Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “UK”

Thin Film Solar 21% Efficiency with Nanotexturing

Researchers from Amolf, Surrey University and Imperial College have found a way to drastically increase the light absorption of silicon films. Using rationally designed nanotextures, they had a 1 μm thick crystalline silicon layer absorb 66.5 percent of solar light – very close to the theoretical maximum of 70 percent. Untextured, the same film would absorb only 25 percent. Adding a back-reflector and improving antireflection measures, the researchers estimate a 1 μm thick Si cells could attain an efficiency above 21 percent.

[] – Nanotexturing lifts thin-film Si solar efficiency to 21+ percent
[] – Corporate site
[] – AMOLF
[] – Record efficiencies in thin film photovoltaic cells
[] – Nanotextured surface

Liquid Air Batteries Could Displace Lithium Ion Batteries

[] – Liquid Air Energy Storage
[] – Construction begins on world’s biggest liquid air battery
[] – Market Prospects Heating Up for Cryogenic Energy Storage

Brexit Fallout – France Cancels Subsea Interconnectors

[] -France suspends 4.8-GW subsea transmission project to UK – The Connexion
[] – France Rejects Power Cable to U.K. Due to Brexit Uncertainty

4.8 GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm – 2026 World’s Largest

The finance of the project is coordinated by BNP Paribas, the largest bank in the eurozone.

[] – BNP Paribas
[] – Dogger Bank Wind Farm

Rolls Royce Small Modular Reactor

Nuclear power has been around for decades but it’s never achieved the global dominance of the energy sector that its creators envisioned. Now, as the world moves away from fossil fuels, the nuclear debate is firmly back in focus and Small Modular Reactors are being touted as the only zero carbon baseload solution to our climate crisis. Rolls Royce say they’ll have their design operational within ten years. Can they do it, and do we want it?

[] – Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Are Mostly Bad Policy

Exit Royal Dutch Shell

Rather unexpectedly, Royal Dutch Shell has announced it wants to leave the Netherlands and move to Britain and change its name from “Royal Dutch Shell” to plainly “Shell”. 114 years of Dutch oil exploration and exploitation, that began in the Dutch East Indies, come to an abrupt end. This means quite a bloodletting for the Dutch Treasury, think hundreds of millions. But most of the 8500 jobs will remain in the Netherlands, only the managers will move to London, “less than 10 people”. The shareholders have yet to approve.

Motivations? The refusal of the Dutch government to cancel the dividend tax may have played a role. Shell says that it wants to streamline its business and that dual nationality makes operations more complex. I personally think that Shell is not so much leaving the Netherlands, but rather the EU and its fossil-fuel-free-in-1-generation policy. For the same reason, it is not so much moving to Brexit-Britain, but rather to the more fossil-fuel-friendly Anglo-Saxon world. Attempts by Dutch clubs like “Follow This”, to turn Shell in a renewable energy company, have failed dramatically. Perhaps that for Shell, the business climate in the UK is friendlier, where there will be no Dutch judges, forcing the company to reduce emissions or no Dutch pension funds, implicitly declaring Shell a pariah, by withdrawing entirely from the fossil fuel business.

How to judge this development? Well, if you say “A”, you need to say “B” too. We want to get rid of fossil fuel and, by implication, in the end we want to get rid of the business of Shell. Shell kept the honor to itself and dumped the Netherlands before the Netherlands dumped Shell, so be it. Geopolitically, the Netherlands just became less Anglo and more continental European, a development that began in earnest after WW2, when the Dutch played a significant role in initiating the European project. This is a good development, because Europe is the future, where the Anglos are about to step down from planetary pole position.

What is going to replace Shell?

How about Royal Dutch Gasunie? Or rather, skipping the English, the language of the 20th century and opt for: Koninklijke Nederlandse Gasunie. Gasunie served the Netherlands well with its natural gas exploration and distribution, now it intends to become a big player in the hydrogen business. The Netherlands has an extremely strong entrepreneurial tradition. If we could create a global player like Royal Dutch Shell, we can do that again with Gasunie.

Shell is dead, long live Gasunie!

[source] Gasunie HQ Groningen.

[] – Na Unilever vertrekt ook Shell. Hoe erg is dat voor Nederland?
[] – Shell wil niet langer ‘Royal Dutch’ zijn en wordt Brits
[] – Minister hails ‘vote of confidence’ for Brexit Britain as Shell moves its HQ to London from the Netherlands and plans to scrap ‘Royal Dutch’ from its name
[] – Ook in Engeland wacht Shell klimaatbeleid en een energietransitie
[] – Royal Dutch Shell
[] – Green shareholders change the world
[] – Grootste groene waterstofproject van Europa start in Groningen

ICIS – ‘Green Hydrogen Cheaper to Produce than Grey H2’

Source: ICIS

Commodity market data club ICIS claims that due to the sharply rising natural gas prices in Europe, the price of green hydrogen is currently lower than that of grey hydrogen, produced from fossil fuel, mainly gas.

ScienceDirect (15 january 2021):

Today around 8.2 Mt of fossil-based hydrogen are produced in the EU- the vast majority of it by SMR from natural gas. The cost of such grey hydrogen is $1.60/kg (~€1.35/kg) in 2020.

The key-point from the Recharge interview with ICIS is:

According to calculations by London-based analyst ICIS, the price of producing grey hydrogen in the UK has been higher than green H2 since mid-September — with the former reaching a high of almost £6 ($8) per kg in early October (up from £1.43 in April).

Higher fossil-fuel based energy prices are bad news for the economy, but good news for the emerging hydrogen economy. No need anymore for far-sighted idealism, green hydrogen can now compete on price, with grey hydrogen mind you, not yet fossil fuel. But grey hydrogen is an important market and here green hydrogen can make important inroads.

[] – ‘Green hydrogen now cheaper to produce than grey H2 across Europe due to high fossil gas prices’
[] – Independent Commodity Intelligence Services
[] – PODCAST: hydrogen could hold the key to low carbon chemicals
[] – Hydrogen may be Big Oil’s low-carbon solution in global energy transition
[] – Green Hydrogen – the Big Unknown in the EU Power System
[] – Chemical industry in Europe challenged to ‘champion’ clean hydrogen

Green hydrogen is hydrogen on the basis of electrolysis of as green (renewable) as possible electricity.

Blue hydrogen is hydrogen produced on basis of natural gas or coal with reuse (CCU) or storage of CO2.

Grey (or black) hydrogen is hydrogen on the basis of a fossil feedstock, mostly natural gas or coal

Brown hydrogen is hydrogen recovered from industrial processes where hydrogen is a by-product.

Turquoise hydrogen is hydrogen produced from pyrolysis of methane (no CO2 released, but C formed).

Revolutionary New Production Technology Solar PV Film

YouTube text:

Solar PV panels are now a common site around the world and they do a great job. But they only work on flat surfaces. What about the millions of other surfaces that are not so conveniently shaped? That’s where flexible solar film comes in. The concept is not new but now a UK company has developed a unique Solar PV film that could make the technology accessible to millions more people in remote off grid areas in developing nations.

  • Efficiency at currently 11%, with hopes this can be increased to 16%.
  • Cost decrease as compared to standard PV panels: -45%.
  • The company intends to stay a R&D company and license production out all over the world.
  • Mass production planned as of 2023.

[] – Power Roll Solar Film

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.

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