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Archive for the category “Netherlands”

The Engines of the Renewable Energy Age

Now that the petrol and diesel internal combustion engines are on the way out, the question rises: what will replace them? One candidate is obvious, the electro-motor, powered by renewable electricity, with a battery or hydrogen fuel cell as intermediary storage stage:

[source]Car electromotor

But what if we only have heat available as an energy source, for instance from burning biomass, methanol, ammonia, or even metal powder like is shown here (0:43 – 1:20):

Stirline engine powered by burning iron powder

The answer to that question would be the Stirling engine. A Dutch-based company called Microgen claims (in 2014) to be the first to mass produce a stirling engine, albeit still powered by natural gas. Microgen is located in Doetinchem, has an R&D-facility in Petersborough, England and production in China. Patents probably owned by Sunpower from the US.

Work on the Stirling engine was carried out in the sixties by Philips in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, as well as by Ford and GM in the seventies. But none of these projects made it into mass production.

[] – Stirlingmotor uit de Achterhoek slingert duurzaamheid aan
[] – Microgen corporate site
[] – Stirling Engine
[] – Applications of the Stirling Engine
[] – Internal combustion engine

Swedisch submarine powered by a Stirling engine

Philips Stirling motor, still working half a century later.

Huisman Installation Aeolus 1600 Ton Crane

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Offshore grid TenneT in Nederland



EU Largest Floating Solar Park in the Netherlands

Households: 600
Scale: 6150 panels
Date: September 2018
Initiative: grass-roots
Installation time: 4 weeks
Wind resistance: Beaufort 10
Financial payback time: 15 years
Location: Lingewaard, Bemmel (Nijmegen)
Advantages: higher yield because of water reflection, surface water has a cooling effect on the the panels (higher yield), no alternative economic exploitation.

We couldn’t find any exact figure of the surface area, but we estimate it to be 10,000 m2. In the Netherlands an additional 7,000,000 m2 similar surface water could be used for the same purpose. That would be enough for 700 similar additional projects or 420,000 households of 8 million in total.

Unexpected additional benefit: reduction of evaporation of scarce surface water. This could become more important in the light of climate change.

[] – Lingestroom gaat zonnestroom leveren van grootste drijvende zonnepark in de EU


[source] After a month the first results are in: the first 1 MWh has been harvested. Negative development: bird poop, lots of.

Biodegradable Car From Eindhoven/The Netherlands

What have you been smoking, a car made from beets and flax? Meet the Lina, a car designed and constructed by students of the University of Eindhoven.

Embodied energy: 20% of your average conventional sedan made of aluminium.
Weight: 683 pounds (300 kg).
Drive train: electric
Range: 60 km
Topspeed: 55 kmh

[] – Biodegradable Car Made From Sugar Beets and Flax?
[] – Driving a car made from biodegradable materials
[] – Bioplastic

London, Shell eco-marathon 2017


[source] PLA honeycomb structure plate material Lina

Bus Driving on Formic Acid in Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Formic acid = hydrogen 2.0.

You can drive on hydrogen, but only under insane pressures like 700 bar in cylinder shapes. With formic acid, the hydrogen comes as a liquid, under ambient conditions, that can be stored under the passenger’s seats. Formic acid is inflammable and can’t explode. To normal humans formic acid is known from nettles that grow in the wild. Formic acid or hydrozine (HCOOH) can be produced from hydrogen and CO2. Emissions: water and CO2. That is, an amount of CO2 equal to the amounts you have to put into formic acid in the first place, so carbon neutral. A ruthenium catalyst is essential.

Note: the bus drives on batteries, not on a fuel cell. The formic acid merely serves as a “range extender”, it is not powerful enough yet to power the bus entirely by itself. With 300 liter formic acid the range gets extended by 80-300 km, depending on city/long distance travel (flywheel?). In this way the battery can be a lot smaller. A sedan could drive 250 km on 50 liter formic acid. “Well-to-wheel” efficiency is 33%, where a regular hydrogen car scores 25%. In contrast to hydrogen fuel stations, a regular gasoline station can be retrofitted for formic acid for an amount of ca. 35,000 euro (hydrogen 5 million).

[] – Deze stadsbus in Eindhoven rijdt nu op mierenzuur – en dat is behoorlijk revolutionair
[] – Ant power: Take a ride on a bus that runs on formic acid
[deepresource] – Formic Acid as Car Fuel
[] – Formic acid
[] – Mierenzuur is Brandstof voor de Transportsector
[] – Elektrische Stadsbus Rijdt 200 Kilometer Op Een Tank Mierenzuur

Dutch 20 MW AKZO-Gasunie Hydrogen-Electrolysis Initiative

Gasunie for decades was the Netherlands natural gas producer monopolist. But that gas era is running out, so if Gasunie wants to survive, it needs a new business model, that preferably fits with its expertise, which is energy/gas. Enter hydrogen. The Netherlands has ambitious plans for offshore wind development and all these GW’s need to be buffered. The Dutch government has opted for hydrogen. Gasunie sees this as a chance to enter the water-electrolysis market, has teamed up with Akzo-Nobel and announced last year that it intends to build a 20 MW electrolyser, for starters, to whet its appetite, so to speak. Location factory: Delfzijl.

Currently the largest electrolyser in the Netherlands has a throughput of 1 MW. 20 MW, that would mean 3,000 ton H2/year or 30 million m3. Dutch industry currently uses 800,000 ton hydrogen per year. In the long term 5-10 GW electrolysis could be applied usefully, fed by 7-15 North Sea wind parks of 750 MW each.

[] – Major Electrolysis Factory in Dutch Town Delfzijl
[] – The Netherlands has a Chance to Produce Electrolysers
[] – AkzoNobel en Gasunie onderzoeken 20 mMW elektrolyse-unit voor opwekking groene waterstof
[] – Industrie opent weg naar groene waterstof
[] – Hydrogen 2018 Review
[] – Nederland Waterstofland
[] – Gasunie Stapt in Waterstof
[] – Gasunie
[] – Waterstof: welke mogelijkheden biedt het voor de industrie?

Lex Hoefsloot (Lightyear) over zijn Eerste Gezinsauto op Zonne-energie

[] – Lex Hoefsloot (CEO Lightyear) in Werkverkeer: ‘Ik zoek nog een investeerder’
[deepresource] – 2015 World Solar Challenge Award Ceremony Closing Video
[deepresource] – Solar Challenge 2015
[deepresource] – TU Delft Wins Solar Challenge 2013
[deepresource] – TU Eindhoven Wins Solar Challenge 2013 (Cruisers)

Read more…

3D-Printed Homes Coming to the Netherlands

[] – Project site
[] – Eindhoven gets the first 3D-concrete printing housing project
[Google Maps] – Project sire Meerhoven near Eindhoven

The same TU-Eindhoven group manufatured this printed bicycle bridge in nearby Gemert.

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Clipper Stad Amsterdam & Hydrogen Powertrain

Floris van Nievelt of the TU Delft, the Netherlands, has written his master thesis about modelling a hydrogen-based power train for an existing passenger sailing vessel, Stad Amsterdam. The hydrogen comes from a sodium borohydride powder storage. The study was performed in cooperation with the inventors of this storage method: h2-fuel.

The thesis contains a coherent overview of hydrogen storage with sodium borohydride. The study is also an indication that this form of hydrogen storage is taken serious by academic institutions. The TU Eindhoven and technological certification institute TNO had already verified the findings of h2-fuel.

[] – Maritime application of sodium borohydride as an energy carrier
[] – Hydrogen as the key to a sustainable shipping sector
[] – H2Fuel company site
[deepresource] – NaBH4 – The Vice-Admiral Has a Message for Dutch Parliament

The Emerging Dutch Hydrogen Economy

The Dutch government is convinced: hydrogen is going to be a major storage option for the Dutch economy.

The principle Dutch promoter of the hydrogen economy, entrepreneur and prof. Ad van Wijk, has written a short primer on the advantages of the hydrogen economy for the Netherlands. Van Wijk picks up from where Jeremy Rifkind left off in 2003. After the hydrogen economy fell into oblivion for years, van Wijk can pick up again because conditions have changed dramatically since. Soon, several European countries like Denmark, Germany and Scotland need to make decisions about the way they are going to store their at times abundant renewable electricity.

[] – hydrogen the key to the energy transition

This graph shows why seasonal storage of energy is inevitable if we move to a renewable energy base.

Dutch energy consumption patterns. Due to the presence of the largest harbor in Europe Rotterdam, the transport sector is relatively large.

Excellent prospects for Africa and Arabia to earn an income after the end of the oil age. Superb solar conditions, with irradiation 2-3 times as high as in Europe, could destine these countries to become major hydrogen producers.

Cost projections renewable electricity.

NaBH4 – The Vice-Admiral Has a Message for Dutch Parliament

Zoutzuur = hydrochloric acid (HCl), UPW = ultra pure water, waterstofgas = hydrogen gas, mengkamer = mixing chamber

There are many people who claim to have found the solution for the world’s energy problems as there is no lack of people aiming for their moment of fame. Here we have a Dutch innovator Gerard Lugtigheid, who claims to have found the solution of the pressing energy storage problem. What is special in this is that he gets the support of heavy-weights with a reputation to lose.

Focal point of excitement is the hydrogen absorption capacity of a powder with chemical formula NaBH4 or Sodium Borohydride. The properties of the substance are not entirely new and were the subject of an investigation earlier, notably by the US government, Department Of Energy (DOE). In 2007 a conclusion was drawn with far-reaching consequences:

[] – Go/No-Go Recommendation for Sodium Borohydride for On-Board Vehicular Hydrogen Storage (2007)

The hydrogen storage technology considered for the hydrolysis of sodium borohydride (NaBH4) has clearly not met all the 2007 targets. In addition, the Panel sees no promising path forward for this technology to reach all the 2010 targets. Based on its charter, then, the Panel unanimously recommends a No-Go decision.

An unnoted Dutch hospital technician, while busy with the development of a manual resiscitator/cigaret size H2 nebulizer, collaterally got in touch with the topic of chemical storage of hydrogen and proceeded where the DOE had left off:

[] – Gerard Lugtigheid

What did he achieve? Well: storage of twice the amount of hydrogen in a powder in a given volume at ambient pressure and temperature as compared to pure hydrogen at 700 bar. Add ultra-pure water to the powder, as well as tiny quantities of a catalyst (HCl) and you obtain a steady stream of hydrogen that is easy to control:

[] – Hydrogen generator vessel for hydrolysis of hydrides

This is the reaction that releases the hydrogen:

NaBH4 + 4 H2O ⇒ 4 H2 + NaB(OH)4

This reaction approaches a remarkable 20 % gravimetric efficiency when calculated in relation to the weight of the NaBH4 alone, and in excess of 6 wt.% when calculated in relation to both water and NaBH4.

However the reaction requires a catalyst. Without the catalyst, sodium borohydride dissolves in water without noticeable hydrogen generation. With inadequate catalysts, on the other hand, the reaction results in the hydrated forms of borax, which significantly decreases the overall gravimetric efficiency and increases the cost and energy input in the regeneration process.

So, 20% of the weight of the sodium borohydride powder is hydrogen, or 6% if the water is included in the calculation. 2 kg of water are required to completely neutralize 1 kg of sodium borohydride. 6% of 2+1=3 kg is 180 gram. 1 kg hydrogen contains 33.3 kWh. So, 3 kg of fuel contains 5.94 kWh. Compare that with a conventional car battery of 15 kg and 1.2 kWh energy content. That would an energy density gain of factor 25. An Opel Ampera/Chevvy Bolt manages 8 km/kWh. In other words, 2 liter of water and 1 kg of hydrogen-powder will bring you slightly less than 50 km. Or a standard 60 kg fuel will bring you 1000 km. Bye-bye car battery-powered e-vehicles.

Regarding the speed of hydrogen release: 0.3g of NaBH4 + 10 mg of the catalyst + 0.6g of tap water generates hydrogen flow of excess of 20 ml/min and can be scaled-up proportionally. The speed of release can be controlled by the amount of catalyst added.

The findings are so spectacular that they have drawn the attention and confirmation from Dutch vice-admiral Jan-Willem Kelder, as well as from TNO, a sort of Dutch counterpart of the German Fraunhofer Institute and the TU-Eindhoven. The Dutch government and ministry of economic affairs in particular are also well aware of the development. Meanwhile patents have been granted in America, Japan, Russia, China and a few other countries. In Europe however, patent applications are still pending.

[] – Letter to Dutch parliament

The vice-admiral has put his name on the following presentation of 27 slides, giving additional information about the findings:

[] – H2Fuel: Hydrogen energy carrier

The reaction is slightly different:

NaBH4 + 2H2O = 8H + NaBO2

The residu NaBO2 can be recycled back into NaBH4.

The process is inexpensive and can be used in the automotive, shipping, and aviation industries, as large-scale storage for electrical energy, heat generation, industrial applications, etc.

The inventor Gerard Lugtigheid telling about his invention in a laboratory setting (Dutch language):

Lugtigheid explains that the core difference between the work of the DOE and his work is the addition of Ultra-Pure Water. That’s what greatly enhances the amount of hydrogen that can be extracted from the powder. At [2:20] activator fluid is let lose on the powder and immediately large amounts of hydrogen are released from the powder and pushed away the water in the long glass tube. The amount of hydrogen produced can be accurately controlled by the amount of activator fluid added to the powder.

[deepresource] – H2Fuel – Hydrogen Powder NaBH4

Mierenzuur = formic acid, ammoniak = ammonia (NH3), waterstofgas = hydrogen gas, poeder = powder

Washington, D.C. (March 26, 2007) – Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Mullen presents Vice Adm. Jan Willem Kelder. Commander, Royal Netherlands Navy a commemorative plaque during an office call at the Pentagon on March 26, 2007. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) Chad J. McNeeley.

[] – Independent Report to the Dutch Government

A few figures:

– 98% of the potential hydrogen can be actually released.
– In a 60 liter tank, 6.6 kg hydrogen can be stored
– The cost of 1 kg hydrogen from h2-fuel is 5.5 euro
– Cost NaBH4 is 0.89 euro/kg in China; shipping cost to Rotterdam 1.03 euro/kg.
– Cost UPW if 6.08 euro/m3

[] – Ultrapuur water
[] – US H2Fuel patent
[] – De programmaraad stelt voor: H2Fuel
[] – Advanced Chemical Hydrogen Storage and Generation System
[] – Ultra pure water
[] – Test met waterstof bij Plant One Rotterdam
[] – New experiment makes hydrogen usable in cars

Brandstofcel = fuel cel
Gebruikte brandstof – spent fuel

H2Fuel Videos

[] – Company site

Read more…

Tegenlicht – Doorbraak van Duurzaam

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.

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

[] – IJzeren Rijn: resultaten 3RX-studie (jan 2018)

Nyrstar – The Next Royal Dutch Shell?

The European Union has decided it wants a 100% renewable energy future and as the saying goes: “He Who Says A Must Say B”, with “A” being a renewable energy base and “B” the required energy storage facilities. This implies giant business opportunities for those companies, that can provide for large-scale energy storage options, options that become a necessity if a society begins to heavily rely on intermittent renewable energy sources solar and wind. Batteries and pumped-hydro can only provide hours worth of storage. What is really required are seasonal storage options, with a size in the order of 40% of annual primary energy consumption, to be able to completely compensate intermittency and waive energy demand management.

Several candidates for seasonal storage exist. First of all the largest share of primary energy consumption is used for space heating. A lot of fossil fuel can be saved if solar heat is stored in large bodies of water or other bulk materials. Excess renewable electricity can be converted in hydrogen and if necessary further converted into other forms of chemical energy that are easier to maintain than hydrogen, like ammonia (NH3), natural gas (CH4).

A relatively unknown possibility is using hydrogen to reduce metal-oxide powder (“reduce” as in: “strip of oxygen”) and turn it into pure metal powder that can be burned again, back to metal-oxide, thus creating a carbon-free closed-loop. Few people realize that metals can burn, a process mundanely known as “rusting”, yet they can, as fine-grained powders, the finer the better:

In contrast to hydrogen, metal powders like iron can be stored, moved around, traded easily at room temperature and ambient pressure for as long as you want, provided you keep moist away. Potentially suitable metal-powder-as-fuel candidates are: lithium (Li), boron (B), magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), silicon (Si), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn).

IF metal-powder can assert itself as an efficient energy storage vehicle for the 21st century, dominated by the EU renewable energy policy and Paris Accords, the sky is the limit for those companies already specialized in reducing metal ores into pure metals. They could become the successors of the Seven Sisters that dominated the 20th century and become the energy companies of the 21st century in that they lay their hands on every renewable kWh and convert it into metal powder.

This possibility has been recognized by Zinc-giant Nyrstar, located near the small town of Budel-Schoot in the South of the Netherlands at the Belgian border, conveniently situated at a run-down, but upgradable “Iron Rhine” railway-line, connecting the Antwerp Harbor and the German industrial Ruhr-valley heartland. This is the rationale behind the recently initiated Metalot energy storage campus, located next to the Nyrstar zinc factory in Budel-Schoot.

[] – Budel

[] – Nyrstar
[] – Recyclable metal fuels for clean and compact zero-carbon power
[deepresource] – How Much Storage is Needed?
[Google Maps] – Nyrstar, Budel-Schoot

Metalot Campus

[] – Metalot wants to solve the world’s energy problems

The zinc factory in Budel-Dorplein is ready for a new phase of life. From energy consumer to supplier, from environmental risk to friend of Natuurmonumenten, from Nyrstar to Metalot. Right on the spot where metals are now being processed using the energy that equals the needs of the whole city of Eindhoven, in a few years time the solution must become visible for major issues such as energy storage and sustainable mobility. All this in a 100% energy-neutral and circular way… The first changes will be visible at the beginning of next year, when the first 60 hectares of solar panels will be delivered. As a first part of the – eventually – closed energy circle on Metalot… Part of the Nyrstar site has been renamed Metalot Circularity Center Cranendonck (Metalot3C)… Metalot3C wants to drive and support the innovations needed to achieve 100% sustainability and 100% recyclability. De Goey: “In this way, we are going to scale up the ideas that are now being put forward at the universities – primarily in Eindhoven, but also at other universities – from a lab set-up to a factory setting.”… One of the leading themes in this respect is energy storage. “In the end, we want to completely link energy supply and demand… According to De Goey, part of the solution can be found in the metal fuels. “In that respect, this is, of course, a big playground for us. We are going to try everything we can. Basalt blocks, zinc, magnesium, iron, we have everything at hand here, so that’s ideal. We can already make fire from it, but we don’t have a good engine yet… The idea is that a wide range of partners will connect to Metalot. Technical universities, both in the Netherlands and abroad, and institutes such as DIFFER, TNO and ECN. “But also Wartsila, a ship-building company, has already shown an interest.” In addition, De Goey believes that it is more than logical to have a series of student teams to join Metalot. First of all, Team FAST, which is working on a formic acid powered car, and SOLID, which wants to build an engine on iron powder.” In 2018, we expect to host 10 researchers and 20 students. In five years’ time, this will have to grow to at least 100 researchers and 500 students of all levels”.

[] – Nyrstar
[] – Nyrstar
[] – Zinkfabriek (Budel)
[] – Metalot in Cranendonk

De huidige eigenaar is het Zwitserse concern Nyrstar. In Budel-Dorplein werken er ongeveer 450 mensen bij Nyrstar. Het bedrijf staat op een van de oudste industriële locaties van Brabant… Metalot wordt zo een plek voor versterking van innovatie in de circulaire economie rondom energie en metalen. Het zink dat bij Nyrstar wordt geproduceerd, wordt gebruikt als bescherming tegen roest, voor dakgoten en regenpijpen, in batterijen en in sanitaire onderdelen.

[] – Weert en Cranendonck ‘nijver aan het water’
[] – Duurzaam industriepark Metalot in Budel-Dorplein
[] – TU/e-studenten ontwikkelen schone centrale die werkt op metalen
[] – Wethouder Frans Kuppens tilt Metalot naar nieuw niveau
[] – Metal power: ijzerpoeder als alternatief voor kolen
[] – Iron powder as an alternative to coal
[] – Metalot gooit alle metalen in de energie-strijd

The zinc factory Budel was located at the “Iron Rhine” railway, that connected the Antwerp harbor with the German Ruhr-area industrial heartland since 1869 and was build on Prussian initiative and money.

Present day Iron Rhine near Budel. 1869–1914 were the golden years of the Iron Rhine, after WW1 until 1992, years of decay. Currently plans exist to revitalize the railway.

Zinkfabriek Budel, photo-archive.

Zinc train heading for Antwerp Harbor. Soon these trains could contain the fuel of the future: metal powder.

GE’s 12 MW Haliade-X, To Be Installed In Rotterdam First

Sneak preview of how the world’s largest windturbine in the world will operate in Rotterdam Harbor as of mid-2019 for extensive testing.

Total height: 260 m
Rotor diameter: 220 m
Commercial rollout: 2021

[] – World’s Largest Wind Turbine Prototype, GE’s 12 MW Haliade-X, To Be Installed In Rotterdam
[] – GE Unveils Operation Haliade-X 12 MW

Impressions Car Solar Team Eindhoven

Solar Team Eindhoven will present its latest solar car in July and participate in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in October 2019. Here a student of the TU Eindhoven in discussion with dr Peter Harrop.

[] – ‘We want to show that solar cars are the solution in the energy transition’
[] – World Solar Challenge Australia 2019
[deepresource] – LightYear Solar One Goes in Production

Read more…

Dutch Wind Energy Installation Data

Dutch onshore wind capacity grew with 94 MW in 2018.
Dutch wind installation 31-12-2018:

Offshore: 0.957 GW
Onshore: 2.647 GW
Total: 4.130 GW

Goal 2020: 6.0 GW

Note these figures are nameplate (max values).
Average Dutch electricity consumption: 13 GW

The green bars indicate which part of the 2020-target has been realized. The Zeeland province is almost there, Drenthe is lagging behind.

– Offshore windparks Borssele I&II (750 MW) are expected to come online in 2020, Borssele III&IV (750 MW) in 2021.
– Offshore windparks Hollandse Kust Zuid I&II (750 MW) are expected to be completed in 2022.
– After that Hollandse Kust III&IV (750 MW) and Hollandse Kust Noord I&II (750 MW) are next, no closed tenders yet.
– Between 2024-2030 IJmuiden Ver (4 GW) will be next. After 2030, massive expansion further North up until the Doggerbank is definitely an option, enabling the Netherlands to become an energy exporter once again.

By that time storage and energy island will need to be taken into consideration, like a pumped-hydro facility at the Doggerbank and hydrogen electrolysis (cost half a cent per kWh renewable electricity, resulting in a price of stored chemical energy of ca. 6 cent/kWh).

Currently renewable electricity in the Netherlands from solar is 20% of that of wind.

[] – Further growth onshore wind in 2018

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