jamtomorrow

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  1. Talk about "something for everyone" ... ta-da, "nuclear hydrogen" (although this one looks more like nuclear lobby kite-flying at this stage): https://www.rechargenews.com/transition/wind-alone-too-risky-uk-needs-nuclear-hydrogen-to-hit-2050-net-zero-goal-study/2-1-828038 That's two different "H2H" now, Hull and Heysham. Where next? Wind alone too risky – UK needs nuclear hydrogen to hit 2050 net-zero goal: study Nation may need up to 50GW of nuclear with next-gen technologies allied to H2 output, claims government-backed Energy Systems Catapult 18 June 2020 5:50 GMT UPDATED 18 June 2020 13:23 GMT By Andrew Lee The UK can’t rely on wind power alone and needs large-scale next-generation nuclear capacity linked to hydrogen production to be sure of hitting its 2050 net-zero emissions target, claimed a government-backed research group. Achieving net-zero without nuclear is “possible but risky”, according to a new study from the UK's Energy Systems Catapult (ESC). Britain could need up to 50GW of additional nuclear capacity by mid-century to be certain of decarbonising sectors such as transport and heating, reckons the report Nuclear for Net Zero, which examines the technology's potential role in meeting the nation's legally-binding 2050 target, against the background of a doubling of power consumption by then. “While wind, in particular offshore wind, now looks the key technology for decarbonising power in the coming decades, trying to meet net zero without any new nuclear would put the target at risk unnecessarily and potentially make the shift to a low carbon economy more expensive,” claimed the ESC, which is part-funded by state agency Innovate UK but operates as an independent entity. Its scenarios include allying advanced ‘Gen IV’ high-temperature nuclear plants with hydrogen production, which the study’s authors said may open new possibilities for cheaper, more efficient production of zero-carbon H2, either by providing power for electrolysis or through thermo-chemical processes that don’t need electricity at all. “Compared with other routes of supply to expand the hydrogen economy, such as more steam methane reformation capacity with CCS (requiring more land-based offsetting via increased forestation or biomass) or more low temperature electrolysis energised by additional renewables, advanced nuclear has the potential for greater energy density, lower costs, and much reduced land take,” said the report. Recharge reported earlier this year how EDF is looking at linking nuclear power with hydrogen production at its UK fleet. The ESC also sees a big role for nuclear in future widespread district heating deployments and sees multiple applications for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK's energy transition. The study admits that nuclear will have to reduce its costs if it is going to play an effective role in the UK’s energy transition, but the ESC reckons that will happen with scale – and claimed a commitment to another 10GW of new nuclear beyond EDF's under-construction 3.2GW Hinkley Point project would be a “low regrets” option. That’s certain to be a hugely controversial view given the uproar around Hinkley Point, whose ballooning costs and 35-year, £92.50/MWh ($116/MWh) (at 2012 prices) power deal with the UK government is regularly compared to the roughly £40/MWh offshore wind is now selling its electricity for from multi-gigawatt projects that match nuclear for scale. Renewables advocates claim offshore and onshore projects, allied with fast-emerging storage technologies, smart networks and green hydrogen produced using wind power, are up to the job of decarbonising the UK economy without the help of nuclear, with all its safety and waste baggage. But the nuclear sector reckons its large-scale projects can tackle the baseload and intermittency dilemmas faced by wind and solar, with emerging technologies such as the small modular reactors under development by Rolls-Royce claiming they are on track to get power costs into renewables territory. “Nuclear doesn’t need to be expensive if we take the right approach,” claimed ESC nuclear practice manager Mike Middleton. “Provided that costs reduce in line with the analysis we have reported, the deployment decision regarding new large nuclear is not whether to start, but when to stop.”
  2. Thanks for the informative reply. I like this plan. As you know, I have my doubts about how much employment will come in off the back of this but as a nation we don't have any choices at all if we fail to re-industrialize. If I had one wish, it would be for a serious decent nuclear programme to be added to the recipe - that would make for quite the mix, in terms of energy security and competitiveness
  3. DB, I'm not seeing the competitiveness angle in this - seems like this just replaces a more competitive energy source (NG) with a less competitive one (hydrogen). Why is that a good thing?
  4. Blimey, when the tide goes out far enough you don't just find out who was swimming without trunks, you also get to see all the sh*t that didn't get pumped far enough from the shore. First Wirecard, and now ... (and kudos to ZH for managing to turn it into a gold bull story right at the end!) https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/83-tons-fake-gold-bars-gold-market-rocked-massive-china-counterfeiting-scandal ... more than a dozen Chinese financial institutions, mainly trust companies (i.e., shadow banks) loaned 20 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) over the past five years to Wuhan Kingold Jewelry with pure gold as collateral and insurance policies to cover any losses. There was just one problem: the "gold" turned out to be gold-plated copper. Some more background: Kingold - whose name was probably stolen from Kinross Gold, one of the world's largest gold miners - is the largest privately owned gold processor in central China’s Hubei province. Its shares are listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York (although its current market cap of just $10MM is a far cry from its all time highs hit when the company IPOed on the Nasdaq around 2010) . The company is led by Chairman Jia Zhihong, an intimidating ex-military man who is the controlling shareholder. What could go wrong? Well, apparently everything as at least some of 83 tons of gold bars used as loan collateral turned out to be nothing but gilded copper. That has left lenders holding the bag for the remaining 16 billion yuan of loans outstanding against the bogus bars. And as Caixin adds, the loans were covered by 30 billion yuan of property insurance policies issued by state insurer PICC Property and Casualty and various other smaller insurers. ... The 83 tons of purportedly pure gold stored in creditors’ coffers by Kingold as of June, backing the 16 billion yuan of loans, would be equivalent to 22% of China’s annual gold production and 4.2% of the state gold reserve as of 2019. In short, more than 4% of China's official gold reserves may be fake. And this assume that no other Chinese gold producers and jewelry makers are engaging in similar fraud (spoiler alert: they are.) ... Yes, at the very bottom of the fraud we finally get to the one true and endless Chinese asset bubble: real estate. A Dongguan Trust investment document showed that Tri-Ring owns land blocks in Wuhan and Shenzhen that are worth nearly 40 billion yuan. ... As for what this means for the price of gold... well, Kingold is certainly not the only Chinese company engaging in such blatant fraud, and the consequences are clear: once Chinese creditors or insurance companies start testing the "collateral" they have received in exchange for tens of billions in loans and discover, to their "amazement", that instead of gold they are proud owners of tungsten or copper, they have two choices: reveal the fraud, risking tremendous adverse consequences and/or prison time, or quietly buy up all the gold needed to literally fill the void from years of gold counterfeiting. Something tells us option two will be far more palatable to China's kleptoculture where one domino cold trigger a collapse of the entire financial system. What happens next: a panicked scramble to procure physical gold, one which even our friends at the BIS will be powerless to stop from sending the price of the precious metal to all time highs.
  5. Wonder if things would have been much different if that Forgemasters loan hadn't been pulled in 2010
  6. I'd also be interested to know from @Transistor Man whether an indiginous nuclear industry could be stood back up in this country in relatively short order. It *seems* like we still have the engineering skills and expertise in wider industry, we "just" need something like the old CEGB to pull it all back together - I'm thinking civilian nukes we still run, Sellafield and general decommissioning expertise, marine nukes at Rolls, world class civeng consulting, and then the wider nuclear engineering diaspora like your good self. Or am I taking 2 and 2 and getting 5?
  7. That's a good summary of why I'm interested in energy economics. I do think DB's macro roadmapping captures the lion's share of factors that will shape the next decade, and so in terms of crystal-ball gazing one of the most interesting questions (to me) is: what might be different this time? My working assumption is any such "secondary" factors are going to have a marginal effect on outcomes, but in the back of my mind is the degree to which the economic system might be especially sensitive to critical parameters, and which can be hard to spot a priori . Funnily enough (topical!) even simple epidemiological models are known to exhibit "bifurcations" where the system suddenly flips into a completely different equilibrium state for a small parameter change. To your specific point: nuclear looks nailed-on for a comeback. In EROI terms, we've been sliding towards that net energy cliff for the best part of 50 years, partly as a result of mix effects (rise of renewables, decline of nuclear), partly as a result of high-EORI resource depletion (per @Cattle Prod's "shale too early" lament). Nuclear is a *really* obvious way we could move back from the cliff, if not globally then at least at a national level to begin with. The rest just doesn't seem obviously cut & dried to me at all though (hence why I'm reading up). I do hope the energy analyst boffins get their EROI house in order. There's just no getting away from the laws of physics, and seems like we're in dire need of a "ground truth" for understanding energy policy choices.
  8. That ought to fall under CAES, but from what I can tell the original study they reference assumed geological storage rather than pressure vessel: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2013/ee/c3ee41973h Still, with PHS and CAES sharing a lot of the same underlying physics, it wouldn't be surprising if a pressure vessel solution showed similar promise.
  9. Might pop in later if Halfords are getting into the business of bleeding-edge physics, been after a single-pole magnet for *ages*
  10. Pleasure. Although I'm currently finding EROI/EROEI fascinating and infuriating in equal measure. As as an engineer, energy economics seems to me to be self-evidently a useful and important perspective for energy policy - it's just a pity the methodologies aren't similarly self-evident and therefore consistent. Example: the study I linked implies an upper EROI of 86 for wind, but I've also seen single-digit values mentioned elsewhere - that doesn't even qualify as a Fermi estimate, never mind allowing different technologies to be compared reliably. Luis de Sousa sums it up nicely to Euan Mearns here: https://euanmearns.com/eroei-for-beginners/ "On the grand scheme of things: PV ERoEI estimates range from 30 down to 0.8. Before asking the IEA (or whomever) to start using ERoEI, the community producing these estimates must come down to a common, accepted methodology for its assessment. As it stands now, EROEI is not far from useless to energy policy." Same link also discusses the "net energy cliff" (i.e. "why we *should* care about EROI"): If only the analyst community could convince us they knew how to estimate/measure EROI!!
  11. I almost feel like it's the other way round - deglobalization is just what you have to put up with if you're entering a fiscally driven industrial cycle, because national Governments simply won't be able to build their sandcastles if the tides of internationally mobile capital are sloshing in and out and all around the place. It's more than just protectionism, although there will certainly be plenty of that once national Governments have picked their winners. It's also that Governments will want a monopoly on picking winners, ergo the market is just going to have to take a back seat. Whilst national economic self-isolation does seem ironically apt for our times, it would be greatly preferable not to be having to worry about jurisdictional risk. But here we are
  12. Chanced upon this EROI/ESOI analysis of powergrid storage options from 2015, it's quite long (but readable and interesting) so I'll just paste an interesting tidbit that caught my attention, and the conclusions: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2015/ee/c4ee04041d#!divAbstract (Apologies in advance if already posted, and if anyone has seen something similar of more recent vintage, I'd be interested) First up: there can be a surprisingly wide range of situations where it makes more sense (in terms of energy economics) to curtail (i.e. dump) over-generation rather than store it. That surprised me, and it's a recurring theme in the study. Here, they're exploring the effect of different storage technologies on effective EROI over the range of over-generation (phi). Conclusion: wind's a tough gig for storage, in terms of energy economics: And those overall conclusions - I was surprised by the bit in bold, especially considering it was 2015 - I thought renewables EROI still fell quite some way short of dino fuel. 5 Conclusion Energy storage in hydrogen is a technically feasible option for grid-scale storage, and is already in pilot demonstrations. Because of its low round-trip efficiency, it may be overlooked in spite of its potential advantages, such as high energy density and low rate of self-discharge. In order to examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of hydrogen as a grid-scale energy storage technology, we apply net energy analysis to a representative hypothetical regenerative hydrogen fuel cell (RHFC) system. We introduce and apply a method to determine the energy stored on invested (ESOIe) ratio of a reference case RHFC system. We find that the reference case RHFC system has a higher ESOIe ratio than lithium ion battery storage. This indicates that the hydrogen storage system makes more efficient use of manufacturing energy inputs to provide energy storage. One reason for this is that the steel used to fabricate a compressed hydrogen storage cylinder is less energetically costly, per unit of stored energy, than the materials that store electric charge in a battery (electrode paste, electrolyte, and separator). However, lithium ion batteries remain energetically preferable when considering the operation of the system, as well as its manufacture, due to their higher round-trip efficiency (90%). This is reflected in the overall energy efficiencies of the two storage technologies: the overall energy efficiency of a typical lithium ion battery system is 0.83, compared to 0.30 for the reference case RHFC system. This highlights that in spite of its relatively efficient use of manufacturing energy inputs, the round-trip efficiency of a RHFC system must increase before it can provide the same total energy benefit as other storage technologies. Higher RHFC round-trip efficiency relies on improved electrolyzer and fuel cell performance. When storing overgeneration from wind turbines, energy storage in hydrogen provides an energy return similar to batteries, in spite of its lower round-trip efficiency. The aggregate EROI of wind generation augmented with RHFC storage is equal to that of the same wind facility augmented with lithium ion battery storage, when up to 25% of the electricity output passes through the storage system. For spilled power from solar photovoltaics, storage in hydrogen provides an EROI that is slightly higher than curtailment, though lower than batteries. As with other storage technologies, energy storage in hydrogen coupled to wind generation provides an overall EROI that is well above the EROI of fossil electricity generation.
  13. Nope, very far from financial services and very good at what he does, minted. But terrible blind spot when it comes to properdee, like so many.
  14. Got a friend umming and ahhing about buying an office for his company. Thinking of increasing his offer. So I told him about the situation where I work - newly refurbished office for up to 150 people, current occupancy ... 1 (on a rota, just in case any machines need restarting for everyone else WFH). Hasn't affected business at all - clients are in the same boat and therefore accepted the change without question (important IMO: this could never have occured so quickly without enforced synchronised legitimacy - whatever the rights and wrongs). Work is getting done to a high standard and the metrics show a slight improvement in productivity. How long before companies like this realise they'll never use all their office space again and start divesting? Suggested he sit tight, could well be a buyer's market come Autumn. Also wondering how a crash in the CRE office space sector will affect bank balance sheets (as though that coffin was short of nails)
  15. Wow - that brought out my second "f***in ell" of the day, and the sun isn't anywhere near the yardarm!