Welcome to the National Energy Research Network newsletter, which is published weekly and aims to provide relevant information to energy researchers. Extra content is always welcome - if you would like something added please contact the editor, Dr Mike Weston. You can view previous NERN newsletters in the archive.
Government to remove barriers to onshore oil and gas and deep geothermal exploration - By removing barriers to deep underground drilling access, the UK Government is speeding up oil and gas and deep geothermal energy exploration. Realising this potential will help to help bolster the UK’s national energy security. Up to now, national oil and gas and geothermal exploration projects at depths around a mile or so beneath the ground could have been significantly delayed by one single landowner. They are introducing legislation so oil and gas and geothermal companies will be able to use underground land but only below 300m (1,000ft). These companies will still need to obtain all the necessary regulatory permissions, like planning and environmental permits.
China takes on more oil – According to analysis from Platts Chinese apparent oil demand, a reflection of how much oil goes into domestic refineries combined with net oil product imports, averaged 9.74 million barrels per day, a 3.7 increase from August 2013 and the highest level for the year. The assessment comes despite an economic production growth rate of 6.9 percent, the slowest rate since 2008.On a month-to-month basis, Platts found Wednesday that Chinese apparent oil demand in August was 1.4 percent above July levels. Through August, demand was up 1.2 percent from last year.
Norwegian gas exports forecast to rise this winter - According to analysis at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon Norwegian gas exports are expected to increase slightly this winter thanks to new gas fields and the end of maintenance at the country's biggest field, Troll.
The Nordic country is Europe's second-biggest gas supplier behind Russia, but its importance has grown since the Ukraine crisis has increased the risk of disruption to Russian gas flows via Ukraine. Deliveries from Norway are expected to rise from Oct. 1 as contracts are adjusted at the start of a new gas year. Pipeline flows to continental Europe are expected to remain steady at 211 mcm/day, supported by long-term contracts with take-or-pay clauses, leaving 98 mcm/day for the British market.
Global wind expert says offshore wind will be one of the cheapest UK energy sources by 2025 - Last week global wind energy expert, Henrik Stiesdal, Chief Technical Officer at Siemens Wind Power told an audience of 200 prominent offshore wind stakeholders that offshore wind will be one of the cheapest, scalable solutions for the UK, as compared to other renewables and fossil fuel energy sources by 2025, if the true cost to society is factored into the cost of energy equation.
The redefinition of the electricity cost calculation from the most prominently used Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCoE), to Society’s Cost of Electricity (SCoE), means additional factors not normally accounted for are included which presents a more complete picture on the cost-benefit of energy. Additional factors include subsidies, grid access costs, variability costs, social costs, economic benefits and geopolitical impact. Without intensive innovation efforts from governments and industry, offshore wind could take another 20 years or so to be competitive based on conventional economic calculations.
Wave and tidal energy worth £217m to Scots economy - Scotland’s flourishing wave and tidal energy sector has invested more than £217m in the country to date, with £31.8m spent in the last 12 months alone, a new Scottish Renewables report shows. Crucially, the study revealed almost two-thirds (62%) of the growing industry’s supply chain is Scottish.
Seventeen organisations working in marine energy were surveyed for the Marine Milestones report. While providing updates on the progress of cutting-edge machines and projects, the firms were asked to provide investment statistics for compilation.
Key updates in the Marine Milestones report include:
73 Countries and Over 1,000 Businesses Speak Out in Support of a Price on Carbon – Leaders from across government and business are sending a clear message to the world this week that climate change is a risk that cannot be ignored, and, importantly, that they are ready to work together to bring down emissions.
Seventy-three countries and 11 states and provinces – together responsible for 54 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 52 percent of GDP – joined 11 cities and over 1,000 businesses and investors in signalling their support for carbon pricing through a series of initiatives being announced at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Leadership Summit.
The list includes countries like China and South Africa that are planning carbon pricing, as well as Russia and countries at high risk from climate change, like the Marshall Islands. It includes business ranging across industry, energy and transportation, and institutional investors with more than $24 trillion in assets.
Global shift to mass transit could save more than $100 trillion and 1,700 megatons of CO2 - More than $100 trillion in public and private spending could be saved between now and 2050 if the world expands public transportation, walking and cycling in cities, according to a new report released by the University of California, Davis, and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Additionally, reductions in carbon dioxide emissions reaching 1,700 megatons per year in 2050 could be achieved if this shift occurs.
Further, an estimated 1.4 million early deaths associated with exposure to vehicle tailpipe emissions could be avoided annually by 2050 if governments require the strongest vehicle pollution controls and ultralow-sulfur fuels, according to a related analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation included in the report. Doubling motor vehicle fuel economy could reduce CO2 emissions by an additional 700 megatons in 2050.
The report, A Global High Shift Scenario, is the first study to examine how major changes in transportation investments worldwide would affect urban passenger transport emissions as well as the mobility of different income groups. The findings should help support wider agreement on climate policy, where cleanup costs and equity between rich and poor countries are key issues.
The authors calculated CO2 emissions and costs from 2015 to 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario and a “High Shift” scenario where governments significantly increase investments in rail and clean bus transportation, and provide infrastructure to ensure safe walking, bicycling and other active forms of transportation. It also includes moving investments away from road construction, parking garages and other steps that encourage car ownership, freeing up resources for the needed investments.
ORNL study finds best current use of natural gas for cars is efficient production of electricity for EVs -A well-to-wheels analysis of the use of natural gas for passenger vehicles by a team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has found that, with a high PTW (pump-to-wheels) efficiency and the potential for high electrical generation efficiency with NGCC (natural gas combined cycle) turbines, natural gas currently is best used in an efficient stationary power application for charging EVs.
However, they also noted, high PTW efficiencies and the moderate fuel economies of current compressed natural gas vehicles (CNGVs) make them a viable option as well. If CNG were to be eventually used in hybrids, the advantage of the electric generation/EV option shrinks. Their open access paper is published in the journal Energy.
The study investigated the the WTW energy and emissions from the use of natural gas in CNGVs with a range of CNGV fuel economy and natural gas compressor efficiency. The authors compared these results to a range of fuel economies from an EV that was charged from electricity produced from the US mix and a range of natural gas turbines with varying efficiencies.
The WTW analysis focused solely on the fuel-motive power cycle, disregarding the vehicle cycle—i.e., the associated energy and emissions for the battery, power electronics, and auxiliary systems found only on battery EVs and for the CNG tank and auxiliary systems only found on natural gas vehicles. The analysis did not address the vehicle cycle cradle-to-grave energy use for batteries and CNG tanks. Cost considerations on the total infrastructure or cost of ownership were also outside the scope of this work but are nevertheless important.
Consultation on Capacity Market Supplementary Design Proposals and Transitional Arrangements - This consultation seeks views on several aspects of the Capacity Market, including transitional arrangements. Consultation responses will be considered and changes will be made to the rules and regulations ahead of the second Capacity Market auction. These are proposals:
The intention is for any changes to be effected by amending the relevant Regulations or Rules. It is expected to lay any amending Regulations in Parliament in early 2015. Changes to the Regulations or Rules which are made as a result of this consultation will not apply to the first auction. The consultation closes on 5th November 2014.
EMR: Changes to the CFD supplier obligation - This consultation is seeking views on several proposed changes to the CFD supplier obligation: the implementation of exemptions from CFD costs for electricity intensive industries and imported renewable electricity; and minor and technical amendments to the CFD Supplier Obligation regulations.
It is expected to lay the regulations in Parliament in early 2015 and for them to come into force (subject to Parliamentary consent) before the first supplier obligation payments are due from 1 April 2015. The earliest that electricity intensive businesses will be able to claim exemption from CFD costs will be October 2015, subject to State Aid clearance. The consultation closes on 5th November 2014.
Implementing the Emissions Performance Standard - The Energy Act 2013 established an Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new fossil fuel power stations. The way in which the EPS applies to new fossil fuel generation plant is defined in primary legislation. However, the Act allows for regulations to be made to provide limited tailoring of the arrangements in specified circumstances and for the creation of monitoring and enforcement arrangements. This consultation seeks views on the draft regulations. Some principal issues addressed by these regulations include:
They are also seeking views on a draft statement of policy relating to any future exercise of the Secretary of State’s power to modify or suspend the EPS. The Act provides that this power is exercisable in limited circumstances, where there is an electricity shortfall or a risk of one. The consultation closes on 6th November 2014.
With the growing relevance of distributed renewable energy sources (DRES) in the generation mix and the increasingly pro-active demand for electricity, power systems and their mode of operation need to evolve. evolvDSO will define future roles of distribution system operators (DSOs) on the basis of scenarios which will be driven by different DRES penetration levels, various degrees of technological progress, and differing customer acceptance patterns.
The evolvDSO consortium addresses the main research and technology gaps that need to be solved for DSOs to efficiently fulfill their emerging and future roles in the European electricity system. The new tools and methods will encompass a wide range of DSO activities related to planning, operational scheduling, real-time operations and maintenance. Selected methods and tools developed during the project will be validated in computer simulations and real-life testbeds to maximise their deployability, scalability and replicability. Beyond this holistic, top-down approach, evolvDSO is unique in that it brings together the key actors of the electricity value chain that are at the forefront of smart grid development, and with a clear common view on what is needed for further DRES integration in Europe. The consortium consists of 16 partners including DSOs, TSOs, renowned research institutions and new market players that provide unique expertise to achieve the stated objectives. evolvDSO will contribute to the transition to a more sustainable European energy system by maintaining and increasing the security and reliability of distribution grids facilitating the increased feed-in of DRES. The results of evolvDSO will drive the implementation of the EEGI roadmap and ultimately provide a significant impetus for reaching EU climate targets. The project will establish strong links to the realization of smart cities, thus contributing to the EC initiative “Smart Cities and Communities”.
For more information please go here.
A position for a Postdoctoral Research Associate is available to join the research team of the Hydrogen’s Value in the Energy System (HYVE) project. The project is examining the role of hydrogen in future energy systems and is led by University College London in collaboration with the University Edinburgh and the University of Reading. Edinburgh’s role is to examine the scope for producing hydrogen from ‘spare’ renewable energy generation and injecting it into the gas network, and to look at the consequences for electricity and gas network operation and planning.
Applicants should have or shortly obtain a PhD in electrical engineering with research experience involving power systems modelling and integration of renewable energy. An understanding of decarbonised energy systems and experience in optimisation of networks will be critical. Knowledge of gas networks will be an advantage. A proven ability in team working, and excellent communication, writing and IT skills are essential.
The post is full-time and fixed term for 24 months.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 15th October 2014
Loughborough University is highly regarded for its excellence in Research, Teaching and Enterprise. It has developed an international reputation for research in a number of areas including Renewable Energy and Sustainability. The Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology, CREST, was established over 20 years ago within the School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering and this post offers an exciting and unique opportunity to influence and develop research in the area of Energy Storage as part of a new Strategic Initiative. The appointee will work closely with CREST and Prof. Phil Eames to drive forwards the School's ambitions in the Energy Storage area. Applications from exceptional candidates in the broad area of energy storage are welcomed. Excellent new laboratory facilities have been established in the thermal energy storage area, candidates with expertise in the area of thermal energy storage and advanced heat transfer will be particularly welcome.
The Fellow, for a 3 year period, will devote 100% of their time to research and associated activities. Following a satisfactory review at the end of the fellowship period, a core University appointment which would carry teaching and associated responsibilities which would be determined and agreed with the Dean of School at the time the position was made available.
Applicants who demonstrate they meet the criteria outlined above will be invited to attend for a tour of the School's facilities and give presentations covering current expertise and detailing future research plans related to energy storage.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 12th October 2014.
Applications are invited for a Research Associate/Fellow position to conduct research on two-phase flows in aeroengine oil systems. The persons appointed will join the University of Nottingham Technology Centre (UTC) in Gas Turbine Transmission Systems as part of a team of some 20 members in total. This well-established research group works closely with Rolls-Royce and has taken part in a number of EU and TSB funded research programs. The current post arise as part of a TSB-funded program, SILOET2 and will contribute to the medium term research strategy developed jointly with Rolls-Royce for its oil systems and associated methods.
Aeroengine bearing chambers typically consist of shafts rotating at high speed, bearings and seals. Oil is supplied to the bearings for lubrication and cooling and this creates a highly rotating two-phase flow within the chamber where oil can be present as droplets, mist, film and jet. The oil exits the chamber through the sump region, and efficient oil removal is dependent on successful sump and pipe design. The UTC is conducting exciting and leading rig-based research on the performance of various elements within a bearing chamber with the data obtained being used both to inform future engine design and for computational modelling validation and development.
The successful candidates will be tasked with (i) leading rig-based research activity relating to a current bearing chamber related research project, working with the UTC technical team during rig design, acquisition and commissioning, and with (ii) conducting an experimental investigation on the commissioned test facility to obtain an analyse data required for a TSB-funded workpackage.
Candidates must hold a Degree, or equivalent, in a relevant area and (or about to obtain) a PhD or equivalent in Mechanical engineering or a closely-related subject area, with a major component in experimental fluids research. Experience with rotating two-phase flow is highly desirable. The ability to work in a team, and interact professionally with industrial partners is essential as this project will operate in close collaboration with colleagues in the UTC and at Rolls-Royce.
This full-time post is available immediately and will be offered on a fixed-term contract for a period of 9 months.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 7th October 2014.
Research Associate/Fellow: Innovative Energy Saving and Climate Control System for Greenhouses, University of NottinghamPublished At: Fri 26 September 2014 09:00 BST - Expires At: Wed 22 October 2014 11:03 BST - (35 Reads)
Applications are invited for the Research Associate/Fellow:post within the Architecture, Climate and Environment (ACE) Research Group (Infrastructure Geomatics and Architecture Research Division), to investigate ‘Energy Saving and Climate Control System for Greenhouses’. This is a collaborative project between the University of Nottingham and several industrial partners. The project is funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). The project aims to reduce the carbon emissions and the high running costs of the greenhouse sector by reducing its reliance on conventional fossil fuel energy resources. A sustainable and energy efficient system is proposed employing various innovative technologies and seasonal thermal energy storage system. The project is high profile and will involve engagement with industry experts, set up/ manage workshops, assess and make recommendations for an implementation plan. The candidate should have the necessary practical and modelling skills. The successful candidate will provide leadership and able to drive the project forward.
The ACE Research Group has an international reputation for excellence across a broad range of sustainable energy technologies encompassing low carbon buildings, building retrofit, HVAC, energy storage and renewable energy in the built environment. The Group has extensive research facilities including the Creative Energy Homes and state-of-the-art facilities for sustainable technologies.
Candidates must hold or be about to obtain a PhD or equivalent in an appropriate field (for example, building services engineering, mechanical engineering, building, chemical engineering or material/physical science). They should also have sound expertise in sustainable technologies/low carbon buildings.
This full-time post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for a period of 18 months.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 22nd October 2014
The European Commission, DG Energy, has published a call for the provision of a study on comparative review of investment conditions for electricity and gas transmission system operators (TSOs) in the European Union.
The objective of the study is to assess the investment requirements of the European TSOs in relation to their financing capabilities.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 29th October 2014
Innovate UK is to invest up to £3m in collaborative R&D projects that will enable significant reductions in off-highway vehicle emissions and/or deliver major improvements in their operational efficiency. The aim is to further strengthen the UK's reputation for excellence in the development of world-leading technologies for wheeled or tracked vehicles used in agriculture, construction, mining and other off-highway roles.
Each project needs to show how these technologies – deployed on-vehicle or off-vehicle – will accelerate the development of ideas far more rapidly than the normal rate of industrial development progress. The funders therefore expect applicants to bring products to market quickly and to demonstrate an ability to build significant supply chain capability within the UK.
Proposals must be collaborative and business-led. They expect to fund mainly industrial research projects in which a business partner will generally attract up to 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). They expect projects to range in size from total costs of £500k up to £1m although may consider projects outside this range and expect projects to last 12 to 24 months.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 12th November 2014
NERC invites proposals to the new research programme Valuing Natural Capital in Low Carbon Energy Pathways (VNC), which will form a challenge for phase 3 of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC). Proposals should also include links to the new NERC Valuing Nature programme.
This call is for consortium projects (minimum of three research organisations) of up to £1·9m (80% FEC). Projects should be five years in duration and should start no later than March 2015. It is expected that one multidisciplinary consortium project will be funded, with four or five associated PhD studentships that should start in October 2015.
The overarching aim of this research programme is to understand the implications for natural capital and the provision of ecosystem services of a range of future energy scenarios, including scenarios that are compatible with the UK's energy policy goals of maintaining energy security, keeping energy affordable and cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050.
For more information please go here. The closing date for application is the 2nd October 2014.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs invites tenders for its study to scope and develop multi-habitat accounts for protected and other land areas. The tenderer will scope and pilot ecosystem accounts for a selected suite of protected and other land areas that consist of a variety of habitats and provide multiple ecosystem services.
The project will commence on 20 October 2014 and last for eight months.
For more information please go here. The closing date is the 3rd October 2014.
10-12 November 2014, Brussels
Sustainable Value Chains - European Funding for Innovation in Sustainable Use and Supply of ResourcesPublished At: Fri 26 September 2014 09:00 BST - Expires At: Wed 08 October 2014 09:46 BST - (36 Reads)
8 October 2014, Manchester, United Kingdom
3-4 Nov 2014, Chatham House, London
5-6 March 2015, Joensuu, Finland.
27-28 April 2015, Tallinn, Estonia
Geothermal Energy Potential in Practice: Southampton Installation
Geothermal energy is one of mankind’s oldest energy sources, dating back to ancient Rome. Over the centuries, geothermal energy has been utilised to run a variety of domestic applications, and it has now evolved to offer low carbon heating, cooling and power solutions to entire communities. The UK has the potential to generate 100GW of geothermal energy, and the government has provided millions in grant aid and incentives to support its development1. For nearly three decades Southampton has been a leading example of the opportunity to supply low cost energy through geothermal power.
What is the project about?
The first project involving geothermal energy in Southampton dates back to 1986 and since then the project has benefitted from a number of improvements. Not least of all the addition of combined heat and power (CHP) generators and a district chilling system. This provides both heating and cooling by extracting heat stored in the ground in the winter and removing excess heat in the summer, offering an inexpensive and effective heating and cooling solution.
How does the system work?
The system works similarly to that of a central heating system, since hot water is pumped through pipes from the heat source to a central system and then runs in reverse to be heated again. The heat usually passes from brine to water, afterwards being delivered where it is needed, while the brine is freed into the sea. The scheme delivers more than 30,000 MWh of heat each year alongside 5,200 MWh of electricity, saving 10,000 tonnes of CO2 in the process.
What parties are involved?
The project is a public-private partnership developed jointly by the City Council, who provided the land and monitored its construction, and Utilicom (now owned by GDF Suez), who operated the scheme and took the financial risk. Initially the Council was the only beneficiary of the energy produced through the heat station. But the scheme now provides heating and cooling to over a thousand properties; satisfying the needs of the local university, hospital and other public service buildings. Additional energy is sold to the National Grid.
What are the insights from the case?
The Southampton geothermal energy station is a good example of effective geothermal energy exploitation and energy usage to serve community needs. Furthermore, it shows that close cooperation between different agents is fundamental in order to achieve the best results and maximise the energy potential of the area. Local authorities can play a pivotal role in leading the development of such energy resources. They can support installers by offering financial incentives, leverage additional funding from the European Union or even work with property developers to link to such energy sources.
But there are also significant barriers to geothermal development, not least of all the high upfront costs. In addition, since the heat extracted cannot be transported long distances, only places close to the extraction site can benefit from the energy obtained. Heat-only projects are generally considered to have the greatest potential in the UK because the resource is more widespread and shallower. Possible sites include the hot aquifers in the North East, Wessex, Cheshire, and Northern Ireland. Power opportunities are more limited but the granite regions of South West England, the Lake District and Weardale and the Eastern Highlands of Scotland are considered most likely to have the best prospects for power generation.
If you want to read more about geothermal energy and the incentives provided by the UK government, check out GreenMatch, a website that compares supplier quality and prices for a range of renewable technologies.