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Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

44 Replies

Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Zoomup on Nov 25, 2019 7:27 am

Old King Coal Generation was a merry old soul, 
But soon is not to be.....

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50520962

Z.
 

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Roy Bowdler on Nov 25, 2019 1:36 pm

When I started work at a nearly new Coal fired Power Station , considered like its late 1960s/early 1970s siblings an exemplar of modern technology , perhaps half a million jobs in the UK were directly linked to coal in some form (anyone got a better estimate?) many more indirectly in some parts of the country. The Selby complex (which I went down) was considered to have world leading productivity, with reserves to last generations.  There was some nascent understanding of acid rain, bit little else more beyond relatively local pollution, which was being cleared up, with major city buildings being “scrubbed up” after years of soot accumulation from domestic coal fires, industrial furnaces and steam locomotives. Rivers in much of the country, especially major cities were horrible, stinking, filthy and often biologically “dead”.  

So what can we as engineers do?  On the stairway at Savoy Place their portraits close together, are two Engineers who began in Victorian times to address pollution. One Thomas Parker happens to have grown up in the same street as me and was member number 324 of our institution, so I’m biased.  http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/genealogy/Parker/Coalite.htm .  The second  Joseph Bazalgette became better remembered    https://www.ice.org.uk/what-is-civil-engineering/civil-engineer-profiles/sir-joseph-bazalgette

We have already come to understand the challenge of changes to the climate.  Even if the minority opinion that this is part of a cycle of natural perturbations or changes outside of our control is valid, the problem still needs to be addressed, if much of world coastal development is to remain intact, agriculture to thrive etc. Who are the visionary engineers who can affect this and why?  What should we be foreseeing, that we haven’t yet?    
  

 

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Roy Bowdler on Dec 3, 2019 10:35 am

https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/telford/ironbridge/2019/11/29/cooling-towers-to-come-down-next-week/

https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/telford/ironbridge/2019/12/02/awe-inspiring-view-of-doomed-ironbridge-cooling-towers/

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Roy Bowdler on Dec 6, 2019 11:28 am

Having just watched this on-line I’m posting with a tears in my eyes. The article captures the emotion well

https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/telford/ironbridge/2019/12/06/riverside-beauties-farewell-to-the-towers-that-are-so-much-loved/

Perhaps those present in 1838 felt the same way?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fighting_Temeraire

 

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by davezawadi on Dec 8, 2019 12:27 pm

An interesting point Roy.
However I would like to discuss your feelings with reference to the way these two, and Engineers in general have to work, and how successful we are. Engineers are the people who actually solve problems rather than discussing them with wild theories. Bazalgette exactly understood the problem of waste in London and so could attack the problem and get the result necessary (given a lot of money of course). The same goes for coal pollution and smokeless coal. The problem of the climate change you mention, and why coal as a fuel has been picked out as bad is not defined at all. The emissions from modern coal plants are negligible under normal definitions but CO2 is considered bad. The theory as to why it may be bad is very shakey and the science behind it is far from proven, in fact the data show that it not bad at all. So we are being told to "Green" energy supplies in ways that are not known and quite possibly unnecessary. There is a huge risk that our Grid may become unusable and that electricity supplies may become intermittent (the push behind smart meters is not billing but local control of the supply to match load to availability, something which has never been tried before!). The total "carbon footprint" of wind turbines and solar PV panels is not considered in energy budgets as long as it reduces the visible fossil fuel useage. This is not a properly planned project as a whole, in fact many are waiting for some "miracle" invention to magically generate unlimited free "green" energy, a physical impossibility.

As an Engineer who has pioneered new technology all my career, I simply do not believe the political message cannot have a devastating outcome for all the people in this country. You will note that the politicians want to make everything electrically powered as they think think this sounds a good green agenda, but they have no idea where to get it from, or that demand is likely to multiply by several times with electric transport, space heating etc. I would like someone to tell me how they expect to make this work, and I will fill in the necessary engineering to make it happen, in the way of Bazalgette. The words of politicians are so far from reality that I worry considerably, they seem to want us back in the stone age. Of course water and sewage depend on continuous electrical supplies so we will starve, suffer disease, and die of thirst under these crazy proposals.

How do you feel?

Regards
David Stone CEng
Regards David CEng etc.

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Simon Barker on Dec 8, 2019 8:37 pm

The "miracle" we need is cheap bulk energy storage.  Lots of possibilities have been suggested, but nobody has put forward the money to scale them up to something useful.  Once we have that, the green energy "problem" is pretty much solved.

Wind turbines wherever it's windy, solar panels wherever it's sunny, and lots of storage for those days when it's cloudy and still.

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by davezawadi on Dec 8, 2019 8:55 pm

Simon
The practicalities for "lots of storage" are very low. It would need a pumped storage scheme the size of the entire Scottish highlands to be useful to provide say 40GW for 2 weeks or more! A battery (even from Tesla) would be a disaster waiting to happen as its stored energy would be the similar to a 1 gigatonne hydrogen bomb. The term not in my back yard or country comes to mind.
Regards David CEng etc.

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by mapj1 on Jan 3, 2020 10:50 am

The Siemens solution for lots of storage seems to be fairly well thought out, and serious engineering muscle is being applied.
During times of over production of electricity, the proposal is that power is diverted to Silyzer Electrolysis  units which are based on a proton exchange membrane cell (electrolysis like at school, but with much of the excess ohmic voltage drop in the liquid path eliminated, as the membrane allows the electrodes to be much closer without the hydrogen and oxygen mixing), already scaling to hundreds of megawatts.
The gas can then be stored in much the same way as we currently store methane, or used to store the 40/60 hydrogen carbon monoxide mix we used to call town gas, and the volume required for enough to run a CCGT power station for a given time is about 130% of the volume needed to run one on methane, which we already know how to do. (remember gasometers ? Every town used to have a few it seemed.) more realistically in terms of volume, spherical high pressure storage tanks near the CCGT station would make more sense.
The turbines need to be re-optimised for hydrogen, as the flame speed is higher than methane (2.7m/s vs about 0.3m/s) and the use of air pre-mix needs to be significantly reduced.
However in 2017 or so the project began, and recently  Siemens announced they will have 100% hydrogen turbines accrss the full range of powers by 2030. The intention is to make replacement burners allowing existing models to be modified.

Hydrogen is not without issues of course - it has a tenancy to permeate steel and make the surface layers  brittle, and to slowly dissolve the insides of steel pipes, so  will need changes in the longer term.

As an aside, one of the problems of substituting H2 for CH4 for the domestic gas network is also the burner re-design, this starts to bite once you get much above the current proposals to introduce something like 20% H2 by volume   ( Small scale trials at Keele University and later to be rolled out to 600 households)  - at a higher concentration things would have to go back to be much be more similar  to how they were with town gas, with slot burners and less pre-mix, so something closer to diffusion flames. Additionally various safety related things like flame detection by ion current are much less easy to make reliable than they are with carbon atoms in the mixture.  However these are all soluble problems, if we need to do so.
No doubt among others, Worcester Bosh Boilers are on the case to design a H2 capable domestic boiler.
regards Mike

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 3, 2020 6:24 pm

The Green New Deal would create nearly 30 million jobs — study.

We could create nearly 30 million more jobs than we otherwise would. If we want to avoid the possibly catastrophic effects of climate change, we’re going to have to transition to renewable energy as soon as possible. That will mean jobs will be lost in the fossil fuel industry, but a new study out of Stanford University shows a lot of jobs would be created. The study was recently published in the journal One Earth.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590332219302258
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 8, 2020 8:03 am

Solar energy will comprise 20% of all U.S. electricity generation by 2030. To reach this target, the industry must work collaboratively across technologies and industries to build a strong Solar+ economy. More than 600,000 new jobs created!
https://www.seia.org/solar-decade
 
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by OMS on Jan 8, 2020 11:36 am

Is it actually 600,000 new jobs ?

There is a 5MW solar farm recently built not far from me - the construction was limited to a small number of guys on site. Basically they used a GPS guided mini piling rig to bash in the support frames and loaded the lot with what appear to be Chinese manufactured panels.

I'd be surprised if it generates that number of new jobs in the country of installation

Regards

OMS
The trap we've fallen into is to believe that a thousand incompetents properly organized can do the job of a few dozen outstanding people

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Simon Barker on Jan 8, 2020 1:20 pm

There may be a bit of creative accounting going on to get to the 600 000.  Suppose it takes 20 people to install a new system, if you include management, planning and office staff for a small company.  Suppose the country needs 30 000 installations.  That makes 600 000 new jobs.

Of course, that ignores the fact that each job only lasts a few weeks, before the same people move on to do the next job.

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Alasdair Anderson on Jan 8, 2020 1:42 pm

What they do is look at all the jobs down the supply chain, such as the guys that manufacture the panels, the drivers of the trucks transporting equipment, all the way down to the person making the sandwiches to sell for the workers lunch. I always take these predictions with a barrel-load of salt.
Alasdair

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Andy Millar on Jan 8, 2020 3:25 pm

And in the bigger picture is not actually very relevant - what matters is that CO2 etc emission reduction is reduced. However, of course this is a tough sell to people who feel their jobs are threatened, hence the focus on "new jobs". Personally I'd rather everyone was more honest about why these initiatives are the right thing to do, but unfortunately that just results in the cry of "we can't have a nanny state telling us what to do"!

Actually, as I think I posted elsewhere, moving toward net carbon zero must result in a huge number of engineering job opportunities at all levels as it is a very tough engineering challenge to crack. In fact probably one of the biggest problems is persuading anyone to seriously invest in the R&D engineering effort required. If that investment was there a huge number of engineers could be kept very gainfully employed.

Cheers,

Andy
Andy Millar CEng CMgr IET Mentor / IET PRA uk.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 11, 2020 9:23 am

From the Researchers of University of Central Florida:
Artificial Intelligence May Help Scientists Make Spray-on Solar Cells

UCF researchers have developed an AI system that can identify formulas for creating liquid solar cells, which potentially could allow them to be painted on bridges, houses and skyscrapers.
https://www.ucf.edu/news/artificial-intelligence-may-help-scientists-make-spray-on-solar-cells/


 

LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 12, 2020 9:02 am

The Bleak Future of Petroleum
https://interestingengineering.com/the-bleak-future-of-petroleum?_source=newsletter&_campaign=EL7NkoX5QbqPq&_uid=YQdJzWvdOG&_h=c5182a5a087e2b004ca4aca7c1e307f54e8a1507&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=mailing&utm_campaign=Newsletter-11-01-2020
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 18, 2020 9:18 am

https://www.mckinsey.com/
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 18, 2020 9:46 am

More:
https://www.ice.org.uk/news-and-insight/the-civil-engineer/january-2020/key-messages-from-the-un-climate-change-conference
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 19, 2020 12:58 pm

And:
https://newatlas.com/environment/ocean-temperatures-highest-levels-record/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm_campaign=168c3a2710-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_01_17_06_44&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-168c3a2710-91970357
https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s00376-020-9283-7.pdf
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-01/ioap-row010920.php
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 20, 2020 6:47 pm

More:
https://www.ice.org.uk/news-and-insight/the-infrastructure-blog/january-2020/scottish-infrastructure-commission-report
 
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 27, 2020 11:13 am

Rolls-Royce plans mini nuclear reactors by 2029. Mini nuclear reactors could be generating power in the UK by the end of the decade. Environmentalists are divided over nuclear power, with some maintaining it is dangerous and expensive, while others say that to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 all technologies are needed. However, the industry is confident that mini reactors can compete on price with low-cost renewables such as offshore wind.
Can this be a valid solution / integration to the supply of Clean Energy?

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51233444https://newatlas.com/energy/rolls-royce-plans-mini-nuclear-reactors-in-britain/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm
https://newatlas.com/energy/rolls-royce-plans-mini-nuclear-reactors-in-britain/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm_campaign=7ce44a50d0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_01_27_09_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-7ce44a50d0-91970357

 
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Jan 28, 2020 2:18 pm

Andy Millar:
And in the bigger picture is not actually very relevant - what matters is that CO2 etc emission reduction is reduced. However, of course this is a tough sell to people who feel their jobs are threatened, hence the focus on "new jobs". Personally I'd rather everyone was more honest about why these initiatives are the right thing to do, but unfortunately that just results in the cry of "we can't have a nanny state telling us what to do"!

Actually, as I think I posted elsewhere, moving toward net carbon zero must result in a huge number of engineering job opportunities at all levels as it is a very tough engineering challenge to crack. In fact probably one of the biggest problems is persuading anyone to seriously invest in the R&D engineering effort required. If that investment was there a huge number of engineers could be kept very gainfully employed.

Cheers,

Andy

Right!
https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2020/01/energy-industry-encouraged-to-fill-400k-jobs-to-reach-net-zero-goal/

 
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Feb 4, 2020 7:17 pm

A very good move, indeed!
https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2020/02/uk-to-ban-bring-forward-petrol-and-diesel-ban-to-2035/
LUCIANO BACCO

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Roger Bryant on Feb 5, 2020 9:57 am

Or is it???

"We all know well from the great diesel debacle what happens when politicians grab the steering wheel on eco policy."

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-7968085/Eco-edict-new-cars-electric-15-years-doomed-backfire-says-JOHN-NAISH.html

Best regards

Roger

Re: Goodbye Old King Coal Generation.

Posted by Luciano Bacco on Feb 6, 2020 1:14 pm

Ironbridge towers demolished: As it happened

https://www.bbc.com/news/live/uk-england-shropshire-50671593
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/06/uk/power-plant-demolition-intl-scli-gbr/index.html


The competent UK Professional Demolition Engineering Body in UK
https://ide.org.uk/
LUCIANO BACCO

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