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Author Topic: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation  (Read 35746 times)
broadgage
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« Reply #285 on: April 12, 2022, 07:05:10 am »

Most solar panels are made largely of glass and metal and are therefore non combustible. The connections to the solar panels can catch fire as a result of poor materials or workmanship.

In the pictures shown, I suspect that the main fuel was the roof structure or roof covering. The fire might have been started by defective connections to the solar panels.

One hazard of large solar panel installations is that  an electrical fault may result in prolonged arcing.
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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.
TonyK
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« Reply #286 on: April 17, 2022, 03:29:25 pm »

This is a bit inconvenient for the various industry lobby groups trying to get us to switch everything to hydrogen:

Quote
Use of hydrogen (H2) as a substitute for carbon-containing fossil fuels such as natural gas would prevent emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with significant climate benefits. Nevertheless, any leakage of hydrogen will affect atmospheric composition (with implications for air quality) and have an indirect warming effect on climate, partially offsetting some of the climate benefits of the reduction in carbon dioxide.

This is the start of the executive summary of Atmospheric implications of increased Hydrogen use published under open government licence by some people who paid a lot more attention than I did in chemistry lessons. The researchers are from the universities of Cambridge and Reading.

Long story short, converting everything to hydrogen might not be as good an idea as it seems on paper, particularly if a lot of it leaks. The chemistry lessons I did stay awake for  included one where the teacher complained about how hard it is to keep hydrogen where you want it to be, demonstrating the point by filling a balloon with it. It didn't stay inflated for long. Any leaks on a grander scale will find their way into the atmosphere, where they would react with the hydroxyl radicals that currently deal with a lot of the methane that escapes from pipes and cows. Said methane would then linger in the atmosphere longer than at present, so increasing the rate of global warming.  It isn't given as a definite, because the rate at which we will leak hydrogen is as yet unknown. If it is the same rate we leak most other chemicals as a race globally, I would incline towards the higher end of the scale.
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #287 on: April 18, 2022, 01:20:42 pm »

Warning – technical! Summary is that there could already be large natural hydrogen emissions into the atmosphere before any man made additions are taken into account.

An interesting report by climate scientist using atmospheric models on the reduction of hydroxyl radicals in the atmosphere by an elevated hydrogen flux. They concede that one of their greatest unknowns, and one that impacts disproportionally on their model outputs is the ratio of hydrogen uptake in soil versus reaction with HO (Model Railway, 3.5mm to 1 foot scale)*. Current hydrogen atmospheric concentration is steady at 0.55 ppm.

Being atmospheric scientists, they look only to the atmospheric bit of the global hydrogen cycle and I think this exposes a weakness in their model. Normal, and well understood, geological processes currently produce huge quantities of natural hydrogen and I am part of a Natural Hydrogen Study Group that is trying to understand better how to tap into this natural hydrogen as an energy resource - so called ‘golden’ hydrogen. How much of this hydrogen is currently entering the atmosphere? We don’t know but we suspect it is huge.

The most common geological process is serpentinisation where water reacts with reduced (ferrous) iron bearing minerals such as olivine to more oxidised (ferric) iron in minerals such as magnetite. In its most simplest form, the reaction can be represented by the equation:

2FeO + H2O = Fe2O3 + H2

Note that serpentine itself derives from the magnesium component of the olivine and is not represented above.

We know that this reaction is occuring at all the mid-oceanic ridges constantly but it is unknown how much of this hydrogen enters the marine environment and exhausts to atmosphere. We know it is produced where old oceanic crust is faulted to surface such as Oman and Cyprus, and hydrogen is currently being produced from an old water well in Mali northwest of the capital Bamako. It is powering a generator to provide electricity to the village. Our study group is attempting to understand how this hydrogen system works and where else should we be exploring for it.

Because this reaction is so common, it suggests that there is currently a large hydrogen flux to the atmosphere that is being buffered by natural earth processes and I suspect that this is dominated by reactions in the soil and hydrosphere. We see these reactions on satellite imagery in the form of ‘faerie rings’ caused by changes in vegetation around hydrogen seeps.

Frustratingly, there is very little data on natural hydrogen emissions  from wells etc., the majority of data is currently from Russia. It is not routinely analysed even in areas where we strongly suspect it is present.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #288 on: April 18, 2022, 01:37:50 pm »

They had better get a move on, before English Heritage list the old pylons.
I wouldn't be hugely surprised. Apparently there are societies of pylon spotters (they probably make the geekiest rolling stock spotters seem like the hippest cool dudes) who will presumably have things to say. I've been told that the Wentlooge Levels, between Cardiff and Newport, are a global mecca due to the large number of different types found there. But maybe the advent of T-pylons will draw them to Somerset.
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TonyK
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« Reply #289 on: April 18, 2022, 08:24:09 pm »

But maybe the advent of T-pylons will draw them to Somerset.

Let's hope not, eh?  Grin

Warning – technical! Summary is that there could already be large natural hydrogen emissions into the atmosphere before any man made additions are taken into account.

An interesting report by climate scientist using atmospheric models on the reduction of hydroxyl radicals in the atmosphere by an elevated hydrogen flux. They concede that one of their greatest unknowns, and one that impacts disproportionally on their model outputs is the ratio of hydrogen uptake in soil versus reaction with HO (Model Railway, 3.5mm to 1 foot scale)*. Current hydrogen atmospheric concentration is steady at 0.55 ppm.

Being atmospheric scientists, they look only to the atmospheric bit of the global hydrogen cycle and I think this exposes a weakness in their model. Normal, and well understood, geological processes currently produce huge quantities of natural hydrogen and I am part of a Natural Hydrogen Study Group that is trying to understand better how to tap into this natural hydrogen as an energy resource - so called ‘golden’ hydrogen. How much of this hydrogen is currently entering the atmosphere? We don’t know but we suspect it is huge.

The most common geological process is serpentinisation where water reacts with reduced (ferrous) iron bearing minerals such as olivine to more oxidised (ferric) iron in minerals such as magnetite. In its most simplest form, the reaction can be represented by the equation:

2FeO + H2O = Fe2O3 + H2

Note that serpentine itself derives from the magnesium component of the olivine and is not represented above.

We know that this reaction is occuring at all the mid-oceanic ridges constantly but it is unknown how much of this hydrogen enters the marine environment and exhausts to atmosphere. We know it is produced where old oceanic crust is faulted to surface such as Oman and Cyprus, and hydrogen is currently being produced from an old water well in Mali northwest of the capital Bamako. It is powering a generator to provide electricity to the village. Our study group is attempting to understand how this hydrogen system works and where else should we be exploring for it.

Because this reaction is so common, it suggests that there is currently a large hydrogen flux to the atmosphere that is being buffered by natural earth processes and I suspect that this is dominated by reactions in the soil and hydrosphere. We see these reactions on satellite imagery in the form of ‘faerie rings’ caused by changes in vegetation around hydrogen seeps.

Frustratingly, there is very little data on natural hydrogen emissions  from wells etc., the majority of data is currently from Russia. It is not routinely analysed even in areas where we strongly suspect it is present.

I had no idea, and nor, I'll  wager, did very many others. "Golden" indeed - just add water! I knew that helium continues to be produced by radioactive decay, but I didn't know there was so much unattached hydrogen still being formed. My understanding was, until a few minutes ago, that its rarity in the atmosphere as free molecules was because it reacts with lots of things without help, including the hydroxyl ions, and that any that doesn't is light enough to escape to space. It seems there is more to it, and thank you for the enlightenment.

I'm as sure as I can be that the report was not the work of climate change deniers* or advocates of another technology having a pop at the hydrogen promoters, because of where the authors are from. I am still far from convinced that hydrogen is anything of a solution for energy storage by using electrolysis, but if it turns out there's an abundant source of the gas just waiting to be tapped, I shall be very happy.

(* "Climate change deniers" looks like a new specification for stocking material, to take account of the rising temperatures.)
« Last Edit: April 18, 2022, 08:49:55 pm by TonyK » Logged

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« Reply #290 on: April 18, 2022, 09:54:32 pm »

Their report is good and founded in good science - I tip my cap. They identify their weaknesses. All sound science.

My feeling was that their present day boundary conditions were not well defined and therefore their results might not hold up under scrutiny.
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« Reply #291 on: July 28, 2022, 05:44:59 pm »

Here's a couple of updates of on subjects mentioned earlier in this thread.

Big projects across Europe (subject to political whim):
1) Pausing and temporarily reversing the decommissioning of nuclear reactors in Germany
2) Peripheral countries e.g. UK (United Kingdom) massively importing and stockpiling as much LNG as they can. Note that Germany doesn't have an LNG terminal so will be reliant on (1) and gas pipelines from other countries. We haven't recently stockpiled because of the storage cost but I expect this to change.
3) Working with industry to manage demand. Industry could be given incentives to over produce in the summer with a clear warning that they will be rationed in the winter.
4) Environmental concerns given short shrift/relaxed. For example, French nuclear could output much more power over the summer if the government were willing to accept the loss of fish in some of the rivers.
5) Big national campaigns for energy efficiency. We've already seen the Italian government say that living without air conditioning would be a price worth paying.

2) We have very little gas storage capacity it was decommissioned a few years ago.  Is there any change we could recommission it? or build more from scratch?

Centrica are reactivating the Rough storage facility. They have one approval (of several needed), and are haggling with who- or whatever is the government about money.

Rough is usually described as holding 10 days' supply, but I think that's at the average annual usage so it's fewer days of full winter demand. But it still more than doubles the total: the rest adds up to 1730 (bcm, i.e. cubic km) which is about eight days at 811 TWh per year. (Don't you love those mixed units?)

It's not a lot, even then. France has taken energy security much more seriously, and has 12 bcm available, or over 100 days.

The other subject was virtual inertia:
...Why? If they replace physical inertia, its absence certainly does. But in principle a BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems) (battery plus 4-quadrant converter) can provide virtual or synthetic inertia. All you need is to add the right ... software!

Work continues on this, though most of it is analysis or simulation. PG&E in California have at least reported some experiments with a 1 MWhr unit and a real grid.
...
Our TSO (The Stationary Office (now OPSI)) is working on it, though I can't find evidence of any real hardware.

Someone, in Australia as it happens, is building a usefully big one. Its value as inertia depends mostly on its power rating, which is 150 MW. Maybe not so big relative to the whole UK grid, but it's on a lower-density system in Southern Australia. This (from E&T) says its inertia is 2000 MW, which I'm sure should be 2000MWs (Neoen themselves say up to 3000 MWs).

It has far more storage capacity than that inertia function calls for, nearly 200 MWh, so it can also do stuff like (they claim) backing up power lines so they can run close to full rating, as well as the obvious understudy for generation. The clever software is "Tesla’s Virtual Machine Mode" - whether that's clever technically, or clever marketing, I've no idea.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2022, 06:34:47 pm by stuving » Logged
broadgage
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« Reply #292 on: July 28, 2022, 08:33:55 pm »

The Rough gas storage facility was closed due to the well casings rusting and doubts about safe continued operation.
If it is to be returned to use, then presumably the working pressure and thus the storage capacity will be much reduced if compared to that previously available.

They have left it a bit late to reopen Rough ! from where is the gas coming to fill it? Natural gas is already scarce and hugely expensive. Buying gas at 400 pence a therm to put into storage, will lock in that very high price when the gas is released from the storage. Though 440 pence a therm, after storage costs is probably better than running out.

We really need significantly more renewable energy generation in the UK (United Kingdom).
Due to the inherently intermittent nature of wind and solar, we cant use ONLY these renewables, but we could use MORE. To be burning hugely expensive imported gas in power stations even in windy or sunny weather is simply daft for both environmental and financial reasons.
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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 #293 on: July 28, 2022, 10:08:03 pm »

We really need significantly more renewable energy generation in the UK (United Kingdom).
Due to the inherently intermittent nature of wind and solar, we cant use ONLY these renewables, but we could use MORE. To be burning hugely expensive imported gas in power stations even in windy or sunny weather is simply daft for both environmental and financial reasons.

By November?
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broadgage
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« Reply #294 on: July 28, 2022, 11:05:09 pm »

We really need significantly more renewable energy generation in the UK (United Kingdom).
Due to the inherently intermittent nature of wind and solar, we cant use ONLY these renewables, but we could use MORE. To be burning hugely expensive imported gas in power stations even in windy or sunny weather is simply daft for both environmental and financial reasons.

By November?

Unlikely that much can be achieved by November, but some more solar could be installed by then.
Wind turbines that are already under construction could be hurried up, perhaps by extending working hours.
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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.
MVR S&T
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« Reply #295 on: July 28, 2022, 11:13:56 pm »

Seem to be runing our coal plants at the moment, so all right then....
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broadgage
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« Reply #296 on: July 28, 2022, 11:40:33 pm »

Seem to be runing our coal plants at the moment, so all right then....

Regrettable but understandable in the present crisis. AFAIK (as far as I know), we only have 2 GW (Great Western) of coal burning plant left, useful but limited.

Edit to add, does anyone KNOW how much coal burning electricity generating plant is available. I refer here to existing plant that is either in full working order, or that requires only minor works to bring it back into running order. Not including "rusty relics" that cant be quickly and cheaply put into working order.

I suspect about 2 GW as above, but a reliable source of data is preferable to me saying "I think---" Wikipedia says 3.5 GW I suspect that might be out of date.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2022, 04:57:53 am by broadgage » Logged

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.
TonyK
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« Reply #297 on: July 29, 2022, 03:31:56 pm »


Edit to add, does anyone KNOW how much coal burning electricity generating plant is available. I refer here to existing plant that is either in full working order, or that requires only minor works to bring it back into running order. Not including "rusty relics" that cant be quickly and cheaply put into working order.


Gridwatch shows that the highest output in 2021 was 3.9 GW (Great Western), one day in January which coincided with one of the regular winter no-wind days and obviously a very short day for solar. That 3.5 GW mentioned in Wikipedia looks to be accurate - West Burton A 1 GW, Kilroot 520 MW, and Ratcliffe on Soar 2 GW. Half of Burton A was shut down in March 2022, and may be usable again. Kilross in Co Antrim is due to be converted to CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) this year (yeah, right).

Installing more solar in time for the short dark days of winter won't help much until spring. faster installation of wind offshore or in Scotland depends on the foreign companies that own the sites being able to secure the foreign workers who install them, and of course the machines themselves. The top 10 manufacturers are China, US, Denmark and seven other foreign countries. There are currently 16 active manufacturers of wind turbines in UK (United Kingdom), none of whom make the industrial-scale bird mincers needed, and a couple looking like they are at the novelty end of the market.

It's time to adopt the standard British response to crises such as this, and start finding someone to blame. I offer Margaret Beckett, who rejected the idea of more nuclear 20 years ago, in favour of throwing money at renewables like a woman with shallow pockets and long, long arms. Oh, and the protest industry that fell for the idea that intermittent and unpredictable power backed by gas was a good idea in the light of rising gas imports.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2022, 03:54:06 pm by TonyK » Logged

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broadgage
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« Reply #298 on: July 29, 2022, 06:33:17 pm »

I thank you for the figures WRT (with regard to ) to coal fired generation.

I can not agree with your rather negative views regarding renewable energy.

On nuclear power I am "neutral" I can see the advantages, and the old nuclear power stations have served us well for many decades.
The new nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point is not a hopeful indicator regarding either costs or completion dates.

And I simply do not trust any form of chinese or russian involvement in crucial infrastructure like power stations in general, and nuclear ones in particular.
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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.
TonyK
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« Reply #299 on: July 29, 2022, 11:17:35 pm »

I thank you for the figures WRT (with regard to ) to coal fired generation.

I can not agree with your rather negative views regarding renewable energy.

On nuclear power I am "neutral" I can see the advantages, and the old nuclear power stations have served us well for many decades.
The new nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point is not a hopeful indicator regarding either costs or completion dates.

And I simply do not trust any form of chinese or russian involvement in crucial infrastructure like power stations in general, and nuclear ones in particular.

I thought I was being more positive than usual, but no matter.
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