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Topic Title: Arguments AGAINST hydro power ?!
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Created On: 05 December 2012 03:33 PM
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 09 December 2012 01:55 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
Joined: 05 September 2004

I agree. And the question is can we cost effectively engineer our way around the problem. Some medium and large biomethane producers can be directly attached to the grid.

(I understand that there may be desease spreading hazards with having waste sent to a central processing site.)

Gas being generated a long way from where it is needed is what has happened in the case of American shale gas. The lack of cheap and effective ways of distrubuting the gas has led to low prices, which in the end will stifle further investment as the drilling continues.

In fact where they are drilling for shale oil they often burn the gas off just to get rid of it, as it is of so little value to them. There appears to be very little regulation of the industry in America at the moment.

Therefore the Americans have no choice but to export a proportion of their gas and raise prices; otherwise they would simply end up with an overhyped and dirty investment bubble, that would explode when investors money finally ran out or when regulation became tighter.

At this stage while there are plenty of people (like Lord Lawson) hyping the technology, lots of investment cash will continue to roll in.

http://www.thegwpf.org/nigel-l...-shaking-world-order/

The early investors can remove their money under the cover of the hype and take home big profits. What we are not getting is transparent and trust worthy data on the capital, operating costs and income on a per well basis. How quickly do the gas flows tail off? What proportion of the drill sites are duds? We need to know more about the industry before accepting the hype at face value.

Apparently there are large amounts of shale gas in the uk, but to extract it we may need thousands of drill sites which will also be a long way from where the gas is needed.

The stronger regulation needed and the difficulty in finding suitable drill sites in the UK will mean that we are unlikely be able to compete with the Americans on flow or cost.


Alternatively (or as 'well') National Grid can start attaching medium to large sources of biomethane to the gas grid, rather than let all new entrepreneurial energy investment be directed towards electrical generation technologies and see gas investment jobs gradually wither on the vine as a result.

At the 1%-10% penetration level government this technology will be eligible for start up support from government just as with windfarms.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 09 December 2012 11:08 PM
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ectophile

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Originally posted by: jarathoon


Apparently there are large amounts of shale gas in the uk, but to extract it we may need thousands of drill sites which will also be a long way from where the gas is needed.


James Arathoon


I don't understand that. Pretty much anywhere within the UK will be close to somebody who needs it.

It will certainly be a lot closer that the middle of the North Sea, which is where we currently get our own gas from, and far closer than Russia, the Middle East or America.

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 10 December 2012 10:28 AM
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jarathoon

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Originally posted by: ectophile

I don't understand that. Pretty much anywhere within the UK will be close to somebody who needs it.

It will certainly be a lot closer that the middle of the North Sea, which is where we currently get our own gas from, and far closer than Russia, the Middle East or America.


Yes in comparative terms our distances are small. Its the cost per km to get attached to the grid that the problem, and that old infrastructure needs upgrading when people inject gas at diverse locations. If we sort out our gas infrastructure to connect the 300,000 or more active farms then it will work.

However can most farms just produce biogas (60% biomethane 40% CO2) and then feed it into local biomethane production hubs or do all the farms have biomethane production kit. The farmers may be able to lay their own biogas pipe feeds as cooperatives cheaper than National Grid can lay mains gas pipe.

If each farm (on average 57 acres) produced on average 10 cubic metres an hour of biomethane from their waste, then energy from British farms could supply enough gas to generate equivalent of 10 EPR nuclear power stations worth of electricity.

(New CCS engineers at DECC please note: If CO2 is collected from biogas at biomethane production hubs, it can be physically sold to gas power stations so they don't have to collect their own CO2 with efficency levels that are unrealisable without vast expenditure)

[National Grid show their high pressure main network here

http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk...sElectricNW/gaspipes/

Apparently there are 300,000 active farms in the uk with an average size of 57 hectares.
http://www.ukagriculture.com/uk_farming.cfm

See a DECC ideas here (basically lay all the risk and costs on farmers) which is the opposite approach they take to the big six strangely enough.

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/cont...n/nonconvention.aspx#

" "Biogas" is a term used to refer to a combustible gas created by anaerobic digestion (see below) of organic material, and composed of approximately 60% methane (CH4), 40% carbon dioxide (CO2), and other trace levels of contaminants."
]

James Arathoon



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James Arathoon
 10 December 2012 02:33 PM
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aroscoe

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Wow.. I stepped away for a couple of days and this has erupted...

My (non-practical) experience of looking into biomoethane projects during my late-career MSc back in 2004/5 leads me to believe that the cost hurdles with biomethane are:

1) transport costs of low energy-per-volume energy-per-mass feedstocks to the digester (although big sewage schemes can avoid this)

2) removal of sulphur and other impurities from biomethane before injection.

There was also the problem of the cost of disposing of the remaining solids at the end, since EU legislation was wavering between classing it as a toxin (contained bacteria which might still be alive if its not been pasteurised enough), or a useful arable fertiliser. I don't know that legal or technical state of the art now.

Andrew

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Dr. Andrew Roscoe

http://personal.strath.ac.uk/andrew.j.roscoe
 10 December 2012 08:06 PM
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cookers

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This was what was going on in my Polytechnic during my studies in the 1970/80's.

http://www.sealtd.co.uk/files/17seaclam.pdf

It all seems a long time ago, things may have been different then, but so similar in many ways.
 11 December 2012 09:10 AM
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Ipayyoursalary

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Originally posted by: jarathoon
.... There appears to be very little regulation of the shale gas industry in America at the moment....they would simply end up with an overhyped and dirty investment bubble, that would explode when investors money finally ran out or when regulation became tighter.

.... What we are not getting is transparent and trust worthy data on the capital, operating costs and income on a per well basis. How quickly do the gas flows tail off? What proportion of the drill sites are duds? We need to know more about the industry before accepting the hype at face value.

Apparently there are large amounts of shale gas in the uk, but to extract it we may need thousands of drill sites which will also be a long way from where the gas is needed.

The stronger regulation needed and the difficulty in finding suitable drill sites in the UK will mean that we are unlikely be able to compete with the Americans

James, for an alternative view on shale gas to the Gazprom / Centrica vested interest propaganda you must have been reading, please have a look at Nick Grealy's blog here: no hot air

Nick's a die hard CAGW believer and a Labour man through and through - but despite this he's a big fan of shale gas. Definitely worth a read.

Regards
 11 December 2012 03:15 PM
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jarathoon

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Ipayyoursalary,

You don't tell me your view on the prospects of UK shale gas, and whether or not there is enough empirical data upon which to base an investment decision.

I have looked at the "no hot air" site in respect to Andrew Rawnsley's recent article in the Observer.

"The fracking dream which is putting Britain's future at risk"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm...ckheads-dubious-dream

In answer to my question "What proportion of the drill sites are duds?"
Andrew Rawnsley says...

"Colin Smith, head of energy research at VTB Capital, tells me that there have been some 50 experimental wells across Europe to date. None - not a single one - appears to have flowed at a rate that would make them commercially viable. So while the frack-heads fantasise about a bonanza, the reality is that not so much as one cubic metre of shale gas has been profitably extracted anywhere in Europe."

On his site Nick Grealy doesn't address this central point which is disappointing...

http://www.nohotair.co.uk/inde...ew=article&id=2708 src="/forums/forum/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif" border="0">bserver-fact-check-on-uk-shale-gas&catid=117&Itemid=171

Instead he takes another quote from Andrew Rawnsley's article:

"Shales in Europe are generally thinner and deeper, and therefore much more expensive to tap, than those that have been successfully exploited in the United States. And Britain looks likely to be one of the less promising prospects in Europe because its shales are typically among the thinnest."

and proceeds to attack it by quoting a website that doesn't even mention the UK Bowland shales that he seems to think are such a good prospect.

http://www.transformsw.com/pap...ntations/studies.html

Even if this wasn't just wishful thinking on his part, do you think the Prince of Wales and other leading establishment figures will take kindly to hundreds of shale gas drilling rigs in Bowland? Stopping canoeing on a Scottish river is easy compared with stoping grouse shooters in Bowland!

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 11 December 2012 07:33 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

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Hi James,

In previous posts Nick's addressed most of the shale questions you raised above - however his site is like a running commentary and once posts disappear off the bottom of his home page they're rather difficult to find again. I'll try and dig out some relevent posts - perhaps in another thread since I don't want to hijack Dr Roscoe's interesting hydro discussion.

Best Regards
 13 December 2012 05:30 PM
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acsinuk

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The Crown Estates issued a report in the Guardian last year that pointed out that the UK has the potential of 153,000 MW of tidal generation. Of this only about half will be available at any one time. So far only tiny experimental plants have been erected in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales I think. As the tide is high at different times of the day in various locations it may well be possible to obtain a considerable amount of green energy from the sea and meet the maximum demand at the same time.
We need to get ahead and exploit this opportunity quickly before we get too much wind energy which will force us to build hugely expensive pump storage dams to meet the maximum demand.
CliveS
 13 December 2012 05:31 PM
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acsinuk

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The Crown Estates issued a report in the Guardian last year that pointed out that the UK has the potential of 153,000 MW of tidal generation. Of this only about half will be available at any one time. So far only tiny experimental plants have been erected in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales I think. As the tide is high at different times of the day in various locations it may well be possible to obtain a considerable amount of green energy from the sea and meet the maximum demand at the same time.
We need to get ahead and exploit this opportunity quickly before we get too much wind energy which will force us to build hugely expensive pump storage dams to meet the maximum demand.
CliveS
 14 December 2012 03:34 AM
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Ipayyoursalary

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Crown Estates huh? Do you think their opinion might be influenced by the fact they already make £240M pa from the wind farm scam and wouldn't mind branching out into even more lucrative subsidy farming schemes?

Here's an idea: Drill a hole in the ground. Frack. Collect the clean burning gas that emerges. Profit.
Sounds alot simpler and cheaper than damming every estuary and ringing the entire UK coastline with steel.
 14 December 2012 10:06 AM
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OMS

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Here's an idea: Drill a hole in the ground. Frack. Collect the clean burning gas that emerges. Profit.
Sounds a lot simpler and cheaper than damming every estuary and ringing the entire UK coastline with steel.


LoL - it has a certain elegance don't you think

spend the money by reducing demand - we'll have a lot less to worry about in terms of future energy then

regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 14 December 2012 12:58 PM
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aroscoe

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I'm delighted to report that this morning the team of 4 P7 pupils from Castleton Primary in Castlemilk, Glasgow, arguing against hydro power, were judged to have beaten 11 other Glasgow teams. They won a trophy and a framed plaque. They and their teacher are full of smiles. They watched this forum thread and used parts of it, so thanks all.

The 12 teams all had different stances, with one each for & against hydro, bio, marine, geothermal, solar & wind. It was held in the debating chamber at Glasgow City Chambers, which is quite the venue being covered in 19th Century mahogany and gold.

After that excitement, back to my day job!

Andrew

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Dr. Andrew Roscoe

http://personal.strath.ac.uk/andrew.j.roscoe
 17 December 2012 11:25 AM
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acsinuk

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Fracking although not green is fine as an interim solution to the energy crisis providing it is conducted deep underground. But long term we still need to use a green fuel for generating electricity and reserve the gas and oil products for transport.
Tidal energy is reliable and predictable and using sites with differing high tide times could deliver about 20,000 MW at peak, so it is still my favourite. But we must extract that energy economically using light weight barrages or tidal dynamic techniques.
CliveS
IET » Energy » Arguments AGAINST hydro power ?!

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