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Toyota will build the first megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel and renewable generation plant

Alternative Energy

Toyota will build the first megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel and renewable generation plant, setting a new energy benchmark that experts hope with pave the way for Australia’s hydrogen industry.

Toyota North America will build the plant to support its operations at the Port of Long Beach, in the US, using agricultural waste to generate electricity, water and hydrogen.

By 2030, between 10 million and 15 million cars and half a million trucks will be hydrogen-powered globally. Photo: Peter DaSilva

Dubbed the Tri-Gen facility, the plant will generate around 2.35 megawatts of electricity and close to one tonne of hydrogen per day, providing enough daily power for more than 2300 homes and 1500 hydrogen-powered cars.

It will come online in 2020, and be used as proof of concept for large-scale hydrogen generation and renewable energy plants.

“Tri-Gen is a major step forward for sustainable mobility and a key accomplishment of our 2050 Environmental Challenge to achieve net zero CO₂ emissions from our operations,” Toyota North American group vice-president for strategic planning, Doug Murtha, said.

CSIRO principal research scientist Michael Dolan told Fairfax Media this plant was a benchmark for the industry.

“Once someone goes first it paves the way for others, and hopefully this is something Australia can learn from,” Mr Dolan said.

The CSIRO recently announced its intention to make Australia a hydrogen fuel world leader, investing millions into research using renewable energy such as solar, instead of biowaste, to generate hydrogen.

CSIRO energy director Karl Rodrigues told Fairfax Media the research would put the nation first in the region.

“This is a great opportunity to take a global leadership position,” Dr Rodrigues said.

Australian National University associate professor Ron Pace said Australia was making strides forward with hydrogen fuel technology.

He said a group from ANU and the University of Wollongong was creating a “completely novel” process based on nature to generate hydrogen and water.

“We hope to see it start to emerge next year,” Dr Pace said.

South Australia has also put hydrogen forward as a pillar of its new energy plan.

“Hydrogen offers an opportunity to create a new industry in South Australia where we can export our sun and wind resources to the world,” South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said.

“Our Hydrogen Roadmap aims to have South Australia at the forefront of hydrogen development in this region within the next decade,” he said.

“Within two years, commuters in Adelaide will be able to ride on the first of a fleet of hydrogen-powered buses using locally produced fuel. Within three years, South Australia will have the capacity to export its first hydrogen supplies produced using our renewable energy assets.”

A recent industrial roadmap developed by the Hydrogen Council – a consortium comprising nearly 30 industrial, energy and automotive companies – found that by 2030, between 10 million and 15 million cars and half a million trucks will be hydrogen-powered globally.

It forecasts annual hydrogen demand to reach almost 80 exajoules (80,000 petajoules) in 2050, accounting for 18 per cent of total final energy demand under the Paris Agreement plan.

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41 Comments on "Toyota will build the first megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel and renewable generation plant"

  1. Cloggie on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 12:46 pm 

    It is an open question of how the cars of the future are going to be fueled: renewable (a) or renewable (b).

    a – batteries, the western gamble
    b – hydrogen based fuel cells, the Japanese gamble

    https://tinyurl.com/y7yfbo94

    The advantage of the fuel cell is of course the storage aspect. As if we never left fossil fuel, only this time without the CO2.

    Other advantages of the fuel cell over batteries are: rapid fueling and a car (or plane!) doesn’t need to carry a battery with it of several hundreds of kilo.

    The disadvantage is the safety aspect of very high pressure hydrogen.

    The issue is not decided yet, but the stakes are very high here.

  2. Babtized on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 12:52 pm 

    I truly hope they can make this happen. But I am afraid it is a little too late. Plus if they were serious NH3, ammonia with it’s 3 hydrogen’s and does not have to be under extreme pressure is a much better route for new fuel.

  3. Cloggie on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 12:54 pm 

    Forgot to mention other advantages of fuel cells:

    – far longer range with a single fuel fill
    – far longer lifespan of fuel cell. Guy in video talks about 7500 hours:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5zxpiDORQ0

    At an average speed of 60 kmh that would mean a range of 450,000 km or 300,000 miles.

  4. Davy on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 12:59 pm 

    This is just another niche and will likely never scale up for reasons of cost and application. That said it is this example and other niches that must be pursued to plug the liquid fuel gap that is ahead. This is exciting stuff and I am completely in support.

  5. Cloggie on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 1:01 pm 

    Plus if they were serious NH3, ammonia with it’s 3 hydrogen’s and does not have to be under extreme pressure is a much better route for new fuel.

    This is indeed an option:

    https://nh3fuelassociation.org/2013/04/25/ammonia-fuel-marangoni-eco-explorer/

    http://www.nh3car.com/how.htm

    Boats run an ammonia:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNbPKTEIZL8

    Ammonia as storage medium:

    https://tinyurl.com/yarkgkoz

    Power station in Holland to run on Ammonia, produced via offshorewind power:

    https://tinyurl.com/ybuzl4sn

  6. rockman on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 1:45 pm 

    I give T credit for taking the risk. Based on some rough assumptions the electricity is worth about 3X as much to the home owners (who exist) then to the drivers of those hydrogen powered cars (that don’t exist). Drivers unable to roam too far from the plant.

    But you have to start somewhere.

  7. Anonymouse1 on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 2:35 pm 

    Exactly narrativeman. Its imperative to find *new*, and preferably more expensive ways to keep people tethered to car-dependency. And when it comes to expensive AND impractical, its hard to beat the hydrogen car hoax, err fantasy. Its a two for one deal. Unaffordable by any measure, and impractical as hell.

    No wonder the resident shill is voicing his admiration.(Not talking about you this time cloggen-kike). Hydrogen cars would require nuclear industry level subsidies to be remotely cost competitive. And corporate welfare for oil\auto corporations is something ‘the narrativeman’ is definitely onboard with, right?

    They must breed them as dumb as texans in australia is they think H2 buses are going to hit the roads in Adelaide, or Sydney anytime soon. BC transit bought 20 H2 buses for an eye watering 90 MILLION dollars a decade ago. The fuel for them, had to be shipped from Quebeq lol. Think of all the ’emissions’ that prevented. BCT tried to sell them off, failing that, were to be converted back to diesels. This was in 2014.

    Speaking of the other other shill(for zion), you should stick to pimping flying electric robo-cars cloggen-schmiel. Pimping for H2 is above your pay-grade.

  8. Dredd on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 4:32 pm 

    Strange days indeed (Proxymetry3 – 7).

  9. Plantagenet on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 4:36 pm 

    Obama zeroed out all funding in the federal budget for fuel cell research programs in the US, making Elon Musk very happy.

    Good to hear that Japan is moving ahead with a pilot plant to produce hydrogen for fuel cell cars. Who knows—it may turn out to play a big role in the future of energy, and if so Japan will lead the way.

    Cheers!

  10. Anonymouse1 on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 4:45 pm 

    Ah, finally found a way to shoehorn your old buddy ‘obama’ into a topic you less than nothing about plantatard.

    Newsflash. ‘Obama’ is not the spokesmodel for empire anymore. Like all good ‘presidential’ figureheads, he is kicking back on his retirement benefits. Take it up with the current Moron-in-Chief. Im sure he’d love to hear from you, dumbass.

    Cheerio moron!

  11. sidzepp on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 5:31 pm 

    The people on the Hindenburg would probably endorse the idea. It is nice to see the powers that be concerned about energy.

    Maybe we should:
    1) Find a method to control population growth.
    2) Invest heavily in mass transportation.
    3) Develop local sustainable communities.
    4) Live up to the agreements of Paris, Kyoto, etal.

    Oh, wait. Our current world economic order whether it be called capitalism, socialism, communism, or Mickey Mousism is dependent on growing economies which requires the use of more and more resources. Something we don’t have an endless supply of.

    Perhaps the Commander-in-tweet wants to make America great by returning it to pre 1492 status.

  12. Apneaman on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 5:39 pm 

    planty, and Obama and his big penis are still coming for your guns some more again.

  13. Go Speed Racer on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 7:17 pm 

    What we could do, is drain out all the
    oceans.
    Suddenly we would have far more
    land area, good for building roads and
    car dealerships.
    Also we wouldn’t need deep sea shipping
    anymore we could just put in more
    railroads on all that land.

    There would be lots more opportunity
    for mining and drilling. And for for oil and gas.

    Lastly we could have more garbage dumps.
    With the oceans drained out, we would
    have lots of new ravines and valleys
    we could fill up with garbage.

    The only downside is we wouldn’t have
    fish anymore. But that’s OK, McDonald
    Filet O Fish is way overrated.

    We could just eat hamburgers and with
    all that new land available, mich easier
    to graze steers.

    We should drain out all the oceans.
    So we should drain

  14. Go Speed Racer on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 7:24 pm 

    We need steam powered Toyota Corolla
    It has a boiler at the passenger seat and
    you put garbage into there while driving
    down the road. Solves energy shortage
    and garbage surplus at the same time.

  15. Go Speed Racer on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 7:26 pm 

    If every American would do just
    one thing, it would make the
    difference.

    Lighting an old sofa on fire in your
    backyard might not seem like it will
    have much impact.

    But if EVERY American in every state
    Every city every town and block, all lit
    Just one sofa on fire, all at the same time,
    it will make the difference.

    One sofa fire is just one. But together united
    against our oppressors,
    we can make the difference.

    Together we can do it. So on Tuesday
    Jan 2nd, 2018, that’s the day we can all
    do our part and change history. Light
    your sofa on fire in your backyard,
    on that day.

    If we all stand alone,
    we are divided. One sofa burning alone cannot
    illuminate the darkness that has fallen across
    The land. but
    by uniting in our common goal, on that
    day, all those sofas burning together
    Will turn the corner for mankind and
    begin our new pathway for the future.

    And don’t forget to donate, call the
    1-800 number and operators are standing by.

  16. sidzepp on Wed, 6th Dec 2017 7:56 pm 

    GSR-Can I light it with my neighbors sitting on it?

  17. Go Speed Racer on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 12:57 am 

    Only if you don’t like them.

    (O; LOL

  18. Sissyfuss on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 6:25 am 

    Until you can run the MIC war machine on renewables and fuel cells the government support will be subdued and disingenuous. I can see it now, ” Lieutenant, why aren’t we attacking? Sorry Sir, we still need two more hours on the tank batteries.”

  19. sunweb on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 7:18 am 

    Turning hydrogen back into electricity with a fuel cell is only 24.7 % efficient (.84 * .67 * .54 * .84 * .97). There are multiple stages where energy is lost due to inefficiencies at each step: Natural gas upstream and liquefaction, hydrogen on-board reforming, fuel cell efficiency, electric motor and drivetrain losses, and aerodynamic/rolling resistance (Figure 1).
    Since fuel cell electric trucks are terrible at acceleration, they always have a second propulsion system, usually a battery, making them orders of magnitude more expensive than an equivalent diesel truck, $1,300,000 versus $100,000 respectively.
    http://energyskeptic.com/2016/heavy-duty-hydrogen-fuel-cell-trucks-reduce-emissions-but-are-a-waste-of-energy-and-far-from-commercial/

  20. sunweb on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 7:20 am 

    http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/105/1/
    The Hydrogen Economy – Energy and Economic Black Hole

  21. twocats on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 8:23 am 

    fuel cells were declared dead over a decade ago.

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2006-07-13/early-retirement-hydrogen-fuel-cell/

    the article talks about future existence of fuel cells, but hydrogen fuel cells have been “possible” for at least a decade – so how many HFCs are on the road versus say CNGs?

    If Obama had kept up the program I’m sure it would have been called Solyndra part II.

  22. Outcast_Searcher on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 12:33 pm 

    sidaepp: Comparing modern Toyota hydrogen tanks to the Hindenberg is the height of ignorance.

    The Hindenberg was a problem because the entire airfoil was itself flammable.

    I’ve seen videos where they deliberatly punctured a modern fuel cell car’s fuel tank and deliberately lit the leak. It burns like a large match flame, and steadily. Very minimal risk of some “giant out of control fire”.

    But of course, FUD is more fun than logic or real world data.

  23. Outcast_Searcher on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 12:35 pm 

    Cloggie: As mentioned in my post above, with properly designed modern tanks for fuel cell vehicles, the fire risk is minimal, and well designed for.

    I like that there is a horse race between two different solutions. Both will put cost pressure on the other. Competition is generally good for the consumer.

    Let the best solution(s) win, for the best applications.

  24. Antius on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 1:19 pm 

    Hydrogen was all the rage in the 1990s and early 2000s, because it provides a relatively energy dense (compared to battery’s at least) chemical fuel that can power mobile applications. And it avoids throwing away excess electricity from renewable energy sources. The round trip efficiency is awful. The economics of the concept will always be bad because of inefficiency, high technology requirement and poor energy density.

    But the idea of a water to water car economy appealed to industry technos and politicos alike. To the former, it was a PR tool that allowed them to ride a green propaganda ticket at modest cost, since none of the concepts went beyond prototype stage. Most of the later class were lawyers, who know nothing about technology and cannot do more than basic maths, so the facts did not matter. But the idea was ideologically attractive and that is what matters to political people.

    If static grid energy storage is the goal, then there are loads of better ways of doing it. Pumped storage is the most often mentioned example, as it is well proven and energy efficient. But it suffers from low energy density. One litre of water at a head height of 5km, has a paltry 50KJ (14Wh) of potential energy.

    Thermal storage has always struck me as a better idea. One litre of rock heated to 1000 Centigrade using a heat element, will carry 611Wh of energy – 611kWh per cubic metre. By passing S-CO2 through pipes in that rock, one can convert the heat back into electricity using a compact turbo-generator. Round trip efficiency is 50%, for a device much more compact, cheaper and more efficient than a hydrogen plant. But this is inherently large scale; it will only work on a grid scale without unacceptable losses. Other practical technologies include compressed air energy storage and cryogenic energy storage. These are all based on well understood technology and can be made to work with storage efficiency 50%. Perhaps they just aren’t ideologically exciting enough to get attention from the people that matter.

    The storage efficiency of 50% is just an irritating thermodynamic fact of life. If half of all energy is stored, then our total energy requirement will be 50% greater (i.e. 1.5 times as much) than we finally consume to cover the inefficiency. Not ideal, but nobody ever escapes the second law of thermodynamics and the intermittency of renewable energy is a form of entropy that we must overcome at a price. By my estimation, the cost of storage will roughly triple the cost of renewable electricity – because we must pay for 50% more power, the storage device and a power plant to convert it back into usable power. So, if a combined wind/solar system can deliver intermittent energy for 10c/kWh, the final cost of baseload power would be 30c/kWh after buffering.

  25. Davy on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 1:23 pm 

    Competition has its limits when the cost and performance demands are already high. These technologies are already well advanced. They are already pushing the envelopes of commercial applications in relation to alternatives and the real economy.

    I am very hopeful this technology will provide a real niche alternative. Agricultural equipment could be a great application. Onsite or local hydrogen production could help with the conversion problems with hydrogen production. Mass travel on fuel cells for private vehicles seems a stretch. Maybe rail could be made to use fuel cells with batteries. This does not appear to me to be a major solution.

  26. MrEnergyCzar on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 1:54 pm 

    Putting produced electricity directly in a battery car gets you twice the driving distance vs using the original energy source to make hydrogen. Efficiency wins.

  27. Outcast_Searcher on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 1:59 pm 

    “Dubbed the Tri-Gen facility, the plant will generate around 2.35 megawatts of electricity and close to one tonne of hydrogen per day, providing enough daily power for more than 2300 homes and 1500 hydrogen-powered cars.”

    So if hydrogen “wins” and takes, say, 10% of the car/truck market by 2030, that’s roughly 150 million light vehicles.

    So it will “only” take about 100,000 or the equivalent of these plants to produce the hydrogen needed.

    I know EV’s and PHEV’s have some serious scaling to do at under 1% of the current fleet, but this isn’teven at the realistic concept scale stage yet.

    I guess at least by the time it gets there, we should know how quickly EV’s are being adopted as they enter the supposed S-curve stage.

  28. Cloggie on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 3:51 pm 

    @Antius – Hydrogen was all the rage in the 1990s and early 2000s, because it provides a relatively energy dense (compared to battery’s at least) chemical fuel that can power mobile applications. And it avoids throwing away excess electricity from renewable energy sources. The round trip efficiency is awful. The economics of the concept will always be bad because of inefficiency, high technology requirement and poor energy density.

    Yes, but a lot has happened since, all for the better. The “hydrogen economy” is anything but dead. Hydrogen can be bound into ammonia or methanol for easier storage.

    In Holland prof. Ad van Wijk is the #1 proponent of a hydrogen economy. Lectures here:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/prof-ad-van-wijk/

    Pumped storage is the most often mentioned example, as it is well proven and energy efficient. But it suffers from low energy density. One litre of water at a head height of 5km, has a paltry 50KJ (14Wh) of potential energy.

    You would be surprised to learn how many of these liters will fit in Lake Strathdearn:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/world-record-pumped-hydro-storage-for-scotland/

    This facility alone would suffice as storage backup for the entire EU.

    As said above, you can bind H2 into methanol, which can be used with great efficiency in fuel cells as well, just like hydrogen:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/methanol-fuel-cell/

    Prof. George Olah even proposed a methanol economy as an alternative for the hydrogen economy:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/the-methanol-economy-with-george-olah/

    The H2 content of 1 m3 methanol is twice as high as liquefied hydrogen! Even atmospheric CO2 can be recycled into methanol.

    By my estimation, the cost of storage will roughly triple the cost of renewable electricity – because we must pay for 50% more power, the storage device and a power plant to convert it back into usable power. So, if a combined wind/solar system can deliver intermittent energy for 10c/kWh, the final cost of baseload power would be 30c/kWh after buffering.

    I would like to see that calculation. What do you use as storage medium… batteries? Or mass storage in the Highlands with a round trip efficiency of 80%, next to the future giant wind farms in the middle of the North Sea, with energy islands/hubs in the middle?

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/energy-islands-north-sea-taking-shape/

  29. Antius on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 6:03 pm 

    It’s really quite simple. To produce a baseload supply using some mix of intermittent power sources, I have assumed that roughly 50% of power is consumed as it is generated and the other 50% comes from storage. As I have taken round trip storage efficiency to be 50%, that means renewable generation must be 50% higher than electricity consumption to cover storage losses.

    So for baseload power capable of meeting demand, we need 2.5 power plants instead of just the one we would need if we were getting power from Ff or nuclear. But one of those power plants is the energy storage system. This is basically a power station with extra equipment for converting electricity into stored energy, and an energy store of some kind, which has capital, maintenance and operating costs associated with it. So in most cases, capital and operating costs will be higher than a conventional power station of the same capacity.

    So an electricity system based on intermittent renewable energy would have roughly 3 times the basic generating cost of a competing coal or nuclear plant. That is my rough estimate. It would put the cost of buffered renewable energy at something like €300/MWh. Maybe it could go down somewhat, if things like demand management can be applied to some energy uses without economic penalty. Those portions of electricity use will not need storage and will not suffer its inefficiency either.

  30. Antius on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 6:12 pm 

    Methanol and ammonia are less energy efficient choices for synthetic fuels because of the substantial additional energy consumed by the chemical reactor. Whatever efficiency you calculate for a pure hydrogen energy storage system, an ammonia or methanol system will always be lower.

    Maybe that is tolerable for peaking plants that get used only a few times a year. In that case, fuel cost is less important than powerplant capital cost. But these are not good options for bulk storage of surplus energy.

  31. Davy on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 7:26 pm 

    Considering the assumptions above by Antius, is there an energy mix that would be optimum considering our low level of demand management capabilities? Currently because of market based capitalism and liberal democracy demand management is discretionary and price influenced. From the above view point and considering a low capability of demand management is there a proper mix of renewables in a grid system above which we are suffering diminishing returns below which it is worthwhile for society to invest. Is there a good mix of FF, NUK, and alternatives? Of course this will vary by location but within that variance is there a good mix “zone”?

    What about more homes having their own dedicated systems with panels and batteries? It seems to me this is where individuals will find their best opportunity to practice demand management and the added bonus is lowering grid demand. The flip side of this then we must consider is it economic to have end user solar/battery systems. IOW, is that a waste of society’s resources? Individually it might be satisfactory for many reasons but from a society point of view is it wasted resources. Are micro grids a better bang for the money or is a bigger grid even better.

    The techno optimist here seem too sure of a future of adaptation and development with an adequate economy. I tend to see the future of energy as constrained with an economy in decline. In this scenario then energy is limited and the more we try to extend the envelope of energy technologies to fit poor human behavior of on demand wants the further we are getting from sustainability and resilience.

    The key is demand management on one level but at another level it is the limiting forces of demand management that could kill the economy. The economy is a temperamental machine that must grow or die. It seems to me we are stuck with needing demand management but limited to how much we can practice because of the economics of market based capitalism in a global economy. This points to an end game of battling entropy with ever greater odds because we keep moving further into overshoot and if we do not move further into overshoot entropy wins. It is a race that can’t be won but if you stop you are dead.

  32. GregT on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 8:48 pm 

    Infinite exponential growth, in a finite environment, is a physical and mathematical impossibility.

    No matter how anybody attempts to rationalize it.

  33. onlooker on Thu, 7th Dec 2017 9:14 pm 

    This is a good example of what you just said Greg
    http://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2017/12/07/the-age-of-intermittency/
    The Age of intermittency

  34. Cloggie on Fri, 8th Dec 2017 12:24 am 

    I have assumed that roughly 50% of power is consumed as it is generated and the other 50% comes from storage. As I have taken round trip storage efficiency to be 50%, that means renewable generation must be 50% higher than electricity consumption to cover storage losses.

    You are assuming too much. First you do not say what kind of storage you are talking about. Round-trip efficiency with pumped hydro is more like 80% than 50%. Scotland and Norway can provide excellent storage services here for the flatlanders surrounding the North Sea.

    http://energystorage.org/energy-storage/technologies/pumped-hydroelectric-storage
    However, these plants are typically highly efficient (round-trip efficiencies reaching greater than 80%) and can prove very beneficial in terms of balancing load within the overall power system.

    Furthermore efficiency is not all-telling in a radical new situation where in case of solar and wind the “fuel” comes for free and the only costs are infrastructure costs: turbines, rotors, cables, dams, pipes, generators. Once everything is installed, it’s party time.

  35. Cloggie on Fri, 8th Dec 2017 12:37 am 

    Oh and then this… remember that good old light bulbs had an efficiency of say 2%?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminous_efficacy

    Compare that with modern LED-lighting that has an efficiency 12 times better.

    Remember that old Fred Flintstone tube television (344 Watt), that contributed significantly to a home’s heating infrastructure? Compare that with modern 41 inch gear that consumes merely 70 Watt. My iPad Pro delivers all the television functionality at 10 Watt. Just keep it closer to your nose and you have the same angle/effect. New super efficient fridge: 60 kWh/year. Large freezer: 200 kWh/year. You can pump your own image over a wire (Skype) at as fraction of the cost of having your entire body “pumped” over a highway in a steel harnas of 15 times your own weight. Soon we will abolish privately owned cars and replace it with a door-to-door public transport system, with far less embodied energy in the total car fleet.

    This is a different energy age.

  36. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 8th Dec 2017 3:04 am 

    Tungsten bulbs rule.
    Especially for outdoor Christmas lights.
    Accept no substitutes.
    Insist on genuine Tungsten bulbs.

    https://www.christmaslightsetc.com/MediaService/25683

  37. Davy on Fri, 8th Dec 2017 5:44 am 

    “You are assuming too much. First you do not say what kind of storage you are talking about. Round-trip efficiency with pumped hydro is more like 80% than 50%. Scotland and Norway can provide excellent storage services here for the flatlanders surrounding the North Sea.”
    You are not acknowledging the price tag on pump storage when one considers the amount of storage needed to do what you want. IMA “is more like 80%” is dubious. Imagine the failure of one of these large projects where so much energy is stored. Knowing these technologies between 80%-50% is more like a reasonable range. High range is usually theoretical. Putting a huge cost on this strategy and add to that the extra cost of renewable generation because of efficiency issues is still a valid point of sobriety not “party time” mentality. When does a grid entering more expensive and more fragile territory exponentially or even nonlinearly? The nonlinearly cost would be complete failure from over complexity. It appears to me the issues multiply over 50% renewable penetration.

    “Furthermore efficiency is not all-telling in a radical new situation where in case of solar and wind the “fuel” comes for free and the only costs are infrastructure costs: turbines, rotors, cables, dams, pipes, generators. Once everything is installed, it’s party time.”
    Nothing is few dutchy. The initial cost are significant and must be amortized over time. Return by these technologies do not just instantly appear at day one. You must include depreciation and maintenance. The party time is what people think about when they think they got cake and can eat it.

  38. Davy on Fri, 8th Dec 2017 6:01 am 

    The real issues here is we are entering an unknown territory of transition in that we have never done this. These systems are proven at the basic level but not proven as a system at the Continental level. Large scale grids with intermittency are not proven yet. All of these current grids have backs up nearby that is bassline conventional. The economy is a given to make this expensive transformation. The economy is not a given and is not healthy despite the habituation of average long term growth. Even if a large area achieves 100% renewables it will still dwell within a nonrenewable global framework where it must survive. All the while poor behavior prevents the population from changing its consumption patterns.

    Demand management is the key but it also may not be possible with the current market based capitalism and liberal democracy where discretionary wants drive investment. To make a 100% renewable system work demand management must be draconian at some point. The current status quo of marketing and political power are based upon the satisfaction of discretionary wants. Control of populations are maintained by producing happiness or more often promising happiness. Price is relative to this economic and political system. Price discovery is now skewed towards growth and yield not proper behavior and resilience. This is pretty obvious because you don’t hear much about demand management strategies like carbon tax schemes or the like these days. Conservation is pushed if it means investment in expensive efficiency technologies. All these strategies have diminishing returns because it is the physics of a finite planet. Behavioral changes are almost never pushed. Technology advancements fit into the growth based strategies of more economic activity not less. Effective demand management is less activity. This cannot be reconciled without a generation of education and unfortunately a different economy.

    This comes down to incompatibilities and incongruities which are eventually irrational policy and dysfunctional networks. These are wrapped up in converging problems in an overall catch 22 predicament of limits of growth of a system already well into overshoot. Renewables and the grand strategies of 100% transition away from fossil fuels are a strategy that is fake. The results of this flawed and fake strategy are not bad in the beginning. We need more of these technologies for extension of the status quo. This policy is currently good and it is perfecting good technologies and bring down the costs because of economies of scale. As bad as many of us feel the status quo is we do like to eat, be warm, and move around. These polices are extenders.

    The ability to take society into this new energy and behavior paradigm is theoretical. Beyond a point it may actually be a worse strategy because we will have made poor investments for the intended results. It may be a strategy that sets up dangerous vulnerabilities that come from unintended consequences that always accompany more technology and complexity. For example think about a system that achieves a very high renewable penetration with the accompanying complexity and economic failure occurs. Will that fragile system be able to be maintained or will it be another Mayan pyramid? Reality testing should tell us many of the strategies and technologies are suspect at extremes of the envelope of applications.

  39. Anonymouse1 on Fri, 8th Dec 2017 6:43 am 

    Thats (two) long winded, back-toback, boring exceptionalist diatribes to ignore.

    For those times(like now) when ignoring one, madman’s rambling, just isn’t enough.

  40. Davy on Fri, 8th Dec 2017 7:01 am 

    Extremist, did you notice I was on topic and not spreading hate. Add up my words then add up your several comments this morning. How much difference is there? Go a step forward uneducated Canadian millennial extremist and see if you said anything and analyze what I said. Balance what was said then get back to me with a comment that actually is a debate and not incitement to intellectual violence. Oh, you would love to ignore me but you extremist can’t because I moderate and neuter you. Just look at your dumbass neighbor the extremist grehg. He will be on soon with his regurgitate. Neither of you has much to say but hate. Both of your stalk and prick Americans exclusively. I love to screw with the both of you. Mouse the 1 when is the last time you actually said something that was on topic and neutral. I try to. I try to avoid these conflict and do you know why selfish narcissist? The reason why is some of those who give the best comments don’t like to be in a place that you extremist create. They want to speak where there is respect and a degree of harmony. Asswipes like you and your fellow extremist can’t stand that. There must be hate and discontent or there is no extremism. DISGUSTING CANADIANS

  41. Antius on Fri, 8th Dec 2017 8:32 am 

    OK – to settle the storage cost question. There are three components to intermittency: (1) Short term fluctuations, lasting hours or days (See link below); (2) Inter-seasonal fluctuations; and (3) Inter-annual fluctuations.
    https://www.withouthotair.com/c4/page_32.shtml
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/jo.nova/graph/energy/electricity/sa-blackout/fig-2-wind-farm-output-sa-vic.gif

    Short-term fluctuations in wind power are peaks and lulls, usually with a few days between peaks on average, but sometimes up to 5 days or longer. McKay estimated that for a wind power plant to be buffered to provide baseload, about 5 days of average power output should be stored. For a 33GW wind power plant with 33% load factor, that amounts to 1200GWh of storage, or 36.4GWh per GW installed. The Dinorwig pumped storage plant in North Wales, has storage capacity 9.1GWh, so to cover short term fluctuations, we would need roughly 4 Dinorwigs per installed GW.
    https://withouthotair.com/c26/page_186.shtml

    Dinorwig was completed in 1984 at a cost of £425million, about £1275million in today’s money.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station

    I am going to assume that 4 Dinorwig plants would cost £5.1billion in today’s money. Let us assume that the interest on the capital expenditure is 5%pa. Also assume that operation and maintenance costs are 25% of total costs – this is roughly in line with hydropower cost breakdown. Over 1 year, a 1GW wind farm will generate 2.92million MWh of electric power. The interest payments and O&M on the pumped storage plants will add £116.4/MWh generated. Dinorwig is 75% efficient. Let us assume that half of all power generated by the wind farm is stored and the other half consumed directly as it is generated. To cover storage losses, we need to generate an extra 12.5% power from our wind farm, or we lose 12.5%, depending on how you want to look at it. So the storage overhead cost is £131/MWh that actually reaches the grid for consumers.

    For Walney wind farm, cost of electric power at the busbars in 2015 was estimated to be £117/MWh. Strike prices for new offshore wind farms reached a new low of £57/MWh in 2017. The large drop is due to competitive auctions that are squeezing vendor’s profit margins, a surplus of people and shipping thanks to declines in North Sea oil and gas; and record low steel prices, thanks to global deflation. It is uncertain how long this can continue, but let’s say £57-117/MWh. For 1.125MWh, cost would be £64-132. Adding this to the storage cost, gives £195-263/MWh (€215-289/MWh).

    Inter-seasonal fluctuations are a different problem. I am going to assume that for the most part, we can combine a mixture of wind and solar power to even out the worst of these and that 5 days of pumped storage will suffice for the worst combined lull in each. I will also assume that solar can match the bus bar generating cost of offshore wind.

    Inter-annual fluctuations need to be accounted for as well. The wind and solar climate doesn’t just vary over a year, they vary between years. To counter these sorts of fluctuations, we need energy that can be stored cheaply over long periods of time. Since this generating system is likely to be used only occasionally, fuel costs and efficiency are less important, but capital costs and fuel storage costs are important. I think the best option in this case would be some form of open cycle gas turbine plant, burning biomass derived liquid fuels. This sort of system can cover any freak long combined lulls in wind and solar as well.

    Adding these costs up and ignoring transmission losses and costs, takes us to around €300/MWh for a buffered baseload renewable energy system. That is 2.5-5 times the actual bus-bar generating cost of offshore wind and 3 times the LCOE of new generation nuclear assuming we don’t benefit from scale economies for multiple plants. It is about 6 times what electricity actually sells for on the UK grid at present, which strongly indicates that UK power prices are not sustainable.

    My pet favourite energy storage technologies are cryogenic energy storage and high temperature thermal energy storage. These are realistically about 50% efficient, but are much more power dense than pumped storage so capital costs should be lower. They can also be built more or less anywhere and do not need mountains, coastline or any specific topography, so transmission costs can be reduced. A little flat country like Holland could be energy self-sufficient with storage technologies like that. Again, I would expect the cost of buffered electric power to be roughly 3 times the bus bar generating cost of a combined wind/solar system. That does seem to be a good rule of thumb. No one escapes the second law of thermodynamics.

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