[Greenbuilding] carbon capture and transformation

John Daglish johndaglish at free.fr
Tue Nov 1 10:27:04 PDT 2011

Bonjour Don,

This is not an abatement process for the existing energy
infrastructure of fossil fuel power plants.

Rather it is part of an energy infrastructure of the future which is 100%
renewable. It is based on efficiency including the smart grid and local power
generation chp (combined heat and power), etc., renewables and low carbon
biomass cycles.

Firstly we minimise energy use by using it efficiently in the first
instance, we can use 30% less energy fairly easily, buildings being a
relatively easy target. Next you maximise
the direct renewable energy use in the electrical grid with the
smart grid which probably would include direct hydrogen use in fuel
cells (combined heat and power).

Only after the most efficient electrical renewable energy stockage
systems are full or there is insufficient reserves would methane
stockage be used.

Renewable biomass would be extensively (and ecologically) be used.



Monday, October 31, 2011, 11:57:45 PM, you wrote / vous ecrirez:

DL> Thanks John- The one key question that I have is - how do we generate the H2
DL> gas in significant quantities to reduce the very significant quantities of
DL> CO2 being produced.

The H2 gas would be produced by electrolysis, or membrane
technologies or whatever is the most efficient. We do not need huge
production as the energy system is firstly optimised to use energy
efficiently minimising energy demand.

DL> The articles talk about using excess renewable power to
DL> store as H2 and converted to CH4 but are we not just better off displacing
DL> fossil power using smart grid technology based on real time weather
DL> forecasting when the sun is shining and the wind blowing?

It will not be stored as H2 in significant quantities but converted to
CH4 and stored in the natural gas grid.

Yes, this is the intention initially with the smart grid but eventually to arrive at 100%
renewables energy system by 2050 (all energy - electrical, transport, heating,
etc.) we will need some stockage of renewables.  Stockage should be
done firstly with the most efficient conversion devices such as pumped
hydroelectric storage 70% efficient, compressed air, etc. perhas redox
flow batteries, lithium batteries, and then the surplus renewable
energy which cannot be used instanatanously by the smart electrical grid is
converted into CH4 (which is 50% efficient) and stored for later use
to produce electricity.

See page 197 /230 (or 177 of document) Figure A1-1 to 12 daily
simulation of German energy system month by month in 2050.

DL>  Conversion of H2 to a relatively safe and transportable energy commodity by
DL> reducing CO2 makes sense but we need to produce H2 somewhere in proximity to
DL> where we can capture or transport CO2 to. If we could find an inexpensive
DL> way to generate H2 then we could also use fuel cells to convert the stored
DL> (in our trunks and homes) H2 to electricity (more versatile form of energy
DL> than CH4) and our energy problems would be solved. 

Hydrogen is an ideal but faces technical and economic problems.
Transporting hydrogen by pipe can be done but would require a whole
new infrastructure of stainless steel pipes and with
embrittalement, leakage, etc. would need lots of controls.


Large scale fuel cells (+5MW) do not exist and do not have at the moment
long enough economic lifespans. I would envisage though small local
neighbourhood fuel cells making electricity and heat to be used
locally which reduces grid losses.

DL> This is what mother nature did about 2 billion years ago when photosynthesis
DL> evolved to produce hydrogen that is used to reduce CO2 not to methane but to
DL> sugars and other reduced carbon molecules that store energy that we
DL> secondary consumers burn in our bodies (fuel cells called mitochondria) and
DL> stoves: to create information (more DNA to drive evolution and knowledge to
DL> drive social development) and  keep warm.

The 100% renewable energy system envisaged uses high quantities of biomass
sustainably. Lots of thought has been given to the quantity that can
safely be used without comprimising food production or degrading soils.


DL> This process (photosynthesis)
DL> works well for low energy density environments in forests and oceans but we
DL> ( now in excess of 7 billion and counting) have created the need for very
DL> high energy dense environments (cities and associated industries) that are
DL> demanding higher density energy sources and all of the issues that these
DL> bring . Renewables (other than nuclear) are unfortunately low density power
DL> sources.

Agreed... it is not going to be easy for our children.

DL> Don

DL> -----Original Message-----
DL> From: greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org
DL> [mailto:greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of
DL> johndaglish at free.fr
DL> Sent: Monday, October 31, 2011 6:02 PM
DL> To: greenbuilding at lists.bioenergylists.org
DL> Subject: [Greenbuilding] carbon capture and transformation

DL> Some interesting developments from Europe...

DL> Maybe carbon dioxide CO2 should be given value rather than a cost.

DL> Instead of just injecting CO2 into underground reservoirs as has been
DL> proposed to reduce CO2 emissions from carbon based fuel sources, the CO2
DL> could be used to create methane (natural gas) via the sabatier reaction and
DL> hydrogen via hydrolsis of water using renewable energy.

CO2 + 4 H2 >> CH4 + 2 H2O

DL> When burning the methane (Synthetic Natural Gas SNG) the CO2 is captured and
DL> used to make more SNG.
DL> Similarly CO2 can also be captured from other carbon based fuels or directly
DL> from the air.

DL> The CO2 is given economic value as a composant of SNG.

DL> Methane can use the existing natural gas network and existing energy systems
DL> with carbon capture to create a low Carbon based energy system.

DL> The use of the methane cycle maximises electrical renewable energy were the
DL> excess capacity instead of being restricted and limited because of potential
DL> grid instability is used. The German gas grid for example has about 2 months
DL> of energy storage capacity. This is more than enough stockage to overcome
DL> shortfalls when the sun or wind is not available.

DL> CO2 capture and transformation is part of the wider 100% renewable energy
DL> system being developed based on energy efficiency, renewables and low carbon
DL> biomass cycles in Germany at the Fraunhofer Institute and other centres...

DL> This a pragmatic and cost effective use of existing resources in order to
DL> develop a renewable energy system free from the problematics of the nuclear
DL> energy cycles.

DL> Fraunhofer Institute + proposal
DL> http://www.brighthub.com/environment/renewable-energy/articles/78303.aspx

DL> Specht renewable energy methane
DL> http://www.solar-fuel.net/fileadmin/user_upload/Publikationen/Wind2SNG_ZSW_I
DL> WES_SolarFuel_FVEE.pdf

DL> Solar Fuel GmbH a company set up by Fraunhofer et al to develop and
DL> commercialise the technology http://www.solar-fuel.net/en/the-challenge

DL> Sterneer thesis : "Bioenergy and renewable power methane in integrated 100%
DL> renewable energy systems" that modeled the German energy sector
DL> http://www.uni-kassel.de/upress/online/frei/978-3-89958-798-2.volltext.frei.
DL> pdf

DL> The Negawatt Institute (France) has modelled in detail the French energy
DL> system based on using efficiency, biomass and renewable energy with
DL> significant SNG conversion. This could significantly de-carbonise the French
DL> energy system and the nuclear industry would be phased out by 2050.
DL> http://translate.google.fr/translate?hl=fr&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.
DL> negawatt.org%2Fscenario-negawatt-2011-p46.html

DL> The process was proposed by NASA initially for a space station to fabricate
DL> fuel for the return journey from mars ;
DL> http://spot.colorado.edu/~meyertr/rwgs/rwgs.html

DL> and sems to be have taken up here
DL> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0410/S00063.htm

DL> PS. the germans have done some work on 100% renewable grids and load
DL> balancing using solar pv + wind as base load and biomethane + hydro as peak
DL> / make up load at Kassel University.
DL> http://www.kombikraftwerk.de/index.php?id=27

DL> --
DL> Best regards,

DL> Paris, France

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