Green, ethical, energy issues in the news

edited 12 July 2021 at 11:38AM in Green & ethical MoneySaving
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  • SolarchaserSolarchaser Forumite
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    ABrass said:
    It's worth remembering that price arbitrage is another way of describing buying electricity when there's a surplus and selling it when there's extra demand. Which brings us to the terrifying conclusion:

    Grid scale batteries are being used to flatten ducks.
    https://cleanenergygrid.org/california-has-too-much-solar-power-it-needs-another-grid-to-share-with/
    Seems like the perfect time for creating H2, and then using it in place of gas for turbines.

    Scotland should imo be doing the same with excess wind
    West central Scotland
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  • 70sbudgie70sbudgie Forumite
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    Solarchaser said:
    ABrass said:
    It's worth remembering that price arbitrage is another way of describing buying electricity when there's a surplus and selling it when there's extra demand. Which brings us to the terrifying conclusion:

    Grid scale batteries are being used to flatten ducks.
    https://cleanenergygrid.org/california-has-too-much-solar-power-it-needs-another-grid-to-share-with/
    Seems like the perfect time for creating H2, and then using it in place of gas for turbines.

    Scotland should imo be doing the same with excess wind
    This is something that is being heavily invested in. 

    Also, cryogenic batteries. Using nitrogen instead of hydrogen. The attraction of this is that there is quite a bit of nitrogen that can be extracted from the air.

    The attraction of hydrogen is that it has many many industrial uses. So green hydrogen has the potential to be very big business.
    Longi 360W panels: 2.52kW ENE, 1.8kW WSW, Solis Dual 3.6kW inverter. 41kWh Zoe. 540W Ripple Kirk Hill. Cheshire
  • CoffeekupCoffeekup Forumite
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    It wasn't in the news, but last 3 weeks on BBC 2 a 9pm there has been a a program called big oil Vs the world. Anyone watch it? Or have thoughts?

    Link if anyone bis interested..
    "BBC Two - Big Oil v the World" https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cgql8f
  • paul991paul991 Forumite
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    watched that it shows how money can alter the information we read and see on main stream media
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Time for some news from Chris Goodall and his Carbon Commentary Newsletter:
    Industry news

    Things I noticed and thought were interesting

    Week ending 7th August 2022
     
    1, Hydrogen fuel cell trucks. Hyundai will ship its first heavy duty hydrogen trucks into Germany after a similar shipment to Switzerland. The trucks can carry about 9 tonnes of cargo for up to 400 km at a maximum speed of 85 km/hour. Hyundai says its entire range of trucks will be available in hydrogen versions by 2028 using a new fuel cell design to be introduced next year. An April 2022 article suggested that these trucks had fuel costs of around €70 per 100 km, compared to €80 for diesel. Hyundai says its goal to get the purchase costs of fuel cell truck down to a battery equivalent by 2030. Personally, I’m still not convinced that fuel cells for road transport have much future, perhaps except for the heaviest trucks on the very longest journeys. Battery trucks will be cheaper to buy and to run.
     
    2, Carbon sequestration using forestry. The UK’s leading forest research institute published research showing that monocultural plantations of coniferous trees maximised the carbon benefits of forestation. Sitka spruce plantations result in an average carbon storage of around 18 tonnes per hectare per year compared to only around 5-6 tonnes for ‘natural recolonisation’ of unwooded areas. Mixed plantations offer sequestration levels midway between these two alternatives. This is an unfortunate conclusion; mixed plantations of many types of trees offer far greater biodiversity and other natural benefits than monocultures.  Of course these results are specific to the climate and soil conditions in the UK and may be different elsewhere.
     
    3, Chemical carriers of hydrogen. Liquid or compressed hydrogen will not be easy to store as fuel on board ships. The world’s first vessel using a chemical that carries hydrogen in its molecules was ordered this week in the Netherlands. The hydrogen will be separated in a simple reaction by mixing water and a catalyst with the molecule containing sodium, boron and hydrogen. The intention is to indefinitely recycle the molecule once the hydrogen has been collected. The demonstration ship will be used around the port of Amsterdam. The low volumetric density of hydrogen, the energy used to compress it and the possible safety risks of either using the pure gas or ammonia may make sodium borahydride an attractive carrier. But I’d still guess that synthetic methanol will be the main shipping fuel.
     
    4, Green hydrogen in India. National fuels producer Indian Oil Corporation said it would invest in green hydrogen production to supply two of its refineries. The proposed volumes are not large; about 7,000 tonnes a year which will provide only 10% of the company’s needs at these locations. But it is an interesting step into the use of renewable power by a major fossil fuel company.
     
    5, Solar installation rates. Sharply increased polysilicon prices have depressed world solar growth. But BNEF still expects about 250 GW to be installed this year, adding about 30% to world capacity and taking the total up to around 1 TW. China will make up about 100 GW of the 2022 total. Solar is forecast to provide about 5% of world electricity this year. The Inflation Reduction Act - now likely to be passed - will roughly double installation rates in the US according to a Princeton study, bringing about 50 GW per year into use by 2024. This is expected to rise to 100 GW a year by 2030.

    6, Solar thermal to synthetic fuels. Aviation will require liquid carbon-based fuels for decades. Most of the plans for synthetic aviation low carbon kerosene will use green hydrogen and captured CO2. However a new pilot plant in Spain uses concentrated solar power to generate extremely high temperatures at a tiny aperture on a tower. This induces chemical reactions that produce hydrogen from water and use carbon dioxide captured from the air to make carbon monoxide and oxygen. This ‘syngas’ (H2 and CO) is then piped to the bottom of the tower where a conventional, but very small, Fischer Tropsch reactor turns it into kerosene. This experiment is still minuscule, producing only a litre a day, but its relative simplicity may eventually make it competitive with more conventional ways of making synthetic fuels. On the other hand, its forecast maximum energy efficiency of 15% doesn’t make it obviously superior.
     
    7, Offshore wind. More countries decided to push for faster development of this resource. Australia plans to licence 6 areas off the state of Victoria to provide its first offshore power. Greece passed legislation seeking 2 GW by 2030 to supplement its 4.5 GW of onshore wind that provides 18% of the country’s energy. France selected areas for development of 2 GW off the south west coast, although planning to get them operational as late as 2030.  Power came onshore this week from the Hollandse Kust Zuid field off the Netherlands. This is the first subsidy-free offshore wind farm in the world.
     
    8, New electrolysers. It looks as though we will see several new entrants to this important sector. The idea that the race is between existing PEM, alkaline and solid oxide technologies might be wrong. In Australia, Hysata raised about $30m to commercialise its highly innovative variant on alkaline electrolysis. It claims its devices only need about 41.5 kWh of electricity to generate a kilogramme of hydrogen, compared to figures of about 48 kWh for the best alternatives. No expensive components or difficult manufacturing processes are required although no details were given of the likely cost. H2Pro, an Israeli start-up that uses a two stage electrolysis process, announced what I think is its first order from renewables developer Doral in Israel. This was accompanied by a commitment to buy 200 MW if the technology performed as promised. H2Pro claims that it can turn electricity into hydrogen at 95% efficiency. Long-established US start-up AquaHydrex also uses a highly innovative design to minimise capital expenditure and to separate hydrogen and oxygen effectively. After a long R&D period, the company is said to be building its pilot manufacturing plant.
     
    9, Low carbon grocery retailing. UK supermarket chain Morrisons made a major step into reducing the carbon impact of food and food retailing. It opened a store built with low carbon materials and served by PV on its roof. The shop will be ‘almost waste-free’ and will sell 366 different items with no packaging. It will use heat pumps and run electric vehicles, utilise rainwater and run its fridges without using HFCs, which are powerful greenhouse gases. Morrisons says that the store will stock 250 items sourced within 35 kms, up from about 50 in comparable stores in its chain. Its new range of plant-based foods will be accompanied by a portfolio of lower priced goods to minimise the impact of rapid food price inflation in the UK. This is an impressively complete and wide-ranging development from a chain not previously well-known for its interest in low carbon operations.
     
    10, Battery storage. The amount of grid-scale battery capacity is rising rapidly. Recent government estimates suggest that over 6 GW of batteries will be attached to the US grid in 2022. Total installations in Europe, including behind-the-meter batteries, are forecast to be about 5 GW this year. World wide grid-scale capacity was only about 10 GW in total at the end of 2020, said the EIA. But there’s a long way to go. If we assume (optimistically) total global capacity at the end of 2022 is around 40 GW/80 GWh, this could provide about 1.3% of total world demand for about 2 hours.  



    Teeny, weeny note, regarding item 7. Offshore wind. My understanding is that the leasing mechanism and strike prices in the Netherlands (and Germany (and probably other countries too)), doesn't include the cost of the electrical connection build out, and necessary local grid strengthening/enlarging, whereas the UK CfD mechanism does. So UK strike prices will be higher, I think about £10/MWh (but don't quote me on that). So UK strike prices may be higher, but include costs covered elsewhere by other countries, so it all comes out in the wash. But just to be aware if comparing different countries strike prices.
    Power came onshore this week from the Hollandse Kust Zuid field off the Netherlands. This is the first subsidy-free offshore wind farm in the world.

    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Carbon Commentary Newsletter from Chris Goodall. 

    Industry news

    Things I noticed and thought were interesting

    Week ending August 14th 2022
     
    1, Enhanced weathering. Rocks such as the very common olivine gradually weather, capturing atmospheric CO2 in the process and combining it with metals to make carbonates. The natural process can be speeded up by very fine grinding of the rock and by encouraging the chemical reactions using heat. However the consequence is that the process is energy intensive and therefore expensive. But researchers have found that enhanced weathering can be combined with a process that extracts valuable metals from olivine rock. For example, 90% of the nickel, which is about 0.2% of the content of this rock, can be separated and the value at current prices is more than the energy cost of the weathering process. Cobalt can also be ‘mined’ in this way. This discovery may make the use of finely ground rocks a much more financially viable means of capturing carbon dioxide.
     
    2, Forcing suppliers to use renewable electricity. Wind farm developer Ørsted said it will oblige all its suppliers to use only renewable electricity by 2025. I presume this includes the turbine manufacturers it uses for its offshore wind. We’ll see many more of these demands placed on suppliers to major companies. Ørsted’s own carbon footprint will fall to almost nothing by 2025, according to its latest forecasts. 
     
    3, CO2 and nutrition consequences of food. At last some good news. Chips/French fries are both nutritious and have amongst the lowest environmental footprint of all foods. At least that is the conclusion of a detailed study of 57,000 items on the shelves of Tesco, the largest UK grocery chain, using an algorithm to process the detailed ingredients lists. Generally, the researchers concluded that ‘many of the most nutritious food (but not drink) categories are also among the most environmentally sustainable’. Unfortunately, chocolate scored low on both nutrition and environmental impact. (Figure 4 in the paper provides a useful chart showing the positioning of the main UK supermarket foods). 

    4, 100% renewables. A growing number of researchers around the world say that an energy system 100% based on renewables is possible by 2050. Their work, which attracted much scepticism just a few years ago, now seems to be much more widely accepted. Some of the leading lights, such as Christian Breyer from LUT university in Finland and Mark Jacobson at Stanford, wrote an exceptionally detailed summary of all the published research on the 100% target. A press summary from LUT included this comment ‘When we first proposed this, we were ridiculed, but this paper shows our ideas are now scientific mainstream,” says Auke Hoekstra from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. A particularly appropriate finding at the moment as gas price rises will push the average utility bill for a UK home above £5,000/$6,000 in 2023.
     
    5, Promoting biodiversity. A UK study showed that switching some land to nature friendly habitats on a farm growing cereals did not reduce overall yields, despite the loss of cultivated land. Production was actually enhanced for some crops grown on a smaller land area . Biodiversity was significantly improved; a 10 year study showed that bird species increased by a third and butterfly numbers were up by 40%. (I saw this on Wicked Leeks).
     
    6, Ammonia as a shipping fuel. The shipping industry divides into those business backing methanol as a fuel (which may not even require new engines in some ships) and those favouring ammonia, which will probably need new vessels. Hoegh Autoliners, one of the major carriers of cars from factories to destination ports, said it backed ammonia as the route forward. One observation: Hoegh is partly owned by Maersk, which has strongly supported methanol instead. Separately, the port of Ijmuiden near Amsterdam now operates a small hydrogen bunkering operation for a vessels serving North Sea wind farms. I think this is a world first. Helpfully, McKinsey reported that it believed many clients would be prepared to pay a 10% premium for zero-carbon shipping. That probably wouldn’t cover the extra cost of zero carbon fuels today but might do so in the near future.
     
    7, Tall wood buildings in Australia. 3 skyscrapers that use wood as one of the main construction material may be built in Perth and Sydney. At around 200 metres tall, these buildings will be the largest in the world that use significant quantities of ‘engineered’ timber, which has excellent load-bearing qualities. One skyscraper will be 42% wood, with the developer saying it would cost about 9% more than a fully concrete alternative.
     
    8, Hydrogen production at nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plants are inflexible; they cannot ramp electricity production up and down at short notice. So if they are to have a role as full complements to intermittent renewables, they will need to acquire the ability to divert some energy to making hydrogen when electricity is in abundance. US power producers are backed by the country’s Energy Department to experiment with this possibility. Bloom Energy, a specialist in solid oxide fuel cells to use fuels to make electricity, reverses the process to make hydrogen from power. It produced some truly remarkable figures on the energy efficiency of its equipment at a trial at a US National Laboratory, writing that it could produce a kilo of hydrogen with less electricity than the energy contained in the H2. (This apparent breach of the laws of thermodynamics is possible because of the energy value of the heat freely available at any nuclear power station and used to assist the reaction). Bloom fuel cells can then turn the hydrogen back into electricity. The round trip efficiency of electricity far exceeds any other routes I have ever seen. 
     
    9, Climate cost of meat. Livestock is responsible for about 13-15% of global emissions, of which beef production is the most important element. A recent article assessed the environmental impact, suggesting that the public costs were between $5.75 and $9.17 per kilogramme for beef. If this meat was taxed at a rate equal to the environmental damage it causes, the retail price in wealthy countries might rise as much as 60%. Including the private costs of meat, such as increased rates of illness, would add substantially to this figure. We are still some way from taxation of meat in most countries but the calls are growing for the imposition of higher prices to reflect the detrimental environmental impacts. 

    10, Location of ‘climate tech’ companies. I wrote a blog post on financing of new climate tech ventures in Europe. This was based on the database from NetZero Insights containing the details of 23,000 companies. The key finding was that the UK and Germany have the most businesses and the largest amount of new funding but the Nordics and Estonia have much more activity per head of population. Gauged by the number of companies per head of population, Denmark comes first while Estonian companies gained the largest amount of recent financing. 
    I'm going to take a holiday break for the next few weeks. Back in early September.  

    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • edited 17 August at 4:29PM
    2nd_time_buyer2nd_time_buyer Forumite
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    edited 17 August at 4:29PM
    How will energy prices play out?

    "In the longer term, pressures should be alleviated as the energy supply evolves. Cornwall Insight anticipates an increase in renewables deployment (particularly solar, onshore and offshore wind) contributing to a slow drop in prices over the next few years, as the chart shows."

    I am slightly surprised that even in 8 years, they are still predicting prices to be around twice the pre-2021 average:  


    (if the link does not show up, search for it on Google and click from there) 
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