Footprints – September 2022
Welcome to our September edition of Footprints – it’s a pleasure to introduce myself as the new Head of Energy and Sustainability at Foreman Roberts!
I am excited to highlight the very best in energy and sustainability news from around the world, including some more of those unusual ideas. As this is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to introduce myself to you, I thought it would be a good idea to give you some background on how I can support your projects from an E&S perspective.
A brief background about myself, I have been working in the sustainability industry since 2008, when EPC for non-domestic buildings came into force. I am a Building Physics engineer by profession, a qualified energy assessor for domestic and non-domestic buildings, a low-carbon assessor and thermal modeller.
Here at Foreman Roberts, we can provide support for projects at RIBA Stage 0-8. From concept design to post-completion certification. This involves looking at daylighting, massing, thermal comfort, Part L compliance, Energy strategies, Sustainability statements, BREEAM, WELL Standards, Passivhaus standards/principles, Future Homes, condensation risk, psi value (Thermal bridging analysis), LEED, Whole life carbon, circular economy to post completion BREL compliance guidance, EPCS and more.
If you have any queries or need advice on anything related to energy and sustainability, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us…
Green Hydrogen Set to Replace Natural Gas in British Steelmaking
The decarbonisation of steel production is an essential step for Britain if the nation wants to achieve its net zero goals. British Steel has aligned itself with the government’s plan to eliminate carbon emissions by the year 2050, with plans to drastically cut them from its operations by 2030-2035.
How is British Steel looking to achieve this exactly? Through green hydrogen!
British Steel is conducting a major research study into how it can potentially use green hydrogen to help decarbonise its operations.
To support their ambitious plans, British Steel has secured funding from the UK Government for a new feasibility study which will look into the semantics of switching from natural gas to green hydrogen as a fuel source for re-heating steel furnaces.
If successful, British Steel will do an industrial-scale demonstration which could see the new technology developed and rolled out across the entirety of its operations, which is sure to be adopted by other UK, and perhaps Global, steelmakers.
British Steel’s Environment and Sustainability Director, Lee Adcock, stated “As an energy-intensive industry with hard to decrease emissions, the steel industry has the potential for large CO2 emission savings through fuel switching. The study is a vital and hugely exciting step on our journey to developing the technology needed to transform how we and other steel manufacturers operate.”
Floating Solar Park is the Latest Addition to Hybrid Renewable Farm
Europe’s largest floating solar park, which occupies around 4 hectares and consists of almost 12,000 photovoltaic panels, opened last month in Portugal after several months of construction.
The solar park is situated on top of a hydroelectric plant which generates power from the Alqueva dam and will form a hybrid project using one single connection point to the existing local grid.
The new solar platform has an installed power of 5MW and the capacity to produce around 7.5 GWh per year, meaning it can supply a substantial number of households in the Southern Portugal region.
The solar platform reinforces energy production from the reservoir, which can already produce 300GWh annually, avoiding more than 130,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
EDP, the energy firm behind the project, ultimately plans to include and install an extra 140 MW of renewable capacity, transforming the area into a hybrid farm, consisting of an additional 70 MW of floating solar PV and 70 MW of hybrid-wind capacity.
CEO of EDP, Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, states, “Our hybridisation strategy, by combining water, sun, wind and storage, is clearly a logical path for growth in energy production. This project will be a remarkable leap forward in the expansion of renewables and in accelerating the decarbonisation process.”
New Tech Allows for Electricity Generation Through Air Moisture
A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) College of Design and Engineering have developed a MEG (Moisture-Driven Electricity Generation) device made of a thin 0.3mm layer of fabric using sea salt, carbon ink and a water absorbent gel.
The concept of MEG devices is to generate electricity by harnessing moisture in the air around us. How it works is that the device contains two regions of different properties. One is the wet region, coated in hygroscopic ionic gel using sea salt. One is the dry region with nothing.
Once the MEG device is assembled, electricity is generated when the sea salt ions are separated as water is absorbed in the wet region.
Free ions with a positive charge are absorbed by the carbon nanoparticles, which are negatively charged. This causes changes to the fabric’s surface, generating an electric field across it.
With its unique design, the team’s device demonstrated high flexibility and was able to withstand stress from twisting and bending. The researchers demonstrated this by folding the fabric into an origami crane which did not affect its overall electrical performance.
One of the device’s most immediate applications would be as a portable power source in mobile powering electronics directly by ambient humidity.
C – Carbon Credits
A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas (tCO2e).
S – Sustainable Tourism
Tourism which attempts to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people. Key elements include bringing about a positive experience for local people, tourism companies and the tourists themselves. Not to be confused with Eco-Tourism.