The Death Of Fossil Fuels

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bjn
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Thu Mar 23, 2023 7:32 pm

Amprius announced a new battery today, 500 WH/kg, basically doubling both the current gravimetric and volumetric density of current production Li-in batteries. They have replaced the carbon anode with a silicon one and dealt with all the problems that come from a silicon anode. They claim to be going into production right now.

If not bullshitting, this is a 'big deal'.

https://amprius.com/the-all-new-amprius ... m-is-here/

Sandy Munro discusses it...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtZkohZRE_s

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Thu Mar 23, 2023 7:57 pm

IvanV wrote:
Thu Mar 23, 2023 5:59 pm
Calms can be calm and extensive enough that the whole nation's wind generation can fall to about 2% of its nameplate capacity.
There's no point taking one nation and 2023 generation. I don't understand why the Prof starts with a UK lens.

The UK covers a large range of latitudes and different seas, plus it's all international anyway. You've got to add in Ireland and Norway and the Baltic and Morocco solar and Spain solar and Iceland geothermal.

The change in the past year has been so dramatic, knocking out a big chunk of gas and accelerating renewables well beyond all forecasts. Gas fell to 6% in the UK mix the other day. Another few years and it'll be regularly near zero. A few years after that and surpluses will be flowing across continents.

One thing not mentioned on the slides is winter storage as non-water heat.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Thu Mar 23, 2023 8:52 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Mar 23, 2023 7:57 pm
IvanV wrote:
Thu Mar 23, 2023 5:59 pm
Calms can be calm and extensive enough that the whole nation's wind generation can fall to about 2% of its nameplate capacity.
There's no point taking one nation and 2023 generation. I don't understand why the Prof starts with a UK lens.

The UK covers a large range of latitudes and different seas, plus it's all international anyway. You've got to add in Ireland and Norway and the Baltic and Morocco solar and Spain solar and Iceland geothermal.

The change in the past year has been so dramatic, knocking out a big chunk of gas and accelerating renewables well beyond all forecasts. Gas fell to 6% in the UK mix the other day. Another few years and it'll be regularly near zero. A few years after that and surpluses will be flowing across continents.

One thing not mentioned on the slides is winter storage as non-water heat.
To some extent, he's got a study that estimates what can be done without all the extras you mention, and it appears to be achievable. Modelling all the extra bells and whistles you mention won't be trivial, or even possible in some cases, eg: you probably don't have decades worth of weather data if looking at imports from Morocco/wherever. That just means all the other forms of generation and storage probably make it much better.

FWIW, he does mention heat storage in the podcast. Listen to it next time you get an hour cooking/driving/doing the laundry, there's more than in the slides.

Ivan, the UK has no ambition, very risk averse and the Treasury kills everything.

ETA: he also mentions most of your points in his slide deck, including heat storage.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Fri Mar 24, 2023 9:53 am

lpm wrote:
Thu Mar 23, 2023 7:57 pm
IvanV wrote:
Thu Mar 23, 2023 5:59 pm
Calms can be calm and extensive enough that the whole nation's wind generation can fall to about 2% of its nameplate capacity.
There's no point taking one nation and 2023 generation. I don't understand why the Prof starts with a UK lens.

The UK covers a large range of latitudes and different seas, plus it's all international anyway. You've got to add in Ireland and Norway and the Baltic and Morocco solar and Spain solar and Iceland geothermal.

The change in the past year has been so dramatic, knocking out a big chunk of gas and accelerating renewables well beyond all forecasts. Gas fell to 6% in the UK mix the other day. Another few years and it'll be regularly near zero. A few years after that and surpluses will be flowing across continents.

One thing not mentioned on the slides is winter storage as non-water heat.
He studies weather patterns over about 30-40 years. You start with a UK lens because, as he points out later, Europe is rather poorly interconnected at longer distances. He does talk about what can be achieved with better interconnection. But Europe, let alone the UK, is small enough to have regional calms.

Iceland has much more hydro than geothermal. Its geothermal has been little expanded for a long time. The level of protest against the last large hydro station suggests there will not be large expansions in the foreseeable. They currently use their surplus mainly for aluminium smelting, which gives them a very large carbon emission per capita, due to the carbon emitted in that process. So it looks attractive to them to export to the UK instead. But it will be sub-GW in size, if it comes to happen.

Spain has rather considerably slowed down its installation of low carbon power, after its initial enthusiasm, so I understand why we talked to Morocco instead about solar export. It's a very long way, and would probably make more sense if it connected to Spain and then there was a much larger backbone of long distance transmission across Europe. But the French have rather obstructive to increasing connections across certain borders, especially Spain and Belgium. Maybe their current problems will help them to re-evaluate that policy, as it would make a lot of sense for wider Europe if they were a bit more flexible about it.

There have been various non-water heat storage trials, and they all seem disappointing to me. Technical feasibility is demonstrated for numerous technologies. But they all seem to get stuck at a cost level which looks too high, and very little sign of how it might get over a cost barrier to make it look usable. So there's a bunch of prototypes of various technologies around, and no sign of any of them going anywhere. Rather like wave energy, which never managed to achieve its breakthrough to a sufficiently cheap and reliable technology deployable at scale, despite something like 50 years of research.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by shpalman » Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:27 am

You may have heard that Italy and Germany have both demanded that the EU allow sales of new combustion engine cars after 2035 if they run exclusively on carbon neutral e-fuels... In a letter to the Commission this week, Italy said the offer must also cover biofuels - those derived from biomass like plants.

A professor on our internal mailing list explains that he asks his student to estimate how many square kilometres of solar panels would be required to run Italy's cars, assuming 30 million cars doing 15,000 km per year each, and then how many square kilometres of crops for biofuels.

Of course the first shocking thing is that it never occurred to any of his students to think about this in the first place, but then he goes on to estimate about 1000 km^2, which is 0.3% of Italy, for the solar panels, but for biofuels you'd need 50,000 km^2, about 1/6th of Italy, Alps and Apennines included. (Italy is about 40% farm land.)

There's a reply from a chemist which mentions making biofuel from food waste, though, suggesting that there's nearly twice as much food waste in the EU as the petrol which is consumed and mentioning about a tonne per person per year of... something... which I suppose would at least mean you had to give less human-food land over to car food but I haven't worked anything out for myself.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Fri Mar 24, 2023 12:27 pm

shpalman wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:27 am
There's a reply from a chemist which mentions making biofuel from food waste, though, suggesting that there's nearly twice as much food waste in the EU as the petrol which is consumed and mentioning about a tonne per person per year of... something... which I suppose would at least mean you had to give less human-food land over to car food but I haven't worked anything out for myself.
I'm always a little mystified over what this oft-referred large quantity of food waste is. Are they talking about the large non-edible parts of plants and animals, the stalks, peelings, bones, offal and trimmings, that are taken off before it ever gets to the shops? Are those really not already largely made use of in some way? Wheat straw and bean stalks are surely fed to animals? Renderers deal with animal residues.

Even after the food gets to my house, there is still a fair amount in peelings, etc, which goes into my compost bin. The peelings, etc, for the 3 of us, are probably about 200kg a year, half a kg a day, remembering how often we take the peelings container to the compost bin. We do more food preparation from scratch than most people, and eat quite a lot of fruit and veg.

Is there some very large food waste coming out of food retailers, losses in transport, unsold, etc, that we are unaware of?

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Fri Mar 24, 2023 12:31 pm

Most people don't compost peelings and expired/gone off food, so that's a significant chunk that you shouldn't assume is composted.

Processed foods obviously produce waste in a similar way, but I assume that that is composted fairly efficiently rather than factories paying to landfill it.

Where the supermarket and warehouse level expired and damaged food goes is a big issue.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bolo » Fri Mar 24, 2023 12:55 pm

shpalman wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:27 am
Of course the first shocking thing is that it never occurred to any of his students to think about this in the first place
You are easily shocked.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:05 pm

IvanV wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 12:27 pm
shpalman wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:27 am
There's a reply from a chemist which mentions making biofuel from food waste, though, suggesting that there's nearly twice as much food waste in the EU as the petrol which is consumed and mentioning about a tonne per person per year of... something... which I suppose would at least mean you had to give less human-food land over to car food but I haven't worked anything out for myself.
I'm always a little mystified over what this oft-referred large quantity of food waste is. Are they talking about the large non-edible parts of plants and animals, the stalks, peelings, bones, offal and trimmings, that are taken off before it ever gets to the shops? Are those really not already largely made use of in some way? Wheat straw and bean stalks are surely fed to animals? Renderers deal with animal residues.

Even after the food gets to my house, there is still a fair amount in peelings, etc, which goes into my compost bin. The peelings, etc, for the 3 of us, are probably about 200kg a year, half a kg a day, remembering how often we take the peelings container to the compost bin. We do more food preparation from scratch than most people, and eat quite a lot of fruit and veg.

Is there some very large food waste coming out of food retailers, losses in transport, unsold, etc, that we are unaware of?
Some EU statistics here.
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistic ... t_EU_level

Eurostat reckons that food waste is on average 131 kg per person per year, which is a lot but much less than a tonne. About 53% is by households, the rest in production and in the service industry. That would suggest that other parts of the supply chain are pretty efficient.

That makes for about a third of a kilo per person per day. I think that the Chopper household chucks out a lot less than that (we sort the food waste for recycling so I have a fairly good idea of what we waste). But we rarely eat takeaways or pre-packaged processed food and eat a lot of leftovers.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:15 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:05 pm
shpalman wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:27 am
There's a reply from a chemist which mentions making biofuel from food waste, though, suggesting that there's nearly twice as much food waste in the EU as the petrol which is consumed and mentioning about a tonne per person per year of... something... which I suppose would at least mean you had to give less human-food land over to car food but I haven't worked anything out for myself.
Some EU statistics here.
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistic ... t_EU_level

Eurostat reckons that food waste is on average 131 kg per person per year, which is a lot but much less than a tonne. About 53% is by households, the rest in production and in the service industry. That would suggest that other parts of the supply chain are pretty efficient.

That makes for about a third of a kilo per person per day. I think that the Chopper household chucks out a lot less than that (we sort the food waste for recycling so I have a fairly good idea of what we waste). But we rarely eat takeaways or pre-packaged processed food and eat a lot of leftovers.
So if they are talking about tonne/cap/year, they must mean the wheat straw and beanstalks and the like. So that would remove that from where it currently goes, doubtless animal feed, etc.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by shpalman » Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:33 pm

bolo wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 12:55 pm
shpalman wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:27 am
Of course the first shocking thing is that it never occurred to any of his students to think about this in the first place
You are easily shocked.
Not me, the professor I'm quoting.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:45 pm

IvanV wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:15 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:05 pm
shpalman wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:27 am
There's a reply from a chemist which mentions making biofuel from food waste, though, suggesting that there's nearly twice as much food waste in the EU as the petrol which is consumed and mentioning about a tonne per person per year of... something... which I suppose would at least mean you had to give less human-food land over to car food but I haven't worked anything out for myself.
Some EU statistics here.
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistic ... t_EU_level

Eurostat reckons that food waste is on average 131 kg per person per year, which is a lot but much less than a tonne. About 53% is by households, the rest in production and in the service industry. That would suggest that other parts of the supply chain are pretty efficient.

That makes for about a third of a kilo per person per day. I think that the Chopper household chucks out a lot less than that (we sort the food waste for recycling so I have a fairly good idea of what we waste). But we rarely eat takeaways or pre-packaged processed food and eat a lot of leftovers.
So if they are talking about tonne/cap/year, they must mean the wheat straw and beanstalks and the like. So that would remove that from where it currently goes, doubtless animal feed, etc.
Yes, I assume so, that most of that kind of waste isn't edible for humans and may not be wasted in the sense that its chucked into a landfill. If food waste is, say, used to generate electricity there will be arguments each way about the extent to which that's waste.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Fri Mar 24, 2023 2:57 pm

Starting point: the sun doesn't shine the whole time, the wind doesn't blow the whole time.

Illogical response: Storage.

Logical response: My house doesn't heat the whole time, my car doesn't charge the whole time, the factories don't run the whole time.

Enhanced response: …and I have loads of storage already, in the thermal mass of my home, in home batteries, in car batteries.

Even more enhanced response: …and there is a vast amount of electricity stored in every object around us, both physical and intellectual objects. There is 350x more electricity embedded in my car than currently stored in the batteries.

The flaw in the podcast: Instinctively thinking in terms of swapping gas generation with renewables 1 for 1. In other words, mentally thinking of something like 100% annual demand generated by renewables, instead of starting at 400% of annual demand generated by renewables. The reality is the UK will be a massive exporter of wind electricity and, given how cheap solar is getting, solar electricity as well. Export will be in the form of physical goods, as per Iceland exporting electricity embedded in aluminium, and it will be in intellectual goods, such as electricity embedded in AI. It won't be exports of electricity itself because our neighbours will also be in surplus. Everyone will be throwing away electricity most of the year.

The bigger flaw in the podcast: Not being an economist and failing to look at a chart of solar and wind costs. Have they not seen how fast these are falling? We're now looking at 2030 for super generation, not 2050. The lines shows solar will overtake wind soon, even for Scotland. And the chart of electrical battery prices shows the same - a Tesla's batteries cost $1m a few years ago, today they're approaching $10k.

The economics: Storage economics merely changes the over-generation percentage. Cheap storage? Only 400% of annual demand generated by renewables. Expensive storage? 500% from renewables. It does not change the structure, simply because when solar costs £20/MWh all storage solutions increases the average. We don’t need to worry about what the mix is, because capitalism will do all that. It’s the perfect problem for capitalism – balancing costs and arbitraging away differences. Every country and every region will have its own balance.

Ordinary lulls: The usual poor patches for a couple of days are easily handled by ordinary storage in the form of electrical batteries in cars and homes, plus people incentivised to heat water and homes at cheap times and switch off at expensive peaks. The Octopus home demand experiments are gathering data ahead of automation of this process within a few years. Nobody freezes to death when the HP goes off for a day because of thermal mass and better insulation. When the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow we don’t need to heat our homes, water and cars temporarily. There will be plenty of storage around the grid, in compressed air or hydrogen tanks or cranes in mineshafts, just for routine management.

---> ordinary lulls mean ordinary demand drops

The Super lulls:

1) Just the UK is 1,000 km north to south and 600 km east to west. Europe is 4,000 km x 4,000 km. Overcast across that entire area and no wind across that entire area will be rare events. We don’t care much about efficiency for rare events, the system needs to be effective in keeping the lights on for a month long lull, not efficient.

2) Solar panels generate in winter, even on cloudy days. TopBadger switched on in January and reported generation of 5-8kWh on the first cloudy day.

3) Hydro and geo continues, along with legacy nuclear

4) Interconnects will be everywhere, crossing all of Europe and heading on into North Africa

5) The super lulls are ultimately handled with demand management. Not turning down the thermostat a degree, proper demand management. The vast energy users switching off completely for a month long lull - not by government diktat, but via capitalism. They won’t pay high prices for a month when for most of the year their energy is nearly free.

---> Super lulls mean super demand drops

What the podcast said:
The problem with that is... It will help and it's built into the model of demand that we used, actually, that that's being done. But the difficulty is, you get these periods, successive periods of very low supply. Now, we can reduce our electricity demand for a few hours; we could reduce it for a few days. But we're talking about having to lose half our electricity supply for weeks. Now, if the government wants to lose the next election, that's what it makes sure happens.
The reason this is wrong is because it fails to appreciate the electricity embedded in stuff and how vast a storage this represents. One thing we’ve learned from the climate crisis is how much CO2 is embedded in an iPhone and the rest. Which obviously translates to embedded electricity. The manufacture of my car used 20,000 kWh of electricity. Flipping that around, delaying the manufacture of a car for a month saves 20,000 kWh. It’s thereby identical to a month’s storage of 20,000 kWh.

I understand why they don’t instinctively get this. We’re used to the status quo and build our expectations around it. We’ve no appreciation of what vast surpluses of electricity on windy and sunny days mean for capitalist enterprises. The world of 2050 is very strange because all our notions of efficiency are no longer valid. Inefficient use of electricity in the super generation periods are hardly penalised. Any use of electricity in the super lulls is very costly. It means different business models (and different products we can’t yet imagine). By assuming a 2023 energy world in 2050 the Professor is making a fundamental error - he instinctively thinks he should be storing every ounce of wind electricity generated instead of throwing it away for near-free. That’s because he starts with thinking about the energy currently stored in the UK as fossil fuels.

As an example, VW needs 20,000 kWh to build me a car. At 2p during sunny and windy days that’s £400. At 34p during a super lull that’s £6,800. It’s the easiest decision in the book: delay building that car until the windy weather returns in a month or two.

Now repeat for aluminium, fertiliser, steel, TVs, paper, cement, chemical precursors… And more interesting is the non-physical stuff. The data centre. The computer crunching a zillion calculations every nanosecond. The AI machine churning out popular Harry Potter novels.

To our status quo selves it feels inefficient for VW to shut off production for a month-long super lull that happens every 17 years. But it’s not. It is effective and cheaper than massive storage in salt caverns or storing electricity for 10 years. If VW wanted to keep producing cars for that month they would be free to install massive batteries or buy their own salt cavern. But they won’t. No way will that make economic sense. The analogy is with the UK grinding to a halt every few years when snow is more than usual. It’s not that there’s more snow than in Canada, it’s simply that its uneconomic to invest in stuff not needed most years.

The muddled section of the podcast: It’s clear where he loses his way. He says:
But then you're storing every damn bit of wind, you have to have colossal power, you have to have huge stores, it bankrupts you.
But then he stops himself and realises he doesn’t need to store every damn bit of wind. And he almost gets there:
We have a surplus, which comes about in two ways: some of the time the store's full. I mean, you don't make the store bigger than it has to be, so the store's full, you can't store anymore. Or, the wind and solar power is so high in some hours, it would be madness to try and store it, because you build something to capture it, which was not needed most of the time. So, there is a surplus, which has two components where it comes from. So, the question is: it's being generated, would it have any value? So, we've thought about it. There could be uses for electricity which are not in our model of demand, because they don't exist today. But if there's cheap spare electricity going, somebody will think of a way of using it. So, I'll give you one example. One example would be drying biomass. If we're going to have a lot of biomass, people will be chopping it down, and then they're putting it in big hangars, and blowing hot air through it. So, that's a wonderful demand, because it doesn't matter when you do it. You can turn it on and off whenever there's a surplus, so that would be a use of it; what it would be valued at I don't know.
But then he stops and diverts onto hydrogen again. It quickly gets lost in a random mix of nuclear hydrogen and 4-stroke engines and salt caverns to store electricity for 10 years. What he should have said is: "But if there's cheap spare electricity going, somebody will think of a way of using it - and if there's mega expensive electricity going, somebody will think of a way of not using it.

To put it in numbers:

Current UK 300 TWh a year. He uses 570 TWh 2050, with a range 440-700. He thinks we need to store 100 TWh in salt caverns. He thinks this means 600 TWh a year of renewables.

I think it means 2,300 TWh of renewables. During super lulls assume this falls to 20%, i.e. the equivalent of 460 TWh p.a. (he assumes super lulls are 50% falls in generation). Other stuff and interconnect for another 40 equivalent. Oh no, looks like a shortfall, 500 vs the 570 run rate. We all freeze and can’t charge our cars for a month. But no, domestic use is only about 75 currently, triple it to cover HPs and cars. We’re fine. But there’s no room for the mega consumers to operate as normal. VW shuts down for a month.

More exact numbers depend entirely on the economics, but fundamentally there’s absolutely no need to store 100 TWh long term in salt caverns. Solar on overcast December days generates so much that the overbuild delivers a respectable chunk during super lulls, with normal battery and compressed air and whatever storage adding to the grid capabilities. And the UK hasn't yet started on any meaningful solar build, at the moment the only generation basically being TopBadger's roof and a solar farm off the A303.

To be clear, I’ve no objection to any capitalist enterprise investing in salt caverns if they want, but there’s no chance they’ll make money. I mean I can compress some air for free right now with a bike pump, how is massive civil engineering going to compete with that? I suspect his mistake is the economic one: he thinks VW will need 20,000 KWh of electricity for a car, in a super lull he'll be the only person with that capacity stored in a salt cavern, therefore he can sell it to VW for 34p/kWh when it only cost him 5p to fill up the cavern the previous summer. He will go bust because VW will refuse to buy and simply go without.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Fri Mar 24, 2023 3:08 pm

TLDR: When the sun shines, manufacture solar panels. When the sun doesn’t shine, pause manufacturing solar panels.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by shpalman » Fri Mar 24, 2023 4:35 pm

lpm wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 2:57 pm
Starting point: the sun doesn't shine the whole time, the wind doesn't blow the whole time.

Illogical response: Storage.

Logical response: My house doesn't heat the whole time, my car doesn't charge the whole time, the factories don't run the whole time.

Enhanced response: …and I have loads of storage already, in the thermal mass of my home, in home batteries, in car batteries.

Even more enhanced response: …and there is a vast amount of electricity stored in every object around us, both physical and intellectual objects. There is 350x more electricity embedded in my car than currently stored in the batteries.
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qpfon8xak6m51.jpg (111.64 KiB) Viewed 1572 times
lpm wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 2:57 pm
... As an example, VW needs 20,000 kWh to build me a car. At 2p during sunny and windy days that’s £400. At 34p during a super lull that’s £6,800. It’s the easiest decision in the book: delay building that car until the windy weather returns in a month or two.

Now repeat for aluminium, fertiliser, steel, TVs, paper, cement, chemical precursors… And more interesting is the non-physical stuff. The data centre. The computer crunching a zillion calculations every nanosecond. The AI machine churning out popular Harry Potter novels.

To our status quo selves it feels inefficient for VW to shut off production for a month-long super lull that happens every 17 years. But it’s not. It is effective and cheaper than massive storage in salt caverns or storing electricity for 10 years. If VW wanted to keep producing cars for that month they would be free to install massive batteries or buy their own salt cavern. But they won’t. No way will that make economic sense. The analogy is with the UK grinding to a halt every few years when snow is more than usual. It’s not that there’s more snow than in Canada, it’s simply that its uneconomic to invest in stuff not needed most years.
Whereas what they actually have to do is build factories which can use all that cheap extra energy but don't run at full capacity most of the time?
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Fri Mar 24, 2023 4:58 pm

You shut down an aluminium smelter for a couple of hours and the pots freeze and you basically need to build a new refinery. Telling businesses “shut down for a month” will not be a good move and not all of them can do it. Yes demand response is a thing and will happen, but some things can’t be shut down and the politics of “keeping the lights on” is not something you want to take on.

We must have heard different podcasts, he does mention oversupply and that it can/will be used for other things that can cope with intermittency, his example was drying biomass.

I very much felt the podcast was more of “we have shown in the absolute worse case we can keep the lights on and thrive with just wind, solar and H2 storage” than “this is the absolute best way to do it.” But English is my second language, what do I know.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Fri Mar 24, 2023 5:01 pm

shpalman wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:27 am
You may have heard that Italy and Germany have both demanded that the EU allow sales of new combustion engine cars after 2035 if they run exclusively on carbon neutral e-fuels... In a letter to the Commission this week, Italy said the offer must also cover biofuels - those derived from biomass like plants.

A professor on our internal mailing list explains that he asks his student to estimate how many square kilometres of solar panels would be required to run Italy's cars, assuming 30 million cars doing 15,000 km per year each, and then how many square kilometres of crops for biofuels.

Of course the first shocking thing is that it never occurred to any of his students to think about this in the first place, but then he goes on to estimate about 1000 km^2, which is 0.3% of Italy, for the solar panels, but for biofuels you'd need 50,000 km^2, about 1/6th of Italy, Alps and Apennines included. (Italy is about 40% farm land.)

There's a reply from a chemist which mentions making biofuel from food waste, though, suggesting that there's nearly twice as much food waste in the EU as the petrol which is consumed and mentioning about a tonne per person per year of... something... which I suppose would at least mean you had to give less human-food land over to car food but I haven't worked anything out for myself.
Replace a fraction of the land used to grow corn for ethanol in the USA with solar panels and you can power the entire road fleet. We already do very stupid things with land.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Fri Mar 24, 2023 5:09 pm

shpalman wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 4:35 pm
Whereas what they actually have to do is build factories which can use all that cheap extra energy but don't run at full capacity most of the time?
Yes. They don't run at full capacity some of the time, but most of the 31,536,000 seconds in a year will see surplus energy generation.

Some factories are already doing this, now, in primitive 2023. Why do something now at cost X when your algorithm predicts the cost falls to Y in two hours. Big profits to be made from flicking processes on and off.

Hell, there are even individuals doing it. Nerds with too much time on their hands building an API to scrape weather forecasts and live electricity prices from the web and linking it to automated controls on batteries and hot water cylinders. Octopus Agile or Octopus Intelligent, I think it's called, giving half hourly pricing, but no reason why it shouldn't be half second pricing.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Fri Mar 24, 2023 5:27 pm

bjn wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 4:58 pm
You shut down an aluminium smelter for a couple of hours and the pots freeze and you basically need to build a new refinery.
Don't do it that way then. Coming up with the new business models is what will make some entrepreneurs very rich.
Telling businesses “shut down for a month” will not be a good move and not all of them can do it.
I said it wasn't via government diktat. It was by capitalist price incentives. Nobody's telling anyone anything, it's just the markets. If some can't do it then they can go bust. Why should we care, businesses go bust every day. Other new businesses will emerge and, again, some entrepreneurs will get very rich.
Yes demand response is a thing and will happen, but some things can’t be shut down and the politics of “keeping the lights on” is not something you want to take on.
Electricity is just an input. If capitalist enterprises need an input they can pay for it themselves. If they prefer to save money by shutting down a process then they can.

Individuals love getting discounts, so I'm not sure why you think an energy world that incentivises by giving discounts is bad politics. For domestic usage it's very easy. Lovely cheap electricity that your automated controls handle for you to minimise cost. And capitalism is good at insurance, so just add a tiny premium to your monthly bills and get price protection from massive bills during super lulls.
We must have heard different podcasts, he does mention oversupply and that it can/will be used for other things that can cope with intermittency, his example was drying biomass.
I quoted that biomass bit in my post. But you are miles away from the point. His spoken ramblings were unclear but he seemed to be talking about a 6% oversupply scenario and a 10% oversupply scenario. I'm talking about peaking at 400% oversupply. A completely different world - he's in 2023, I'm in 2050.
I very much felt the podcast was more of “we have shown in the absolute worse case we can keep the lights on and thrive with just wind, solar and H2 storage” than “this is the absolute best way to do it.” But English is my second language, what do I know.
The problem is H2 and the fossil fuel companies using it as a route to extending gas burning. Bad.

And he misses the huge benefits of oversupply, which will be transformative.

And his storage requirement is way out. I've done a very quick back of the envelope, and reckon we need about 3.5 days of storage within the grid (plus all the storage we'll all have in the home and companies have at their premises). That's something like 6 TWh vs his 100 TWh.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Fri Mar 24, 2023 5:29 pm

Have you been reading Tony Seba then?

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Fri Mar 24, 2023 5:42 pm

Is he the solar panel prices guy? Shows log charts of how they're falling and it's a straight line plunging towards zero?

And you go holy f.ck.

Then you see the battery chart. It's the same straight line racing down. And you say holy f.ck again.

The wind one was less of a downwards gradient. But still worth a holy f.ck.

It all plays into oversupply being much, much cheaper than storage, so I'm guessing it's all part of the same theory. The economics makes it inevitable, unless solar PV for some magical reason stops falling in price after another couple of halvings. Basically we're locked into a solar PV world now, there's nothing in economics or technology to change that until the era of Mr Fusion and jet packs.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Fri Mar 24, 2023 5:50 pm

The charts I'm thinking of are in Our World In Data:
https://ourworldindata.org/renewable-energy

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Fri Mar 24, 2023 5:56 pm

lpm wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 5:50 pm
The charts I'm thinking of are in Our World In Data:
https://ourworldindata.org/renewable-energy

Image
See also the growth in (say) US wind energy capacity

https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/wind-m ... investment.

2021 - 135.9 GW
2019 - 105.6 GW
2017 - 89 GW
.
.
2010 - 40.3 GW
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Fri Mar 24, 2023 7:48 pm

What is the incentive for someone to install another wind turbine/solar panel when there is already some multiple of demand installed when operating at peak production? If I’m generating, so is most everyone else, so prices will be very low or negative. If no one else is generating prices will be high, but you likely won’t be generating either. There is only a small window where you are operating at low capacity factor where you can get a non zero price. Saying “don’t worry someone will come along and use it because it is cheap” is putting the cart before the horse. I wouldn’t invest in generation unless I was certain of some form of return, and you won’t get people using all that super dirt cheap electricity until some one over builds. Catch 22.

Very large government interventions would be needed, either directly via subsidies/guaranteed prices or by having some weird market mechanism.

Geographic dispersal helps especially if you get into anti correlated weather systems etc, but that just helps match demand to generation with much less spiking.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Fri Mar 24, 2023 8:29 pm

The incentive is the money you make in non-maximum production times, when electricity generation pays more.

For solar, that's every day, in the morning and evening, even on sunny days. And on cloudy days.

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