio from Glennmont in green drive
[] – Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (Eni)

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Electrolyser Price Breakthrough

A 2017 Italian startup Enapter says it can manufacter an electrolyser much cheaper, by combining the advantages of alkaline and PEM-electrolysers, with higher efficiency, thanks to lower-cost materials.

Chrometzka explains that Enapter expects its 1MW AEM electrolyser to cost $500/kW when produced at scale in 2025 — compared to $800/kW for a same-sized PEM unit.

By using a less corrosive electrolyte, 1% KOH in 99% water, the expensive titanium-coating can be replaced by cheap steel.

The cost reduction is realized on three fronts:

– Bipolar plates costing $20/kW in a 1MW electrolyser in 2025 ($190/kW PEM)
– Power supply units $80/kW ($220/kW in a PEM)
– Offering small 2.4 kW units

Enapter claims to be able to produce 1 kg hydrogen from 54.8 kWh, compared to 56.7 kWh (PEM) or 55.3 kWh (alkaline).

The company plans a subsidiary in Saerbeck, Germany, to produce 300 MW electrolyser capacity annual. Note that these small units can provide for very local storage opportunities, independent of the grid.

To be continued.

[] – ‘Our unique AEM electrolysers will produce cheaper green hydrogen than any rival tech’
[] – Enapter video channel
[] – Enapter operations arrive in Saerbeck, NRW
[] – €9.4m for Enapter from NRW for electrolyser mass production
[deepresource] – Germany Embraces the Hydrogen Economy

German economic affairs minister Altmaier announced that billions will be made available for hydrogen electrolyser development. If Enapter can make good on their claims, they should have no problem attracting sufficient funds to make their plans happen. They would have the full EU might behind them.

Artist impression Enapter campus Saerbeck, Germany, 2023.
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EU Companies Start Offshore Wind Scene in the US


Ørsted of Denmark and EEW of Germany are building an offshore wind monopile manufacturing facility in Paulsboro, New Jersey, USA, to finally make offshore wind happen in North-America, after every developed nation in Eurasia has done so for years.

The Netherlands, that has traditionally excellent business ties in the US (after all, they were the first to colonize the joint), will play a major role in offshore installation, with names like Heerema, van Oord and Shell:

Heerema will participate in the construction of Martha’s Vineyard OWP.

The entire wind sector in the US is dominated by European companies and this is unlikely to change, with names like Iberdrola of Spain and Enel of Italy. Where after the war, US companies served European energy needs for decades with names like Esso, Texaco, Exxon-Mobile, it’s high time that Europe returns the favor and shows some gratitude.

The era of the Anglo Seven Sisters is over. Move over, here come the European Seven Brothers of renewable energy. And with it will come geopolitical dominance. Europe is returning to America, after it began to leave in 1783. The immense political polarization of the US today doesn’t bode well for the unity of the country. The USSR split up in 15 pieces after 1991, after communism failed. A similar process is to be expected for the US and will create a power vacuum, that will enable the Europeans to get a hold over parts of its former colony once again, by separating the hotheads in a likely future conflagration, that could turn very bloody. The likely expansion of China in East-Asia will do the rest or could even initiate the destabilization of the social order in North-America.

[] – Constr. Starts on US Largest Offshore Wind Manufacturing Hub
[] – Ørsted and EEW Plan Monopile Factory in New Jersey
[] – Heerema bouwt aan eerste grote offshore windpark VS
[Google Maps] – Paulsboro Marine Terminal | Holt Logistics, LLC
[] – EEW and Ørsted Plan Paulsboro, New Jersey, Offshore Wind Turbine Component Manufacturing Plant

Faccin Wind Tower Production Line

[] – Exponential growth in the Wind Manufacturing Industry: the challenge is on
[] – Company site
[] – Faccin Group channel

Hydrogen & Electric Powered Snow Groomers

Getting Concrete – Wind Towers & Monopiles Beyond Steel

Nordex-Germany building 120 m concrete wind tower in Brazil.

Do wind towers need to be built from steel? Not necessarily, concrete will work as well (or even wood) or a mixture of concrete and steel. A lot depends on the local circumstances and availability of materials. In many cases concrete will be easier to acquire than steel, which requires mining and processing in blast furnaces, where concrete is made of universally much more locally available cement and sand. The price of concrete is about $200-300/m3. The price of steel is ca. $5000/m3. Density concrete 2.5 tonnes/m3, steel 8.0 tonnes/m3 (not that you can draw direct conclusions from these figures).

The advantage of having taller wind turbines is the exposure to higher average wind speeds, which consequently require a more constant wind profile over the height of the rotor and larger blades. The race for harnessing the most power from wind energy is bringing some manufacturers to a path of alternative materials like concrete… There are already several wind farms around the world using this alternative in Chile, Denmark, and there are upcoming new projects in Spain and the UK.

[] – Offshore Wind Energy Towards a Concrete Future
[] – Concrete towers for onshore wind farms

Agrophotovoltaics – Lowering the Cost of Renewable Energy

Solar photo-voltaic power claims a lot of land. In the desert that is not a problem, but in populated areas that land needs to compete between energy and agricultural interests. Or does it? The German Fraunhofer Institute has been a global front-runner in promoting a dual use approach and as such increase the financial return for the landowner. It is possible to keep sheep under solar panels or harvest honey from flowers growing in between.

[] – Enel begins operations of Aurora PV plant in Minnesota
[] – Enel Green Power Promotes Sustainability At Solar Power Plants In US

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.

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


[] – 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

FIAT 500e 2019 Car Review

Italian Homeowners get Solar Panels for Free


Corona stimulation thingy, the Chinese government will love it.

In Italy, 72% or 19 million households own the home they are living in. In international comparison the average Italian mortgage is a ridiculously low 19k euro. The average Dutch mortgage in contrast is 210k. The real reason why Italy has a high public debt and the Dutch a low, is because the Dutch dutifully pay their taxes where Italians don’t. The latter prefer to illegally pay off their homes, have 3 times the wealth/household as compared to the Dutch (due to paid-off real estate) and next have the nerve to call for “European solidarity” and curse the Dutch and others for not helping lowering the Italians public debt. Even the pope denounced the Italians as tax dodgers. Bloomberg reports an Italian tax evasion rate of 30% and 108B euros in 2016 alone.

And now they are getting a solar system for free, adding to public debt, increasing “Italian need to be bailed-out” (by NW-Europe of course). Italy, the next Greece in the making. What Italy really needs is either go back to the Lira, so the government can print the money it needs at 10% inflation/year, like in the old shabby pre-euro days OR every household gets a 40k mortgage to compensate for the tax-dodging of the past. It is high time for rich Italy and a surplus nation, to become a serious country and get rid of its mafia image.

European solidarity yes, funding tax-dodgers no.

The Italian public debt is 2.1 trillion, the wealth of Italian households is 9.7 trillion. It is high time for the Italian people to show some solidarity with their own state and shift, say 1 trillion, from the households to the government via a national solidarity mortgage. The West-Germans did something similar to the East-Germans after reunification. Time for a European-wide anti-Italian shaming campaign.

Pay your f* taxes!

[] – Italian homeowners can now install PV systems for free
[] – Italian wealth

Milan Using Corona Crisis to Make City More Bike-Friendly

Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Italy, but thanks to Corona, the air in the city has really become cleaner. The city council doesn’t want to waste the Corona-crisis and seize its chance to push-back the use of the car in the city. 55% of the citizens of Milan already use public transport. The average travel distance in the city is 4 km, suitable to bridge with a bicycle or even walk. Milan now wants to re-model the city and make it more attractive for these two more modest modes of private transport, especially since the “6 feet society” will be around for the foreseeable future, giving walking and cycling a distinct advantage over public transport.

[] – Milaan grijpt coronacrisis aan om van autoparadijs een fietsstad te maken

High-Temperature Ecovat

A university student studied the possibility and economic feasibility of extending the “low-temperature” warm water Ecovat concept into a high-temperature one, with pebbles as storage medium. As an example could serve an existing pebble bed storage in Ait Baha, Morocco.


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INGRID Hydrogen Storage and Grid Balancing

Startdate INGRID project: 2012. Budget €24 million.

From the DOE:

The INGRID project will combine the recent advances in Smart Grids and hydrogen-based energy storage to match energy supply and demand and optimize the electricity generated by intermittent Renewable Energy Sources while ensuring security and stability of the power distribution network The consortium will design, build, deploy and operate a 39 MWh energy storage facility using McPhy hydrogen-based solid state storage and Hydrogenics electrolysis technology and fuel cell power systems in the Puglia region in Italy, where over 3.500 MW of solar, wind, and biomass are already installed. The hydrogen energy storage installation, with more than 1 ton of safely stored hydrogen (the largest ever built), including a novel fast responding 1.2 MW hydrogen generator, will be fully controlled by advanced smart grid solutions provided by Engineering and will provide effective and smart balancing support for the local grid managed by Enel Distribuzione. Several potential value streams for the generated carbon-neutral hydrogen will be investigated.

[] – INGRID Hydrogen Demonstration Project

[] – Ingrid project site
[] – High-capacity hydrogen-based green-energy storage solutions for grid balancing
[] – High-capacity hydrogen-based green-energy storage solutions for grid balancing
[] – Hydrogenics, Canadian participant in the consortium.

The State of Solar

[] – Countries That Use The Most Solar Power
[] – Electricity-production in Germany

Hard Row Italy-Germany Over Sanctions & Pipelines

Hard and emotional row

Dr. Merkel is the #1 driving force behind keeping the anti-Russian sanctions in place, the good US lapdog that she is. Yet at the same time, Germany and Russia merrily work on planning the expansion of the North-Stream pipeline, where at the same time Brussels ordered Bulgaria to stop implementing South-Stream. Italian PM Renzi, one of the EU politicians with the relatively most positive attitude towards Putin-Russia, got irritated by this and a row escalated during the last summit in Brussels. According to Tusk, the discussion had been “hard” and “emotional”.

After all, the South-Stream pipeline was torpedoed as part of the sanctions policies and now Germany does go ahead with North-Stream, making Germany the main distributor of Russian gas in Europe. No wonder the other Europeans are mad about this German hypocrisy.

For the record: we want maximum European dependency on Russian gas & oil and as such want to see both South-Stream and North-Stream expansion implemented without delay or “third energy package” baloney (and all sanctions lifted).

[] – Pipeline-Projekt Nordstream 2: Heftiger Streit zwischen Merkel und Renzi auf EU-Gipfel

[] – Matteo Renzi picks fight with Angela Merkel

You cannot say that you are giving your blood to Europe,’ the Italian premier told the German chancellor at the EU summit. “It was very impressive how tough he was” in confronting Merkel on several key EU issues, said a minister who was in the room. The clash with Merkel highlights Renzi’s increasingly confrontational posture towards EU officials… Renzi is under political pressure at home, facing local elections next year in which he is expected to lose ground to populist, Euroskeptic parties. During the course of the two-day meeting in Brussels, Renzi went on the attack against Berlin several times, according to sources. And with Italians increasingly disillusioned with German-led Europe, his more aggressive strategy could be popular with voters… Renzi also accused Merkel of a political double-standard over the involvement of German companies in the construction of a gas pipeline with Russia, Nord Stream, at a time when the EU is about to approve the extension of sanctions against Moscow, according to a diplomat. Renzi said he was opposed to automatically renewing the sanctions without opening a discussion on the pipeline project.

Italian Fossil Fuel Demand Destruction


Italian peak demand was 2004 and is sliding into the abyss since. This can explain the global crash in fossil fuel prices, if other countries had similar demand destruction patterns. But if you go to page 40 of the pdf, linked to below, you can verify that fossil fuel demand in most developed countries is indeed stagnating or slightly declining since 2004, although not as strong as Italy. But if you compare the global consumption over the last few years, you see it is flat, which leads to the conclusion that the collapse of oil prices over the past year cannot be explained from a sudden collapse of demand over the same period. There is another mechanism at work.

[cassandralegacy] – Post-peak Italy: the decline continues

[] – Statistical Review of World Energy 2014
[] – pdf with data


How to Make Plastic from Sugar Beets


Many peak oil doomers maintain that you can’t have an advanced society without fossil fuel. This can be debunked at least for the production of (biodegradable) plastic. Brussels intend to lift the quotum on the production of sugar beets from October 1, 2017. From then on the sky will be the limit. It is expected that European farmers will produce a lot more sugar beets, especially in the Netherlands, where currently 5% of the agricultural area is used for this purpose, but this number could grow to 14%. Purpose: plastic production. Expected investment volume for building three new processing plants in the coming 10 years: 1-3 billion euro.

[] – Hoe je van een suikerbiet plastic maakt

Planting sugar beets in Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands

Harvesting sugar beets. Seeing pictures like these it is not difficult to understand why modern Dutch agriculture only needs ca. 3% of the workforce to keep a vibrant sector going and is the 2nd largest agricultural exporter after the US, but before Germany and France.

Biodegradable plastic production from sugar beet (waste) in Italy

Cold Fusion 2.0

In 1989 two of the world’s leading electrochemists, the Brit Fleischmann and American Frenchman Pons, shocked the world with their announcement that they had found a way to initiate a exogenous nuclear fusion reaction at room temperature. After initial world wide excitement, things calmed down. Cold fusion research however never really stopped and now an Italian inventor and entrepreneur Andrea Rossi claims to have developed a cold fusion or Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) thermal power source. 1-megawatt cold fusion power plant now available, that is on pre-order – yours for just $1.5 million.

[] – 1-megawatt cold fusion power plant now available – yours for just $1.5 million
[] Finally! Independent Testing Of Rossi’s E-Cat Cold Fusion Device: Maybe The World Will Change After All
[] – Psstt! Want An E-Cat LENR Generator? For Free?
[] – Cold fusion

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