Similar projects have already been implemented in India.
[pv-magazine.com] – Canal in Spain may host 160 MW solar plant
Oil companies know that their days are numbered… well, as oil companies. So they are facing the choice of either go extinct or reinvent themselves. That’s actually not too difficult a choice to make.
Take Spanish oil and energy giant Repsol. Where northern Europeans are concentrating on their wind resource, Repsol, situated in one of the sunniest countries in Europe, wants to try its luck with our nearest star. Their strategy: try to avoid using solar panels and electrolyzers and use photons for splitting water directly.
In chemistry, photocatalysis is the acceleration of a photoreaction in the presence of a catalyst. In catalysed photolysis, light is absorbed by an adsorbed substrate. In photogenerated catalysis, the photocatalytic activity (PCA) depends on the ability of the catalyst to create electron–hole pairs, which generate free radicals (e.g. hydroxyl radicals: •OH) able to undergo secondary reactions. Its practical application was made possible by the discovery of water electrolysis by means of titanium dioxide (TiO2).
The principle has been known since 1911, discovered by a German scientist Alexander Eibner, when he studied pigments.
However, a breakthrough in photocatalysis research occurred in 1972, when Akira Fujishima and Kenichi Honda discovered electrochemical photolysis of water occurring between connected TiO2 and platinum electrodes, in which ultraviolet light was absorbed by the former electrode, and electrons would flow from the TiO2 electrode (anode; site of oxidation reaction) to the platinum electrode (cathode; site of reduction reaction); with hydrogen production occurring at the cathode. This was one of the first instances in which hydrogen production could come from a clean and cost-effective source.
Repsol is planning to build a 100 kilo/day H2 photocatalytic demo-reactor in Puertollano, Spain and hopes to own a commercially attractive method of producing hydrogen this way by 2030, together with gas grid operator Enagas. Envisioned start date: 2024. By 2028, production should be scaled-up towards 10 tonnes/day. Both companies have secured EU funding for the project.
[repsol.com] – Repsol and Enagás will develop technology to produce renewable hydrogen
[saurenergy.com] – Repsol-Enagas Renewable H2 Project Gets EC’s Financial Backing
[renewablesnow.com] – Repsol, Enagas secure EU funds for photoelectrocatalytic hydrogen production
[rechargenews.com] – ‘Very disruptive’ direct solar-to-hydrogen commercially viable by 2030, says oil group Repsol
[wikipedia.org] – Photocatalysis
[wikipedia.org] – Photocatalytic water splitting
[wikipedia.org] – Repsol
[wikipedia.org] – Enagás
Another major European fossil fuel energy company changes course. This was from 26 November 2020:
Repsol today unveiled its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan which will transform the company in the following years, accelerating the energy transition… The new strategy outlines a challenging roadmap with more ambitious intermediate emissions cuts targets to successfully achieve zero net emissions by 2050. Repsol will decarbonize its asset portfolio and establish a new operating model. The new strategic plan contemplates investment of €18.3 billion between 2021 and 2025, of which €5.5 billion – 30% – will be spent on low-carbon businesses
Repsol S.A. is a Spanish energy and petrochemical company based in Madrid. It is engaged in worldwide upstream and downstream activities. In the 2020 Forbes Global 2000, Repsol was ranked as the 645th-largest public company in the world. It has more than 24,000 employees worldwide. It is vertically integrated and operates in all areas of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.
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.
[upstreamonline.com] – Eni boosts Spanish and French renewable portfolio with ‘strategic’ gigascale buy-ups
[reuters.com] – Eni to buy Italian wind portfolio from Glennmont in green drive
[wikipedia.org] – Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (Eni)
Spanish renewable energy giant Iberdrola teams up with US power company Cummins to set up a 500 MW green hydrogen electrolyser plant in central Spain, with the intention to later expand to 1 GW.
Additionally, the two companies are building a 230 MW green hydrogen plant to produce green hydrogen for an ammonia fertiliser company Fertiberia in Andalusia.
The partnership between Cummins and the Spanish utility giant Iberdrola includes the construction of the 230MW Palos green hydrogen project in Andalusia, Spain, which will supply H2 to the ammonia-based fertiliser company Fertiberia.
As a side-note, there is a “special relationship” developing between Spain and the US in energy matters. Iberdrola is very big on US renewable energy markets, now Cummins is returning the favor and steps in real big in European green hydrogen, for which the US is not yet ready.
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:
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.
[offshorewind.biz] – Constr. Starts on US Largest Offshore Wind Manufacturing Hub
[offshorewind.biz] – Ørsted and EEW Plan Monopile Factory in New Jersey
[maritiemnederland.com] – Heerema bouwt aan eerste grote offshore windpark VS
[Google Maps] – Paulsboro Marine Terminal | Holt Logistics, LLC
[areadevelopment.com] – EEW and Ørsted Plan Paulsboro, New Jersey, Offshore Wind Turbine Component Manufacturing Plant
Siemens-Gamesa has developed an electric-to-thermal energy storage system, that has the potential to repurpose existing fossil fuel power stations, while reusing up to 80% of the existing equipment. The “fuel” this time won’t come from fossil, but from hot stones, the heat of which is used as input for the generators. The stone storage is heated using renewable electricity. The great advantage is that conventional power stations don’t need to be written off prematurely, but will be given a second lease of economic life. A pilot-project in Hamburg-Altenwerder, operational since June 2019, is able to store 130 MWh of heat and return 30 MWh of electricity in return.
Comment: the efficiency is low, but so is the storage cost. This could be especially interesting for locations where renewable electricity is dirt cheap, like solar electricity in the Arabian desert or Australia. The reuse of existing conventional power stations extends their economic life and could be a selling point for this storage technology. For the rest, it needs to compete with hydrogen, pumped hydro, CAES and others, and it will require a financial analysis to make a decision.
[rechargenews.com] – Siemens Gamesa: ‘Our hot rocks can be used as an alternative to green hydrogen for zero-emissions industrial heat’
[rechargenews.com] – Siemens Gamesa: Utilities are lining up for our €40-50/MWh long-duration thermal energy storage
[siemensgamesa.com] – Electric Thermal Energy Storage
[nsenergybusiness.com] – Electric Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) System, Hamburg
[rethinkresearch.biz] – Siemens tries to enter the ETES market, but offers 100% in, 45% out
To illustrate the spectacular growth of wind energy in Europe, the Spanish energy company Iberdrola and largest wind power producer in the world, can point at an offshore wind port folio of a breath-taking 30 GW, pun intended. This is 10% of what the EU hopes to have realized by 2050! The projects are scattered all over Europe: Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Poland, UK and France, as well as the US and Japan.
- Projects target a total investment of approximately EUR 120 million over five years in developments leading to a fully integrated offshore wind-to-hydrogen solution
- Projects are first major step to develop an industrial-scale system capable of harvesting green hydrogen from offshore wind
- Developments will enable decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors such as transport and heavy industry
- Implementation within the framework of the ideas competition “Hydrogen Republic of Germany” of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
[press.siemens-energy.com] – Siemens Gamesa and Siemens Energy to unlock a new era of offshore green hydrogen production
[siemensgamesa.com] – Powered by change: Siemens Gamesa launches 14 MW offshore Direct Drive turbine with 222-meter rotor
Siemens-Gamesa has disclosed its plan to built an offshore wind factory in the French port of Le Havre. Interesting detail is that all elements required to build an offshore wind park, will be produced at one location. The plant is expected to become operational by the end of 2021, early 2022.
Last month, Núñez de Balboa, with 500 MW the largest photo-voltaic plant in Europe, became operational.
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
Air-conditioning, how it all began in 1833 in Florida with John Gorrie.
Ca. 20% of the world’s energy budget is used for cooling, tendency upwards. Today most refrigerators use flammable hydro-fluorocarbons and hydrocarbons as a working fluid, not exactly environmentally friendly. On top of that, cooling efficiency is not stellar either.
Researchers from Spanish and British universities propose to swap the working fluids mentioned above, with inexpensive neopentyl-glycol (NPG), a material that has a crystal structure, that places it between solids and liquids, due to weak bonds between the atoms of the compound. The material can be compressed, almost as if it were a gas, like with conventional refrigerators. Achievable cooling temperatures are comparable with conventional cooling machines.
[sciencedaily.com] – Green material for refrigeration identified
[nature.com] – Colossal barocaloric effects near room temperature in plastic crystals of neopentylglycol
[wikipedia.org] – Refrigeration
[wikipedia.org] – Neopentyl-glycol
It has been reported that plastic crystals of neopentyl glycol exhibit a colossal barocaloric effect (CBCEs), which is a cooling effect caused by pressure-induced phase transitions. The obtained entropy changes are about 389 joules per kilogram per kelvin near room temperature. This CBCE phenomenon is likely to be very useful in future solid-state refrigeration technologies.
A Spanish company called Zero2Infinity prepares to revolutionize the way satellites can be brought into orbit, in a very low-cost and environmentally friendly way: rocket + balloon = rockoon.
Bloostar is a launch vehicle currently in development, intended to compete in the small satellite launch market. It is based on the rockoon concept: the first stage of the ascent is conducted by the use of a high-altitude balloon up to 30 km (19 mi), where the rocket platform is ignited and detached from the balloon to insert the payload into orbit. The design is intended to be capable of delivering a 140 kg payload to a 200-km low Earth orbit, or a 75 kg payload to a 600-km sun-synchronous orbit
In a thinly veiled swipe against Jeff Bezos, the Spanish assert:
From the public to the gurus of aerospace, most people still think that Space will remain the realm of a few superpowers, large defense contractors and the odd billionaire…
It could get very crowded up in the skies.
[zero2infinity] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Zero 2 Infinity
[twitter.com] – Bloostar
[vimeo.com] – Bloostar, the New Space revolution
[zero2infinity] – Bloostar, the physics
[space.com] – Zero 2 Infinity Gets 3D-Printed Engine Part for Bloostar Launch Vehicle
[spacenews.com] – Zero 2 Infinity conducts first flight test of Bloostar balloon-assisted launcher
First test March 2017
Amadeus is a EU project that investigates the potential to store large amounts of energy in high-temperature molten materials, like silicon and boron.
1414 °C is the melting point of silicon. A company in Adelaide, Australia, has named itself 1414 Degrees and claims to have achieved a breakthrough in energy storage by bringing down storage cost per kWh with a factor of 10 compared with lithium-ion. Based on the latent heat in molten silicon. Energy is fed to containers with silicon in order to melt it. Due to the high latent heat capacity of silicon, much energy is stored during the phase change from solid to fluid silicon. A cube with a rib of 70 cm is said to be able to store 500 kWh. Silicon has a density of 2.33 ton/m3. One tone or 429 liter silicon would suffice to power 28 homes for a day. That would amount to 36 times the capacity of a 14-kWh Tesla Powerwall-2 lithium-ion battery. The company however doesn’t target individual households and doesn’t aim to compete with batteries but instead is aiming at “district heating, major industry, electricity producers and suburb-scale residential developments”. At a large scale the claim is that 1 MWh can be stored at the cost of $70,- or 7 cent/kWh. The number of charge/discharge cycles is said to be virtually unlimited.
[amadeus-project.eu] – EU Amadeus project
[puretemp.com] – Extremely high-temperature TES prototype development in Europe
[wikipedia.org] – Thermionic emission
[aip.scitation.org] – Hybrid thermionic-photovoltaic converter
[ec.europa.eu] – What is Horizon 2020?
[cordis.europa.eu] – Next GenerAtion MateriAls and Solid State DevicEs for Ultra High Temperature Energy Storage and Conversion
[renewableenergyworld.com] – Europe to Lead Research Project for Energy Storage in Molten Silicon
[upm.es] – Innovative molten silicon-based energy storage system
[1414degrees.com.au] – Official site
[theengineer.co.uk] – Molten silicon used for thermal energy storage
[wikipedia.org] – Latent heat
[renewableenergyworld.com] – Silicon Energy Storage Technology Scales Up for Commercial Production
[greentechmedia.com] – Startup Says Molten Silicon Will Make Lithium-Ion Storage ‘Uneconomic.’
[nextbigfuture.com] – Molten Silicon thermal energy storage system has higher energy density and ten times lower cost than lithium ion batteries for utility storage
[source] La Mancha, Don Quixote and Windmills. Nobody fighting the Spanish wind mills this time around.
The wind is blowing in the right direction for the European wind industry these days. 3 giant 1.2 GW wind projects have been given the green light, one Spanish onshore in North-East Aragon and two offshore in the North Sea off the coast of England: Hornsea I and East Anglia III, the first with 7MW Siemens wind turbines. The British projects are supposed to be completed by 2020 and 2025 respectively.
[wikipedia.org] – Hornsea Wind Farm
[wikipedia.org] – East Anglia Array
[reuters.com] – ScottishPower Renewables gets planning approval for 1.2 GW offshore windfarm
[genewsroom.com] – Forestalia Selects GE Renewable Energy to Provide 1.2 GW Wind Power in the Largest European Auction to Date
[renewablesnow.com] – Dong makes final investment decision on 1.2-GW wind project off UK
[ge.com] – Generation Next: Wind Already More Powerful Than All Nuclear Plants Combined