Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category


This may or may not have its uses, but any idea that the whole world could get electricity mainly from the sun and the wind is not credible, with today’s technology at least.

MIT engineers have come up with a conceptual design for a system to store renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and deliver that energy back into an electric grid on demand, says TechExplore.

The system may be designed to power a small city not just when the sun is up or the wind is high, but around the clock.

The new design stores heat generated by excess electricity from solar or wind power in large tanks of white-hot molten silicon, and then converts the light from the glowing metal back into electricity when it’s needed.

The researchers estimate that such a system would be vastly more affordable than lithium-ion batteries, which have been proposed as a viable, though expensive, method to store renewable energy. They also estimate that the system would cost about half as much as pumped hydroelectric storage—the cheapest form of grid-scale energy storage to date.

“Even if we wanted to run the grid on renewables right now we couldn’t, because you’d need fossil-fueled turbines to make up for the fact that the renewable supply cannot be dispatched on demand,” says Asegun Henry, the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “We’re developing a new technology that, if successful, would solve this most important and critical problem in energy and climate change, namely, the storage problem.”

Henry and his colleagues have published their design today in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

Record temps

The new storage system stems from a project in which the researchers looked for ways to increase the efficiency of a form of renewable energy known as concentrated solar power.

Unlike conventional solar plants that use solar panels to convert light directly into electricity, concentrated solar power requires vast fields of huge mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto a central tower, where the light is converted into heat that is eventually turned into electricity.

“The reason that technology is interesting is, once you do this process of focusing the light to get heat, you can store heat much more cheaply than you can store electricity,” Henry notes.

Concentrated solar plants store solar heat in large tanks filled with molten salt, which is heated to high temperatures of about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When electricity is needed, the hot salt is pumped through a heat exchanger, which transfers the salt’s heat into steam. A turbine then turns that steam into electricity.

“This technology has been around for a while, but the thinking has been that its cost will never get low enough to compete with natural gas,” Henry says. “So there was a push to operate at much higher temperatures, so you could use a more efficient heat engine and get the cost down.”

However, if operators were to heat the salt much beyond current temperatures, the salt would corrode the stainless steel tanks in which it’s stored. So Henry’s team looked for a medium other than salt that might store heat at much higher temperatures.

They initially proposed a liquid metal and eventually settled on silicon—the most abundant metal on Earth, which can withstand incredibly high temperatures of over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Last year, the team developed a pump that could withstand such blistering heat, and could conceivably pump liquid silicon through a renewable storage system. The pump has the highest heat tolerance on record—a feat that is noted in “The Guiness Book of World Records.”

Since that development, the team has been designing an energy storage system that could incorporate such a high-temperature pump.

Continued here.

Research article: Secular decrease of wind power potential in India associated with warming in the Indian Ocean

Image credit: mirror.co.uk


Ironically, the ungrateful climate responds to attempts to ‘save’ it by offering less reward to its supposed saviours. Unfortunate perhaps, but relying on weather-dependent power always will carry risks.

The warming of the Indian Ocean due to global climate change may be causing a slow decline in India’s wind power potential, according to a study, as Financial Express reports.

India, the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China and the US, is investing billions in wind power and has set the ambitious goal to double its capacity in the next five years, said researchers from the Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

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The spirit of Heath Robinson lives on.

The experimental device is part of the secretive Google X research lab, reports Euronews.

One day, generating renewable energy could be as simple as flying a kite — but not just any kite.

After more than a decade of development work, an experimental “energy kite” capable of tapping into strong high-altitude winds is now being tested on Hawaii’s Big Island, West Hawaii Today reported.

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‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ – German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]


Another opinion piece pointing out the engineering impossibilities being attempted by countries that try to pursue intermittent renewable power to the limit. Unthinking insistence on such policies is not the way to go.

More and more people are about to realize, that supplying the world with stable energy from sun and wind only, will be impossible, says Kalte Sonne.

Germany took on the challenge to show the world how to build a society based on green energy. They have now hit the wall.

Germany has not reduced CO2 emissions over the last 10 years despite huge investments in green energy production capacity.

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Image credit: BBC Scotland


Sooner or later, preferring ideology to practicality in electricity generation is going to cause trouble. But are leaders aware of the issues, or in Scotland’s case do they just assume the rest of the UK will bale them out in an emergency?
H/T The GWPF

Scotland faces being plunged into darkness for days says The Herald Scotland, possibly resulting in deaths and widespread civil disobedience, due to the country’s over-reliance on green energy, a new report has warned.

A massive gap in the electricity system caused by the closure of coal-fired power stations and growth of unpredictable renewable generation has created the real prospect of complete power failure.

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Image credit: sunpower.com.au


Saving money thanks to government subsidies always invites the question: who is really paying for the offer? No prizes for guessing.

Labor wants Australian suburbs to run on batteries through a plan to subsidise solar power storage for thousands of households, reports news.com.au.

And it believes the plan could cut electricity bills by 60 per cent.

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But if it happens at all, it’s likely to be in relatively wealthy countries with few of their own fuel sources, like Japan. Methane hydrate is found on the seabed and in permafrost, meaning extraction is expensive and quite difficult, so far at least. But it has been called the world’s largest natural gas resource.

Last year, Japan succeeded in extracting an untapped fuel from its ocean floor – methane hydrate, or flammable ice, reports BBC Futures.

Proponents argue that it will offset energy crises, but what are the environmental risks?

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Carrington Power Station near Manchester


H/T The GWPF

The sooner Britain gets the interfering EU off its regulatory back the better. With already questionable policies on power generation due to climate obsessions, this aggravation is the last thing needed.

Electricity prices could double after the government suspended the UK’s system for ensuring there is a back-up power supply, experts have warned.

The wholesale power price could hit £121 per megawatt hour (MWh) by next winter unless the so-called capacity market is reinstated, according to a report — risking higher energy bills for millions, reports The Sunday Times.

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energy1The Daily Telegraph reports

A European Court ruling has thrown the UK’s energy security into disarray by ordering the immediate halt to a £1bn scheme designed to keep Britain’s lights on.

The cornerstone energy security scheme has come to an abrupt standstill after the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled that the UK should not be allowed to pay power plants to stay open.

The shock-ruling wiped hundreds of millions of pounds from the UK’s largest listed energy companies on Thursday and threatens to bring a return of energy market price spikes over the winter.

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Gas peaking plant [image credit: Clarke Energy]


Renewables advocates keep pushing the idea that there may be ‘gaps’ in power supply due to intermittency. But most sensible people realise it’s the other way round – renewables provide a small percentage of the total power and everything else has to work around that. Here’s an example of the propaganda.

The Ashford Peaking Power Plant is a 21MW facility located at Kingsnorth Industrial Estate in Kent, reports Energy Live News.

It has 14 gas engines on site, which runs for around 1,500 to 2,000 hours a year – it is fully automated, unmanned and is monitored and controlled remotely.

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Drax power station [credit: drax.com]


It looks increasingly like the ‘new normal’ to try and get the courts to decide what national electricity generation policy should – or should not – be, by promoting ill-founded paranoia that blames humans for climate variability. Security of supply versus shaky ideology.

ClientEarth objects to Drax Power’s new gas power project, on the grounds that it breaches the government’s planning and climate change recommendations.

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100-wells-yrSome perspective is required here.

Energy company Total has announced a major gas discovery off Shetland.

Initial tests at a site on the Glendronach prospect indicated there could be about one trillion cubic feet of gas which could be extracted.

Deirdre Michie, industry body Oil and Gas UK’s chief executive, said: “This is a major discovery by Total which demonstrates the exciting potential the West of Shetland frontier region holds.”

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US court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

Posted: November 9, 2018 by oldbrew in Energy, Legal, News
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Decision time again [image credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez]


It’s a temporary ban that can be appealed. The circus continues.

A federal judge on Thursday halted construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, arguing that President Donald Trump’s administration had failed to adequately explain why it had lifted a ban on the project, reports Phys.org.

The ruling by Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana dealt a stinging setback to Trump and the oil industry and served up a big win for conservationists and indigenous groups.

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Proposed nuclear plant at Moorside [credit: in-cumbria.com]


This puts a large dent in UK electricity generation policy, which expects nuclear energy to supply a significant percentage of its ’emissions-free’ power alongside that from unpredictable part-time renewables like wind and solar.

The announcement is a major blow for the region, says TheBusinessDesk.com.

Japanese firm Toshiba has announced it is to pull the plug on the company set up to build a new £15bn nuclear power station in Cumbria.

The tech giant has announced it is winding up Manchester based NuGen, its UK-based nuclear arm, after efforts to sell the business failed.

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Credit: ukcampsite.co.uk


It seems unlikely that hordes of angry protesters would rush to this project to complain about any alleged dangers of deep drilling – but you never know.

Drilling will start this week at what could become the UK’s first deep geothermal electricity plant in Cornwall, reports ITV News.

Two wells will be drilled through granite rock near St Day, the deepest of which will reach 4.5 kilometres.

Geothermal Engineering Ltd says the aim of the project is to demonstrate the potential of geothermal technology to produce electricity and renewable heat in the UK.

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Shale gas drilling site [image credit: BBC]


Finding our own gas instead of paying for costly imports should be a no-brainer, but some people seem to be too squeamish, or too ideologically obsessed, to accept such realities.

In the week that saw three tankers of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) arrive into the UK on the same day, Cuadrilla has announced that is has succeeded in flowing gas to the surface from the first of two horizontal wells to be hydraulically fractured (fracked) at its Preston New Road site in Little Plumpton, reports Lancashire for Shale.

“This is fantastic news, and a real credit to the expertise and tenacity of Cuadrilla and its partners, proving that it is possible to safely recover gas from the rich shale deposits beneath our feet,” said Lee Petts, Chair at Lancashire For Shale.

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[image credit: Pakistan Defence]


They need to find something else to worry about. Renewables are simply too feeble to take the place of coal and gas power generation, even if such were desirable, and restricting power usage is not a credible option. Quite the reverse in fact – everyone wants electricity, and more of it as time goes by.
H/T Phys.org

Coal-fired power plants operating and under construction in Asia pose a threat to achieving the goal of halting global warming, the head of the International Energy Agency told the Financial Times on Wednesday.

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Australia fiddles while its own coal burns…elsewhere. That’s exactly it, but what are its apparently confused leaders thinking to allow this to happen?

STOP THESE THINGS

Australia is in the process of destroying what was the world’s most reliable and affordable power supply. The destruction is all down to heavily subsidised and chaotically intermittent wind and solar.

Meanwhile, our major Asian trading partners, China and Japan are chewing up Australian coal and uranium as fast as we can ship it – and building hundreds of new plants to use our high-grade thermal coal: Full-Steam Ahead: China & Japan Snub Intermittent Wind & Solar to Build Hundreds of New-Age Coal-Fired Plants

That a country once renowned as an affordable energy superpower is throttling itself to death with a cocktail of suicidal renewable energy policies, is not just ironic, it is flat out criminal.

Tens of thousands of blue-collar jobs in mining, mineral processing and manufacturing have already been destroyed by rocketing power prices; and tens of thousands more remain under threat. Once lost, those jobs will never…

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Drax power station [credit: drax.com]


Unpredictable supplies, increasing prices and threats of blackouts are not good news. Even allowing that the author has a related product to sell, the comments about UK electricity policies and their effects should make uncomfortable reading for its residents.

There’s no getting away from the fact that our energy infrastructure in the UK is inadequate, writes Duncan McPherson, CEO of CooperOstlund, at PEI.

The National Grid is dated, inefficient and widely considered unfit for purpose.

Demand – especially in peak times – regularly overtakes supply availability.

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STT highlights the ‘tension between economic energy and politically correct energy’.

No amount of money or technology can force the wind to blow on demand.

STOP THESE THINGS

The spinning wheel was meant to signify Indian independence, too.

It never takes them long to work out that wind power is the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time. Eco-zealots have attempted to ram wind and solar power down the throats of Third World governments under the auspices of saving the planet and purportedly with the purpose of dragging millions out of poverty. As the initiated well-know, wind power rates zero on both scores. Pointless and expensive, wind power is a kind of first world disease being spread by UN endorsed lunatics, across the developing world.

In India, solar power is seen as ‘fake electricity’, by those being forced to use it: The Cruel Hypocrisy: West Drops Wind Power as it Forces ‘Fake Electricity’ on the World’s Poor

Now, Indians have branded wind power an outright fraud, too. The calm, and very wet weather that comes with the monsoon…

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