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Topic: Ersatz for Natural Gas?  (Read 4541 times)

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Offline Enthalpy

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Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« on: February 25, 2022, 07:25:56 AM »
Hello everybody!

Europe imports from Russia about 1/3 of the natural gas it consumes, and the present war of Russia against Ukraine may cut this supply. This mere hypothesis restrains extended diplomacy.

Other sources exist: Norway, Qatar, Algeria, the USA, Canada, Nigeria... To my understanding, they can't replace the Russian amount. The only answers I read in the Press were "We have stock for X months, then plans exist to decide who gets gas or not". I'm not satisfied.

So: what do you propose to replace the natural gas imported from Russia?

Don't feel limited in the nature of your answers, if they are manageable!
  • Build bigger faster boats
  • Build a new pipeline parallel to the Suez canal or from Eilat to the Mediterranean
  • Produce methane from some biomass
  • Transform propane, crude oil, coal to methane
  • Replace natural gas (essentially methane) by a compatible gas or mixture
  • Other ideas?
The amounts are big: 40% of Europe's consumption, or 400×109m3 in 2021, come from Russia. Or 2×1013mol/year = 2×109mol/h = 5×105mol/s = 104kg/s = 3×107kg/h = 3×1011kg/year.

The price shouldn't exceed much the present 100€/MWh = 30€/GJ = 25€/1000 mol = 1,5€/kg which is much more than coal, crude oil, crop, garden cuttings.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2022, 07:52:36 AM by Enthalpy »

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2022, 06:26:54 PM »
Some amounts for comparison, to fuel your thoughts.

26*1010kg/year (gas from Russia) weigh as much as 5.5M barrel/day crude oil. Among OPEC members, only Saudi Arabia produces more
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPEC#Current_member_countries
150usd/barrel is as much as 1€/kg. Arabian light has more H/C hence can provide more methane, ethane, ethylene... than heavy crude from the Caspian, shale oil being the worst.

A huge coal mine produces 4*1010kg/year and there are more mines
  https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagebau_Garzweiler
at 0.06€/kg coal price, the conversion to gas seems easy. By accepting a higher extraction cost, less optimized machines can increase the output immediately.

The whole EU produces 7*1010kg/year maize, 13*1010kg/year wheat, 2*1010kg/year sugar from beet, 3*1010kg/year oleaginous plants
  https://agridata.ec.europa.eu/extensions/DashboardCereals/CerealsProduction.html
  https://www.agriculture-strategies.eu/en/2019/07/the-european-sugar-policy-a-policy-to-rebuild/
  https://www.lafranceagricole.fr/actualites/cultures/colza-tournesol-soja-la-recolte-2022-doleagineux-en-europe-devrait-rebondir-de-10-5-1,0,456683265.html
production was bad last year. Consider 0.2 to 0.3€/kg maize, where only a fraction is oil.

The EU produces 2*1010kg/year firewood, knowingly very cheap
  https://www.europarl.europa.eu/workingpapers/agri/s4-1-2_fr.htm#l4-22
we could clean the woods of the uncontrolled low vegetables and obtain far bigger amounts over a short time. After 1 to 2 years, bamboo can be harvested, maybe coppice suffices until then.

I didn't search the grass and wood output of gardens in Europe. Data welcome!

Presently the best candidates seem to be (1) coal, with gasification (2) coppice and undergrowth, fermented to methane (3) maybe gardens' waste. Fermentation units, maybe gasification plants, can be numerous to resist attacks and sabotage.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2022, 07:59:00 PM »
Building big boats to transport more natural gas takes long. Accelerating existing boats takes less time.

For instance a Q-Max (266 000 m3 of LNG) has two 21.8MW piston engines fed with LNG. Replacing them by two 64MW Trent 60 gas turbines of 64MW each mutiplies the speed by 1.4, from 19 to 27 knots.

A few details must be checked, like cavitation at the propellers, fluttering, and so on.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2022, 07:09:21 AM »
Some amounts for comparison, to fuel your thoughts.

The worldwide production of palm oil was 7×1010kg/year in 2019
  https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm%C3%B6l#Produktion_weltweit_und_Anbaugebiete
conversion to ethylene must be very efficient.


Offline rolnor

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2022, 05:12:23 AM »
Excellent, I dont think Putin calculated with that, this will be a economic nuclear bomb.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2022, 07:45:48 PM »
Can firewood be an alternative to gas or uranium? I take the example of Finland, where forests make 78% of the land area.

The growth is 108×106m3/year there, and the drain 84×106m3/year, so additional 24×106m3/year could be used at constant amount. Taking the heating value as 6GJ/m3, the available heat is 4.6GW.
  https://mmm.fi/en/forests/forestry/forest-resources
  https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/fthr/biomass-energy-resources/reference-biomass/facts-figures/typical-calorific-values-of-fuels/

Finland reconsiders presently the purchase of a 1200MWe nuclear reactor to the Russian Rosatom.
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanhikivi_Nuclear_Power_Plant
40% efficient power plants can burn wood would to produce 1800MWe and replace this nuclear reactor. Looks cheap!
  • Several smaller power plants let transport wood over shorter distances.
  • Paper, construction wood and firewood use 69×106m3/year. Is some waste still available? Branches, bark...
  • Power plants can burn wood that grows faster. Replace the cut trees with willow, bamboo, or something fit for the climate?
  • Coppice and undergrowth must grow faster than timber. Adequate machines could harvest them more efficiently.
Can this example extend to other European countries?
  • Finland is 78% forest and has 16 inhabitants/km2. Other countries have rather 30% forest, and 100-300 inhabitants/km2.
  • This suffices to replace just one nuclear power plant.
  • Replacing the Russian gas over decades would need forests about 50× more productive. Can other vegetables grow that fast?
  • But as a transition, maybe. Fermentation of the existing undergrowth needs little investment and is compatible with natural gas. This can be done quickly.

Offline Borek

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2022, 02:50:36 AM »
benzo(a)pyrene
ChemBuddy chemical calculators - stoichiometry, pH, concentration, buffer preparation, titrations.info, pH-meter.info

Offline rolnor

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2022, 01:36:00 PM »
Can firewood be an alternative to gas or uranium? I take the example of Finland, where forests make 78% of the land area.

The growth is 108×106m3/year there, and the drain 84×106m3/year, so additional 24×106m3/year could be used at constant amount. Taking the heating value as 6GJ/m3, the available heat is 4.6GW.
  https://mmm.fi/en/forests/forestry/forest-resources
  https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/fthr/biomass-energy-resources/reference-biomass/facts-figures/typical-calorific-values-of-fuels/

Finland reconsiders presently the purchase of a 1200MWe nuclear reactor to the Russian Rosatom.
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanhikivi_Nuclear_Power_Plant
40% efficient power plants can burn wood would to produce 1800MWe and replace this nuclear reactor. Looks cheap!
  • Several smaller power plants let transport wood over shorter distances.
  • Paper, construction wood and firewood use 69×106m3/year. Is some waste still available? Branches, bark...
  • Power plants can burn wood that grows faster. Replace the cut trees with willow, bamboo, or something fit for the climate?
  • Coppice and undergrowth must grow faster than timber. Adequate machines could harvest them more efficiently.
Can this example extend to other European countries?
  • Finland is 78% forest and has 16 inhabitants/km2. Other countries have rather 30% forest, and 100-300 inhabitants/km2.
  • This suffices to replace just one nuclear power plant.
  • Replacing the Russian gas over decades would need forests about 50× more productive. Can other vegetables grow that fast?
  • But as a transition, maybe. Fermentation of the existing undergrowth needs little investment and is compatible with natural gas. This can be done quickly.

In sweden we are making bio-diesel from wood. We also heat our homes with wodd to some extent. So its a good idea!

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2022, 07:06:22 PM »
Details about the wood power plant I suggest to replace the nuclear power plant at Hanhikivi, Finland.

1200MWe is a peak power. The mean power is 3/4 of that, or 900MWe. So the spare forest growth can feed two 1200MWe equivalents.

Finland covers 338 455 km2 and the forest growth is 108×106m3/year, that's 319m3/km2/year. 23% of the growth is unused, so 50% of the growth around a power plant can serve to it, if it's located away from other big forest users.

1200MWe peak shall come from 20 plants of 60MWe peak each, or mean 45MWe, or mean 113MWth. At 6GJ/m3, a plant consumes 68m3/h = 1620m3/day = 810t/day = 592 000 m3/year. If an easily manoeuvred truck carries 25t wood, 33 deliveries a day suffice. No need for a railway. Best feed the trucks with processed turpentine or electricity.

3700km2 feed a plant, that's only 34km radius, so a truck can make one rotation in 2h, and at 8h/day, just 9 trucks suffice.

Are fewer bigger power plants even cheaper? Is 40% efficiency needed? For comparison: a 1600MWe EPR costs 12G€, a 1200MWe VVER maybe 4G€.

Filters to catch the fumes are standard at German coal-fired plants and would fit nicely here. The fumes and ashes are a fertilizer that can be brought to the forest by the same trucks or sold domestically and abroad if worth it.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2022, 07:30:34 PM »
Hi Borek, Rolnor and the others, thanks for your interest!

benzo(a)pyrene

Among others, yes. But a power plant improves several aspects:
  • The combustion is better controlled and complete. The flame will be hotter than 600°C thanks to air pre-heating.
  • The exhaust is cold for efficiency. The toxic thing has bp=+495°C. Little will be left.
  • The exhaust is filtered. The fumes and ashes can be calcined if needed.

In Sweden we are making bio-diesel from wood. We also heat our homes with wood to some extent. So it's a good idea!

I hope it can apply to Finland. Germany has 82 million inhabitants on roughly the same area, less easy. Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom are even more densely populated. But other solutions exist, like wind turbines.

Offline rolnor

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2022, 09:05:03 AM »
17% of our eletric power is from windturbines in Sweden. We have a lot of coast with good wind and will build much more in the near future. Then you need hydrogen-storage to get kompensation for weak/strong winds. We will build this too. No, many countries have much less forrest, its a problem. Also less good wind. In some cases nuclear energy and fossil fuels are hard to replace

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2022, 05:26:56 PM »
Wind varies, but the UE is bigger than a windless zone. From Scotland to Portugal to Romania over Scandinavia, the wind blows always somewhere. So a solution is to transport the electricity. It needs stronger lines than presently available, they cost, but not so much. Storage is a useful complement.

Hydrogen storage? If you mean the round trip from and to electricity, the conversions are only 50% and 70% efficient. But if producing hydrogen anyway, say for helicopters and aeroplanes, then the plant can operate when electricity is plentiful, which provides the equivalent function of storage
  https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/75102-electric-helicopter/
  https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/73798-quick-electric-machines/?do=findComment&comment=1070457

Efficient storage uses lithium batteries presently, from Tesla and more, at home size and at grid size. Affordable, reasonably compact, 10 years warranty. But if enough electric cars must be charged, just doing this when electricity is plentiful makes the equivalent of electricity storage at zero cost. I've also proposed cheap flywheels
  https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/59338-flywheels-store-electricity-cheap-enough/
Pumping and turbining water to an altitude dam is done in Switzerland and Norway for neighbour countries. More work is ongoing with air in undersea bags, vacuum in undersea concrete bubbles, and more. I wish more people bring innovation in this area.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2022, 06:32:28 PM »
The countries with most forest area in the EU:
  https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosques_de_la_península_ibérica

    M ha
===============
75%  30  Sweden
57%  28  Spain
78%  23  Finland
     17  France
     11  Germany
     11  Italy
      9  Poland
===============

Offline rolnor

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Re: Ersatz for Natural Gas?
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2022, 01:56:50 AM »
Wind varies, but the UE is bigger than a windless zone. From Scotland to Portugal to Romania over Scandinavia, the wind blows always somewhere. So a solution is to transport the electricity. It needs stronger lines than presently available, they cost, but not so much. Storage is a useful complement.

Hydrogen storage? If you mean the round trip from and to electricity, the conversions are only 50% and 70% efficient. But if producing hydrogen anyway, say for helicopters and aeroplanes, then the plant can operate when electricity is plentiful, which provides the equivalent function of storage
  https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/75102-electric-helicopter/
  https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/73798-quick-electric-machines/?do=findComment&comment=1070457

Efficient storage uses lithium batteries presently, from Tesla and more, at home size and at grid size. Affordable, reasonably compact, 10 years warranty. But if enough electric cars must be charged, just doing this when electricity is plentiful makes the equivalent of electricity storage at zero cost. I've also proposed cheap flywheels
  https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/59338-flywheels-store-electricity-cheap-enough/
Pumping and turbining water to an altitude dam is done in Switzerland and Norway for neighbour countries. More work is ongoing with air in undersea bags, vacuum in undersea concrete bubbles, and more. I wish more people bring innovation in this area.

In Sweden we are going to produce steel from ore by hydrogen reduction instead of coal reduction so we will have a very large hydrogen storage because of this that will buffer the system with windpower. You only need to buffer a portion of the system so 70% loss is acceptable.

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