Category Archives: Renewable energy

“Survival” for free!

Download free.

On 7th, 8th and 10th December, you can download “Survival” Sustainable Energy, Wastes Shale Gas and The Land” at Amazon Kindle for free!  Suggest do it to a big screen because of the diagrams.

Land, energy and urban wastes

The USAF cemetry at Maddingly, Cambridge UK. What kind of world are we handing on to our children?

Globally, we are on the edge of a renewable energy revolution. It is not that we did not have the technology, what is different is that the technology, bit by bit, is becoming economic.  This bodes well for the human race.  However, there is a problem in that much of the economically attractive solutions, especially solar panels, need land. There is a problem with land – they have stopped making it. So we need to use alternatives including never making a roof out of tiles or inactive sheet and, instead, making it of solar panels. We need the land to produce food, fibres and timber – but in a different way.  Instead of using mineral Nitrogen which costs at least 21,000 kWh per tonne of N to deliver, we need to feed those crops on urban wastes. It has been done and can be scaled up safely. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01H63EQX0/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Nest discussion on this blog; Farming off-grid

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, December 17

The real truth about shale gas

You can download a copy for free this Sunday, 8th October,  by clicking below on “Buy at Amazon”.

Solar farm up-date economic

 

Solar is on the edge of economic without government support. This is potentially an important source of dependable, long term income for landowners.

The cost of solar panels is coming down and “solar farms” are on the edge of becoming economic without government support.I f you are a land owner, you might be offered £750 to £1400 per acre in rent for 25 years, plus an RPI escalator, to cover a hundred acres or so with solar panels.  That is pension fund stuff. However, is it environmentally sustainable and does it matter anyway?

 It is almost certainly true that the energy put into making all the solar panels so far manufactured will not be recovered in the productive life of those panels.  If the energy put into manufacture, packaging, transport by sea (most are made in China), in road transport, in mounting on frameworks, in making the frameworks (all the same actions over again), and maintenance, and decommissioning, …  All of a sudden, it does not seem possible that “PV”, photovoltaics, or just “solar panels”, could possibly be genuinely environmentally sustainable.

There is at least some research which gives a useful guide. Much of that research suggests an energy payback period, on the panels themselves, of 2 to 10 years.  The US Department of Energy quotes in one of its published documents several pieces of research from all over the world where researchers of some academic standing looked at the question and showed a wide range of results but they were all presented by the Department as positive.  The summary of research indicated that crystalline modules were significantly better than a few years ago and their efficiency would improve still more.  The conclusions were also that thin-film technology was currently more efficient than crystalline and would continue to keep its lead over crystallines.  Further, as new technologies develop, this is very likely to increase efficiencies again.  For example, the sun emits a much wider range of energy wavelengths than just the visible spectrum.  New panel technologies will collect infrared and ultra violet and maybe wider.

Nevertheless, reading between the lines, most of the quoted research appeared to be limited to the energy cost of manufacture of the panels themselves. There was limited or no indication that the total energy cost of a working installation had been taken into account. One of the bits of research even admitted that they had not even included the thin frame that surrounds the panel before putting into its packaging. So, there is some doubt about whether the research figures cover all the energy costs, not just of manufacture, but also of packaging, shipping, land transport, installation, site infrastructure, site works, supporting frame construction, commissioning, maintenance, cleaning and failures.

DOES PAY-BACK MATTER?

Maybe not.  It depends on where you sit. If it makes money for everyone involved; maybe that is good enough?  Only the taxpayer might not agree.  One thing “renewable” (but not necessarily sustainable) might be seen to deliver is less reliance in future on imported oil, gas and electricity. (Yes, we import significant amounts of electricity from France.)  There is another plus.  Whatever the energy cost, it is paid for at today’s cost.  The energy produced over the life of the installation pays back at tomorrow’s energy values; it is an investment in tomorrow.

What it comes down to is, as usual, money.  If a detailed financial study says it makes cash, then read the small print, cover the “what ifs” over the next 25 years and go ahead.  However, tone down the environmental benefit; you might be on thin film, sorry, ice.

 

 

Je suis le Roi de la mairde

 

A normal pond? Not quire – note the white colouration of the water, This is spent drilling fluid from drilling through chalk to bring cables off the North Sea wind farms.

 

 

The attached below link is to the Dutch drilling company, VSH website. The pictures (scroll down a bit) are of the drilling operation bringing cables off the North Sea wind farms to the site at Holt in North Norfolk.  This brings renewable energy to the UK consumers.  What Land Research does is to take the cuttings and spent fluids from such operations and re-use them, usually on agricultural land to replace the 2.5 million tonnes of top soil which the UK loses by wind and rain erosion, down into the sea, every year. Renewable energy with zero waste from such construction operations.

http://www.vshanabdrilling.com/en/projects/detail/landfalls-for-the-dudgeon-offshore-wind-farm.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 22 June 17

 

Dial 105

Euope ast might 2

Will the lights go out? What happens if they do?

There is an advertisement on at least one commercial radio station inviting us to dial 105 if we have a power cut. This implies that not only does the establishment know we are on the edge of power cuts on a large scale but they want us to prepare for it.  Now, I have colleagues who know far more about the national grid power supply than I do and they are quite certain that we are close to significant power cuts and, if all the relevant strains come on at once in a cold spell, then we may get a national shut down.  If we do, they some will be off for days rather than hours.  It will be inconvenient for most of us, will be very expensive for industry and cost lives.

Whatever we ought to do in terms of renewable power, the truth is that the quickest way, and lowest cost, to secure our power supply is to build gas-fired power stations. Other than nuclear (of which many of us have some reservations), gas is an almost totally clean burn. We area standing on enormous reserves of gas.  What does common sense tell us?

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 1 January 2017

Sustainable energy, diesel fuel, and farming

 

A schematic view of Carbon fixing by green plants and the formation of coal, gas and oil, as in the Carboniferous Era, is shown in the Figure above.  What happened then was that plants took Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to form large, organic Carbon molecules and gave back Oxygen. The most commonly quoted equation leads to a 6-Carbon sugar.

6 CO2 + 6 H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2

Plants, of course, go on to produce much larger Carbon-based molecules and although the whole process of forming those original Carbon reserves is not the subject of this paper, the result is summarised in the figure.

Figure

Closed lopp oil

Crops with green leaves can give us energy and take Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and give us Oxygen back.

If humans were to try to mimic that process, then it would involve growing more green crops globally and on a very large scale, including reclaiming deserts and, in doing so, avoiding a further problem.  Research sponsored by the UN] showed that in the manufacture of mineral fertilisers in typical, modern USA factories, one tonne of Nitrogen nutrient used 21,000 (twenty one thousand) kWh of electricity. Many factories around the world are significantly less efficient. In the current world, the electricity used in that manufacturing process comes mainly from burning fossilised fuel, thus forming a disproportionate amount of Carbon dioxide.  Clearly, that is not sustainable.

The classic method of solving a problem depends on putting two, mirror-image “problems” together so that they wipe each other out and, preferably, do so sustainably. The mirror image problem identified in a research and development programme carried out by Land Research was urban waste. So, wastes were used to completely replace mineral fertilisers with a result that cultivation energy went down dramatically, crop disease fell and yields went up and became more consistent. More than that, farms were able to grow oil seed rape and use the extracted oil either as biodiesel or PPO (Pure Plant Oil) in their tractors, combines and pick-up trucks, so achieving a level of energy independence and security.

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The  sustainability in farming blog                                                             from Bill Butterworth 19th August 2016