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Author Topic: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation  (Read 7306 times)
TonyK
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« Reply #75 on: January 22, 2021, 08:47:26 pm »


My only concerns are that TPTB regard more interconnectors as being a substitute for building enough UK generating capacity. I feel that we may be becoming too reliant on near continual imports, rather than also exporting power.

A couple of HVDC connectors running below the Channel or the North Sea excites much less opprobrium than any other way of generating the power. So long as we can import from our continental friends, and do so to a substantial degree, the powers that be can kick the can down the road for the next Prime Minister to pick up. Or more likely kick again. Fracking caused outrage, onshore wind projects did the same to the point that they were effectively sidelined, and nobody wants a gas power station down the road. Surprisingly, nuclear is nothing like as unpopular in its own backyard, probably because of all the well-paid jobs, but they always raise a row amongst the better informed Twitterati.

It is time, IMHO, for government to stop focusing on the generation of electricity alone, and to start talking about the nation's overall energy consumption. After all, the last new petrol-powered car will roll off the assembly line in under a decade, and new houses will not have gas boilers before then. We are likely to use roughly the same amount of energy overall, just from different places.

We import a huge amount of energy. Our own North Sea production of gas and oil peaked more than 20 years ago, and we have been net importers for quite a few years. Britain's North Sea oil amounted to 923,315 m3 in 2019. In contrast, we imported nearly 50 million m3, of which around 40% came from Norway. The story with gas seems similar.

Electricity accounts for less than a quarter of energy use here, and I struggle to figure out what is going to replace all the rest.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #76 on: January 23, 2021, 11:19:47 am »

...Electricity accounts for less than a quarter of energy use here, and I struggle to figure out what is going to replace all the rest.

I followed you until I read this last line... maybe I've misunderstood it?

Electricity will increasingly power almost everything, from transport to home heating to industry. Hydrogen, produced by electricity, will increasingly provide energy storage where high energy density is needed.

Ultimately, almost all of our energy will be electric or electrically derived. Doesn't the question therefore become: What's the right split between wind, solar, nuclear and other means of generation?
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TonyK
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« Reply #77 on: January 23, 2021, 12:38:35 pm »

I followed you until I read this last line... maybe I've misunderstood it?

Electricity will increasingly power almost everything, from transport to home heating to industry. Hydrogen, produced by electricity, will increasingly provide energy storage where high energy density is needed.

Ultimately, almost all of our energy will be electric or electrically derived. Doesn't the question therefore become: What's the right split between wind, solar, nuclear and other means of generation?

As always, Red Squirrel, you have explained what I was thinking, and meant, far better than I could myself. I got carried away by the smell of cake coming out of the (electric) oven, and rushed the last bit of my response.

Yes, what is going to replace the oil, gas, coal and virgin forest currently being burned to provide electricity and the energy used for all those other things, that is the querstion.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 12:51:44 am by TonyK » Logged

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broadgage
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« Reply #78 on: January 23, 2021, 12:52:58 pm »

...Electricity accounts for less than a quarter of energy use here, and I struggle to figure out what is going to replace all the rest.

I followed you until I read this last line... maybe I've misunderstood it?

Electricity will increasingly power almost everything, from transport to home heating to industry. Hydrogen, produced by electricity, will increasingly provide energy storage where high energy density is needed.

Ultimately, almost all of our energy will be electric or electrically derived. Doesn't the question therefore become: What's the right split between wind, solar, nuclear and other means of generation?

Agree, there will be some alternatives but I expect that these will be a minute proprtion of the total.
Examples include direct use of wind power (sailing ships, traditional windmills to pump water)
Direct use of solar thermal energy, to heat swimming pools, dry crops, produce salt, and the like.
Burning of wood for domestic heating, fine for older properties with a significant heating demand. Trees are an important part of the landscape and do not live forever. Harvest and burn some of the old ones. Trees are required for construction timber, burn all the reject bits. Burn the scrap timber when a building is knocked down.

These non electric energy sources will be a very small proprtion of the total, and I mention them only in the interests of accuracy and completness.
The future  is electric for most energy needs, and this electricity should be produced renewably.

There will regretably be a need for some coal, not for heating or electric power production, but for iron and steel manufacture. Coke produced from coal, is unavoidable for iron production since it is not just a heat source but a source of carbon whereby iron oxide is reduced to iron.
For this reason I reluctantly support the proposed new coal mine.
Iron and steel are vital for a modern economy, or even a Victorian economy.

EDIT TO ADD LINK re new coal mine
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55766306
« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 01:06:15 pm 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 is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
TonyK
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« Reply #79 on: January 23, 2021, 02:38:01 pm »


There will regretably be a need for some coal, not for heating or electric power production, but for iron and steel manufacture. Coke produced from coal, is unavoidable for iron production since it is not just a heat source but a source of carbon whereby iron oxide is reduced to iron.
For this reason I reluctantly support the proposed new coal mine.
Iron and steel are vital for a modern economy, or even a Victorian economy.

I agree, except for the reluctance. There are ways to make steel without coke, at least in the laboratory, with hydrogen being the most likely to be scaled up to blast furnace scale. Recycling of steel is already done with arc furnaces, meaning that half the technology is already available. Until then, coke it is. The alternatives to the new coal mine are, for the time being at least, either buy the coal from overseas, adding the transport emissions to all the rest, or buying the steel from overseas. That would be politically unacceptable, and a strategic mistake, so the government will put up with the noise from the anti-mine protests.

I don't buy into the idea of hydrogen for cars and home heating. It makes more sense to me to use electricity, as the distribution network is already in place. I see a lot of stuff on the web promoting it as the way forward, which I see as just getting the cheerleaders ready to warm the government up for a nice round of subsidies.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #80 on: January 23, 2021, 03:02:57 pm »

...Until then, coke it is.

Indeed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACzbCi3oN1M

You may note that this video was posted by 'Root Canal Pro'. And you may stop watching after the first one (or earlier).
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #81 on: January 23, 2021, 03:10:48 pm »


I read that article and saw references to fossil fuels but not one mention that this is not what the coking coal is for - as a chemical ingredient in the iron-carbon alloy we call steel. I found the content a bit disingenuous to be honest.
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« Reply #82 on: January 23, 2021, 03:55:05 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.
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TonyK
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« Reply #83 on: January 23, 2021, 07:40:58 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.

It seems building a blast furnace that will work safely with hydrogen at 1300C in the presence of oxygen enriched air is not as easy as it sounds.
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broadgage
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« Reply #84 on: January 23, 2021, 10:20:46 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.

It seems building a blast furnace that will work safely with hydrogen at 1300C in the presence of oxygen enriched air is not as easy as it sounds.

Indeed, It might well be achieved eventually but sounds dangerous. It expect that a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen, injected via separated pipes will be needed. Hydrogen in excess if compared to the mixture needed for perfect combustion. Most of the hydrogen and oxygen would burn fiercely and produce the great heat needed.
The excess hydrogen would react with iron ore and reduce it to metallic iron. Iron oxide + hydrogen=iron + water.

To produce steel, carbon from coke or an equivalent would still be needed, but in much smaller volumes than used at present.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 10:26:51 pm 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 is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
TonyK
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« Reply #85 on: January 24, 2021, 01:00:52 am »


The excess hydrogen would react with iron ore and reduce it to metallic iron. Iron oxide + hydrogen=iron + water.


Funnily enough, I did that one in school, in the very last days of town gas, when you were allowed to blow things up in the name of education. I had a small amount of basically rust in a charcoal crucible, and using a thing glass tube, I blew burning gas from the Bunsen burner over this, producing actual metal! Plus, I assume, water vapour that vanished before my eyes. The teacher explained that we were being switched to the new North Sea gas soon, which didn't have hydrogen in free form, so he would have to use a cylinder of hydrogen next year.

Then, bored with my mastery of alchemy, I amused myself by attaching a rubber hose to the gas tap, turning it on and blowing hard down the tube, debating with a co-conspirator which way the gas flowed, and whose Bunsen would go out next.
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« Reply #86 on: January 24, 2021, 08:56:21 am »

The carbon monoxide content of town gas would have helped the reduction reaction as well to but I can understand Sir not wanting to use a cylinder of that the following year.
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TonyK
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« Reply #87 on: January 24, 2021, 01:00:57 pm »

The carbon monoxide content of town gas would have helped the reduction reaction as well to but I can understand Sir not wanting to use a cylinder of that the following year.

Me too! hydrogen is fun in small quantities - I can't be the only one to have soap bubbles filled with hydrogen explode in the palm of my hand. ("Implode - get it right, laddie!"). It gets a lot more serious at volumes above half a litre.
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #88 on: January 24, 2021, 07:59:39 pm »

Mid 70's, now with natural gas - methane. We had all read about a poor soul that wanted to end it all with their head in the converted oven and predictably failed - methane being non-toxic. A reflective cigarette, however changed the order of things and the explosion was final.

We did a similar experiment post town gas in my class (age 14/15?). Baby powder tin with hole in bottom suitable for rubber gas pipe. Nail hole in lid, firmly pressed on to tin. Start gas supply and light lazy flame flame coming out of the top of tin. So benign... ...

Turn off gas and wait for methane air mix to reach critical proportion - and loud bang with kids - including me - trying to dodge ricocheting lid. Great lesson - great learning - would never now pass HSE.

Post Uni, I gave a talk to the kids at my old school, and the savage tear in the ceiling tile was still there.. Inspired the scientist in me it did - and gave me a healthy respect for nature ...

... until I thought a 44 gallon drum full of rubbish, 30 C African sun, a cup of petrol, and a match was a solution to a problem. That, taught me nature Shocked
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TonyK
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« Reply #89 on: January 25, 2021, 09:27:10 am »


... until I thought a 44 gallon drum full of rubbish, 30 C African sun, a cup of petrol, and a match was a solution to a problem. That, taught me nature Shocked

A potentially very painful lesson!
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