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Xodus study concludes that offshore wind technology could be viable off Guernsey

A preliminary feasibility study has concluded that offshore wind technology could be viable in several locations off Guernsey’s coast.

2017 06 28 083628The study was carried out by Xodus Group, an engineering consultancy with experience in the oil and gas, utilities and renewable industries, and funded jointly by the States of Guernsey and Guernsey Electricity. It concluded that there are a range of technically feasible options to develop an offshore wind project off Guernsey. Other findings included:

  • Developing a modest project, of the order 30MW, will achieve the fundamental objective of an independent supply of electricity together with the benefits associated with energy diversification namely: security; price certainty; sustainability and lower carbon.
  • The cost is higher than current French importation and on-island generation
  • To mitigate the higher cost it is recommend that the majority of the project is funded by the States of Guernsey to secure the lowest cost of finance.
  • At this early stage of analysis the preferred site is far offshore towards the 12nm boundary.  This location is in relatively deep water and most suited to the new floating wind turbine structures.
  • The lowest cost site is likely to be in the shallow waters off the north coast (or any coastal site). However, this near shore location may have visual and other human impact.
  • Consideration should be given to pursuing an extended wave and wind data gathering programme that could be relatively low cost but high value for the future.

The States of Guernsey Renewable Energy Team have been progressing the recommendations following receipt of the report, including the addition of remote sensing equipment at Chouet headland alongside the existing wind monitor.

The Renewable Energy team will seek to continue to progress its work in this area, before discussing the viability of such a project with the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure in due course.

Deputy Shane Langlois, member of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said:

‘A 30MW offshore wind farm has the potential to generate around one third of Guernsey’s current electricity requirements. While the cost of electricity generated by wind turbines would, at the moment, be more expensive than importing or on-island generation, it is clear that the gap between the two is narrowing and will likely continue to do so as the technology further evolves. Indeed recent tenders in northern Europe have been at very competitive prices. The Committee welcomes the findings of this study and, while not without risk, believes there are significant opportunities in progressing this work, such as security of supply, energy independence, fixed prices and lower emissions.’

Peter Barnes, Lead Officer for the Renewable Energy Team, said:

‘Wind technology is continuing to mature and will offer increased levels of security and independence of supply. Guernsey is well positioned to benefit from those developments and the Renewable Energy Team will continue working closely with Guernsey Electricity to further develop the potential opportunities identified.’

Stuart Blondel, Head of Assets at Guernsey Electricity, said:

‘Guernsey Electricity continues to monitor and assess all forms of renewable energy and energy storage technologies. Our strategic planning takes account of the island’s aspirations for energy diversification and security at an affordable price. We believe community based macro scale renewable generation as identified in this study combined with suitable means of energy storage will be a commercially viable option within the 2020s and, combined with careful management of energy demand and other forms of embedded energy harnessing, the island will achieve its aims for a sustainable future’

The full study can be found at www.guernesyrenewableenergy.com

Xodus offers engineering and advisory support to clients in the oil and gas, LNG, renewables and utilities industries worldwide. Through a unique combination of expertise, experience and agility, Xodus helps its clients to overcome the challenges they face throughout the life of their assets.

From conceptual studies, FEED and detailed design, into operation and through to life extension and decommissioning, Xodus provides the clever and innovative thinking needed to maximise the return on our customers' investment.

Xodus is known for its uniquely integrated services, backed up by specialist tools and training, that span the numerous disciplines involved in delivering complex projects: subsurface, process and facilities, subsea and pipelines, flow assurance, wells, integrity, vibration, safety, risk, environment and commercial advice.

For more information please visit www.xodusgroup.com

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The WaveRoller’s Power Take-Off unit passed an important milestone as it has now endured a years’ worth of stormy weather.

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The WaveRoller device has gone through extensive and comprehensive testing before deemed ready for commercial roll-out. One of the areas of testing is how well the device can stand up to the forces of nature, especially the massive power of a stormy sea. In the PTO test facility, force and stroke are introduced into the PTO unit with a wave machine built specifically for this purpose. The force and stroke can be adjusted to follow the measured sea conditions in any given sea state and from any location - at full scale. When waves go above the height of 2.5 meters the sea conditions are considered rough.

- We’ve tested the PTO unit’s durability up to wave heights of 7-8 meters. We’ve learned an awful lot from this testing phase, the test facility proved very useful, says CTO of AW-Energy Christopher Ridgewell.

Since the device is submerged for most of the time, excluding maintenance, the tests must cover an extended period of time. That’s why accelerated lifetime testing is utilized. It’s the process of testing a product by subjecting it to conditions in excess of its normal service parameters. The objective of the testing is to uncover hidden issues that are difficult to find during the design process. The typical types of failure could be fatigue damage of mechanical and hydraulic components, failure of control systems and sensors, errors in the control algorithms that reduces the delivered power.

- It’s been hard work to achieve all the test hours, but tremendously exciting. We’re very happy with the results, Automation Designer Juha Manninen concludes.

AW-Energy is a pioneer in the green economy and is the global leader in wave energy technology. Its flagship product, WaveRoller, is a submerged wave energy converter based on a hinged panel that is attached to the sea bed in the near shore area. It generates electricity from the movement of the waves (surge phenomenon) and is connected to the electric grid onshore. The company is based in Finland, and operates in multiple continents cooperates with strong industrial partners including e.g. Lloyd's Register, Wärtsilä, DCNS and DNV-GL. The company employs a highly professional and efficient team that manages a network of over 100 engineers and technical staff. It is backed by Fortum, a leading European utility company, Aura Capital, Sitra and European Investment Bank.

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Research reveals investors are set to increase their exposure to renewable energy

2017 06 22 111632New research(1) from Renewable Energy Waste Solutions (REWS), a new renewable energy company, reveals 71% of institutional investors and IFAs expect the amount invested in renewables to increase over the next three years. Some 17% anticipate the value invested during this time will ‘increase dramatically’, and only 8% anticipate a decline here.

Over the longer term, exposure to renewables from investors will be even stronger.  Between now and 2022, 75% of investors interviewed expect the amount invested  to increase, with 23% anticipating a dramatic rise.

When asked to pick the main reason why they expect investors to increase their exposure to renewables, 44% said the political and social environment is becoming even more supportive of the sector.    This was followed by 27% who said as an asset class renewables has low correlation with other investments.  Some 13% said it was because they have an increasingly strong and proven track record as an investment, and 12% said it was because they offer attractive returns in the current environment.

2017 06 22 111654Another attractive feature of renewables is that 62% of investors expect renewable generation costs to fall over the next three years. 

William McClintock, Chairman REWS said: “Investors are becoming more aware of the growing opportunities in the renewables sector.  As the industry builds on its already impressive track record for providing steady and strong returns to investors, its attractiveness as an asset class will only increase.  Furthermore, asset owners are becoming increasingly sophisticated and looking for ways to diversify their portfolios and renewables offers them this.”

(1) 60 institutional investors and IFAs were interviewed in April 2017 by research company PollRight
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The UK Can Still Lead ‘Mission Innovation’ on Cleaning Urban Air - #NationalCleanAirDay

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Air Pollution ; in Cities is Nothing New

Since the VW emissions scandal broke, air pollution in cities has remained a top public health concern. With such stories rarely out of the news, you could be forgiven for thinking that something has recently emerged from medical science illustrating the dangers of combustion-generated air pollution to human health.

In fact the health implications of air pollution from burning fossil fuels have been well understood for many decades. Air pollution complaints in London go back centuries for example – it is not for nothing we call London ‘The Smoke’.  Following the Clean Air Acts of the 1950s and 60s, smoky fires for heating homes were gradually relegated to power stations away from cities, mostly decoupling urbanite populations from smoke – but vehicles quietly brought people and combustion emissions back together again. As UK vehicle numbers have inexorably risen they have gradually contributed more and more to urban air pollution, becoming the biggest polluter of UK city air.

Normalising Human Exposures to Air Pollution

We have all been exposed to vehicle pollution in cities during our lives, and the highest concentrations are often inside the vehicles themselves. Indeed the difficulty for scientists in early studies was identifying a control group:  Very few people on the planet are not directly exposed to vehicle exhaust, or smoke of some kind, so we still do not really know what happens to people when they are not exposed to a lifetime of combustion generated pollution. Linking environmental pollutant exposures to disease is actually notoriously difficult to do, but small airborne particles and other pollutants from vehicle exhaust have been linked for decades to premature death, precisely because they are everywhere.  A seminal US air pollution study by Harvard published in 1993 and thousands of copy-cat studies across the globe show surprisingly consistent results. A real shock has been that once you remove the bulk of air pollution from open fires as we have done in the UK and US, the health effects of much lower smoke levels are still measurable, and extremely costly. That is why once the VW fraud was discovered (again, by USA scientists), it was quickly prosecuted in the USA. The long-term bill for trying to cheat air quality regulation will be huge and may bankrupt companies. The effects and costs of this air pollution are well established for decades, and legally absolutely robust. 

The evidence has been crystal clear.  The solution; not so much. It turns out that for many people the idea of living without cars – as was once imagined in the 1990s – is virtually impossible and car ownership continues to grow worldwide. So where are the low-carbon, low emission transport solutions? One emerging technology comes from batteries. But people are so used to their vehicles and the range and performance of internal combustion engines that only vehicles with a comparable range and refuel rate to their current car model are going to be an acceptable replacement. This is a technical challenge that is currently out of reach for battery systems, despite clear urban air advantages of battery vehicles.

Fuel Cell Solutions

Another option for zero emission cars and buses is hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles. Despite the emergence of new, clean hydrogen technologies decades ago, there is still reluctance in the UK to develop and deploy fuel cell technology. Commercial models are now on the market.  Fuel cell vehicles can be re-fuelled within three minutes for a range of hundreds of miles per tank, comparable to current conventional vehicles. Such advantages suggest fuel cell technologies running on hydrogen could be adopted by the transport sector, despite a lack of re-fuelling infrastructure in 2017.  So what hope for hydrogen-powered vehicles solving air pollution in Birmingham? And what can Britain do to support fuel cell technology to clean urban air?

Three fuel cell companies spun out from UK universities way back in the 1990s to great excitement around the world – Intelligent Energy, Ceres Power and Adelan flew the flag for UK innovation in fuel cell technology, and several other UK companies have emerged since, such as Arcola and AFC, and ITM in hydrogen generation. Intelligent Energy, Ceres Power and Adelan have been resilient over 20 years, building global profiles and partnering with international agencies and companies, proving their global impact. They have realised value in very different ways, offering unique technologies, in a wide range of different products. These companies all develop fuel cells for use on-board vehicles, but their fuel cells can also displace other combustion emissions that would otherwise occur in city centres, such as from gas boilers in homes for example.  Fuel cells developed in the UK and beyond can be deployed to improve air quality today. It is possible, and with effort impacts could be faster and wider.  Fuel cell technologies are being deployed or developed in Birmingham today to address urban air pollution, but more needs to be done to support commercialisation of these UK technologies before they disappear overseas. China in particular is hungry for disruptive clean energy technologies, and so the likelihood is that fuel cells will be nurtured there. Opportunities exist for the UK to lead the world in fuel cell technology and with it an end to urban air pollution and its devastating impacts on human health. Brexit may provide an opportunity for the UK to do just that.

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Advanced Plasma Power announces appointment of Sir John Parker as Chairman to further strengthen its Board.

Leading UK advanced gasification technology pioneer, Advanced Plasma Power (APP), is delighted to announce the appointment to the Board of Sir John Parker as Chairman with effect from 3rd May 2017. This news comes hot on the heels of the appointment to the Board of David Parkin, Director of Network Strategy for Cadent (formerly National Grid Gas Distribution) and signals a real intent on the part of the company to position itself for rapid and sustained growth. In a further boost to the Board’s capabilities and international reach it has also appointed Professor Paul Moayyedi of top Canadian research university McMaster as a non-executive director with effect from 3rd May 2017.

2017 06 15 111802Cadent and Advanced Plasma Power have started construction of the world’s first commercial plant to convert household waste to bio-substitute natural gas (BioSNG) in Swindon, UK. The facility, which is fully funded and which will start operating in early 2018, will accept 10,000 tonnes of local waste producing 22GWh of BioSNG per annum, enough to heat 1,500 homes or fuel 75 heavy good vehicles. The plant is funded under the Department for Transport’s visionary Advanced Biofuels Competition and Ofgem’s’ Network Innovation Competition which has supported the development of the technology for a number of years, together with a project investment by Cadent itself.

BioSNG production is essential for decarbonising the transport and heat sector. It allows homes and businesses to reduce carbon emissions while using existing appliances and gas networks. The project will clearly demonstrate the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of producing BioSNG from waste and will catalyse the development of further BioSNG plants in the UK and overseas. The technology has the potential to produce 100TWh of green gas per annum in the UK, enough to fuel all the UK’s heavy goods vehicles or meet one third of our domestic heat demand. The technology can also readily produce hydrogen and as such contribute in the long term to the full de-carbonisation of the gas grid and the heating and transport sectors.

The appointment of Sir John comes at a time when the company is seeking to develop a pipeline of large scale projects for bioSNG production across the UK in anticipation of the setting of an appropriate regulatory framework by Government in the coming months.

Quotes

Sir John Parker said: “Having chaired the Advisory Board of Advanced Plasma Power for a number of years now, I am delighted to be joining the main Board as Chairman at this exciting time in the company’s evolution. Thanks to the support from Government and visionary shareholders, this is a perfect example of how UK innovation can transcend the commercialization chasm and ultimately provide a real boost to the UK economy. It is precisely the type of SME that our industrial strategyshould be nurturing and supporting. The Board would especially like to thank outgoing Chairman Paris Moayedi for his invaluable support and leadership since the company’s inception.”

Paris Moayedi, representing the founding shareholders, said: “I am thrilled to welcome Sir John and am hugely confident that he will provide invaluable guidance and experienced leadership to the Board at this very exciting time in the company’s development. I couldn’t think of a better candidate for this role.”

Rolf Stein, the CEO of Advanced Plasma Power, said: “Advanced Plasma Power is exceptionally well positioned for the rapidly emerging and significant global opportunity to supply technology for decarbonising the heat and transport sectors. We are delighted to welcome Sir John, who is certainly no stranger to our development over recent years, and who will play a critical role in helping us achieve our potential.”

Sir John Parker, GBE, FREng

Sir John is a highly experienced and independent chairman and brings a wealth of leadership experience across a range of industries. Sir John is the chairman of Pennon Group Plc, Anglo American Plc and in stepping down from the Anglo American Board will become Chairman of Laing O’Rourke later this year. He is also a non-executive director of Carnival Corporation and Airbus Group. Sir John is a Visiting Fellow of the University of Oxford, patron at the Centre for Process Innovation and was president of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2011 to 2014. He was previously the chairman of National Grid Plc, senior non-executive director and chair of the Court of the Bank of England, deputy chairman of DP World, joint chair of Mondi and chair of BVT and P&O Plc.

Advanced Plasma Power

Advanced Plasma Power Limited (APP) is a world leader in waste to energy and advanced fuels technology. APP is revolutionising the way in which we treat waste sustainably by maximising the value from it as a source of materials and energy while minimising its impact on the environment. APP has developed the Gasplasma® process, a clean, modular and scalable advanced waste to energy and fuels technology which delivers high efficiencies whilst minimising visual and environmental impact. The Gasplasma® process is an innovative combination of two well-established technologies – gasification and plasma treatment, both of which have decades of proven commercial operation. For more information please consult the www.advancedplasmapower.com and www.gogreengas.com websites.