The Death Of Fossil Fuels

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bjn
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:11 pm

Giroliddy wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:18 pm
There is a research project for looking at the effects of H2 in the UK national grid, which was due to start around now
https://www.smarternetworks.org/project ... /documents
which has the objective of:
"The UK has committed to be net zero by 2050 and as a result National Grid Gas Transmission (NGGT) is committed to understand and trial
the impact of hydrogen within the National Transmission System (NTS). The impact of natural gas is well understood, however there is little
understanding of the impact of a natural gas blend with a significantly increased hydrogen content (up to 100%) on the assets we own and
operate and the impact to our direct customers
."

I believe there are also people looking at Wind-to-Hydrogen for using wind turbines to produce H2 e.g.
https://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/wind-to-hydrogen.html
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:21 pm

And metallurgical coal might have its days numbered as well! Thyssenkrupp have just run a blast furnace on H2, replacing coke and coal to reduce iron ore (ie: rust) to iron. They plan on running 3 existing furnaces on H2 by 2023, and building a new set of H2 furnaces in the 2020s. I didn't expect to see folks do this commercially any time soon.

That said, no idea of the economics of it, and where they are sourcing their H2.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Boustrophedon » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:33 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:47 pm
I've noticed that UK "unleaded" petrol is now openly being sold as E5 - with 5% ethanol - however, I understand that the energy content is lower than 100% petrol, so fuel consumption increases.

France is going quite big for E10 petrol, which some older vehicles have problems with as hoses and seals aren't designed to be tolerant of that much ethanol.

Given that the land (and fertilisers etc) used to grow the feedstock for the ethanol could be used for food production, I think this is not a good move, even if it gives governments a 'green' glow.
Forty-five years ago or so, Shell were looking at ways of making animal feedstock and food for human consumption from oil. Autre temps, autre moeurs.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:32 pm

I subscribe to several industry "comics" about power electronics and whilst there still is more noise about battery technology for, say electric vehicles, there are a fair number of industry announcements about fuel cells for transport.

This is one that might be interesting in urban mass transport:

http://h2bus.eu/about.html
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:40 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:33 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:47 pm
I've noticed that UK "unleaded" petrol is now openly being sold as E5 - with 5% ethanol - however, I understand that the energy content is lower than 100% petrol, so fuel consumption increases.

France is going quite big for E10 petrol, which some older vehicles have problems with as hoses and seals aren't designed to be tolerant of that much ethanol.

Given that the land (and fertilisers etc) used to grow the feedstock for the ethanol could be used for food production, I think this is not a good move, even if it gives governments a 'green' glow.
Forty-five years ago or so, Shell were looking at ways of making animal feedstock and food for human consumption from oil. Autre temps, autre moeurs.
Wiki says the USA has 10 million hectares (100,000 km^2) being used to grow crops for ethanol production.

Assuming an average insolation of 3.7kWh/day and solar panel efficiencies of 17%. Covering that in solar panels would produce roughly 60 TWh per day or 23,000 TWh/year. That's almost certainly on the low side.

The total energy consumption of the USA is around 30,000 TWh/year.

Growing corn for fuel is, on the whole, stupidly inefficient. Dreadfully so. You are better off situating solar panels in sunnier areas and powering BEVs. It would free up much much more land for food production, rewilding or whatever.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bolo » Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:19 am

bjn wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:28 pm
How much of our CH4 distribution infrastructure is known to be able to handle pure H2.
When I last looked at this seriously, not much. That was admittedly (a) in the United States and (b) 25+ years ago.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:45 am

bolo wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:19 am
bjn wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:28 pm
How much of our CH4 distribution infrastructure is known to be able to handle pure H2.
When I last looked at this seriously, not much. That was admittedly (a) in the United States and (b) 25+ years ago.
Really, not very much. H2 is a tricky little molecule and has a tendency to diffuse through solids in a way which normal hydrocarbons molecules can't. H2 pipelines often need things like glass-lining, and special seals around valves.

So it depends on how much H2 you are prepared to lose in transmission. (Especially given that water transmission can lose some 30% in pipes before many people seem worry!)
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:54 am

Martin_B wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:45 am
bolo wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:19 am
bjn wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:28 pm
How much of our CH4 distribution infrastructure is known to be able to handle pure H2.
When I last looked at this seriously, not much. That was admittedly (a) in the United States and (b) 25+ years ago.
Really, not very much. H2 is a tricky little molecule and has a tendency to diffuse through solids in a way which normal hydrocarbons molecules can't. H2 pipelines often need things like glass-lining, and special seals around valves.

So it depends on how much H2 you are prepared to lose in transmission. (Especially given that water transmission can lose some 30% in pipes before many people seem worry!)
Well now according to Wiki, the old town gas we used before natural gas, was up to 50% H2 and we managed to contain that.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by JQH » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:39 am

How common were explosions then, compared to now?
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:09 am

JQH wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:39 am
How common were explosions then, compared to now?
Actually no idea, but from the evidence of the old "two holes in a tin can gas explosion experiment", they were probably bigger and better.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:29 am

Containing H2 in the lab involves a rigorous system of leak testing and regular inspections and maintenance, but normal dowty washers (bonded seals) and PTFE tape are used so nothing amazingly special.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Gentleman Jim » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:29 am

Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:09 am
JQH wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:39 am
How common were explosions then, compared to now?
Actually no idea, but from the evidence of the old "two holes in a tin can gas explosion experiment", they were probably bigger and better.

Oooooh. I had forgotten that experiment - thanks for the reminder
That is one christmas week demo sorted

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by tom p » Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:17 pm

bjn wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:27 pm
Grumble wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:57 pm
bolo wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:10 pm

I believe the main source of hydrogen at present is steam reforming of natural gas.
Yes it is. Electrolysis is too slow and expensive.
If we are sourcing it from CH4 for straightforward energy, why not use the CH4 instead and avoid the cost of conversion. H2 as a storage medium only makes sense in the world of abundant cheap electricity.
Like if there were loads of wind turbines out at sea and loads of solar panels in sunny places that could be generating loads of power at low, low prices, yes?

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:19 pm

tom p wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:17 pm
bjn wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:27 pm
Grumble wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:57 pm

Yes it is. Electrolysis is too slow and expensive.
If we are sourcing it from CH4 for straightforward energy, why not use the CH4 instead and avoid the cost of conversion. H2 as a storage medium only makes sense in the world of abundant cheap electricity.
Like if there were loads of wind turbines out at sea and loads of solar panels in sunny places that could be generating loads of power at low, low prices, yes?
Pretty much. If you've got some overproduction of e-s, store it somewhere for later.

Though the inefficiencies of round tripping e- -> H2 -> energy (e- or whatever else) waste some of those of e-s. Batteries are more efficient with less storage hassles.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:29 pm

Gentleman Jim wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:29 am
Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:09 am
JQH wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:39 am
How common were explosions then, compared to now?
Actually no idea, but from the evidence of the old "two holes in a tin can gas explosion experiment", they were probably bigger and better.

Oooooh. I had forgotten that experiment - thanks for the reminder
That is one christmas week demo sorted
Doesn't work with natural gas. Acetylene tends to dismantle can. :D
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:16 pm

The European Investment Bank has just ruled out funding new coal and oil projects, and gas will only be permitted if it's Paris Agreement compliant (eg capture and storage). Comes into effect after 2021, so the UK will likely have to come up with its own measures.

Still, looks like political and financial organisations are slowly starting to walk the walk.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:43 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:54 am
Martin_B wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:45 am
bolo wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:19 am

When I last looked at this seriously, not much. That was admittedly (a) in the United States and (b) 25+ years ago.
Really, not very much. H2 is a tricky little molecule and has a tendency to diffuse through solids in a way which normal hydrocarbons molecules can't. H2 pipelines often need things like glass-lining, and special seals around valves.

So it depends on how much H2 you are prepared to lose in transmission. (Especially given that water transmission can lose some 30% in pipes before many people seem worry!)
Well now according to Wiki, the old town gas we used before natural gas, was up to 50% H2 and we managed to contain that.
No, we really didn't. Not to the extent that we contain gas these days. Gas shrinkage over a pipeline network these days is measured in percentages of percentages; back then losses were measured in fractions.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:48 pm

(1/1036 is a fraction)

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Gfamily » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:50 pm

dyqik wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:48 pm
(1/1036 is a fraction)
pedantry leads to fractiousness ;)
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:50 pm

dyqik wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:48 pm
(1/1036 is a fraction)
true! :lol:
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:47 am

Just on the point of pipes, from a now very hazy memory of my previous job, I think a fairly significant portion of the gas distribution network is either PE or PE inserted into the iron pipes. Not sure of proportions but whilst the old stuff is prone to rust and cracking, the new stuff is prone to big longitudinal failures. Which is nice.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:49 pm

As I write this wind is currently providing 1 GW, or 3% of the U.K.’s electricity. This is why we need storage for renewables to be a better contributor than they currently are. It also seems to be that we tend to go through highs and lows lasting several days each. We use roughly 1 TWh of electricity a day, so until storage is up in the multiple TWh there will be a need for gas turbines to take up the slack. We can take some off that by including nuclear, in my view the more nuclear the better. The price of energy storage makes the cost of Hinckley C look like a bargain, that’s the comparison that should be made. The cost of electricity when the wind farms are producing may be very low but that’s not the only cost to consider. We should only use storage for the equivalent of a couple of hours of demand which will allow reactors to ramp up and down.

Price of one of cheapest storage solutions is about £110/MWh

Electricity cost from Hinckley C will be £92.50/MWh.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Gfamily » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:41 pm

Grumble wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:49 pm
As I write this wind is currently providing 1 GW, or 3% of the U.K.’s electricity. This is why we need storage for renewables to be a better contributor than they currently are. It also seems to be that we tend to go through highs and lows lasting several days each. We use roughly 1 TWh of electricity a day, so until storage is up in the multiple TWh there will be a need for gas turbines to take up the slack. We can take some off that by including nuclear, in my view the more nuclear the better. The price of energy storage makes the cost of Hinckley C look like a bargain, that’s the comparison that should be made. The cost of electricity when the wind farms are producing may be very low but that’s not the only cost to consider. We should only use storage for the equivalent of a couple of hours of demand which will allow reactors to ramp up and down.

Price of one of cheapest storage solutions is about £110/MWh

Electricity cost from Hinckley C will be £92.50/MWh.
I don't know how they can set a single price for the cost as it will depend on the spot price of the electricity that it uses when storing. A significant part of the attraction of large storage facilities is that it acts as to hold up spot prices on windy and sunny days.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:05 pm

Nukes aren't the panacea they are often taken for,
  • They are unreliable. A reactor that is years late, or abandoned during construction, is not a reactor that can be relied upon. We can't build them on time or to budget. Companies go bankrupt trying to build them and billions are pissed away on abandoned projects.
  • They are stupidly expensive, related to the above point,
  • We don't have the global capacity to build them at scale,
  • Unless you want to seriously drive up costs, you don't make them dispatchable. Which means you need peaking reserve ready to kick in for nukes, just as you do with renewables,
  • You need dispatchable reserve regardless of generation source, to cover interruption for whatever reason.
A generation mix is what is needed, which will include dispatchable reserve. It's also more cost effective to overbuild renewables and curtail generation, than try and grab every last kWh. Some dispatchable reserve is required, but not as much as otherwise. That reserve may include batteries, gas peakers for the while, hydro and a bunch of other stuff.

Nukes will probably be needed to decarbonise Trondheim in the middle of winter. Given that most people live much closer to the equator, cheap solar with diurnal shifting is already a thing and could satisfy a huge proportion of that demand. Electrons are now available at 2c/kWh (straight from the panels) or 3.3c/kWh (when the sun is down). Note, that project is in Los Angeles, most people live closer to the equator than LA.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:39 pm

PWRs are despatchable, or they wouldn’t be able to be used on aircraft carriers and subs. They aren’t typically used that way, and they’re a bit slower to react than a CCGT, but there’s nothing to stop them being used that way. Cheap solar with diurnal shifting isn’t available in the U.K. where I live, not to the extent needed anyway.
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