Green or not? Former Uskmouth power station to generate electricity from household waste!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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  • HexaneHexane Forumite
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    Ectophile wrote: »
    And if you have a fission reactor, the last thing you want is something burning inside it. That's generally a sign that you need to do an emergency shutdown, and evacuate the area.
    At Windscale, the reactor core had been on fire for several days before the operators even realised it. It had been venting radioactive smoke to the atmosphere the whole time. They had tried to check the situation using a remote scanner, but it had jammed.
    Follow the story along... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windscale_fire#Initial_fire_fighting_attempts
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater. myenergi hub for Virtual Power Plant demand-side response trial.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Great_Ache wrote: »
    We already have enough nuclear, gas, links to france and norway and renewables in the mix or in the pipeline so we don't need anymore fusion reactors. What we need is more AI.

    If you meant fusion (not fission) then there is some sad news anyway, as funding for it seems to be slowing down. The problem is that whilst 'solving' fusion is a great challenge to attempt, the cost is enormous, and with rapidly falling RE costs, it's almost certain now that even if 'we' do manage to get it to work, it won't be competitively economic - and that's harming progress now.
    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.
  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    I don't pretend to understand the figures or units quoted in relation to "safe" levels but it would appear in general that new plants are to have their emissions cut to around half of those for existing.
    For instance in mg/Nm3, existing limitations for So2, No2 and Dust were 2000, 600 & 100 whereas for new plants the limitations appear to be 850, 400 & 50.
    I thought its by no means conclusive but a step in the right direction and at least figures/units quoted that can eventually be put into context by means of comparison with known safe levels.
    It would be dangerous for me to interpret figures further , so I'll leave well alone in the hope that someone else may be able to shed more light to assist my continuing wrestling match.:o
    https://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/pdf/final_report_05app.pdf

    Ok, having never having come across the unit of Nm3 I was rather confused(doesn't take a lot I know) Nm2 yes! Apparently it stands for Normal Metre cubed and not Newton Metre cubed as I'd naively suspected. It was beginning to make some sense although the scale mg to M3 made for lots of 0's.
    From my limited understanding mg can be mass or weight and is 1/1000 of a gram or millilitre so one millionth of a kg or litre. 1000 litres equals a cubic metre so accordingly 1mg equals 1 billionth of a cubic metre!
    Thus taking So2 at 850mg/Nm3 as a ratio I believe equates to 0.85ppm(parts per million)!
    Similarly for No2 at 400mg/Nm3 equates to 0.4ppm and dust at 0.05ppm.
    Not very big numbers but assuming the safe level to be zero, then how do the figures equate!
    According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), exposure to 100 parts per million (ppm) SO2 is immediately dangerous to life or health. People with chronic lung disease may suffer those effects at a lower ppm. Considering those risks, OSHA has set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 5 ppm SO2 averaged over an 8-hour work shift. NIOSH’s airborne recommended exposure limit (REL) is 2 ppm averaged over a 10-hour work shift and 5 ppm not to be exceeded during any 15-minute work period.
    For NO2 and according to EPA(US Environmental Protection Agency) 0-50 parts per billion are considered to be not harmful raising to 300 ppb which are very Unhealthy with exercise to be avoided during exposure at this level! So at 400mg/Nm3 this is decidedly harmful. It could be argued that once diluted in the atmosphere the level would drop but still a worry all the same.
    Dust is considered harmful to health above 10mg/Nm3 according to COSSH regulations. So at 50mg/Nm3 output is around five times greater than permitted in working environments.
    The levels are worrying at a time when, ideally, we should be aiming for zero but presumably lower and in some cases much lower than industrial processes of the past!
    All the above is purely my limited understanding of matters as gleaned from the web although figures quoted are from known organisations giving some credence to them.

    There's little doubt we have an issue with waste disposal and energy generation so encompassing the two does make some sense. There is however a side of it with which I'm not comfortable and will take some convincing that it would comply under Ethical and Sustainable Governance banner!

    Further thoughts anyone!:)
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus Zappi charger and 2 x ASHP's. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    Further thoughts...


    Ive had some time to go through this and Ive decided to take a punt on this one having invested in atlantic before. Dont take this as investment advice, DYOR, YMMV etc etc etc.



    Coastalwatch's last post pretty much sums it up for me. Its not a great solution but we have to do something.
    I came to that conclusion about the NI proposal but I did have serious questions about the NI solution that some of the above proposal does address.
    In a nutshell a few of the local councils in NI want to build an incinerator near where I live (mile or two). It is pretty much only to deal with the waste problem from those councils and that the nearby landfill site is almost full (as are the neighbouring councils ones) and unlikely to open up significant new ones.
    There is also the unspoken issue with recycling waste. About 10 years ago I did some work with a recycling company and they couldnt ship our household recycling stuff to china quick enough (other countries were available). Buyers in China were buying futures on our local household recycling (cardboard, plastics, alu, steel) etc etc.
    Its now becoming a problem with the china/far east slowdown and also because of the poor quality of the stuff shipped out. (call it greed/carelessness/whatever).
    I never did see the value in washing out yoghurt pots in clean drinkable water just for them to go to recycling but now the end of the line are complaining about paying for half a carton of rotting coleslaw instead of the pure plastic they had paid for or the cardboard box with the dirty nappy in it etc etc etc. In a lot of cases we have substituted landfill here for our 'dirty' or reject recyclables being dumped half a world away and in a lot less controlled conditions than we have here. Weve just outsourced our waste problem and if you check news reports, its all starting to be shipped back again.
    So what do we do with it?
    Well I didnt like the NI solution (apart from the emissions - more later) because it wasnt connected to the grid, so any excess electricity wasnt being used, only to heat and power the plant. There was scope for this to feed back to the grid. I'll reiterate I see this as being a far from ideal solution but probably a better solution in the short term until we do come up with one, ideally less use of plastics etc etc.
    The plant was to take most recyclables and convert them into something or at the very least make sure the residues were 'harmless' if thats the case or reduced to a level a new form of landfill could cope with. We are now seeing problems surface with older landfill and there are thoughts we might have to start 'mining' old and previous sites but thats another discussion.
    The NI solution was also relatively close to proposed new housing developments (now built) so that it could have also been designed to provide district heating for but no...
    Im just going to add here that all of this is based on my recollections from 18 months ago, currently sitting in a log cabin in the lake district on my laptop with no access to the data I have on this...
    The site was in a former quarry and although close to major suburban developments the prevailing winds would make sure (most of the time) the locals werent poisoned. The biggest issue I saw would be smell as they hadnt given any detail on storage, but considering they were also within smelling distance of the current landfill that would probably be on a par or less. Certainly the blown detritus litter issue would be a lot less for the locals and arguably the bad hot summer smells would be too, plus the outgassing would be controlled.
    As I mentioned earlier I had a chat with some nice PR people at the public consultations and they did their nice PR thing with lots of green buzzwords and ratepayer value and all those nice things and skimmed over the possible problems with poisoning the locality.
    When I mentioned the microclimate and the site being in a bowl and that their state of the art german measurement and shutdown capability would have to be good and that they would all die first, one of the designers/engineers went for coffee with me.
    Im not going to repeat that conversation but they did convince me that their heart was in the right place and they did recognise that it was probably the lesser of many evils and that they personally had went to other longer run facilities and checked them out. They recognised it wouldnt be a long term decision and IIRC the plants projected life was 10-15 years so maybe that reflects that.
    I did mention that there were currently dairy and beef cattle within the fallout zone (yeah my dramatic turn of phrase I was using at the public consultation) and they recognised it might be a problem so they were buying all that land up and had planned to plant trees and try to find a why to minimise or neutralise it, beyond just normal screening.



    The abundance proposal differs from all this because the NI plant was primarily a waste disposal system where as at least the abundance one is adapting a coal fired station to run on something else. Something else which isnt wood pellets being imported by ship from the east coast of the USA (dont get me started on that).



    Going back to the NI plant, the objections have been huge, probably because its a half-assed idea rather than going the full hog and being a power/heat station as well. Its also a political game and also the fact that NI already has one down the road doesnt help.
    Coupled with the fact they have sited it in one of the stupidest places possible where in the last 5 years the roads to the site have been cut off by snow for up to a month, doesnt really help convince us its a solution for all year round. That and its council run and probably ratepayers money on the line which we all know is infinite...



    Sitting talking to folk off the record I did get the impression they were genuine, had done their due dilligence and despite the 'well its working well in Germany' line, I did come to the conclusion that if encompased like the abundance solution in one of the soon to be decommissioned power plants that whilst not exactly a good idea, its a step forward. Again off the record conversations the people involved hoped that in 10-15 years it wouldnt be required due to changes in plastic packaging, consumer habits etc but thats probably wishful thinking on all our parts.
    Plume plotter (search it) gives some good reference to plots of exhaust gasses with respect to wind speed/days etc. Again treat with caution/pinch of salt etc but gives a good overall idea and reminds me to get the hepa house air filters checked when I get home, maybe add some carbon scrubbers to those as well ;-)


    None of this is ideal and above all I hope many places dont see this as an endpoint but rather an interim step to give us breathing space (pun intended) to get a better solution.
    Thats what I see from a lot of the abundance stuff, for me its a gamble, its a punt, its about getting information on whats out there and whats happening and maybe putting my money where my mouth is with some of it. Not all of it is going to work, if it was then they wouldnt be going p2p, but in a lot of cases it might point to the future (either plus or minus) and thats worth investigating.
  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    Hi joefizz, thanks for your valuable contribution. It's great to have someone post with past experience on the matter and I appreciate you taking the time to share it on here.
    I'm slowly coming round to a similar take on matters and while it may not be perfect. In the interim, it's a step in the right direction.

    I'd pleased to hear of others take on the matter also although suspect that those who have any may have already posted.
    Trying to put the emissions in to context further I tried looking up the latest emission limits allowed on Diesel engined cars. Rather unfortunately these listed as 0.08g/km as opposed to the power station limits of 400mg/Nm3!
    Something I have also discovered is that average air quality in cities should contain no more than 40ug/m3. In some parts of london this is double that figure so we are lagging behind current legislation and are to be taken to court over the matter.
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus Zappi charger and 2 x ASHP's. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
  • edited 15 August 2019 at 11:00PM
    Reed_RichardsReed_Richards Forumite
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    edited 15 August 2019 at 11:00PM
    Ok, having never having come across the unit of Nm3 I was rather confused(doesn't take a lot I know) Nm2 yes! Apparently it stands for Normal Metre cubed and not Newton Metre cubed as I'd naively suspected.
    The amount of gas contained within a given volume (a cubic metre, for example) will depend on the temperature and the pressure of the gas. A normal cubic metre is a cubic metre at 0 degrees Celsius and 1 bar (which is close to atmospheric pressure). A normal cubic metre of dry air weighs 1.2754 kg.
    It was beginning to make some sense although the scale mg to M3 made for lots of 0's.
    From my limited understanding mg can be mass or weight and is 1/1000 of a gram or millilitre
    No, a millilitre is a unit of volume and has nothing to do with weight.
    so one millionth of a kg or litre. 1000 litres equals a cubic metre so accordingly 1mg equals 1 billionth of a cubic metre!
    You're going a bit off track here
    Thus taking So2 at 850mg/Nm3 as a ratio I believe equates to 0.85ppm(parts per million)!
    Try using the converter here: https://www.lenntech.com/calculators/ppm/converter-parts-per-million.htm . Thus says that So2 at 850mg/Nm3 is 301 ppm if comparing volume to volume (rather than weight to weight). Weight to weight it would be 850/1.2754 ,about 666 ppm
    Reed
  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    Hi Reed and many thanks for correcting my well intentioned, if wayward, ramblings. I'm pleased to have someone advising the error of my ways and pointing me in the right direction.

    I said it would be dangerous for me to interpret figures further, so you've certainly proved me correct on that one issue!:)
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus Zappi charger and 2 x ASHP's. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    joefizz wrote: »
    None of this is ideal and above all I hope many places dont see this as an endpoint but rather an interim step to give us breathing space (pun intended) to get a better solution.
    Thats what I see from a lot of the abundance stuff, for me its a gamble, its a punt, its about getting information on whats out there and whats happening and maybe putting my money where my mouth is with some of it. Not all of it is going to work, if it was then they wouldnt be going p2p, but in a lot of cases it might point to the future (either plus or minus) and thats worth investigating.


    As pointed out, it is but an interim stage and not entirely green as I'd hoped to make my first investment in Abundance. But I've permission to wager the remains of last months pocket money upon it and completed that last step earlier today.
    With thanks to all contributors this particular wrestling match has reached a conclusion.:)
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus Zappi charger and 2 x ASHP's. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    As pointed out, it is but an interim stage and not entirely green as I'd hoped to make my first investment in Abundance. But I've permission to wager the remains of last months pocket money upon it and completed that last step earlier today.
    With thanks to all contributors this particular wrestling match has reached a conclusion.:)
    Until today, when Atlantis made further announcements on the three projects the placement is supporting.
    A raft of announcements since the latest Abundance offer launched demonstrate how Atlantis is expanding its activities both within and beyond tidal, with the potential to change the landscape for energy, waste, and industry in the UK and abroad.
    This month Atlantis also announced that its joint venture, Normandie Hydroliennes, would supply the island of Aldnerney in the Channel Islands with power from a proposed tidal array in the Raz Blanchard, the fast-flowing tidal race between Alderney and mainland France. Atlantis intends to install 4 turbines and has outlined a deal with the island to supply at least 5 GWh of electricity per year for an above-market price (the island currently pays more than £200 / MWh for its diesel-generated electricity today compared to around £45–50 / MWh in UK wholesale markets) for a period of 20 years. The electricity would be enough to meet the entire current energy demand of the island, while the agreed price allows Atlantis to build out tidal power profitably — a significant step.
    September 2019 saw the company announce plans to build the world’s first ocean-powered data centre and the largest data centre in Scotland.
    Data centres are notoriously energy intensive, and yet data-hungry modern life means that we need ever more data centres to meet demand. Atlantis could be creating an opportunity for a whole new infrastructure industry in Scotland by planning this project for the next phase of its flagship MeyGen array. It has the potential to attract the first hyperscale data centre occupier to the country, while also delivering critical progress to the commercialisation of tidal energy. By plugging the data centre directly into the MeyGen tidal array, the data centre operator can save as much as a third on its power bills by avoiding transmission costs and still pay MeyGen a price for the power it generates which means it needs no subsidy.
    Having read through the announcements I just felt they offered a more balanced insight than the thread may have otherwise focussed upon.
    In any case it seems like next months pocket money could well be spoken for!

    https://medium.abundanceinvestment.com/the-latest-project-news-from-atlantis-5ccfd3145f48
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus Zappi charger and 2 x ASHP's. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    Until today, when Atlantis made further announcements on the three projects the placement is supporting.
    Having read through the announcements I just felt they offered a more balanced insight than the thread may have otherwise focussed upon.
    In any case it seems like next months pocket money could well be spoken for!

    https://medium.abundanceinvestment.com/the-latest-project-news-from-atlantis-5ccfd3145f48
    Since the last post we've visited an Energy from Waste plant run by the company Suez at Gt Blakenham in Suffolk. Until then I hadn't appreciated that all of Suffolks waste, previously destined for landfill, was processed here, so not to dissimilar to the proposed Uskmouth conversion.
    I have to confess to being impressed with how well the site was run and how little actual waste resulted at the end, most of it being ash which then goes on to be used in the manufacture of breeze blocks or for road construction. Metals, both ferrous and non are also reclaimed and sold for their scrap value. There are also some heavy metals arrested. From the control room where several screens were visible which monitor the various emissions we were advised these are closely controlled and half hourly readings recorded for validation purposes. These must fall within the regulated figures or the plant has to shut down.
    It runs 24/7 and stops but twice a year for three days for maintenance and takes about 24 hours to get back up to temperature again fuelled by diesel. Apart from this the waste burns unaided other than blown air to maintain optimum temperatures. The plant generates 24MW continuously.

    The Uskmouth conversion will benefit from using dried pellets, processed from waste, resulting in a cleaner burn from which to generate its 220MW of electricity.

    I accept this is not emission free but until we have sufficient base grid load covered entirely by renewables and storage then for the interim period this process assists in solving the two crucial issues of energy generation and waste disposal.
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus Zappi charger and 2 x ASHP's. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
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