Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

Gemini 600 MW Wind Park Operational


One of the largest offshore wind parks in the world has become operational today in the North Sea, 85 kilometers from Eemshaven, in the Groningen province, the Netherlands.

Core data:

  • Siemens Turbines of 4 MW each: 150
  • CO2 reduction 1.25 million ton
  • Price 2.8 billion euro
  • New operational jobs: 75-100
  • Man year to build: 1250
  • Area 68 km2
  • Share contribution Dutch electricity production 2.5%
  • Electricity price: €170/MWh

The wind park is expensive but helped bringing down the price of new wind farms considerably. Meanwhile a consortium around Shell will build the 700 MW wind farm Borssele III/IV for €54,40/MWh or 1/3 of Gemini, after Dong won the bid for Borssele I/II 700 MW for €72,70/MWh. Both wind parks are expected to be operational by 2020. Three more tenders for 700 MW wind parks are planned and expected to begin producing electricity by 2023. After that installation of further new wind parks will really pick up pace with the ultimate potential of delivering electricity to 100 million people all over Europe.

[] – Gemini official site
[] – Gemini live data
[] – Gemini free app for iOS
[] – Gemini free app for Android
[] – Gemini offshore windpark officieel geopend
[] – Gemini-Windpark in Gebruik Genomen
[] – Large number of hires photos
[] – De windreus van Nederland ligt boven de Wadden

Laying cables from the Dutch coast to Gemini

1400 MW Gemini follow-up projects Borssele I/II/III/IV, 22 km out of the coast of the Zeeland province in the SW
Planned windparks in North Sea

New German Renewable Record

During past Sunday April 30, a breezy and sunny day, German coal-fired power stations produced an all-time capacity low; between 15-16 hour less than 8 GW (coal 1.8 GW, lignite 6.2 GW). Nuclear 5 GW. Solar and wind produced 55.2 GW at 12:00. Between 13:00-15:00 the renewable share was 85%.

This situation will be the new normal by 2030, 13 years from now. By 2022 nuclear will be completely phased out.

[] – Ein Sonntag fast ohne Kohlestrom

Hermes Eindhoven Realizes 1,000,000 KM All-Electric

Nice and quiet and clean. After 2025 sales of new cars driving on fossil fuel will be prohibited and the old ones phased out largely by 2032. The Netherlands will be a silent place, much more than today.

On 18 April 2017, Dutch passenger transport company Hermes reached the milestone of 1,000,000 kilometres travelled with the 43 electric buses that have been in service since last December. The fully electric VDL Citeas, with their futuristic design, are now a common sight in Eindhoven. The drivers operate the buses on eight different zero emission routes with due pride. The electric operation is now operating at full capacity, with the buses clocking up over 9,000 km every weekday. Several buses even cover more than 340 km per day on their own.

[] – 1,000,000 electric kilometres in Eindhoven. VDL congratulates Hermes on electric milestone
[] – 100 electric VDL Citeas and 18 VDL Futura double-deckers for Connexxion

Dutch Natural Gas Reserves

Reserves left: 891 billion m3
Annual consumption: 40 billion m3
Years remaining at current consumption levels: 22

It is not possible though to keep consuming at the current rate as the northern part of the country is literally sinking through the floor.
Or to put it differently: the country is “cracking up”:

[source] “Kraakpand”

[] – Hoeveel gas heeft Nederland eigenlijk en waar ligt het allemaal?

Ampyx Kite Power

[source] Wind energy kite “airstrip”. After the kite is airborne it will continuously fly an 8-shaped trajectory and generate electricity. The foundation needs to be far less robust than with conventional wind turbines that can weigh 1000 ton or more.

So you thought that wind power technology has matured and that the three blade rotor is the alpha and omega in harnessing the energy contained in air flows? Think again. There is a promising alternative for these conventional giant machines and their massive towers: fast moving kites. The promoters of this new technology believe that kites with a span-width of 28 m could be a much cheaper alternative for the thousands of planned North Sea offshore mega machines of 8 MW and more. Alternatively these gliders can be operated from floating platforms as well, making the technology suitable irrespective of sea depth.

Richard Ruiterkamp of the Dutch company Ampyx Power says that the first test phase has been successfully completed with two 5.5 m prototypes. Now a last test phase is planned with a AP3 prototype of 12 m span-width and 250 kW power. The Dutch authorities refused to give permission for a test site located in the Dutch North Sea dunes, so Ireland has been chosen as an alternative for test scheduled for next year. The project began in 2004 and meanwhile 22 million euro have been burned. The AP4 will be the first commercial energy kite with a span-width of 28 m and 2 MW power.

The source of energy is not a propeller but the winch that alternatively rolls out and in. When the kite rises more energy is generated than required to roll up the winch cable during descent.

[] – More detailed explanation here

[] – Nederlandse stroomvlieger neemt het op tegen Google

There Are Also Advantages to Climate Change

[source] Northern Quebec

A new study suggests the world’s plants capture an extra 28 billion tons of carbon each year.

[] – Antarctic Ice Reveals Earth’s Accelerating Plant Growth

Last year, all the world’s nations combined pumped nearly 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, according to new international calculations on global emissions published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

So, although the net effect is 10 billion CO2 extra in the atmosphere every year, most CO2 is absorbed in new vegetation, resulting in a much greener planet. If the average temperature increase can be confined to 1-2 degrees Celcius, resulting in considerable reduced fossil fuel consumption for space heating, the discussion can now start if perhaps the advantages offset the disadvantages.

May the best argument win.

[] – Carbon dioxide emissions rise to 2.4 million pounds per second

Under Water Kites

Youtube text:

Minesto develops a new concept for tidal power plants called Deep Green. Deep Green is based on a fundamentally new principle for electricity generation from tidal currents. The power plant is applicable in areas where no other known technology can operate cost effectively due to its unique ability to operate in low velocities. Minesto expands the total marine energy potential and offers a step change in cost for tidal energy.

The principle of the technology can be explained as a two stage process.

The first stage increases the relative flow speed entering a turbine. When the tide hits the wing it creates a lift force, since the kite is mounted to the ocean bed with a tether and is controlled by a rudder, the kite can be taken in the desired trajectory, here in an eight formed path. The method increases the flow velocity into the turbine by 10 times, compared to the actual stream velocity.

The second stage uses a generator to convert kinetic energy into electrical power.

The net result is increased power from a smaller package. The planned normal full size weighs only 7 tons excluding anchoring which gives an energetic payback time of 3 weeks, compared to 8 months for onshore wind.

The test confirms power production of the plant at Marin in Holland.

Potential: 800 kW per kite
First project: Anglesey, Wales/UK (Holyhead Deep)
Project size: eventually 80 MW
Span width kite: 12 meter
Argument pro under water kite: one needs 15 times less material per generated kWh as compared to wind turbines

[] – Tidal kite turbines
[] – Minesto Holyhead Deep, 30 million euro project
[] – Een onderwater-vlieger haalt stroom uit de stroming

Barsha Pump

Youtube text:

The empowering people. Award recognizes creative technological solutions for sustainable improvment of basic services. In 2016, the third prize was awarded to aQysta for the Barsha Pump – Hydro-powered Irrigation. Developed to help farmers, this waterwheel utilizes the energy from the flow of rivers and canals to pump water, regardless of the flow velocity. The device, which can pump long distances, is not only affordable but uses indigenous materials. It needs little maintenance and does not require any fuel or electricity to work. This ensures that the pump has no operating expenses.

Context: Nepal, high mountains and farmers breaking their backs while carrying buckets of water from the brook to their fields.
Solution: pump the water from the brook to the field, using hydro-power for the pumping, eliminating expensive fossil fuel. Pump and generator combined in a single device.
Inventors: Pratap Thapa (Nepal) and Fred Henny, working together in Aqysta, Delft, the Netherlands. Mr Thapa meanwhile operates in Nepal and mr Henny runs the business in Holland.
Installed base: 50 pumps world-wide and 40 in Nepal.
Required flow: 0.5-2 m/s, generating 1.6 bar air pressure
Max. elevation: 20 meters
Flow rate: 0.5 liter/second
Application potential word-wide: 250 million hectare agricultural soil
Price: 2,000 euro (diesel pump cost few hundred euro, but with the Barsha pump you have 10 years no fuel cost, resulting in 70% overall pumping reduction cost)
Potential new markets: Colombia, Indonesia, Ghana, Guatemala and Zambia
Innovative aspect: oval rather than circular hose diameter, allowing for higher pressure buildup

Product comes as a kit from parts produced in Europe.
Nepalese government wants to subsidize 200 pumps.
Larger prototype under development for Spain and Turkey.
Winners Siemens Empowering People Award.

[] – Company site
[] – Spiral Pump
[] – Waterpomp bedruipt zichzelf

Smurfit Kappa – Radical Recycling in the Paper Industry

Paper-mill Smurfit-Kappa in Roermond, the Netherlands, wants to replace the role of natural gas with “green heat”. The paper industry is doing fine, not because of digitization of society (“paperless office”), but because retail is going online and now everything needs to be packaged, in carton, which is good news for Smurfit Kappa.

Every day no less than 110 trucks arrive at the mill to dump their load of used paper for recycling into “mother roles” of 18,000 kilo each, a process that takes 8 days. Usually paper that lands in the trash can is converted into new paper in a matter of 6 weeks.

For the production process you need a lot of warm water to produce “paper soup”. The company is thinking of pumping up hot water from a depth of no less than 7 km. Alternatively, the company is investigating the possibilities of producing paper without so much hot water. Paper recycling still requires 10% new wood, for quality reasons, acquired from Scandinavia and France.

[] – Smurfit Kappa Group
[] – Papierfabriek zoekt groene warmte

Canada’s New Shipping Shortcut

90 Professoren Willen Groene Draai Geven aan Kabinets-formatie


90 hoogleraren van 16 nederlandse universiteiten hebben een brief geschreven naar de formateur met het verzoek om in het aanstaande regeringsakkoord opgenomen te krijgen dat Nederland koploper moet moet worden in de worsteling voor een groene economie, ipv Europese hekkesluiter te blijven.


…de vijf overgebleven kolencentrales in Nederland uiterlijk in 2020 sluiten. Verder vragen ze om snelle invoering van een kilometerheffing in het verkeer. Ze bepleiten een CO2-belasting voor de Nederlandse industrie, los van het gebrekkig werkende Europese systeem van CO2-beprijzing. Ze willen hoge fiscale heffingen op milieubelastende en energie-intensieve productie en consumptie. En ze vragen om een investeringsfonds voor duurzame innovaties.

[] – Hoogleraren: zet alles op alles voor een groene economie

Asparagus Robot

The video claims this is the world’s first automatic asparagus harvesting robot, developed in Heeze, the Netherlands. It takes 60-75 pair of hands to harvest a field of 40 Hectare. In the Netherlands the work is often done by Poles or Romanians. This practice could soon be history. Perhaps the future unemployed from Eastern-Europe use their knowledge to begin asparagus farming at home.

[] – Aspergerobot stuurt steker straks naar huis

Asparagus harvesting the old way:

Hydrogen – Fuelling our Future?

Can hydrogen be the successor of petrol and natural gas after all?

[] – Hydrogen

Cost Hydrogen From Renewable Energy

Cost of H2 production via electrolysis of water as a function of electricity cost

In a not too distant past the “hydrogen economy” was thought to be the follow up of the fossil fuel economy. The idea was to use hydrogen as the central storage medium.

Fuel Energy density [kWh/kg]
Hydrogen (H2) 39
Methane/natural gas 15
Diesel 13
Petrol 13
Jet fuel/kerosine 13
Ethanol 7
Ammonia (NH3) 6
Wood 5

[] – Hydrogen economy

Enthusiasm for that concept has come down considerably since, mostly because of fundamentally low conversion efficiency (50-80%) and storage problems. But that doesn’t mean that hydrogen couldn’t play a role in a renewable energy future. This IEA article makes the case that renewable hydrogen production for NH3 (Ammonia), to be used as fertilizer in agriculture, could become viable in the near future, circumventing at least the hydrogen storage problem (boiling point −252.879 °C (−423.182 °F, 20.271 K)), by converting it immediately into Ammonia (boiling point −33.34 °C (−28.01 °F; 239.81 K)).

Indeed, producing hydrogen via renewable energy is not a new idea. Until the 1960s, hydrogen from hydropower-based electrolysis in Norway was used to make ammonia – a key ingredient for agricultural fertilizers. But with increasingly lower renewable costs, renewables-based hydrogen production could once again be competitive with SMR (steam methane reforming)…
But under the right conditions, producing industrial hydrogen in this fashion could have massive consequences for the sustainability of one industry in particular – agriculture. About half of industrial hydrogen is used in ammonia production. Ammonia production alone is responsible for about 360 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, or about 1% of the world’s total emissions. By 2050, we expect that the consumption of ammonia will increase by around 60%.

[] – Producing industrial hydrogen from renewable energy
[] – Energy density
[] – The hydrogen economy, Jeremy Rifkin (2003)

Four Phases in Variable Renewable Energy Integration

Four phases in variable renewable energy (VRE) technologies integration.

IEA article addresses the issue of renewable energy variability and how to deal with it and identifies four phases, hand in hand with the level of renewable energy penetration in a society.

  1. No impact. You can add new renewable energy capacity without having to worry about variability at all
  2. Focus shifts to managing first instances of grid congestion and to incorporate forecasts of VRE generation in the scheduling and dispatch of other generators.
  3. In the last two phases, wind and solar start to affect the overall grid and other generators. As the share of VRE grows, the challenges that power systems face will relate both to system flexibility – relating to supply and demand in the face of higher uncertainty and variability – and system stability – the ability of the of power systems to withstand disturbances on a very short time scale.

[] – Getting wind and sun onto the grid

30,000 Solar Panels Will be Installed Every Hour Globally Over the Next 5 Years

International Energy Agency, October last year:

The International Energy Agency said today that it was significantly increasing its five-year growth forecast for renewables thanks to strong policy support in key countries and sharp cost reductions. Renewables have surpassed coal last year to become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world.

The latest edition of the IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Market Report now sees renewables growing 13% more between 2015 and 2021 than it did in last year’s forecast, due mostly to stronger policy backing in the United States, China, India and Mexico. Over the forecast period, costs are expected to drop by a quarter in solar PV and 15 percent for onshore wind.

Last year marked a turning point for renewables. Led by wind and solar, renewables represented more than half the new power capacity around the world, reaching a record 153 Gigawatt (GW), 15% more than the previous year. Most of these gains were driven by record-level wind additions of 66 GW and solar PV additions of 49 GW…

Over the next five years, renewables will remain the fastest-growing source of electricity generation, with their share growing to 28% in 2021 from 23% in 2015.

[] – IEA raises 5-year renewable forecast as 2015 marks record year

Mitsubishu Hydraulic Driven 7MW Offshore Wind Turbine

Hydraulics topic starts at [0:25].

Youtube text: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries worked with Artemis Intelligent Power to build this prototype 7MW offshore wind-turbine which is now on test at Hunterston in Scotland. The video shows the rotor blades being made and the building and testing of the wind turbine’s Digital Displacement® hydraulic transmission at Yokohama.

Youtube text: Construction of the largest wind turbine in diameter in the world at 167m. The sea angel was designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Construction was in December 2014. Working with SSE, MHI Vestas, Artemis Intelligent Power, Innovate UK, and Department for Business Innovation and Skills to complete.

The Sea Angel Turbine is 7MW output and located within 1 mile of Hunterston Nuclear Power Station in Renfrewshire, West Scotland.

[] – Mitsubishi 7MW Sea Angel Floating Turbine
[] – Hello SeaAngel: Hydraulic drive train could provide 7 MW offshore turbine
[] – Hydraulic Wind Turbines?

P.S. in this design the generator is still located in the nacelle.

Hydraulic Windpark North Sea?


In conventional wind turbines heavy generators are located at the top of a wind turbine, requiring heavy towers. As a rule of thumb: 1000 kilo less generator weight implies 1900 kg less tower weight. The Mexican researcher Antonio Jarquin Laguna wrote a simulation-based Phd thesis at the Delft university in the Netherlands to investigate if it was possible to substantially reduce nacelle weight. He explored the idea to skip the generator-at-the-top completely and replace it with a much lighter pump (ca. 50% less weight). Several wind turbines could contribute to hydraulic pressure, to be converted at a central location with a few large Pelton turbines. The gain would be lighter wind turbines.

[] – Onderzoek naar ‘hydraulisch’ windpark op zee door TU Delft
[] – Noordzeemolens als waterkrachtcentrale
[] – Centralized electricity generation in offshore wind farms using hydraulic networks
[] – Goodbye gearbox, hello hydraulics (US design 2012)
[] – Hydraulic Wind Turbines?
[] – Hydraulic drive system
[] – Hydraulic machinery
[] – Hydraulic motor
[] – Mass, Bernoulli and Energy Equations (pdf)

Drone Used for Solar Panel Inspection in China

Parameters Baofeng Solar farm: 700 MW, 6.6 km2

Panels trace the sun.

[Google Maps] – Yinchuan, Ningxia, China

[] – Yinchuan, Ningxia

Read more…

Vertical Farming Taking Off


Vertical farming is the practice of producing food in vertically stacked layers, such as in a skyscraper, used warehouse, or shipping container. The modern ideas of vertical farming use indoor farming techniques and controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) technology, where all environmental factors can be controlled. These facilities utilize artificial control of light, environmental control (humidity, temperature, gases…) and fertigation. Some vertical farms use techniques similar to greenhouses, where natural sunlight can be augmented with artificial lighting and metal reflectors

The concepts was pioneered first in 2014, with Vertical Fresh Farms operating in Buffalo, NY/USA, specializing in a wide variety of salad greens, herbs, and sprouts.

Vertical Fresh Farms has been farming commercially on a small scale in Buffalo, New York for a few years, but a larger scale commercial facility is currently under construction in the Netherlands. Fruit and vegetables supplier Staay Food Group is erecting a 900 square meter vertical farm, which will have a total cultivation area of 30,000 square meters.

[] – Vertical Farming Is Taking Off: Europe’s First Commercial Vertical Farm Under Construction In The Netherlands
[] – Vertical farming
[] – Grootste commerciële stadskwekerij van Europa in Dronten

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