The Death Of Fossil Fuels

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Gfamily
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Gfamily » Thu May 27, 2021 2:19 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
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.
Decomposition into hydrogen and 'sequestable' carbon might be an option.
Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells so has a range of use cases.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Thu May 27, 2021 2:33 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 2:19 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
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.
Decomposition into hydrogen and 'sequestable' carbon might be an option.
Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells so has a range of use cases.
That’s the way 99% of hydrogen is made now, there’s a drive to change it to be made by electrolysis with excess renewable energy but that’s pie in the sky until we have regular excess renewable power.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu May 27, 2021 2:48 pm

At least places like Qatar and Algeria tend to be pretty sunny. Massive solar installations on site could work out reasonably well - and of course it's better for producer states if as much processing as possible is done locally. Probably a way off in terms of its being economic though.

Thanks for the info!
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Thu May 27, 2021 2:58 pm

Grumble wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 2:33 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 2:19 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
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.
Decomposition into hydrogen and 'sequestable' carbon might be an option.
Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells so has a range of use cases.
That’s the way 99% of hydrogen is made now, there’s a drive to change it to be made by electrolysis with excess renewable energy but that’s pie in the sky until we have regular excess renewable power.
Making hydrogen from natural gas, and letting the CO2 escape, is "grey hydrogen". Using hydrogen you have made this way for energy results in more CO2 output than using natural gas directly, because there is an efficiency loss in the extra step involved.

Making hydrogen from natural gas, and capturing and sequestering the CO2, is "blue hydrogen". It barely exists, if at all. The big question for actual blue hydrogen is how much of the CO2 will you catch, what will it cost, and how much energy will it use to do it. People talk as if you might catch all of it, but that's not demonstrated at practical cost. Some industrial-scale demonstration carbon capture on other industrial processes has captured rather less than half of it. At that capture rate, blue hydrogen offers only a small CO2 gain on using natural gas directly, for a lot of money. It's mainly spoken of as a transition technology, to get H2 infrastructure up and running for future "Green hydrogen", made by electrolysis by low carbon electricity. Which, as Grumble says, is not without its challenges.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Thu May 27, 2021 3:18 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
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.
It is a bit of an obvious question. And whatever happens, it will change the economics.

My immediate thought is that you can use it as a chemical feedstock. For example.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... ilization.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Thu May 27, 2021 3:50 pm

jimbob wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 3:18 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
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.
It is a bit of an obvious question. And whatever happens, it will change the economics.

My immediate thought is that you can use it as a chemical feedstock. For example.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... ilization.
That's why you often today see the abbreviation CCUS, carbon capture and use or storage. If you can sell some for people to use, so that they sequester it, that's a lot cheaper than pumping it down a hole, even if it doesn't cover your CC costs. In fact you'd be willing to pay them to take it away if it was cheaper than pumping it down a hole. But you do want it sequestered, if that is your job.

One potential usage of captured CO2 sometimes cited is to make "synth fuel", ie synthetic fuel for combustion whose carbon content comes from captured carbon. Sometimes it is said we might use synth fuel for applications that are difficult to use novel fuels, like aviation. But then someone emits the CO2 when they use the fuel. So synth fuel isn't necessarily zero carbon depending how you got the carbon in the first place. If you get the carbon by direct air capture, then arguably it is zero carbon. But what's cheaper - putting the CO2 from direct air capture in synth fuel, which is costly and energy intensive to make, or burning fossil fuel and sequestering an equivalent quantity of CO2 which you capture by whatever means?

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Thu May 27, 2021 4:04 pm

Grumble wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 2:33 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 2:19 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
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.
Decomposition into hydrogen and 'sequestable' carbon might be an option.
Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells so has a range of use cases.
That’s the way 99% of hydrogen is made now, there’s a drive to change it to be made by electrolysis with excess renewable energy but that’s pie in the sky until we have regular excess renewable power.
As I understand it, the capital cost of electrolysers is stupidly high and constitutes a significant fraction of the cost of the cracked H2. Running them intermittently will only drive up the cost of the H2. Even if you had free electricity, you have to cover the cost of the kit with less H2. Also, the water crackers that can be stopped and started cost even more than the ones you run continuously.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Fri May 28, 2021 2:07 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
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.
You can use hydrocarbons as chemical feedstocks, especially for plastics (ethane converted to ethene, which produced hydrogen as a by-product, and then ethene into polythene) and heavier hydrocarbons as lubrication oils. IIRC about 95% of all hydrocarbons extracted are burnt, so 5% are used for other things; but I suspect that the figure would be worse for natural gas and slightly better for oil, even though oil requires more processing to get the useful compounds.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:46 am

Keystone XL has finally been cancelled:
Keystone XL, which was proposed in 2008 to bring oil from Canada’s Western tar sands to U.S. refiners, was halted by owner TC Energy Corp after U.S. President Joe Biden this year revoked a key permit needed for a U.S. stretch of the 1,200-mile project.

Opponents of the line fought its construction for years, saying it was unnecessary and would hamper the U.S. transition to cleaner fuels. Its demise comes as other North American oil pipelines, including Dakota Access and Enbridge Line 3, face continued opposition from environmental groups.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tc-e ... SKCN2DL2KB
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:38 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:46 am
Keystone XL has finally been cancelled:
Keystone XL, which was proposed in 2008 to bring oil from Canada’s Western tar sands to U.S. refiners, was halted by owner TC Energy Corp after U.S. President Joe Biden this year revoked a key permit needed for a U.S. stretch of the 1,200-mile project.

Opponents of the line fought its construction for years, saying it was unnecessary and would hamper the U.S. transition to cleaner fuels. Its demise comes as other North American oil pipelines, including Dakota Access and Enbridge Line 3, face continued opposition from environmental groups.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tc-e ... SKCN2DL2KB
Sweet.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by FlammableFlower » Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:16 pm


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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Tue Jun 29, 2021 8:47 am

Only a wind tunnel test ahead of a speed record attempt at the moment, but look at this electric motorbike
https://cleantechnica.com/2021/06/24/wi ... d-records/
This geometry would be impossible with an ICE bike, a 70% reduction in wind resistance is massive.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Jun 30, 2021 7:51 am

Despite rich countries' failure to deliver the $100b/year they promised under the Paris Agreement, poor countries are still finding that there's often an economic case for choosing a low-carbon development pathway:
Bangladesh has cancelled plans to build 10 coal-fired power plants, a government official said on Monday, amid rising costs for the fuel and increasing calls from activists to base more of the nation's power on renewable energy.

About 8% of the country's current electrical power comes from coal, but until last year the nation had plans to significantly increase that percentage by building at least 18 coal-fired plants.

Ten of those plants - which were not yet under construction - have now been cancelled, said Mohammad Hossain, head of Power Cell, a technical arm of the energy ministry. Others remain in construction or planning.

"There is a concern globally about coal and we have to adhere to that," he said. "The government is committed to reduce carbon emissions."

When Bangladesh in 2010 produced an energy masterplan, "coal was cheap and the best option after gas", Hossain said. But dramatically falling prices for solar power and somewhat cheaper natural gas have changed the picture, he added.

"Considering all this, we thought we needed to be more renewable," he said.
https://news.trust.org/item/20210628095424-sfkag/

Obviously it's not great news - they're still planning to build 8 of the f.ckers, and might in part to switch to gas rather than something sustainable. But still, it suggests that once rich countries pay their dues that extra money should go along way to support the transition to an evidence-based energy mix.

Bangladesh, of course, is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change in the world, apart from those low-lying island places which are probably already f.cked. Not a good time to be an agrarian society living in a river delta in the tropics. They're looking at 1 in 7 of their population being displaced by 2050.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by FlammableFlower » Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:13 am

Pretty niche, but...

Researchers have developed a solar cell that can split water at -20 oC. As they say:
Distributing fossil fuels to remote locations with cold climates, such as research stations in Antarctica, presents a number of challenges. These include the cost and difficulty of shipping the fuel (usually diesel) to these locations and the potential for contaminating delicate ecosystems in the event of a spillage on top of the carbon emissions generated by using them.

Using hydrogen as a fuel source is preferable to fossil fuels as it is renewable and contributes very little, if at all, to the greenhouse effect. In areas where the temperature is regularly below freezing, hydrogen fuel stores easily in tanks, so a method that produces hydrogen locally would go a long way to fulfilling the energy needs of remote populations.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by tom p » Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:19 am

FlammableFlower wrote:
Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:13 am
Pretty niche, but...

Researchers have developed a solar cell that can split water at -20 oC. As they say:
Distributing fossil fuels to remote locations with cold climates, such as research stations in Antarctica, presents a number of challenges. These include the cost and difficulty of shipping the fuel (usually diesel) to these locations and the potential for contaminating delicate ecosystems in the event of a spillage on top of the carbon emissions generated by using them.

Using hydrogen as a fuel source is preferable to fossil fuels as it is renewable and contributes very little, if at all, to the greenhouse effect. In areas where the temperature is regularly below freezing, hydrogen fuel stores easily in tanks, so a method that produces hydrogen locally would go a long way to fulfilling the energy needs of remote populations.
Wow.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by basementer » Tue Jul 06, 2021 7:30 pm

FlammableFlower wrote:
Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:13 am
Pretty niche, but...

Researchers have developed a solar cell that can split water at -20 oC. As they say:
Distributing fossil fuels to remote locations with cold climates, such as research stations in Antarctica, presents a number of challenges. These include the cost and difficulty of shipping the fuel (usually diesel) to these locations and the potential for contaminating delicate ecosystems in the event of a spillage on top of the carbon emissions generated by using them.

Using hydrogen as a fuel source is preferable to fossil fuels as it is renewable and contributes very little, if at all, to the greenhouse effect. In areas where the temperature is regularly below freezing, hydrogen fuel stores easily in tanks, so a method that produces hydrogen locally would go a long way to fulfilling the energy needs of remote populations.
Source is open access.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:57 am

This year so far has been pretty bad as an advert for wind power in the U.K. Needs to pick up in the second half of the year if we aren’t going to see a lower amount of wind power than last year.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:37 pm

It annoys me to see "MW" described as the capacity of a battery. Even people who ought to know better do it.

MW is fair enough as the capacity of a gas-powered station, because you can run it more or less continuously. But for a battery that can only run for a short time until you have to recharge it, MW is instantaneous output. Capacity is MWh. They don't like telling you how many MWh they have. That's because many of these grid-connected batteries don't even run an hour at max output. And that's because the money lies in short-term reinforcement of the grid, not longer term balancing.

For comparison, Dinorwig pumped storage scheme, has a maximum output of 1728 MW, and a capacity of 9,100 MWh. That's a little over 5 hours worth. Though I think in practice it takes over 8 hours to run it to empty, as the output reduces when it's less full. So if that battery can run an hour, and thus is 100MWh, then it's only just over 1% of a Dinorwig in terms of capacity.

For further comparison, to run Britain on wind and solar alone, and balance the grid with storage devices, would require something approaching 500 Dinorwigs. Or perhaps 50,000 of those batteries, the largest in Europe. So I am not expecting batteries to play much role in in balancing the grid "as wind and solar power grow", as that article suggests. The Climate Change Commission and National Grid Future Energy Scenarios take a similar view.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:58 pm

IvanV wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:37 pm
It annoys me to see "MW" described as the capacity of a battery. Even people who ought to know better do it.

MW is fair enough as the capacity of a gas-powered station, because you can run it more or less continuously. But for a battery that can only run for a short time until you have to recharge it, MW is instantaneous output. Capacity is MWh. They don't like telling you how many MWh they have. That's because many of these grid-connected batteries don't even run an hour at max output. And that's because the money lies in short-term reinforcement of the grid, not longer term balancing.

For comparison, Dinorwig pumped storage scheme, has a maximum output of 1728 MW, and a capacity of 9,100 MWh. That's a little over 5 hours worth. Though I think in practice it takes over 8 hours to run it to empty, as the output reduces when it's less full. So if that battery can run an hour, and thus is 100MWh, then it's only just over 1% of a Dinorwig in terms of capacity.

For further comparison, to run Britain on wind and solar alone, and balance the grid with storage devices, would require something approaching 500 Dinorwigs. Or perhaps 50,000 of those batteries, the largest in Europe. So I am not expecting batteries to play much role in in balancing the grid "as wind and solar power grow", as that article suggests. The Climate Change Commission and National Grid Future Energy Scenarios take a similar view.
If we had cars with bi-directional charging then it might be possible to have a lot of battery storage supporting the grid. Sadly the current generation of cars don’t support that - apart from Nissan Leafs with Chademo.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Mon Jul 19, 2021 8:18 pm

Grumble wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:58 pm
If we had cars with bi-directional charging then it might be possible to have a lot of battery storage supporting the grid. Sadly the current generation of cars don’t support that - apart from Nissan Leafs with Chademo.
I don't think the estimates are particularly large. Also, when you next turn your car on, you want it to get you where you want to go. So this can only be used for short-period time-shifting, not dealing with a power deficit longer than a few hours. And when you plug your car in, it had gone somewhere and is already somewhat depleted. So that's not great if the shortfall is now.

The National Grid Future Energy Scenarios National Grid Future Energy Scenarios make some estimates of how much this might be worth, and it isn't large.

I have kind of assumed that people posting on a thread such as this would be familiar with major sources like the FES. But in case you aren't, I strongly recommend a read, or at least a selective skim through. It isn't a government smokescreen. It is a genuine and very well-informed attempt to set out a practical method of achieving our carbon reduction targets.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Gfamily » Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:58 pm

IvanV wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:37 pm
It annoys me to see "MW" described as the capacity of a battery. Even people who ought to know better do it.
I'm not sure who did.
The BBC article doesn't use the word "capacity".

The Press release from the company uses the word, but in the relatively neutral form that "it has the capacity to provide electricity for up to 10,000 homes in a 24-hour period"; given this, and that the average UK consumption is about 10KWh per day, it looks like a about 100 MWh storage with a peak supply rate of 100MW.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Tue Jul 20, 2021 5:48 am

It’ll be interesting to see how the replacement for National Grid see things.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... SApp_Other
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Tue Jul 20, 2021 9:45 am

Grumble wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 5:48 am
It’ll be interesting to see how the replacement for National Grid see things.
National Grid is not going away. Rather part of it, the Energy System Operator (ESO) will be demerged. It has already been created as a separate part of National Grid, with the intention of making it more independent of the transmission/distribution part of National Grid. That was plainly done to create the potential for a demerger, if in due course it was judged to be advantageous. But you are right that it is ESO part of NG that produces the FES, so there is a replacement in that sense.

Independent System Operators (ISO) already exist in a number of places. Most notably several are found in the USA, where 9 ISOs oversee several regional transmission areas, many of them cross-state. Though extensive areas also remain outside of ISOs. PJM, which operates a roughly rectangular territory including Washington, New Jersey and Chicago, is often cited as one of the best-practice electricity systems.
Wikipedia: US Regional Transmission Organisations

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bolo » Tue Jul 20, 2021 5:52 pm

And then there's ERCOT.

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