The Death Of Fossil Fuels

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bjn
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Tue May 11, 2021 7:16 pm

Grumble wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 1:41 pm
bjn wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 1:02 pm
Pishwish wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 12:28 pm
Bjn, do you think that utillity-scale solar will be viable in the UK and northern Europe? With or without subsidies?
Yes, without subsidies, even with our sh.tty insolation, because the costs keep plummeting. But utility scale wind will be even better.
It’s viable now isn’t it? As I write this the U.K. has about 6GW from solar, or about 18% of its power. Cf nuclear at 4.4GW and 13%.
That too. But much of that will have been subsidised to get it all going, as with wind.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Wed May 12, 2021 12:41 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 12:56 pm
Martin_B wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 12:15 pm
One thing people who promote nuclear as a low-carbon option often get wrong is claiming that nuclear can supply a constant base-load. Linking lots of nuclear plants via an interconnected grid can supply an approximate base-load, but the availability of an individual nuclear power station is only 70-90% (not dissimilar to coal). So for somewhere remote like Trondheim to be run on nuclear power they either need two power stations (and hope that one doesn't trip while the other is being maintained) or use nuclear with back-up such as battery/pumped hydro.

Trondheim currently has back up power for when there isn't enough capacity from renewable energy sources. Its connected via the grid to Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. Sources there include nuclear power produced in Sweden.
Fair enough. I thought it might be too remote to be connected to the grid. There are plenty of places which are; for example most of WA. The Perth grid extends about 400 km from Perth (ie, south to Albany, north to Geraldton and east to Kalgoorlie) but that covers less than 10% of the state and some of those connections are pretty unreliable. There's half a dozen towns of over 10,000 in the state who have to supply their own power as it's just uneconomic to connect them up. Places like Esperence have wind turbines, but also require fossil fuel back-up for when it isn't windy enough.

I don't know if it's improved, but the entire of Namibia used to be supplied power by one power station in Cape Town through a single connection, and Livingstone in Zambia/Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe used to be supplied with hydroelectric power from the waterfall which was great until the water stops in the dry season when they need diesel generator back-up.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Wed May 12, 2021 5:40 pm

In a lovely example of nominative determinism, Dr Li has been researching solid state lithium metal batteries

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03486-3
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Little waster » Wed May 12, 2021 9:40 pm

Grumble wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 5:40 pm
In a lovely example of nominative determinism, Dr Li has been researching solid state lithium metal batteries

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03486-3
Sadly not at KCl.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by nekomatic » Wed May 12, 2021 11:08 pm

Sadly Dr Li’s given name is not Po.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Pishwish » Sat May 15, 2021 12:46 am

Thanks bjn for that info.

edited.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Fri May 21, 2021 10:42 pm

The G7 have agreed to end* funding coal development.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... SApp_Other


*except in exceptional circumstances which I expect means hardly ever, right?
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat May 22, 2021 11:27 am

My response from another thread
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 11:27 am
This is

A. excellent news - a necessary step in the right direction, representing a huge leap towards concrete steps to match decades of bloviating rhetoric with some action.

B. totally inadequate - they also need to end indirect government support, and private sector support, for all forms of fossil fuels in all countries by the end of the year. Hopefully this is just an amuse bouche in advance of the COP, signalling that wealthy countries are prepared to do stuff.

Also, I get pretty cheesed off at the "well we can't agree to do anything unless China does too" b.llsh.t. Of course they can - either you commit what you were going to commit anyway and hope China joins the effort later, or better yet assume China is going to keep pissing in everybody's porridge and plan around that, stepping up efforts to counteract where China undermines them. Sanction the c.nts while you're at it - with new carbon mechanisms via e.g. the WTO if necessary.

But yes - one small step for man, a giant leap for the lizard people in charge of us.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat May 22, 2021 11:34 am

Exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year and no new coal-fired power stations can be built if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating and meet the goal of net zero emissions by 2050, the world’s leading energy organisation has said.

In its strongest warning yet on the need to drastically scale back fossil fuels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) also called for no new fossil-fuel cars to be sold beyond 2035, and for global investment in energy to more than double from $2tn (£1.42tn) a year to $5tn (£3.54tn) The result would not be an economic burden, as some have claimed, but a net benefit to the economy.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director and one of the world’s foremost energy economists, told the Guardian: “If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... -economist
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Mon May 24, 2021 5:33 pm

English farmers are being approached about hosting wind farms again, which hasn’t been happening since 2015.
https://www.farminguk.com/news/wind-tur ... 58257.html
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Woodchopper » Wed May 26, 2021 7:13 am

Appealing graphics in the Guardian

Airships for city hops could cut flying’s CO2 emissions by 90%
Bedford-based blimp maker unveils short-haul routes such as Liverpool-Belfast that it hopes to serve by 2025
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... ions-by-90

Airships are of course cool.

But as discussed at length in the other thread there are good reasons why there are only a few airships in the world. Their huge size causes big problems flying into a headwind or stormy weather, and there is a worldwide shortage of helium.

They'll be a niche product, not one to revolutionize short haul air travel.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by shpalman » Wed May 26, 2021 7:22 am

"The company said the journey by airship would take roughly the same time as aeroplane travel once getting to and from the airport was taken into account"

The airship is going to pick me up from my house is it?
molto tricky

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Woodchopper » Wed May 26, 2021 7:29 am

shpalman wrote:
Wed May 26, 2021 7:22 am
"The company said the journey by airship would take roughly the same time as aeroplane travel once getting to and from the airport was taken into account"

The airship is going to pick me up from my house is it?
Yes, I wondered about that.

They might be able to use much smaller facilities with shorter queues. But the transport links probably won't be as good for a major airport. And there will still be a need for security checks.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Wed May 26, 2021 7:39 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed May 26, 2021 7:13 am
Appealing graphics in the Guardian

Airships for city hops could cut flying’s CO2 emissions by 90%
Bedford-based blimp maker unveils short-haul routes such as Liverpool-Belfast that it hopes to serve by 2025
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... ions-by-90

Airships are of course cool.

But as discussed at length in the other thread there are good reasons why there are only a few airships in the world. Their huge size causes big problems flying into a headwind or stormy weather, and there is a worldwide shortage of helium.

They'll be a niche product, not one to revolutionize short haul air travel.
The one that always strikes me is the cross-sectional area. I can easily imagine that heavier than air craft could be more fuel-efficient for many combinations of speed and payload.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by shpalman » Wed May 26, 2021 7:55 am

jimbob wrote:
Wed May 26, 2021 7:39 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Wed May 26, 2021 7:13 am
Appealing graphics in the Guardian

Airships for city hops could cut flying’s CO2 emissions by 90%
Bedford-based blimp maker unveils short-haul routes such as Liverpool-Belfast that it hopes to serve by 2025
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... ions-by-90

Airships are of course cool.

But as discussed at length in the other thread there are good reasons why there are only a few airships in the world. Their huge size causes big problems flying into a headwind or stormy weather, and there is a worldwide shortage of helium.

They'll be a niche product, not one to revolutionize short haul air travel.
The one that always strikes me is the cross-sectional area. I can easily imagine that heavier than air craft could be more fuel-efficient for many combinations of speed and payload.
Drag force tends to go as speed squared which means that energy consumed per distance travelled tends to go as speed cubed. Also, the major contribution to drag in powered flight is from the wings giving you the lift, which you don't need in an airship.
molto tricky

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin Y » Wed May 26, 2021 8:27 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed May 26, 2021 7:13 am
... and there is a worldwide shortage of helium.
But there is likely to be a boom in hydrogen (pun genuinely unintended) and we might after almost a century get it into people's heads that that's not what caught fire on the Hindenburg.

But...
They'll be a niche product, not one to revolutionize short haul air travel.
Yup. They might be a niche green way to do short haul flights when the weather's suitable, but that's a bit like sailing ships being a niche green way to do cross-channel ferries when the weather's suitable.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Wed May 26, 2021 8:46 am

It's been 15 years since an airship expert on the BS forum said airships would forever remain as press releases. Every now and then a press release gets a write up in the Guardian but we've seen it all before.
What ever happened to that Trump guy, you know, the one who was president for a bit?

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Little waster » Wed May 26, 2021 10:55 am

Typical Remoaner nay-sayers.

It's just the next logical* step in Johnson's post-Brexit plan to Make Britain Great Again.

Britain, 6 months from now.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Wed May 26, 2021 10:31 pm

The one use I found for them was cargo delivery to out of the way sites without real runways.

I could use a 200mph capable 100 ton payload STOL air vehicle, to avoid a 10 week, 800 mile drive across crevassed ice sheet.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Thu May 27, 2021 8:29 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed May 26, 2021 7:13 am
... and there is a worldwide shortage of helium.
It's not a necessary shortage, rather a quirk of history.

Terrestrial helium originates as alpha particles emitted by radioactive decay in the interior of the earth. Some of it transports upwards through cracks and permeable strata to some places where it gets trapped by impermeable strata, such as in gas fields. So helium is "produced" mostly by distilling it out of natural gas. There's a few places it can be found at high concentration without methane, but that's a fairly small amount, and such "easy" sources have mostly been run down.

The amount of helium in natural gas varies by well, so only the wells with the highest proportion of helium process their gas to extract the helium. The great majority of available helium is just left in the gas, and wasted when people burn the gas or otherwise use it. It varies from about 0.1% up to almost 10%, I think 1%-2% is the mode. Most helium production is by extraction from a relatively small number of sources where it is generally more than around 5%.

The present shortage originates from the fact that over about a 25 year period the US was selling off its enormous cold war stocks, which it has now run down and exited the market. Those stocks supplied a substantial fraction of the world's supply over that time frame, and thus materially displaced actual extraction. Plants were closed. You might think that gas producers would notice that these stocks were running out and reinvest in helium production. But the price was low, and it was difficult to get people to invest for production at a cost higher than the world price established over an extended period. It was predictable the price would rise, but it is always hard to say how much.

So we have an awful lot more helium available if we want it, though at a higher production cost than the price we got used to in the early years of this century. But only as a by-product of producing natural gas. And several years to invest in expensive extraction plants.

Most "rare" elements are like this. There's an awful lot of them available in principle. But the costs of extracting a lot more would be high. The facilities are expensive, and take time to build. Some such factilities are liable to cause pollution, and use a lot of energy and water.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin Y » Thu May 27, 2021 8:58 am

That's fascinating. Thanks. I had no idea there was quite so much He in natural gas and imagined it was little more than a trace.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Gfamily » Thu May 27, 2021 9:07 am

Martin Y wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 8:58 am
That's fascinating. Thanks. I had no idea there was quite so much He in natural gas and imagined it was little more than a trace.
Though if there's a reduction in extraction of natural gas, this will also limit the extraction of He.

Interesting to know whether there's a difference in He content from gas extracted by fracking compared to more conventional gas fields
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Thu May 27, 2021 9:23 am

Martin Y wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 8:58 am
That's fascinating. Thanks. I had no idea there was quite so much He in natural gas and imagined it was little more than a trace.
There isn't, or at least there isn't in most natural gas. Helium is essentially found in extractable quantities in natural gas in the central USA plains and in Qatar. The amount elsewhere is negligible.

I'm not sure where Ivan got his figures from, but the USA has some fields with high concentrations. The highest Helium concentration I've heard of is a field in New Mexico and is ~4%. Ras Laffan in Qatar is 0.05% Helium, and only economic to extract because the natural gas rate is so high.

In ~25 years in the industry I've never come across a reservoir with more than ~1% (and I've worked on Ras Laffan). I'd say most fields have less than 0.05%, not 1-2%.

And I worked for a consultancy which specialised in unusual fields (although mainly in Europe, Africa & the Middle East - we couldn't break into the American market).
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Thu May 27, 2021 10:24 am

Martin_B wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 9:23 am
Martin Y wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 8:58 am
That's fascinating. Thanks. I had no idea there was quite so much He in natural gas and imagined it was little more than a trace.
There isn't, or at least there isn't in most natural gas. Helium is essentially found in extractable quantities in natural gas in the central USA plains and in Qatar. The amount elsewhere is negligible.

I'm not sure where Ivan got his figures from, but the USA has some fields with high concentrations. The highest Helium concentration I've heard of is a field in New Mexico and is ~4%. Ras Laffan in Qatar is 0.05% Helium, and only economic to extract because the natural gas rate is so high.

In ~25 years in the industry I've never come across a reservoir with more than ~1% (and I've worked on Ras Laffan). I'd say most fields have less than 0.05%, not 1-2%.

And I worked for a consultancy which specialised in unusual fields (although mainly in Europe, Africa & the Middle East - we couldn't break into the American market).
Sorry my memory of how much helium there is in gas wells was rather faulty.

The second largest producer after the US is Algeria, which I think used to produce more. There is scope for expanding production in Qatar and - perhaps one day - Iran.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu May 27, 2021 1:57 pm

Is the rest of the natural gas useful for anything other than combusting?

Because obviously people are going to stop doing that soon, and I expect the economics of He extraction change significantly if you then have 99%+ of a flammable waste product to dispose of.
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