Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “Netherlands”

Plan Energietransitie Gemeente Eindhoven

All Dutch municipalities need to produce a proposal before the end of 2021, about how they think to get rid of natural gas before 2050 (“transitievisie warmte”). Here is the result for the city of Eindhoven, of direct interest for yours faithfully (yellow area = heat net 50-70 C, based on electricity, so likely a collective heat pump).

[] – Hoe stookt de Eindhovenaar straks zijn woning warm? Een eerste heel voorzichtig antwoord van de gemeente
[] – Transitievisie warmte

Creating Hydrogen Monopolies with Dutch Tax Billions

Dutch language video

The Dutch state is investing billions into developing hydrogen infrastructure, with the ambition of creating the largest hydrogen plant in Europe. Dutch government-owned Gasunie, that nota bene itself is a major stake-holder in the developing hydrogen economy of the Netherlands, is warning that third parties could have a profitable monopoly thrown into their laps, funded by (10+) billions of tax euros, an absurd gift. Main beneficiary: NorthH2 (Gasunie, Shell Nederland, Groningen Seaports, Equinor and RWE). To put it simply: the Dutch government is supposed to pay for wind + hydrogen infrastructure, owned by Shell.

The ambition is to have 3-4 GW hydrogen production capacity operational in Eemshaven-Groningen by 2030, to be expanded to 10 GW afterwards.

The Netherlands has an extremely strong corporate sector. Perhaps too strong.

[] – NortH2
[] – Hoe de overheid zichzelf buiten spel zet bij waterstof, maar wel betaalt
[] – Gasunie waarschuwt voor risico’s miljardeninvesteringen waterstof
[deepresource] – The Emerging Dutch Hydrogen Economy
[deepresource] – Groningen Wants to Become the Dutch Hydrogen Province
[deepresource] – European Hydrogen Backbone
[deepresource] – The Netherlands is Placing its Bets on the Hydrogen Economy
[deepresource] – NortH2 – Largest Green Hydrogen Project In Europe
[deepresource] – Fitch – Netherlands, Australia Global Hydrogen Frontrunners

EBUSCO IPO Successful

E-bus producer EBUSCO collected 1.3 billion euro during its IPO at the Amsterdam stock exchange. The company from Deurne in the Netherlands mostly sells busses, but in the future wants to produce all parts itself. The success of the IPO is a clear indication of the expectation that e-busses will take the market by storm.

[] – Fabrikant elektrische bussen Ebusco na beursgang 1,3 miljard waard. EBUSCO busses allready drive in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Munich, or 346 busses in 7 countries in total. Range bus: 575 km.

Ocean Grazer Offshore Storage System

If there is an overproduction of wind energy, offshore turbines are often switched off, not to disturb the grid, which is a waste. Here is a mechanical storage mechanism, based on underwater pumped-hydro:

The Ocean Battery is a scalable, modular solution for large scale storage of electricity that is produced by renewable sources such as wind turbines and floating solar farms at sea. Ocean Battery is a pumped hydro system in a box that provides eco-friendly utility scale energy storage of 2 – 10 MWh per unit. The mechanism is based on hydro dam technology, that has proven itself for over a century as highly reliable and efficient.

To store energy, the system pumps water from the rigid reservoirs into the flexible bladders on the seabed. Now the energy is stored as potential energy in the form of water under high pressure. When there is demand for power, water flows back from the flexible bladders to the low pressure rigid reservoirs. Driving multiple hydro turbines to generate electricity.

[] – Company site
[] – Ocean Grazer kandidaat Northern Enlightenmentz 2021
[] – Ocean Grazer and Ivy One winners of first Ben Feringa Impact Award
[] – Wout Prins

Who is First in Denmark, H2 or E?

Dutch language video

Road trip Netherlands-Denmark. Challenge between a Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car and plug-in hybride BMW530e about who is first, taking into account the trouble you need to go through to acquire hydrogen c.q. a charge.

50% Weight Reduction Solar Panels from Solarge

Dutch start-up Solarge from Eindhoven and its 12 employees are working around the clock to get a manufacturing facility up and running that should be able to produce 500,000 m2/year worth of solar panels by Q1-2022.

Their selling point: a solar panel that weighs 50% less, by replacing glass by plastic, but retaining all electrical properties. This opens up the perspective of covering far more roofs with light-weight panels, like 100 km2 (business premises with bitumen roofs, for instance, previously not suitable for conventional heavy panels) or 18500 GWh. Additional benefit: the production of this panel comes with 80% less emissions.

The polymer plastic used is developed by Dutch chemical giant DSM and has several advantageous over other plastics used in Chinese panels, that often contain the hazardous PFAS. The panels are 100% recyclable. The Solarge PV modules have made it into the official Dutch governmental Milieulijst 2020, a list of proven sustainable products.

[] – Duurzaamste zonnepanelen komen uit Nederland
[] – Company site
[] – Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

TNO-TUE gets 7 Million from the EU to Develop Heat Battery

The TU-Eindhoven and TNO are working on this for quite some time, and apparently the EU finds the results promising enough to fund the project with an extra 7 million euro.

We are talking about a private household thermal storage system, based on phase-change of the salt hydrate K2CO3 ($1/kg), in a container with the size of a fridge. The device is compact, 100% efficient, stable and affordable. The continued development of the heat battery will proceed through the 2020 TNO-spin-off Cellcius, that intends to expand the application realm into the industrial as well.

The first pilots have been launched at three locations in Europe, testing the heat battery technology in the residential environment. The first industrial application will be ready by the end of 2022.

Key data:

Volumetric storage density: 0.35 GJ/m3 (heat equivalent of 10 liter gasoline or 10 m3 natural gas, 3 times better than water)
Lifespan: 20 years+

The energy content is roughly worth a day of space heating for an average apartment in the Netherlands during a cold day. If combined with a heat pump, this will lengthen to 3-4 days. Natural heat sources: solar collectors (PVT!), industrial heat, garden soil + heat pump (charging heat battery at night, offering a 2-step temperature increase, which is advantageous, COP-wise).

onderzoeksreactor voor energie-opslag mbt “zout”, samenwerkingsverband TNO, TU/e (Pim Donkers) en andere partijen

[] – TNO’s spin-off Cellcius is setting up shop in Eindhoven to bring thermal battery technology to the world.
[] – Warmtebatterij voor in huis
[] – Is de WarmteBatterij een oplossing voor je energievraag?
[] – Doorbraak in ontwikkeling warmtebatterij voor woningen
[] – Potassium carbonate
[deepresource] – Heat Battery (2020)
[deepresource] – TNO & TUE Heat Battery (2019)

Read more…

Solar Camper Stella Vita Arrives Southern Spanish Destination

The journey could have gone smoother from a technical point of view, but the PR-aspect was successful: several embassies, universities, as well as the European Parliament, were visited. Some 2000 km could be bridged autonomously over public roads, before the end goal Tarifa, near Gibraltar, was reached.

[] – Students’ solar-powered camper van turns heads on 1,800-mile road trip
[] – ‘Zonnecamper’ TU/e bereikt zuidelijkste punt Spanje

Sustainable and Repairable 5G Phone

The most ethical, repairable smartphone you can buy is back with a new model, this time with 5G and a fresh look but a weak camera.

The new Fairphone 4 costs £499 from the Dutch cooperative of the same name and continues the mission to make phones from materials sourced as ethically as possible that you can take apart and fix without an electrical engineering degree.

The new model has a much more modern design than its predecessors with an aluminium body, Gorilla Glass 5 screen and a removable 100% recycled plastic back.

[] – Fairphone 4 review: ethical repairable phone gets big upgrade

New Dutch Sea Level Data – Rise not Alarming

The Dutch independent research institute Deltares, over the three years before 2019, has elaborated a new method to evaluate sea level data on behalf of the government, and they have come to fairly reassuring results: over the past 128 years sea level rise was linear, with a speed of 1.86 mm/year or 18.6 cm/century. There is no acceleration.

[] – Long-term sea-level rise necessitates a worldwide commitment to adaptation
[] – About Deltares

Dutch Rail and Phasing Out the Privately-Owned Car

The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, making it basically almost a city state, and as such hardly suitable for mass car ownership, leading to serious congestion. On the flip side, the country is perfectly suited for railway traffic. Recent improvements like the OV-chip card, enables a near-friction-less travel in the Netherlands, leading to travel opportunities from nearly any point in the Netherlands to any other within a couple of hours, by just swiping your card from one card reader to the next, and not having to worry about buying tickets or study complex timetables as buses, trams and trains go frequent enough to allow for missing one underway.

[] – national door-to-door public transport planner

Electrified railways are a perfect element in the renewable energy transition. Since 2017 Dutch Rail claims to operate for 100% on renewable energy. Does it? Well, the claim is based on a bookkeeping trick. Dutch Rail DID indeed invest in new wind capacity, but much of it is installed abroad, so technically, Dutch trains are not running on wind power, not directly at least. However, on a moral plane, Dutch Rail did its duty and compensated its energy use by building an equivalent amount of renewable energy capacity. As far as we are concerned, they are welcome to use that fact as the basis for promoting their green image, stimulating other energy intensive companies to do the same and as such get the energy transition going.

Dutch Rail CEO Roger van Boxtel in a stunt video, promoting the 100% renewable energy green credentials of his organisation.

[deepresource] – Dutch Rail and its 100% renewable energy claim.

The last missing link in optimizing Dutch public transport would be to turn the national highway grid into virtual railway tracks, by allowing private companies to own a large van fleets, offering driverless automatic driving along these highways, from platform to platform, with traditional bus services to offer transport from those platforms to the inner city and railway station. Once that is in place, the privately owned car would have made itself superfluous and large segments of the population could be persuaded to snub the privately-owned car. Sky-high fuel prices would do the rest to discourage owning a car and as such offer relief to strained family budgets.

This time-laps video about sailing from Rotterdam to Amsterdam in 10 minutes, gives a good impression of how the Dutch landscape and its many waterways looks like from above, where every m2 is basically used for economic purposes. Note that the water table is everywhere higher than the surrounding land, an indication that at some point the Netherlands will drown in the ocean.

The Netherlands are flat and small, ideal preconditions for a flourishing bicycle culture. There is hardly room for cars, and certainly not in the cities. The rise of the e-bike expands the average bike range considerably.

Exploding Gas Prices Open Goal for Geothermal Energy

Exploding gas prices world-wide

Never waste a good crisis! Dutch horticulture is sounding the alarm about the consequences of exploding gas prices for the price of their greenhouse produce. All year around production of vegetables costs a lot of energy, especially thermal heat. Tiny Netherlands is the world’s 2nd largest agricultural exporter, only after the US, and has a lot to lose… and gain, if it picks up the gauntlet of the impending energy crisis.

An alternative for natural gas to heat green houses exists, again under Dutch clogs. Not the natural gas from Slochteren, that served the Netherlands wonderfully for 5 decades and once was the 9th gas field in the world, but from geothermal heat from 2-3 km depth.

The good news for the Netherlands is that the competition has the same energy cost problem, or doesn’t produce in the winter. On top of that, people can abstain from holidays abroad or postpone the purchase of a new car, but they will continue to eat, even if prices go up, guaranteeing continued income.

The 2021 energy crisis could become the tipping point for the application of geothermal energy in the Netherlands, to begin with in greenhouse horticulture and later expanding into space heating. It’s all wonderful, these wind turbines and solar panels, but in NW-Europe, space heating is by far the largest chunk in the primary energy budget.

Bring it on.

[] – Tuinders slaan alarm over gasprijs
[] – Van aardgasland tot aardwarmteland
[] – Overview of existing Dutch geothermal projects, most in agriculture

[source] Geothermal project Luttelgeest

Hydrogen Pilot Homes in the Netherlands

Dutch language video

Introduction of a home being built in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, that will be fueled by hydrogen.

10 existing villa’s in Lochem, funded by idealistic people with big wallets, retrofitted for hydrogen.

In Uithoorn, a series of average homes are temporarily disconnected from the Dutch national natural gas grid and fueled by hydrogen, to gain experience.

Natural Gas Prices in the Netherlands Exploding

And elsewhere too.

[] – Energiemarkt slaat op hol, huishoudens dreigen in de knel te raken

This against a backdrop of rising international tensions.

Read more…

Excavator Converted to be Fueled by Hydrogen

Dutch company Mourik has converted its Liebherr excavator into one that runs on hydrogen and completed the job in 10 months. One hydrogen charge suffices for a full work day.

Don’t rule out hydrogen in favor of batteries yet.

[] – Company site
[] – Liebherr R926 generation 8 excavator specs

No significant Solar Panel Degradation After 21 Years

Data from solar panels in Leiden in the Netherlands. After 21 years of operation, degradation against the average is merely 1.8%. This is even better than an array of 35-year-old Telefunken panels, that merely lost 0.35% on a base efficiency of 8.5%. Telefunken has long gone out of business, their panels haven’t.

There is reason to assume that solar panels could function economically for 50-100 years.

[] – Polder_PV
[] – Nieuws & analyses P.V. pagina actueel
[deepresource] – Solar Panel Still Working After 40 Years

Dutch Natural Gas Reserves

Dutch gas reserves are already higher than the post-winter minimums of the three previous years and the coming two weeks the weather will be fairly good, offering more opportunity to add to the reserves. Nevertheless, reserves could deplete before the winter is over, and the Dutch government could be forced to pump up from its Slochteren well, against earlier intentions.

[] – Martien Visser

The German government is preparing its population against the possibility of a blackout. Remedy: tea lights and a daughter’s African friend.

Financial Yield Solar Energy

Fossil fuel prices are skyrocketing, which has an upward effect on prices for solar electricity as well. Good moment to invest in renewable energy under those circumstances.

[] – Martien Visser

Lampposts as Charging Stations

In several locations in the Netherlands, lampposts are installed that apart from light, offer two outlets for charging e-vehicles.

[] – De lantaarnpaal als laadpaal: in deze wijk kunnen er 300 auto’s mee worden opgeladen

Cars are not the Issue


Annual Dutch electricity consumption: 120 billion kWh
Required annual electricity 100% e-car fleet: 20 billion kWh

The transition will require near 100% electricity or 2-3 times the amount of electricity the Netherlands uses now, in order to get rid of fossil fuel. Cars are less than 10% of that amount, even in the case that care numbers and driving patterns remain the same.

[] – Maarten Steinbuch, prof. TU-Eindhvoen

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