Energy production, storage, and future technologies

93Flareside

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I would like to see this if we put some emissions regulations on cargo and cruise ships. Sure, they're forced when in port but out on the open water it's fair game to continue using No. 6 fuel oil.

And yeah, the company I work for sells a ton to shipping companies in the form of equipment to heat up the oil and run the boilers on these ships, but it's not like other more refined fossil fuels aren't available. It just comes down to cost.

Though, it would also be nice if fuel wasn't so cheap in south america because that would reduce the amount of frantic calls we get from shipping companies who want all the oil components because, oops, the fuel wasn't clean and ground away all the internal parts.
 

GRtak

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I would like to see this if we put some emissions regulations on cargo and cruise ships. Sure, they're forced when in port but out on the open water it's fair game to continue using No. 6 fuel oil.

And yeah, the company I work for sells a ton to shipping companies in the form of equipment to heat up the oil and run the boilers on these ships, but it's not like other more refined fossil fuels aren't available. It just comes down to cost.

Though, it would also be nice if fuel wasn't so cheap in south america because that would reduce the amount of frantic calls we get from shipping companies who want all the oil components because, oops, the fuel wasn't clean and ground away all the internal parts.

There are cleaner fuels that are available that would reduce costs by reducing maintenance, downtime, and increasing the life of the engines. The best part of it is that it also reduces emissions from the noxious byproducts that the shipping industry calls fuel.
 

GRtak

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https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money...wners-PAID-charge-prices-turned-negative.html

Electric car owners were PAID to charge over the bank holiday weekend, as electricity prices turned negative due to weather and lockdown


A slump in demand for power over the bank holiday weekend saw some electric car owners make money when charging their vehicles, it has been revealed.

That came as wholesale electricity prices turned negative because of lower demand and sunny and windy weather increasing renewable energy production.

For some customers of Octopus Energy, this meant their electric vehicles earned money by charging for long periods during the day and night, with some making almost £5.

That is the important bit, wind and solar power work. It also shows how EVs can help the grid when there is excess power available. More at the link.
 

Matt2000

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Shame I couldn't take advantage of that, not being with Octopus and not having the car plugged in at the time. Maybe I'll get a chance at some point.
 

Blind_Io

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New battery technology - Sodium-Ion. It supposedly comes very close to Li-Io batteries for a fraction of the cost and with abundant materials.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-06/wsu-rdv052920.php

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University (WSU) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers have created a sodium-ion battery that holds as much energy and works as well as some commercial lithium-ion battery chemistries, making for a potentially viable battery technology out of abundant and cheap materials.

The team reports one of the best results to date for a sodium-ion battery. It is able to deliver a capacity similar to some lithium-ion batteries and to recharge successfully, keeping more than 80 percent of its charge after 1,000 cycles. The research, led by Yuehe Lin, professor in WSU's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and Xiaolin Li, a senior research scientist at PNNL is published in the journal, ACS Energy Letters.

"This is a major development for sodium-ion batteries," said Dr. Imre Gyuk, director of Energy Storage for the Department of Energy's Office of Electricity who supported this work at PNNL. "There is great interest around the potential for replacing Li-ion batteries with Na-ion in many applications."

Lithium-ion batteries are ubiquitous, used in numerous applications such as cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicles. But they are made from materials, such as cobalt and lithium, that are rare, expensive, and found mostly outside the US. As demand for electric vehicles and electricity storage rises, these materials will become harder to get and possibly more expensive. Lithium-based batteries would also be problematic in meeting the tremendous growing demand for power grid energy storage.

On the other hand, sodium-ion batteries, made from cheap, abundant, and sustainable sodium from the earth's oceans or crust, could make a good candidate for large-scale energy storage. Unfortunately, they don't hold as much energy as lithium batteries.

They also have trouble being recharged as would be required for effective energy storage. A key problem for some of the most promising cathode materials is that a layer of inactive sodium crystals builds up at the surface of the cathode, stopping the flow of sodium ions and, consequently, killing the battery.

"The key challenge is for the battery to have both high energy density and a good cycle life," said Junhua Song, lead author on the paper and a WSU PhD graduate who is now at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

As part of the work, the research team created a layered metal oxide cathode and a liquid electrolyte that included extra sodium ions, creating a saltier soup that had a better interaction with their cathode. Their cathode design and electrolyte system allowed for continued movement of sodium ions, preventing inactive surface crystal build-up and allowing for unimpeded electricity generation.

"Our research revealed the essential correlation between cathode structure evolution and surface interaction with the electrolyte," Lin said. "These are the best results ever reported for a sodium-ion battery with a layered cathode, showing that this is a viable technology that can be comparable to lithium-ion batteries."

The researchers are now working to better understand the important interaction between their electrolyte and the cathode, so they can work with different materials for improved battery design. They also want to design a battery that doesn't use cobalt, another relatively expensive and rare metal.

"This work paves the way toward practical sodium-ion batteries, and the fundamental insights we gained about the cathode-electrolyte interaction shed light on how we might develop future cobalt-free or low cobalt cathode materials in sodium-ion batteries as well as in other types of battery chemistries," Song said. "If we can find viable alternatives to both lithium and cobalt, the sodium-ion battery could truly be competitive with lithium-ion batteries.

"And, that would be a game changer," he added.
 
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awdrifter

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All these new battery tech probably won't become commercially available for another 15-30 years. I remember reading about a liquid metal battery that was "close to production", but then after it got some investment they found that it's not viable due to some technical issue. If we want to store a large amount of energy, dams are probably still the most cost effective way to go. Electricity transmission losses are so low that you can build dams thousands of miles away from the power generation plant (off-shore wind for example) and still be pretty ok on the round trip efficiency. But environmentalists fight against any new dams being built, so we're left with the most expensive solutions that are not ready for prime time (which is probably what they wan, that way they can get the most subsidies from the government).
 

Blind_Io

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I remember back in the late 1990s when there was a breakthrough in battery technology. It was going to make batteries thinner, lighter, and hold more power. You have one in your mobile phone right now.

Just because technology takes time to develop for market, doesn't mean it's not worth investing in today. It's because that technology takes time to develop that we must invest in it today.
 

GRtak

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https://cleantechnica.com/2020/06/1...16-trillion-investment-in-renewables-by-2030/

Goldman Sachs Sees $16 Trillion Investment In Renewables By 2030


https://www.theguardian.com/environ...ry-starts-construction-in-uk?CMP=share_btn_tw

Climate emission killer: construction begins on world’s biggest liquid air battery

The project near Manchester, UK, will use spare green energy to compress air into a liquid and store it. When demand is higher, the liquid air is released back into a gas, powering a turbine that puts the green energy back into the grid.
 

GRtak

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https://www.volkswagen-newsroom.com...opulsion-in-service-for-volkswagen-group-6138

First overseas car freighter with low-emission LNG propulsion in service for Volkswagen Group

Premiere in Emden: For the first time, vehicles from Europe will be transported from Europe to North and Central America on a car freighter powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). On Tuesday evening the SIEM CONFUCIUS with more than 4,800 vehicles for North America leaves Emden for Veracruz in the Gulf of Mexico. The LNG drive reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 30 percent, soot particles by up to 60 percent and sulphur oxide emissions by up to 100 percent.


"We are proud to put the world's first LNG vehicle transporter of this size into service. This is an important part of our decarbonisation strategy," emphasises Thomas Zernechel, Head of Volkswagen Group Logistics. By 2025, in accordance with the environmental mission statement "goTOzero", the company aims to reduce its total net CO2 emissions by 30 percentand be get CO2-neutral in 2050.All transports - by water, road and rail - must be climate-friendly to achieve this. "We have to take action now, because ships like the LNG freighter SIEM CONFUCIUS and soon its sister ship SIEM ARISTOTLE will be in service for many years," says Zernechel.
Like her sister ship, which is expected to enter service this year, the technologically ultramodern SIEM CONFUCIUS, which is 200 metres long and 38 metres wide, has 13 car decks and a capacity of 7,500 CEU (Car Equivalent Units), which corresponds to around 4,800 vehicles in the Volkswagen Group model mix from passenger cars to light commercial vehicles. The ships are powered by 12,600 kW dual-fuel marine engines with direct injection and exhaust gas after treatment from MAN Energy Solutions. In eco-speed mode they travel at a speed of 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h). The two tanks in each ship, each holding 1,800 cubic metres, are sufficient to cover the entire distance with the fuel stowed in Europe. In addition to liquid, deep-frozen natural gas, the car carriers could also be operated with biogas or E-gas from regenerative sources.
Volkswagen Group Logistics organises, coordinates and is responsible for around 7,700 ship departures worldwide every year. Several hundred liners and eleven car freighter charter ships, two of which are now being replaced by the LNG units, sail the world's oceans for the Group every day. They ship 2.8 million new cars a year.
 
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GRtak

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https://cleantechnica.com/2020/06/25/usa-could-hit-90-clean-electricity-by-2035/

USA Could Hit 90% Clean Electricity By 2035


Experts disagree about how fast the United States can replace coal and gas-fired power plants with zero-carbon electricity. Some say we can shift to 100 percent clean power by 2050 with little friction and minimal cost. Others say that’s unrealistically optimistic. Scientists on both sides of the argument agree that it’s possible to get to 80 or 90 percent clean power. The debate centers on that last 10 or 20 percent.


Researchers tried to get around this sticking point in a new analysis from UC Berkeley. Instead of asking, “how much?” they asked “how fast?” — specifically, how fast we could get to 90 percent zero-carbon power — meaning wind, solar, hydropower and nuclear power — at no extra cost to consumers. Thanks to rapidly falling costs for wind turbines, solar panels and batteries, the answer is 2035.


“We’re spending too much time stressing about the last 10 percent and not enough time thinking about the first 90 percent,” said Ric O’Connell, executive director of GridLab, a clean energy consulting firm, and co-author of the report. “So let’s focus on the first 90 percent.”


When utilities build a new power plant, they pass the cost on to ratepayers. By 2035, ratepayers will have paid off most gas- or coal-fired power plants running today, meaning consumers won’t lose money if utilities shut those plants down early. That’s what researchers mean by “no extra cost.” Ratepayers will be funding new, exclusively carbon-free power plants after they have paid off the old ones. Cutting pollution will help people breathe easier, reducing health care costs, making it cheaper overall to move to shift away from fossil fuels.


By building out wind, solar and battery storage, the authors say, we can take every coal-fired plant offline, as well as a number of gas-fired power plants. We would use the remaining gas-fired power plants to supply electricity when needed. Fossil fuels would only account for 10 percent of the power supply, while nuclear power and hydropower — which generate no carbon pollution— would account for around 20 percent. The remaining 70 percent will come from wind and solar paired with battery storage — meaning 90 percent of our electricity would come from zero-carbon sources.


The cost of renewable energy has fallen precipitously over the past decade, consistently outpacing expert projections. From 2009 to 2019, the cost of wind power fell 70 percent, while the cost of large-scale solar fell close to 90 percent, according to Lazard. From 2010 to 2019, the cost of batteries also dropped close to 90 percent, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The falling costs of batteries is a game changer, because batteries can store power for when the sky is dark and the wind is idle.


“The pace of technology development has typically been underestimated,” said Amol Phadke, an energy research scientist at UC Berkeley and lead author of the report. “In my career, all my projections have been conservative.” He said that experts have grown more and more optimistic about how fast costs will drop in the years to come.


Authors considered the fact that Americans are embracing battery-powered cars and buses, which will put added strain on the power grid. They say that utilities can meet the rising demand at the same cost with wind and solar as they would with coal or gas.


None of this is likely to happen, however, without the help of lawmakers. The cost of fossil fuels by and large does not account for the toll they take on human health. To account for this fact, and to help overcome inertia in the energy system, experts call for several measures in an accompanying policy paper, such as a national clean power standard and tax credits for renewable energy.


The study makes use of the latest models from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and software developer Energy Exemplar. It finds that moving to 90 percent zero-carbon power, a labor-intensive endeavor, could generate upwards of half a million jobs a year, which authors say could help the United States overcome the current economic slump.


The shift to clean power would also be a boon to public health at a time when the country is battling a deadly respiratory disease. The report finds that a shift to 90 percent clean power could save as many as 85,000 lives by 2050 by sparing Americans from toxic pollution. Experts unaffiliated with the study commended the report, including its focus on public health.


“Climate and environmental impacts fall disproportionately on communities of color and low-income communities,” Patrick Brown, a researcher at the MIT Energy Initiative, said in an email. “It’s always important to be clear about the human cost of fossil energy when it’s included in such models, so I was glad to see these costs included.”


Mark Jacobson, a professor of environmental engineering at Stanford University, believes the report wasn’t ambitious enough, saying, “I am confident their goal can be met, but I think we can go even further.” His own research, which has been the subject of vigorous debate, found it would be possible to power the country entirely with wind, solar and hydropower by mid-century.


O’Connell believes that researchers should focus on getting to 90 percent zero-carbon power rather than arguing about the feasibility of reaching 100 percent. Just as scientists 20 years ago couldn’t have predicted how cheap wind and solar would be today, scientists today can’t predict how much new technologies will cost 15 years from now. He listed several that could get the United States to 100 percent zero-carbon electricity, such as green hydrogen, next-generation nuclear power and home appliances that interact with the electric grid. But, he said, technology has already advanced to the point where the United States can overhaul the power grid right now.


“A lot of the focus has been on 2050,” O’Connell said. “We said, ‘Let’s look at the near-term runway and what we can do in the next 15 years.”
 
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