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(@kev-m)
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@derek-m 

I don't think it looks too bad, as long as we abandon the ambition to have 100% carbon free electricity. If we accept that there will always be a small amount of demand that can't be filled by nuclear/RE then we could set targets that can actually be met. Having enough surplus RE so that, say, a maximum of 10% FF electricity generation is needed would make a massive difference.  Burning only that small amount of gas, or even coal, will be a huge improvement on what we have now and  even without Russia, there is enough to last until fission or something else comes along. 

The problems arise because the arguments in the developed world against burning fossil fuels or anything else for heat, electricity and transport have become idealised and binary, with no pragmatism or debate permitted.  

  

 


   
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 mjr
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Posted by: @derek-m

The first problem is no voters want a wind turbine within 100 miles of their home,

Let's not exaggerate: some voters are happy with them. For example, I like them and think them graceful and elegant. I was happy to move to a home within 100m of an early small wind turbine, but I'm not sure I'd want one close to the south of me with flickering shadows on my windows often. The only time it was noisy was when the brake slowed it to safe speeds (told you it was an early one: I think later ones lock the blades and turn to reduce stress in strong winds). I was sad to see it felled by last year's storms.

Instead of a near-total ban on onshore wind, I feel that politicians should be supporting it in places like open low lands or steep hillsides where turbines could be sited with minimal effect on homes.


   
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(@derek-m)
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@mjr

I was obviously being facetious with my 'no voters' and '100 miles' comment, but I think it is true that most voters don't wish to have a large wind turbine nearby. We have one not that far away, and whilst I am not upset by the sight of it, it can be quite noisy on occasion.

The major problem with electricity is that it cannot yet be stored in bulk, so the vast majority of demand has to be met by adequate generating capacity being available. This is the Achilles heel of renewable's, since other than hydro electric generation they are not controllable. Although weather forecast can be quite accurate, it is not possible to increase the wind speed or move the clouds to meet an increase in demand for electricity.

Hopefully in the near future electricity storage utilising Iron-Air batteries or something similar will have been developed, that can provide bulk storage of renewable electrical energy when it is in abundance. This should not only reduce the amount of fossil fuel generation required, but may also reduce the amount of renewable generating capacity that is required to meet peak demand.

Along with this we should be exploring all methods of reducing demand, both as homeowner's and within industrial processes. Having insulated virtually as much as possible, my next project will be additional solar PV and battery storage, to further reduce our electricity and gas consumption. But of course not everyone has the funds or inclination to do so, though one of the few benefits of the present energy crises is that most people are now more focused on reducing their energy usage, albeit to reduce their bills.

Being the old cynic that I am, I suspect that most people would like to achieve net zero, provided that someone else has to do the achieving.


   
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 mjr
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Posted by: @derek-m

I was obviously being facetious with my 'no voters' and '100 miles' comment,

Sorry, it's not obvious when it's text and repeating a myth that I've heard in local politics far too often.

Posted by: @derek-m

but I think it is true that most voters don't wish to have a large wind turbine nearby.

That depends what you mean by "nearby", plus whether voters are finally made to face up to the fact that it's a choice of what downside they have, not whether or not they have a downside: I'd rather have a few dozen within a few miles than radioactive waste passing as close to my home as it used to, and definitely turbines rather than make even more of the planet uninhabitable in the near future.

Posted by: @derek-m

The major problem with electricity is that it cannot yet be stored in bulk, so the vast majority of demand has to be met by adequate generating capacity being available. This is the Achilles heel of renewable's, since other than hydro electric generation they are not controllable.

I agree to a degree, but as well as storage as electricity, we can convert it to other things like heat and store that, albeit imperfectly. Heat pump systems with their lower-temperature heating loops could be slightly overheated earlier in a lower-demand period and release that heat to "coast" over a high-demand period where their power use gets limited.

Posted by: @derek-m

Being the old cynic that I am, I suspect that most people would like to achieve net zero, provided that someone else has to do the achieving.

I'm sure most people would prefer that, but many are willing to do some achieving, but there's very little support to do it, from either the public sector or private energy companies. Of the current suppliers, Octopus go further than most, but it's far from slick yet.

But HVO has little place in this other than a short-term stepping-stone to some unknown future measure.


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
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Posted by: @kev-m

@derek-m 

I don't think it looks too bad, as long as we abandon the ambition to have 100% carbon free electricity. If we accept that there will always be a small amount of demand that can't be filled by nuclear/RE then we could set targets that can actually be met. Having enough surplus RE so that, say, a maximum of 10% FF electricity generation is needed would make a massive difference.  Burning only that small amount of gas, or even coal, will be a huge improvement on what we have now and  even without Russia, there is enough to last until fission or something else comes along. 

The problems arise because the arguments in the developed world against burning fossil fuels or anything else for heat, electricity and transport have become idealised and binary, with no pragmatism or debate permitted.  

  

 

The problem with that approach, though @kev-m, is that if we set more mundane targets and achieve them then the message is that everything's OK. Setting targets that aren't guaranteed to be achievable is arguably more likely to encourage the kind of revolutionary thinking that often produces unexpected benefits. In essence, do we want to fix the climate change mess or do we want a raft of targets we can say we met?

Of course, aiming for net zero and only achieving 90% doesn't have to be seen in hindsight as a failure, especially if the more "pragmatic" targets might have seen 70% as a more realistic end result. I hasten to add I've only pulled 90% and 70% out of the air for illustration purposes and have no evidence to back either figure up. Nonetheless, the illustration I'm trying to make is that nearly achieving an ambitious target can easily be seen as potentially better in the long run than completely achieving a more conservative one.

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
(@majordennisbloodnok)
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Posted by: @derek-m

...

The major problem with electricity is that it cannot yet be stored in bulk, so the vast majority of demand has to be met by adequate generating capacity being available. This is the Achilles heel of renewable's, since other than hydro electric generation they are not controllable. Although weather forecast can be quite accurate, it is not possible to increase the wind speed or move the clouds to meet an increase in demand for electricity.

...

I agree almost entirely. The only change I'd make is to say it's the major problem with energy rather than electricity.

Given there are scenarios as @mjr mentioned where it's possible to convert between forms of energy with a high degree of efficiency (e.g. electrical energy to potential energy and back again) this is one area I think likely to be a fertile breeding ground for huge innovation and perhaps go a long way to solving the net zero problem.

Posted by: @derek-m

...

Along with this we should be exploring all methods of reducing demand, both as homeowner's and within industrial processes. Having insulated virtually as much as possible, my next project will be additional solar PV and battery storage, to further reduce our electricity and gas consumption. But of course not everyone has the funds or inclination to do so, though one of the few benefits of the present energy crises is that most people are now more focused on reducing their energy usage, albeit to reduce their bills.

Being the old cynic that I am, I suspect that most people would like to achieve net zero, provided that someone else has to do the achieving.

Absolutely. If we're increasing the amount of renewable energy generation, every kWh we can reduce the current demand is a kWh of non renewable energy saved so it has a direct positive effect.

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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(@derek-m)
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Hi mjr,
 
I have already suggested, on quite a number of occasions, to raise the indoor temperature by 1C or 2C during the daytime period when a heat pump would be operating more efficiently, and hence reduce the need for it to operate during the evening peak period. I have yet to hear if anyone has tried my suggestion, and if so what results they achieved.
 
A more complex suggestion is to capture and store heat energy using solar thermal panels and a water based heat store. The stored energy could then be used to pre-heat the air supplied to a ASHP during the colder nighttime period when it is operating less efficiently. Solar thermal panels are four times more efficient than solar PV, and water has a high heat capacity and is much cheaper than batteries. Again I have yet to hear if anyone has tried my suggestion, though I do believe Glasgow University are doing some research along those lines, but without the solar thermal element.
 
There are other methods of storing energy that I have read about recently, such as using excess renewable energy to compress air, which is later used as a power source to generate electricity. With sufficient storage, this could be produced in the Summer for use in the Winter. A method that is being trialed in Finland, is to use a silo full of sand to store heat energy.
 
An obvious method of storing energy is to produce Hydrogen gas using electrolysis, although this may not be that efficient. It can nevertheless be stored in bulk and even shipped around the World.
 
There are quite a number of ways in which energy can be captured and stored, but for them to be adopted they need to be scale-able, and most importantly profitable.
 
As you may have noticed, I often play Devil's Advocate, primarily to get people thinking and discussing the various options. The best we can achieve on the Forum is to think outside the box, and try to come up with methods that could be useful to the homeowner in reducing their energy consumption. If any of our suggestion are actually taken up and commercialised, then that would be an added bonus.

   
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 mjr
(@mjr)
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Posted by: @derek-m

I have already suggested, on quite a number of occasions, to raise the indoor temperature by 1C or 2C during the daytime period when a heat pump would be operating more efficiently, and hence reduce the need for it to operate during the evening peak period. I have yet to hear if anyone has tried my suggestion, and if so what results they achieved.

I see now that I didn't make it clear enough in https://renewableheatinghub.co.uk/forums/renewable-heating-air-source-heap-pumps-ashps/mitsubishi-ecodan-raspberry-pi-automations that I have tried that suggestion. Since something like mid-March, I also drop the target temperature by 2C during the evening peak to make it even less likely that the pump runs while people are coming home. It seems to help — keeping us warm enough but moving some of the heating load to the more-efficient late afternoon — so I think it's an interesting avenue for further exploration, but of course I don't have a second "control" house to know for sure what would have happened without it.

I should probably post some updates to that earlier thread about what's changed since then. Most of it has been on software forums instead.


   
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(@kev-m)
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Posted by: @majordennisbloodnok
Posted by: @kev-m

@derek-m 

I don't think it looks too bad, as long as we abandon the ambition to have 100% carbon free electricity. If we accept that there will always be a small amount of demand that can't be filled by nuclear/RE then we could set targets that can actually be met. Having enough surplus RE so that, say, a maximum of 10% FF electricity generation is needed would make a massive difference.  Burning only that small amount of gas, or even coal, will be a huge improvement on what we have now and  even without Russia, there is enough to last until fission or something else comes along. 

The problems arise because the arguments in the developed world against burning fossil fuels or anything else for heat, electricity and transport have become idealised and binary, with no pragmatism or debate permitted.  

  

 

The problem with that approach, though @kev-m, is that if we set more mundane targets and achieve them then the message is that everything's OK. Setting targets that aren't guaranteed to be achievable is arguably more likely to encourage the kind of revolutionary thinking that often produces unexpected benefits. In essence, do we want to fix the climate change mess or do we want a raft of targets we can say we met?

Of course, aiming for net zero and only achieving 90% doesn't have to be seen in hindsight as a failure, especially if the more "pragmatic" targets might have seen 70% as a more realistic end result. I hasten to add I've only pulled 90% and 70% out of the air for illustration purposes and have no evidence to back either figure up. Nonetheless, the illustration I'm trying to make is that nearly achieving an ambitious target can easily be seen as potentially better in the long run than completely achieving a more conservative one.

I didn't say targets should be mundane; ambitious but achievable is how I'd put it.  I was also talking about electricity generation, not net-zero. But there may more productive things on the path to net zero we could spend the time and resources that eliminating the last 5 or 10% of FF consumption is going to take.  And it would be a shame not to consider them.


   
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 mjr
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Very disappointed to see Horrible Vegetable Oil ads all over the forums now. It's not renewable to keep burning things for heat and rather sad if this site can't survive without taking oil company shillings. I'm reminded of an advert from maybe 20 years ago, showing a spoon of sweetcorn being "fed" to a car bonnet, with the caption "First World Madness". We need to grow and distribute food, more than veg oil fuel.


   
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JulianC
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@mjr I totally agree Mr J. HVO might be a very very very short term solution to one or two in the rural community, but electric ASHP or GSHP has to be the short term and long term answer. 
In terms of storage, as we move to EVs from ICE vehicles, battery storage and Vehicle to Grid is the answer. There have been a couple of successful 1000 vehicle trials with Octopus Energy and Nissan Leafs. But they have a Chademo charging connector. All new European EVs use CCS/Type 2 connectors. We need a V2G solution for them. I have 100kWh of batteries spread across 2EVs in my garage that could run my home, inc ASHP for a day or two with no grid support. Or peak lop demand (like the current Octopus/National Grid trial I am part of).

Daikin Altherma 3H HT 18kW ASHP with Mixergy h/w cylinder; 4kW solar PV with Solic 200 electric diverter; Honda e and Hyundai Ioniq 5 P45 electric vehicles with Myenergi Zappi mk1 charger


   
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Jeff
 Jeff
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The consultation on off grid is yet to report back but is currently looking like 2026 for a ban on new and replacement fossil fuel  systems, unless the government push this back. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/phasing-out-fossil-fuel-heating-in-homes-off-the-gas-grid

We will probably wait until late 2030s for a complete ban of off grid fossil fuel. 

I don't have a problem with HVO as a transition fuel during any transition period if it reduces emissions. 

We are probably in a 15 year transition period. Should the timescales be quicker? I am sure a lot of people wished it was. I think that is hard without more government targeted funding and more legislation. But i expect the transition will naturally speed up after the next general election. 

We are already seeing mortgage incentives around heat pumps, this will help. 

Given that there are only 30k installations a year under the boiler scrappage scheme, one approach would be to target more of this money via a means tested scheme to helping off grid homes replace their current systems and insulating. Give extra money to those in rural communities who can't afford to switch. 

Far to much money is being passed onto relatively wealthy people, including myself and i suspect a few but not all others on this forum. 

This post was modified 1 year ago by Jeff

   
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