Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “UK”

Winlaton-UK Hydrogen Pilot

Winlaton, near Newcastle-UK, has been selected for a hydrogen demonstration project that will involve 650 homes. Hydrogen will be mixed with natural gas and its share increased from initially 2% to 20% in the coming days. This share of 20% can be accomplished without having to adapt current infrastructure.

If successful, the experiment will be rolled out over the rest of the UK, as hydrogen becomes available.

[] – Village becomes first in the country to burn HYDROGEN in boilers and hobs in trial that could be rolled out to millions of homes in next few years

Read more…

UK Considering Highway Overhead Powerlines

Overhead power lines for trucks on the A5, south of Frankfurt.

Lorries powered by overhead electric cables could run on Britain’s motorways as part of a push to ‘decarbonise’ road freight. A trial scheme has been proposed for a 12-mile stretch of the M180 near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, which would receive £2million of government funding and could be operational by 2024.

Highway overhead power lines make perfect sense, not in the least because there will be no NIMBYs around, to protest against these stealth power lines, a major problem, especially in Germany. Also, from an energy efficiency point of view, this is excellent. Sending electricity from wind turbines or solar panels directly towards e-engines, can happen almost without losses. Trucks merely need small batteries to bridge the distance between warehouse and highway; no need for massive amount of charging stations either. All it takes is the electrification of the existing national highway system

[] – The truck that thinks it’s a tram! Lorries could run on overhead power lines motorways in latest green bid to ‘decarbonise’ road freight
[] – Electric road
[] – Trolleytruck
[] – Im Oberleitungs-Lkw über die A1: Erstaunlich unspektakulär
[] – Elektro-Highway im Vollbetrieb

Another example in Germany: the A1, north of Hamburg.

Example in Sweden. In all cases mentioned, Siemens plays a major part.

Time-lapse Turbine Installation at Vattenfall’s EOWDC OWF

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), also known as the Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm is an offshore wind test and demonstration facility located around 3 kilometres off the east coast of Aberdeenshire, in the North Sea, Scotland. It was developed by the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre consortium. The scheme is relatively small – it consists of 11 wind turbines with an installed capacity of 93.2 megawatts. It is located between Blackdog and Bridge of Don near Aberdeen. First power was generated in July 2018,[6] with full commissioning following in September 2018

[] – European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre
[] – European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre

The Future of the North Sea, Europe’s Largest Power Plant

Youtube text “Into Europe”:

Into Europe: The North Sea is turning into Europe’s largest power plant, with massive wind farms being built all across the North Sea. While oil and gas extraction and fishing have historically played a huge role in the region, their importance is set to be dwarfed by the creation of massive wind farms in the North Sea.

Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany are set to build a series of wind farms that will change the way the North sea operates. The creation of energy islands and hubs will turn the region into a center for Europe’s energy transition.

What role will the North Sea play in Europe’s future?

Cambridge-UK Autonomous Shuttle Trial

Youtube text:

Aurrigo, which has been hugely instrumental in the development of ‘first and last mile’ transport solutions, will become the first firm in the country to undertake testing of a custom-made autonomous vehicle capable of carrying passengers on a main road surrounded by other traffic, including cars, lorries, vans, bikes and pedestrians.

Able to seat 10 people outside of social distancing restrictions, the three shuttles will take passengers from the Madingley Road Park and Ride site to and around the University of Cambridge’s West Campus.

The trial is part of an Innovate UK and Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV)-backed project, led by Aurrigo with Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and Smart Cambridge all working together to explore how autonomous technology could be used on the public transport network.

“Offshore Wind Should Go Vertical”

Offshore vertical axis wind turbines are more efficient, if placed in a grid, than horizontal axis turbines. They reduce turbulence behind the rotor and enforce each other, if placed in proximity, increasing performance up to 15%. The study results are based on computer simulations.

[] – Vertical turbines could be the future for wind farms
[] – More Compact and Efficient Vertical Turbines Could Be the Future for Wind Farms
[] – Vertical Turbines More Efficient in Large Scale Wind Farms – Oxford Brookes University

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Scottish Whitelee Wind Farm to Produce Green Hydrogen

The output of the 2009 Scottish onshore 540 MW wind farm Whitelee is going to be partially used as input for a green hydrogen production plant.

The project – a planning application for which has been submitted by the Spanish utility through its ScottishPower subsidiary with gases giant BOC and electrolysis pioneer ITM Power – would encompass 40MW of PV, a 50MW battery and a 20MW electrolyser, sited near Whitelee, one of Europe’s largest wind power projects.

[] – Scotland’s giant Whitelee wind farm in frame to power hybrid Iberdrola hydrogen complex
[] – Whitelee Wind Farm

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VirtuPVT Hybrid Solar

Basically a form of PVT:

Regarding PV Cell Efficiency at High Temperatures, Nicholas Simmons from Naked Energy has this to say: “PV cells regularly get to very high temperatures. If you return to your car on a hot summers day you know how hot it can be. A conventional PV module traps the cells behind glass and lets them bake in the sun. When a solar panel is made the temperatures used in the lamination process go up to something like 150C. As mentioned the efficiency of a solar cell drops off as temperature rises – this is known as the temperature coefficient and is published on the data sheets that go with PV modules. A conventional solar module has no way of losing heat other than through convection, but at the height of summer with no breeze and high ambient temperatures there is very little cooling going on. There is a lot of academic research out there discussing this. The virtuPVT heat exchanger as described in the video is constantly taking heat away to be used for other heating / hot water / process heat. Consequently a virtuPVT collector can actually be cooler than a normal PV module under the same circumstances.

[] – Company site
[] – Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collector

EU to Become #1 in Car Battery Production by 2030

Most car batteries are currently produced in China, South-Korea, Japan and the US. The EU is lagging behind with 7% market share. The signs are that this could change drastically and that by 2030, Europe will be market leader with 31% (Bloomberg). Reason: the huge investment sums, European car companies are willing to commit. This could lead to 90% battery self-sufficiency for cars produced in Europe in 2030.

Within Europe, Germany is expected to lead, before France and the UK. This market share will be realized in no less than 27 car battery factories that are being planned, c.q. build today.

Especially Volkswagen stands out as the likely winner in the e-revolution.

[] – Warum Deutschland Batterie-Champion für Elektroautos werden könnte
[deepresource] – E-Vehicles 2025 – and the Winner is… Volkswagen!

Floating Wind Park Hywind Capacity Factor 57%

The capacity factor of a wind turbine is the ratio between the real average power produced over a certain amount of time and the name plate power, that is the power the turbine can produce under optimal conditions.

Spectacular yield reported from the world’s first floating offshore wind park Hywind Scotland: capacity factor of 57.1% over 12 months of operation, up until March 2020, realized with 5 Siemens 6 MW turbines. Hywind Scotland is operational since 2017. Note that the larger the wind turbine, the higher the capacity factor. In 2021, 6 MW is considered “mid-sized”. The latest Borssele offshore wind park is equipped with Siemens 8 MW machines. Both Vestas and Siemens-Gamesa have presented 15 MW models.

The next floating wind project is the 88 MW Tampen, offshore the Norwegian coast.

[] – World’s First Floating Wind Farm Best Performer in UK
[] – Hywind Scotland
[] – Hywind Tampen
[] – Floating wind turbine
[deepresource] – Offshore Wind Capacity Factors

Location Hywind Scotland

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Highview Power Cryogenic Energy Storage

In isolation the process is only 25% efficient, but this is increased to around 50% when used with a low-grade cold store, such as a large gravel bed, to capture the cold generated by evaporating the cryogen. The cold is re-used during the next refrigeration cycle.

Efficiency is further increased when used in conjunction with a power plant or other source of low-grade heat that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere. Highview Power claims an AC to AC round-trip efficiency of 70%, by using an otherwise waste heat source at 115 °C. The IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers) agrees that these estimates for a commercial-scale plant are realistic. However this number was not checked or confirmed by independent professional institutions.

Highview’s CRYOBattery™ technology uses low-cost electricity to cool air to -196 °C, reducing it to a liquid 1/700th the volume. At times of high demand for electricity, when prices are typically high, the liquid is expanded through a turbine to generate electricity, free of combustion and the resultant emissions. The process can utilise waste heat and waste cold to boost efficiency. The system utilises standard equipment from sectors like Liquified Natural Gas…

The market leader in build-anywhere long-duration energy storage, Highview Power, now has more than a dozen firm projects in its pipeline, adding up to roughly 400MW/4GWh, the company’s chief executive reveals to Recharge.

Eight of these will enter the execution phase this year or next, in addition to the 50MW/250MWh project currently under construction in Manchester, England, explains Javier Cavada.

And the company has more than 60 further projects in its pipeline. “In the US, we have over 40 projects between early development to late development across the whole country,” he says. “In Chile, we have two. In Spain, we have 14 including the Canaries. In the UK, we have 11 plus the 12th is the one that is under construction.

[] – Long-duration energy storage goes mainstream as Highview Power lines up ‘very high returns’ from 400MW of projects
[] – Highview Power
[] – Cryogenic energy storage

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Nuclear Power Dead as a Brick

After the Japanese had withdrawn from building nuclear infrastructure in the UK, EDF of France is willing to do the job of building Sizewell C, price tag £25bn for 3.2 GW. Except, the financier L&G Capital got wet feet and refuses to fund the project. Reason:

Responding to enquiries by The Independent, an L&G spokesperson said: “As we transition to a net zero carbon world, Legal & General Capital is playing an important role in investing in renewable infrastructure and clean technology across low-carbon heat, transport, and power generation.

Translation: oil, gas and nuclear simply lost to renewable energy, because of price and because renewables won the PR-battle.


[] – Investors ‘shun’ Sizewell C nuclear power station project
[] – Sizewell C nuclear power station
[deepresource] – UK Probably Opts for New Nuclear Power Station
[deepresource] – Lazard – Renewable Energy Cheapest by Far

Great Potential for Pumped Hydro in Scotland

A new study points at the great potential for pumped hydro storage in the Scottish Highlands.

Power by 2050: 4.5 GW
Saving potential: £700m a year

[] – Highlands jobs in prospect if power plant project goes ahead
[] – Coire Glas Pumped-Hydro Scheme
[Google Maps] – Loch Lochy

Hornsea 1.4 GW Ofshore Wind Farm on Track

The construction of what will be the largest wind farm in the world (1.4 GW), is on track to be completed in 2022. The Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm will comprise 165 Siemens-Gamesa 8 MW turbines and installed 89 km NE of Grimsby in the UK by the Belgian installer ship “Innovation” from DEME. Already 20% of the foundations are in place and the first turbines can be installed.

Next are Hornsea 3 (2.4 GW, 2025) and Hornsea 4 (2027). The exact size is unknown as the available turbines get bigger and bigger.

[] – Hornsea Wind Farm
[] – Construction of World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Stays On Track

Bidding Started for 8 GW UK Offshore Wind Tender

Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 creates the opportunity for at least 7 GW of new offshore wind projects in the waters around England and Wales by the end of the decade. That’s enough to power more than six million homes and deliver a step-change in the UK’s journey to net zero by 2050.

Round 4 has the potential to further strengthen the UK’s world leading offshore wind sector, create jobs and investment, and deliver green, reliable, affordable energy to millions more homes. It’s part of our commitment to supporting the UK’s low-carbon future while ensuring we maintain our healthy, biodiverse seas.

The projects identified through this process will join a strong pipeline of UK offshore windfarms already in operation, construction and planning, and will help put the UK on track to meet the government target for 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.

[] – Official site
[] – Bidding Starts on UK Offshore Wind Seabed Rights

Heerema – “Don’t Hammer but Screw and Push!”

Sleipnir, a Heerema’s crane ship, one of the largest in the world. You can accuse Heerema of a lot, but not that they are subtle.

Dutch offshore contractor Heerema and the university of Dundee have developed a method to make loud hammering of monopiles into the seabed superfluous and replace it with a more silent “push-and-screw” method. Marine life in the North Sea and elsewhere will be grateful for it.

[] – Heerema Developing Silent Foundations
[] – Heerema developing Silent Foundation Concepts Technology in coordination with the University of Dundee
[] – Screw piles
[] – Research project to lay foundations for offshore wind farms

1 MW ITM Electrolyser in Groningen-NL

Linde & ITM Building 24 MW Electrolyzer


In the world of renewable, if it isn’t “the largest in the world”, it doesn’t count, so fast are developments going. Take the (originally) German industrial gas company Linde:

Linde announced it will build, own and operate the world’s largest PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyzer plant at the Leuna Chemical Complex in Germany.

The new 24-megawatt electrolyzer will produce green hydrogen to supply Linde’s industrial customers through the company’s existing pipeline network. In addition, Linde will distribute liquefied green hydrogen to refueling stations and other industrial customers in the region. The total green hydrogen being produced can fuel approximately six hundred fuel cell buses, driving 40 million kilometers and saving up to 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions per year.

The electrolyzer will be built by ITM Linde Electrolysis GmbH, a joint venture between Linde and ITM Power, using high-efficiency PEM technology. The plant is due to start production in the second half of 2022.

The electrolyzer technology will be provided by ITM-UK, Linde does the handling of the H2 after production.

ITM Power moved into their 1GW per annum factory in January 2021. The factory is at Bessemer Park in Sheffield, UK, a new build development of 134,000 square feet. The manufacturing facility has an electrolyser manufacturing capacity of up to 1GW (1,000MW) per annum, the largest in the world.

[] – Linde to Build World’s Largest PEM Electrolyzer for Green H2
[] – Linde to build ‘world’s largest electrolyser’ to produce green H2
[] – Linde plc
[] – ITM Power

This is an ITM 2019 presentation on the 10 MW Shell electrolyzer at the Hanover Fair

New 2021 ITM electrolyzer production plant in Sheffield-UK, capacity 1 GW/year. Renewable storage going mainstream.

European Renewable Success in the US – “Seven Brothers?”


The Seven Sisters were the seven, globally acting, mainly Anglo oil companies; the giants of the now outgoing oil and gas age. Who is going to replace them? How about ca. seven, mainly continental European, renewable energy companies? Companies like Vestas, Siemens-Gamesa, Ørsted, Enel, Shell, Total, Equinor, Engie, EnBW, RWE, van Oord, Gas-Unie, SiF, EEW, Bladt Industries, Stattkraft, Fred Olsen, Nel Hydrogen, DEME, ITM-Linde, Vattenfall, Air Liquide, Iberdrola, BP and many others, who can be expected to merge in the coming decades.

[] – U.S. Lagging Far Behind Europe On Renewables
[] – 7 European Companies Go Big in US Clean Power in 2020
[] – NYC 2.5 GW Offshore Wind Push for Equinor and BP
[] – ENGIE Installed 2 GW Renewable Energy in US in 2020
[] – Seven Sisters (oil companies)
[] – Up to one trillion for renewable electricity: energy companies plan record investments

Shell Peak Oil was 2019. Quo Vadis?

Royal Dutch Shell has announced that it will reduce oil production and that Shell oil production will never top the amount produced in 2019. Hence, Shell peak oil supply was 2019. The company intends to layoff 7-9000 people in the coming 2 years.

So what is next, for the Anglo-Dutch oil giant? Preparing for the retirement home? Not so fast, say many organizations in the Netherlands. Shell is an incredible competent company, that should play a major role in the energy transition. For that purpose it needs to reinvent itself. Shell already said it wants to become “greener”, wants to reduce the carbon-intensity of its products by 35% in 2035. The EU has as its target to increase offshore wind from 12 GW now to 300 GW in 2050 or 10 GW per year. If you realize that Vestas produced 13 GW capacity and Siemens-Gamesa 9 GW, it’s obvious that that goal is realistic. Many want to see that Shell takes over a third manufacturer. With Vestas worth $30B and Siemens-Gamesa $20B, a takeover by Shell would be doable, provided it doesn’t wait too long. Both Vestas and Siemens-Gamesa saw their worth double or more in a single year.

[] – Shell gaat olieproductie verminderen: ‘Nooit meer zo veel als in 2019’
[] – Shell, neem ‘t voortouw en word echt groen

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