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Author Topic: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation  (Read 24517 times)
stuving
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« Reply #195 on: June 23, 2021, 03:11:02 pm »

That's why looking at the output averaged over the year is meaningful in almost exactly the way that occasional snapshots aren't.

If your are arguing, TonyK, that we should have built a whole load of nuclear power stations 20 years ago, I think I might agree with you. If you are arguing that we might be able to generate nuclear electricity using better technology in 10 or 20 or 30 years time, I'd probably agree with you again. But without the benefit of a viable (thorium powered?) time machine, neither solution is of the slightest use to us today. Wind turbines are quick, cheap and easy to roll out today. What else is there that we can deploy right now?

Well, apart from the fact that rolling out another 15GW of wind farms will take more than a day, there's the problem of keeping the grid supplied when it's not windy over the next few years. Storage would make the first the answer to the second, but it needs to be "grid-scale" in current jargon. Not just as individual units, but in total to run the grid for days. Of course storage has other uses to the grid too.

That's going to be a big journey, but if all journeys begin with a single step then maybe this is it. From Pivot Power (a green bit of EDF):
Quote
Pivot Power, Wärtsilä and Habitat Energy activate 50MW transmission-connected battery in Cowley, Oxford
PRESS RELEASE
Category: Battery storage Energy Superhubs Pivot Power Oxford
date: 23 June 2021
Pivot Power Oxford lithium-ion battery

Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, Wärtsilä, the global technology company, and Habitat Energy, the battery storage optimisation specialists, today activated the UK (United Kingdom)’s first grid-scale battery storage system directly connected to the transmission-network as part of the £41 million Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project.

The government-backed project, led by Pivot Power, integrates energy storage, electric vehicle (EV) charging, low carbon heating and smart energy management technologies to decarbonise Oxford by 2040 and creates a blueprint for other towns and cities to achieve net zero. The system is the first to go live as part of Pivot Power’s plans to deploy up to 40 similar sites throughout the UK.

The 50MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system will be directly connected to National Grid’s high-voltage transmission system at the Cowley substation on the outskirts of Oxford. It is the first part of what will be the world’s largest hybrid battery, combining lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow systems, which is due to be fully operational later this year. The energy storage system will provide essential flexibility to cost-effectively integrate more renewables, increase system resilience and future-proof the UK’s electricity network.

Pivot Power is developing the battery energy storage system together with an 8km private wire network, which will share the connection to the high-voltage transmission network and deliver large volumes of power to public and commercial EV charging locations across the city. The first of these will be the UK’s largest public charging hub at Redbridge Park & Ride, which will feature 38 fast to ultra-rapid chargers when it opens later this year, to kick start Oxford’s EV revolution.

Wärtsilä has provided cutting edge battery energy storage technology, underpinned by its world leading GEMS Digital Energy Platform, for optimised hybrid system control. GEMS dynamically manages energy systems through a broad range of applications, providing critical feedback to stakeholders across asset owner, operation and trading value chains. The system’s design enables the delivery of different services from frequency regulation to enhanced grid resilience. In addition, it has the ability to provide back-up power to EV charging infrastructure connected to Pivot Power’s private wire network.

Habitat Energy will optimise the battery trading and revenue generation using their AI-enabled PowerIQ platform, overseen by a team based in their Oxford office. This approach combines the best opportunities available in the day ahead market, intraday and balancing mechanism and provides ancillary services such as Dynamic Containment. They will manage and optimise the EV charging, to maximise value to the end consumer and benefit to the grid.

There's a video here, if you like pictures of people talking in front of big grey boxes.
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broadgage
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« Reply #196 on: June 23, 2021, 04:05:18 pm »

Hinkley C, with its 3.2GW capacity, will replace a number of smaller power stations as they go offline. The balance of nuclear power when they've shut and it has opened will be unchanged.

I am not convinced that Hinckley C will ever open. AFAIK (as far as I know) the only other nuclear power station of the same design is at Flamenville in France and is about 15 years behind schedule.
And even if it does eventually open it wont help in the near term.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
stuving
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« Reply #197 on: June 23, 2021, 04:42:38 pm »

Hinkley C, with its 3.2GW capacity, will replace a number of smaller power stations as they go offline. The balance of nuclear power when they've shut and it has opened will be unchanged.

I am not convinced that Hinckley C will ever open. AFAIK (as far as I know) the only other nuclear power station of the same design is at Flamenville in France and is about 15 years behind schedule.
And even if it does eventually open it wont help in the near term.

Flamanvile is actually EPR number 4. Numbers 2 and 3 are in China, and were partly built and mostly operated by Chinese companies. The are both now operating, though took over ten years to get there. The first, in Finland, is still not quite ready after more than 15 years. Flamanville is the worst delayed because they found dodgy welds in the pressure vessel after they had put it in and built most of the containment around it.

The general opinion is that it is still a safer and more efficient design, but that has made it more complicated to build. Whether that has exceeded Areva (now EDF)'s level of capability, or just led to a long learning period, who knows?
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TonyK
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« Reply #198 on: June 23, 2021, 04:52:12 pm »

That's why looking at the output averaged over the year is meaningful in almost exactly the way that occasional snapshots aren't.

If your are arguing, TonyK, that we should have built a whole load of nuclear power stations 20 years ago, I think I might agree with you. If you are arguing that we might be able to generate nuclear electricity using better technology in 10 or 20 or 30 years time, I'd probably agree with you again. But without the benefit of a viable (thorium powered?) time machine, neither solution is of the slightest use to us today. Wind turbines are quick, cheap and easy to roll out today. What else is there that we can deploy right now?

The best time to do something about the looming energy crisis was 20 years ago, I agree. The next best time is now. Wind turbines are, as you say relatively cheap and quick to roll out, if not dependable or long lived. The good news is that CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) plants can be thrown up in a reasonably short period of time too, to back the wind farms up, and we can buy all we need from the Chinese and the Danes, and the gas from the Norwegians and sundry hangmen, henchmen and headsmen. Looking at Gridwatch again, if we had ten times the installed wind power, then today we could reduce our use of gas to provide around 7GW of energy, so it is a long way from net zero, but presumably acceptable to the green lobby.

I know full well that building a traditional nuclear station is at least a 20 year job, so I am not arguing for one to open tomorrow, nor any other impossible thing. I am drawing attention to the fact that wind and solar will never, on their own, lead us to a net zero future, something that becomes more and more apparent the closer we get to it. The chilling thing about it is that government knew this was coming decades ago, and have done naff all to head it off. The first, rather messy, generation of nukes came and went with nothing to replace them. The Blair government expanded the gas capability as an emergency stopgap by means of the South Wales Gas Pipeline, begun in 2003 and completed before some of the protest groups had organised themselves, in 2007. Wind power isn't the answer on its own, it's more a way for the government to say it's doing something, don't worry, the next government can sort it out properly, we want to win the next election, not upset people.
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TonyK
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« Reply #199 on: June 24, 2021, 09:49:52 pm »

I read today that we are about to resume operations drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea. There must be more wind turbines on the way.
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stuving
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« Reply #200 on: August 19, 2021, 02:42:28 pm »


Many steel companies around the world are researching ways to replace coke with hydrogen. One of the most advanced projects is in Sweden where a consortium called "Hybrit" began constructing a pilot plant in 2018. But they don?t expect to have a workable solution till 2035. And initial studies indicated the production cost would be 20-30% higher than using coke to make steel.

An alternative process already exists - direct reduction of iron ore using reformed natural gas. This is less carbon-intensive than the coke-based process, but of course not fossil-free.

More news from Hybrit: they say they have delivered the first of their "fossil-free" steel to a commercial customer.
Quote

SSAB has now manufactured the first fossil-free steel in the world and delivered it to a customer. The test delivery is an important step toward a fully fossil-free iron and steel production value chain and a milestone for the HYBRIT partnership between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall.

In July, SSAB Oxelösund rolled the first steel produced using HYBRIT technology, i.e., reduced by 100% fossil-free hydrogen instead of coal and coke, with good results. The steel is now being delivered to the first customer, the Volvo Group.
...
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall created HYBRIT, Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology, in 2016, with the aim of developing a technology for fossil-free iron- and steelmaking. In June 2021, the three companies were able to showcase the world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron produced at HYBRIT’s pilot plant in Luleå. This first sponge iron has since been used to produce the first steel made with this breakthrough technology.

The goal is to deliver fossil-free steel to the market and demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026. Using HYBRIT technology, SSAB has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by approximately ten per cent and Finland’s by approximately seven per cent.

They don't say if the production was commercial, in the sense of costing less to make than the selling price. But it's not really fair to ask about that so early in their programme.
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« Reply #201 on: August 19, 2021, 03:19:02 pm »

I doubt that this carbon free process will be viable just yet on an industrial scale, but it certainly shows considerable promise for the future.
A vast amount of renewably generated electricity will be needed to make enough hydrogen.

Hydrogen storage near the steel works would be viable, allowing best use of inherently variable wind power.

Steel is of course an alloy of mainly iron with a little carbon, so some carbon would still be required, but the amounts would be very small if compared to the coke consumed in a blast furnace.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #202 on: August 19, 2021, 10:51:46 pm »

The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent, actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!
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Lee
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« Reply #203 on: August 20, 2021, 12:20:58 am »

The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent, actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!

Does this mean there is scope for farmers to replace their "Red Diesel" with "Red Hydrogen" sourced by recycling the methane emissions of their ruminant livestock?...
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broadgage
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« Reply #204 on: August 20, 2021, 01:45:54 am »

The government love hydrogen for several reasons.
Firstly it saves dong anything much here and now. Measures to substantially reduce fossil fuel consumption such as by doubling the price of the fuels and by prohibiting new installations of fossil fueled equipment would prove unpopular. The promise of hydrogen avoids taking unpopular measures now.

Secondly most politicians and most voters cant understand  basic science and believe that hydrogen will be the new wonder fuel that "only produces water when burnt" and will of course be cheap and plentiful.

If green hydrogen is to replace natural gas  we will need a vast expansion in wind power capacity. To between ten and twenty times the present capacity has been suggested. To install that many wind turbines would almost certainly require major changes in the law. And do not forget all the extra high voltage transmission lines, substations, and hydrogen production facilities.
And with wind power being inherently variable, a LOT of hydrogen storage tanks, a few of which may explode. Probably not many explosions, but society is not tolerant of NEW risks, though accepting existing risks such as road deaths.

It might be simpler to use less fuel. More efficient appliances, double the price of less efficient types. More efficient lighting, quadruple the price of less efficient lamps.
Design new homes to need almost no heating.
Encourage walking, cycling, and electric public transport.

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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #205 on: August 20, 2021, 09:39:39 am »

Everybody loves that clean and simple equation: 2H2 + O2 >> 2H2O
In practice air contains lots of nitrogen which at combustion temperatures also combines to give various NOx. Not as bad as from diesel but it's not as clean as we like to think. And regardless of how clean we can make it, I think Broadgage has a point that we (governments, industries and consumers) like the idea of it because it seems to promise a clean future without us having to change our ways.
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TonyK
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« Reply #206 on: August 20, 2021, 11:11:36 am »

The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent, actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!

It smells to me as though the lobbyists have been very busy.

The government love hydrogen for several reasons.
Firstly it saves dong anything much here and now. Measures to substantially reduce fossil fuel consumption such as by doubling the price of the fuels and by prohibiting new installations of fossil fueled equipment would prove unpopular. The promise of hydrogen avoids taking unpopular measures now.

Here goes...

I agree with you, broadgage. Jam tomorrow is always better than no toast today.


Quote
Secondly most politicians and most voters cant understand  basic science and believe that hydrogen will be the new wonder fuel that "only produces water when burnt" and will of course be cheap and plentiful.

I tend to agree with you, broadgage. Hydrogen isn't a fuel as such because of the tiny amounts found free in nature, just a way of storing energy. It is as clean as the process that made it.

Quote
If green hydrogen is to replace natural gas  we will need a vast expansion in wind power capacity. To between ten and twenty times the present capacity has been suggested. To install that many wind turbines would almost certainly require major changes in the law. And do not forget all the extra high voltage transmission lines, substations, and hydrogen production facilities.
And with wind power being inherently variable, a LOT of hydrogen storage tanks, a few of which may explode. Probably not many explosions, but society is not tolerant of NEW risks, though accepting existing risks such as road deaths.

I have stopped agreeing with you now. I know this is only a snapshot, but it happens a lot.



Don't forget that Orsted were recently complaining that the lack of wind this year has cut their forecast profits from offshore wind to a mere £1.7 billion this year, meaning that someone might have to postpone the replacement yacht for a few months, and cancel the upgrade of the corporate jet fleet. It might, as an aside, reduce the amount of renewable electricity produced. Anyway, if we had ten times the current number of wind turbines, we would still be burning gas for electricity today,

Quote
It might be simpler to use less fuel. More efficient appliances, double the price of less efficient types. More efficient lighting, quadruple the price of less efficient lamps.
Design new homes to need almost no heating.
Encourage walking, cycling, and electric public transport.

I have started agreeing again. Having a government drive to replace every incandescent lamp in the land with LED equivalents, free of charge, would be a good use of money, which could be generated by stopping the near £1 bn pa payments to some fuel companies to burn imported forests. Standards for new homes are already high, so maybe more attention could be paid to the heritage stock. In 1981 or thereabouts, I put the first ever layer of insulation in the loft of my newly acquired house, with the aid of £25 from the council. As a nation, we should be taking that a few more steps towards having every home more energy efficient. A proper energy audit of every house would be a good idea, rather than leaving it to individuall companies to solve individual problems (or not) with their innovative products.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2021, 11:37:10 am by TonyK » Logged

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broadgage
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« Reply #207 on: August 21, 2021, 05:47:10 am »

If we had twenty times todays wind power capacity, then that would regularly result in a significant surplus of wind power that could be used to make hydrogen.

Wind power regularly exceeds 5 GW (Great Western), twenty times that is of course 100 GW or about twice the present maximum demand.
Wind power fairly regularly exceeds 10 GW, and twenty time that would be several times present demand.

The lowest wind power production that I recall in winter is about 0.5 GW, twenty times that would be a useful 10 GW, but still leaving a substantial shortfall.
The lowest wind power output that  I recall seeing in summer was about 0.1 GW, twenty times that would still be a limited contribution to Summer maximum demand of about 35 GW. Solar would help a lot with Summer maximum demand, and could be expanded so as to meet ALL the Summer daytime demand.

Some of the hydrogen could be stored and used to generate electricity at times of low wind during darkness. That needs EVEN MORE wind turbines.

Sounds cheaper to reduce fuel use, rather than to look for costly and complicated alternatives.

Building wind turbines, transmission lines, hydrogen pipelines, and hydrogen stores on the scale required would be hugely unpopular, and would probably be unachievable in a democracy.
Declare martial law and shoot the NIMBYs ? Might not be popular ?
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #208 on: August 21, 2021, 08:13:47 am »

Energy storage is clearly needed to cope with variable wind generation,  but it shouldn't be assumed that hydrogen is the best way to do this. Electrolysis isn't particularly efficient, nor are current fuel cells, so you only get back 30% to 40% of the original energy. This might still make sense if the energy would otherwise be wasted,  but there are more efficient energy storage methods that are also more easily scaled up than electrolysers. Liquified air has been mentioned before here, there are schemes to use heavy weights pulled up and down in old mine shafts, pumped hydraulic fluids, compressed air, flow batteries, to name a few. There is a risk that lots of money gets spent on hydrogen schemes that turn out to be uneconomic compared to other technologies and more sophisticated demand management.
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« Reply #209 on: August 21, 2021, 10:24:39 am »

The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent, actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!
I thought 'blue hydrogen' was hydrogen from electrolysis using electricity from the national grid (where burning gas is currently a large part of the mix), 'green hydrogen' was also made using electrolysis (but using 100% renewable electricity) and steam-reforming of methane was 'brown hydrogen'. However, when I Googled, I found this page (https://energyfactor.exxonmobil.eu/science-technology/blue-green-hydrogen) which states that "the labels ‘blue hydrogen’ and ‘green hydrogen’ have no commonly agreed-on definition."
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