Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “Saudi-Arabia”

Lithium Seawater Mining Breakthrough


The size of lithium reserves in the world’s oceans are estimated to be 230 billion tons, that is ca. 5000 times as big as land-based resources. Concentration: 0.17 mg/liter or 0.2 ppm. Chinese scientists, employed by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi-Arabia, have proposed a method for extracting lithium from seawater, a process they claim is economically viable.

To address this issue, the team led by Zhiping Lai tried a method that had never been used before to extract lithium ions. They employed an electrochemical cell containing a ceramic membrane made from lithium lanthanum titanium oxide (LLTO).

Lithium has atom number 3, so is very small. The membrane’s holes are so small that they only let lithium-ions through, propelled by electricity. The lithium-enriched water is further processed in four more steps, to end up with a lithium concentration of 9,000 ppm. Eventually, lithium phosphate is the useful end product. As a bonus, the process delivers hydrogen, chlorine and desalinated water. Electricity cost: $5 per kilo of lithium. The very sunny Red Sea area would be ideal for lithium plants, driven by solar electricity, and is probably the reason why the King Abdullah University funded the research.

[] – ‘Cheap and easy’ method to extract lithium from seawater
[] – Continuous electrical pumping membrane process for seawater lithium mining (Original publication)
[] – Sea4value project site
[] – Brine mining

World Record Low Solar Energy Cost $0.0104/kWh

[source] The 300 MW Sakaka PV IPP project

The Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia has announced the intended construction of a 600 MW Al Shuaiba PV IP project, at a world record low cost of $0.0104/kWh.

As we have noted before, the cost of desert solar electricity is no longer relevant. Relevant is the cost of a “prepackaged kWh” on world markets. Storage, not generation, is the real cost. Think the cost of electrolyzers, conversion of hydrogen into a more convenient chemical form, transport, storage.

[] – Saudi Arabia’s second PV tender draws world record low bid of $0.0104/kWh

Saudi Green Hydrogen Pipe Dreams

Abu Dhabi 2 GW, 1.24 Eurocent/kWh solar power plant. Electricity is already dirt cheap, “too cheap to meter”. The largest cost factor is amortization of the required electrolyzers to transform the supply of solar electricity intro hydrogen.

Saudi-Arabia wants to build a green-hydrogen pipeline to Europe.

Based on the fact that it is not possible to generate a cheaper kWh than with photo-voltaic solar in the desert (currently 1.24 cent/kWh), Saudi plans to become a major hydrogen deliverer to Europe are entirely realistic. Not sure about that pipeline though. Which route, pray tell? Alternatively, hydrogen could be transported by ship or converted into a storage form that is easier to handle.

However, the idea to produce cheap hydrogen in the desert, should be promoted. It is the cornerstone of the German hydrogen strategy, to concentrate on producing electrolyzer equipment and leave the production of hydrogen to those countries that can produce hydrogen in the cheapest way. Note that a solar panel generates roughly twice as much electricity in the desert as in NW-Europe, so why bother littering over-populated countries like Germany and the Netherlands with solar panels and onshore wind, if somebody else can produce energy much cheaper. For security reasons, the EU should indeed produce a minimum amount itself, but not everything. Additionally, this strategy is perfect to help poor African countries to serious money for the first time, enabling them to buy our products. Win-win. For security reasons, supply of hydrogen should be distributed equally over many producers, not to make yourself vulnerable to boycotts and blackmail.

[] – Saudi Arabia ‘could pipe green hydrogen to Europe to keep leading energy role’
[] – Saudi Arabia offers Europe ‘green’ hydrogen by pipeline
[deepresource] – Germany Embraces the Hydrogen Economy
[deepresource] – German-Moroccan Hydrogen Agreement

Neom the Line, a City 170 km Long

Saudi-Arabia is drawing a Line in the sand and plans a new car-free Metropolis called Neom, in the shape of a 170 km long line. The Line. Population 1 million. A 500 billion, zero-emission city. There will be no streets. Everything is walkable within 20 minutes, for longer distances there is the metro and underground traffic. Above the ground, cyclists and pedestrians only. Construction will start 2021-Q1.

4GW Renewable Storage Project in Saudi-Arabia


The Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia has given the green light to a huge renewable energy storage project. Price tag: $5B. Location: NEOM (NW KSA). NEOM intends to become a global hydrogen hub, well, in the form of ammonia (NH3). Input: 4GW from solar and wind. Production: 650 tons H2 per day through electrolysis (Thyssen-Krupp technology, Germany). Nitrogen (N2) will be produced from air using Air Products technology (USA), resulting in 1.2 million tons/year of green ammonia (NH3) using Haldor Topsoe technology (Denmark). The project is scheduled to become on-line in 2025.

[] – $5bn deal sealed for green hydrogen-based ammonia production facility in NEOM
[] – World’s largest green hydrogen project will convert renewable energy to ammonia then back to hydrogen
[deepresource] – Ammonia posts

Read more…

3 GWh Redox-Flow Battery Plant Planned for Saudi-Arabia

The JV aims to become a global technology leader and champion in the fast-growing utility-scale energy storage segment, supporting the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification objectives. With R&D facilities in Germany and Saudi Arabia, the JV plans to set-up a GW scale manufacturing facility in the Kingdom, expected to be in production in 2021. The JV’s strategy for developing value chain integrated production will allow it to achieve global cost leadership.

[] – Everflow JV to manufacture Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB) in KSA
[] – A 3 GWh redox flow battery factory in Saudi Arabia
[] – Vanadium redox battery

9% Efficiency Solar-to-Hydrogen with InGaP/GaAs

Splitting water molecules in an electrolyser is one of the best known methods to create hydrogen and is the main focus in a global research effort to solve the storage problem of highly intermittent renewable electricity. Once that problem will be solved, nothing will stand in the way of a total victory of clean renewable energy over fossil and nuclear fuel.

A less known method to create hydrogen is via photoelectrochemistry, that is creating hydrogen from direct conversion of sun light.

Photoelectrochemistry is a subfield of study within physical chemistry concerned with the interaction of light with electrochemical systems. It is an active domain of investigation… The interest in this domain is high in the context of development of renewable energy conversion and storage technology…

Photoelectrochemistry has been intensively studied in the field of hydrogen production from water and solar energy. The photoelectrochemical splitting of water was historically discovered by Fujishima and Honda in 1972 onto TiO2 electrodes. Recently many materials have shown promising properties to split efficiently water but TiO2 remains cheap, abundant, stable against photo-corrosion. The main problem of TiO2 is its bandgap which is 3 or 3.2 eV according to its crystallinity (anatase or rutile). These values are too high and only the wavelength in the UV region can be absorbed. To increase the performances of this material to split water with solar wavelength, it is necessary to sensitize the TiO2. Currently Quantum Dots sensitization is very promising but more research is needed to find new materials able to absorb the light efficiently.

Saudi-Arabian-funded research has led to the following results:

Here, we present a simple and efficient strategy for III-V-based photoelectrodes that functionally and spatially decouples the light harvesting component of the device from the electrolysis part that eliminates parasitic light absorption, reduces the cost, and enhances the stability without any compromise in efficiency. The monolithically integrated PEC cell was fabricated by an epitaxial lift-off and transfer of inversely grown InGaP/GaAs to a robust Ni-substrate and the resultant photoanode exhibits an STH efficiency of ~9% with stability ~150 h. Moreover, with the ability to access both sides of the device, we constructed a fully-integrated, unassisted-wireless “artificial leaf” system with an STH efficiency of ~6%. The excellent efficiency and stability achieved herein are attributed to the light harvesting/catalysis decoupling scheme, which concurrently improves the optical, electrical, and electrocatalytic characteristics.

[] – An efficient and stable photoelectrochemical system with 9% solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency via InGaP/GaAs double junction
[] – Photoelectrochemistry
[deepresource] – Record Solar Hydrogen Yield with Concentrated Sunlight

[] – Photoelectrochemical Solar Fuel Production
[] – Photochemical Water Splitting
[] – Advances in Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

New Utility Solar Price Record


A developer of a 300 MW solar park in Saudi-Arabia, Masdar/Abu Dhabi, is willing to accept the world record low price of 1.79 dollar cent/kWh. There were initially 27 applicants for this tender.

[] – Nieuw record: Zonnestroom tegen 1,5 eurocent/kWh voor Saudi’s

Saudi-Arabia 10% Renewable in 2023

Ask people which country they identify most with oil, chances are they will answer “Saudi-Arabia”. Yet this country of 33 million inhabitants has announced that it wants to invest a majestic sum of $30-50 billion until 2023 and realize 10 GW in renewable energy capacity, or 10% share of the overall electricity budget, up from less than 1% now. Even oil champ Saudi-Arabia is investing huge sums of money in oil’s successor. It is difficult to find a better indicator that the end of oil age is in sight.

[] – Saudi Arabia to invest $30-50bn in renewable energy by 2023
[] – Energy in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Oil Minister Announces Russian-Saudi Petroleum Alliance

petroleum-alliance[source] Putin and Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman

Russian-Saudi thaw. Last year September there were rumors/conspiracy theories that the oil price crash was the work of Saudi-Arabia, that had turned the tap open full blast after instructions consultations with US foreign minister John – where’s my bike? – Kerry. Purpose: hurt Russia with low oil prices.

Whatever the truth of that, those were the days that are no more [Alfred, Lord Tennyson]. This is 2015 and Saudi Arabia is a little bit angry with the US, that all of a sudden plays nice with Iran. And what do jealous lovers do? Right, they pick up the phone and call an old lover, the one lover Saudi-Arabia knows the US hates most: Ivan, just to rub it in.

The two new found partners inked six deals concerning oil cooperation, space cooperation, peaceful nuclear energy cooperation, and nuclear technology sharing.

Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi made an interesting remark:

“I am optimistic about the future of the market in the coming months in terms of the continuing improvement and increasing global demand for oil as well as the low level of commercial inventories.” This, the minister said, “is expected to improve the level of prices.”

“Improving oil prices” from the point of view of oil producers probably means “increasing oil prices”.

Editor: we hope and also expect that oil prices will increase soon, because peak oil is finally upon us. We need higher oil prices to ensure that sun and wind remain competitive and that the transition momentum doesn’t stall. And furthermore we want to see a Russia with a full purse, if necessary at the cost of Europe. Not because we are traitors to the European cause, we are merely traitors to the West, which we want to see blown up, to pave the way for Paris-Berlin-Moscow and the resurrection of European civilization at the end of the age of globalism and Anglo-Soviet 20th century. And old, ‘backward Russia’ all of a sudden has found new strength and has become European avant-garde.

[] – Russia and Saudi Arabia ink nuclear energy deal
[] – Saudi’s star prince keeps rising, visits Putin in Petersburg
[] – Saudi Arabia and Russia Ink Six New Deals, Embark on New ‘Petroleum Alliance’

Saudi Arabia Won’t Rule Out Building Nuclear Weapons

[] – Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons

Editor: Saudi-Arabia clearly feels cornered. It is unlikely that Saudi-Arabia is able to build a bomb without outside help. The US won’t be that stupid, now will they?

US #1 Gas Jockey Dies

Can’t make this stuff up: in king Abdullah’s Saudi-Arabia, the punishment for adultery is stoning to death. That’s a narrow escape then for Charlie and Camilla. It also illustrates that political opportunism (read: fossil fuel) always trumps moral principles.

King Abdullah is dead. Long live the king (Salman).

What’s the difference again between ISIS and Saudi-Arabia? Spoiler: none. Not that we care. We see fundamentalist Islam as a perfect container to keep the Arab IQ85 crowd locked up safely into their own territories, after making themselves impossible in Europe with their archaic mindset, so our resident nihilistic 1968 lefties have insurmountable trouble ‘integrating‘ these chaps into Europe and ruin that once magnificent civilization in the process. Way to go ISIS/Saudi-Arabia! Chop-chop! And give the American neo-bolsheviks and their wannabee world empire the finger.

US Defense Secretary Hagel: “King Abdullah was a powerful voice for tolerance, moderation and peace”. In the light of what happened in Syria, with strong Saudi involvment, this is quite a statement. Anglo politicians can be a little hypocritical at times.

Buckingham Palace is mourning. British are traditionally fond of humor.

Short history of Saudi-Arabia.

The most important thing in the life of a Brit is that the German doesn’t win. If that comes with the ruination of the British empire, so be it. That explains to a large extent WW1, WW2, the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe, oh and the existence of Saudi-Arabia.

The territory of what is now known as Saudi-Arabia, was part of the Ottoman-empire, before British and French imperialists showed up in the Middle-East. The Germans tried to circumvent the Suez-canal by building a railway between Berlin and the Middle-East, but the British did not like that and tried to sabotage the project. Key element of the British grand strategy was to destroy the German WW1 Ottoman ally by promoting independence of Arabia from the Turks. That’s where ‘Lawrence of Arabia‘ came in. This fine British homosexual managed to promote himself as the leader of the Arab tribes and set them up against the Turks, and yet avoided getting himself stoned because of his sexual preferences.

In order to achieve his aim, Lawrence used the most archaic and martial tribe he could find, the Wahabist Sauds. In 1918 WW1 came to and end and the Turks lost control over Arabia. Finally in 1932 Saudi Arabia came into being. And then the British made a catastrophic mistake by failing to realize that Saudi-Arabia had the world’s largest oil reserves and snubbed the Saudi request to support oil exploiration in their new country. The Americans however did. And the rest is history.

[] – Pepe Escobar – What Game is the House of Saud Playing?
[] – Huge backlash after British monarchy homors Saudi Dictator King
[] – The king is dead

Read more…

Her Majesty’s Fool, Sir Lancelot Oliphant


In 1932 a shabby group of Arabian camel-driver-look-alikes paid a visit to the British Foreign Office with the request to invest in drilling for oil in Arabia. The Arabs had strong preference for the British, the super power at the time (until they committed suicide when they obeyed the Americans to declare war on Germany, that was in dispute with Poland over the German town of Danzig, so the Americans and Soviets could take over Europe, but we digress). The British however concentrated on recent oil finds in Persia and Mesopotamia and the serving mandarin sir Lancelot Oliphant said ‘no’.

Oliphant chose to slam an open door. He replied that “British firms might hesitate to accept a report not drawn up by a British expert”, and expressed doubt “as to the readiness of British firms to sink capital in a little-known country at the present time”.

Two weeks after the British rejection, the Americans discovered oil in Bahrain, off the Saudi coast. Saudi-Arabia, the future largest oil producer of the planet, would be firm in the American pocket, until today.

[] – The diplomat who said ‘No’ to Saudi oil

Editor: without this fatal decision it is unlikely that the Americans could have pumped as many (petro) dollars into the world’s financial system as they managed to do, until the inevitable moment will arrive when the world’s factory China will decide that they have enough dollars and decide to dump the dollar by sending them back to sender and the dollars will rain over America like in a giant ticker tape parade.


BBC – Inside the Saudi Kingdom

Saudi-Arabia is competing with Russia for the title of the world’s largest oil exporter. The BBC gives us an intimate insight into this Kingdom. Youtube text: Lionel Mill’s film has unique access to Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen, one of the rulers of the rich, powerful and secretive Saudi royal family. This is a fascinating insight into the conflicts between tradition and modernity in one of the world’s most conservative and autocratic countries.

The Future Of Saudi-Arabia

Saudi-Arabia announced it wants to invest massively in solar energy. Saudi-Arabia knows best how much oil it has (or rather does not have)… and is voting with it’s feet, away from oil towards solar energy. Lawrence of Arabia probably never realized how much potential solar energy gold is stored in deserts when he was underway securing oil for his masters in London, knowing that the days of the Ottoman empire were almost over.

We calculated earlier that it is enough to cover an area like Spain (500,000 km2) with solar panels in order to completely replace the planet’s energy needs. Everything: electricity, gas, oil, coal, uranium, cars, industry, everything. How big is Saudi-Arabia? More than four times Spain (2,250,000 km2), largely ‘useless’ desert. Saudi-Arabia now has two choices: sell their oil to the last drop or invest their remaining oil capital into a desert filled with solar panels… and export electricity to the West, China, India, etc. Or convert electricity into liquid fuel or gas. CH4/NG could be produced from CO2 and H2O from the atmosphere, reducing global warming. The Saudi’s could even demand a subsidy from the industrialized nations for this effort. It is the only use a desert could possibly have. And in contrast to Egypt or Algeria, Saudi-Arabia has the capital to convert this potential into (partial) reality. Maybe some Saudi smarties thought of that also and decided to make a start. There is a large uncertainty about how much oil Saudi-Arabia in reality has left. Maybe 270 billion barrel. It would take 120 billion barrel to setup a complete replacement of the world’s energy needs and Saudi-Arabia could continue to play a crucial role as the world’s energy hub. Cutting down on oil deliveries would have the additional advantage that oil prices would skyrocket. That would be bad news for western consumers, but good news for the future of the planet if these additional resources would indeed be used to set up a new solar energy based world economy. Obviously it is not to be recommended that all global solar energy production would be concentrated in the Saudi desert, but Saudi-Arabia at least has the (oil) capital to make a significant start, securing a prominent place for itself after the end of the oil age. The popular Arab saying: “My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet-plane. His son will ride a camel“, could be replaced with: “My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet-plane. His son will be a solar energy entrepreneur“. Other suitable places would be Australia, the Gobi desert in China, Arizona and New Mexico, the Kalahari in South-West Africa, large parts of Spain as well as the Sahara.

Why not use google maps (satellite mode) to explore the SA desert to verify it is empty.

Mecca To Become First Solar City In Saudi Arabia

Mecca, the birthplace of Muhammad, and Islam’s holiest city, has plans to become the first city in Saudi Arabia to run completely on solar power. The Saudi Arabian government has said that it will invest $109 billion to establish a strong solar industry across the nation. The King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy program is the jewel in this crown, and aims to develop 41 gigawatts of solar capacity over the next 20 years. 25 gigawatts will be installed in the form of solar thermal plants, and the remaining 16 gigawatts will be supplied by photovoltaic panels.


Saudi-Arabian Oilfields

The article discusses the the world’s largest offshore field Safaniya.
Map “Saudi oil production, by field, in 1994” from Matt Simmons, “Twilight in the Desert”.


Saudi Arabia eyes $109bn plan for solar industry

Saudi Arabia is seeking investors in a $109bn plan to create a solar industry that generates a third of the nation’s electricity within two decades, according to officials at the government agency developing the plan.The world’s largest crude oil exporter aims to have 41,000 megawatts of solar capacity by 2032. This would be equivalent with 523,000 barrels of oil a day. Plan: 25,000 megawatts from solar thermal plants, which use mirrors (CSP) and 16,000 megawatts from photovoltaic panels.

It is difficult to imagine a clearer indication that oil is running out than this investment plan by what was for a long time the largest oil province of the planet.


KSA unrest set to trigger oil price hike

Western sources have dismissed reports from Iran as unreliable, namely that attacks have been carried out on major pipelines in Saudi-Arabia. However…

Read more…

Saudi oil reserves possibly 40% overstated

Leaked diplomatic cables from US ambassy in Riyadh. Official reserves: 716 billion barrels. In reality reserves are 40% overestimated according to senior expert.
P.S. video is one year old.

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