Monday, March 07, 2005

Alternative Energy Argentina: Study of U.S. $19 Billion Wind Power Project to Produce Hydrogen

BNAmericas reports that Argentine energy company Capex aims to start pre-feasibility studies in two months on a US$19bn project to generate 16,000MW of wind power to produce 13.3 million cubic meters a year of hydrogen.

Hydrogen is a clean burning fuel that could be mixed with natural gas for power generation, used in domestic appliances and also as a vehicular fuel (although I believe plug-in hybrids are a far more viable technology which can be used now). With a number of large cities in the Southern Cone with air pollution issues, Capex sees the possibility of a regional market for the fuel.

Project location depends on further studies, but the area under consideration is around Pico Truncado in the northeast of Santa Cruz province in Argentina, where wind speeds are some eight meters a second with a capacity factor of 45%.

The US$19bn figure covers the wind turbines, hydrogen production infrastructure and delivery to port. Investment on such a scale is beyond the reach of Capex alone, and so it would associate with other companies already involved in hydrogen technology, such as automobile manufacturers, should the project proceed further.

Capex produces oil and gas, and generates gas-fired electric power at the wellhead at Agua del Cajón in Neuquén province. It is 60% owned by Capsa, the local unit of Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell.

Of course at the "pre-feasibility study" stage this project is still essentially just talk. It does however offer one vision of how relatively remote wind power resources can be utilised by major centres of population. Even that the project is being considered shows that major investment in wind power (of the type Engineer Poet in his comment on the recent China Renewable Energy Law article thinks won't happen) is a possibility.

Business News Americas Story

Sound Sculpture Park "City of Sound" in Pico Truncado, Argentina

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe some of China's APCs (Credits) can go towards developing this new Argentine capacity but I think we are missing the scope of the situation.

According to the World Energy Outlook study, in the next 25 yrs China alone will produce more than double - in NEW coal generating capacity - then exists now in the US! And this new capacity will only be added on to the world-leading billons of tonnes of Coal being burned in China today!!

So maybe this ambitious 16 GWe offset to global fossil generation is positive and maybe China's ambitious 60 GWe offset plan (as James estimated) to her fossil-fuel generation is positive... but according to the WEO study, that still leaves about 620 'NEW' GWe worth of Coal generation built in China alone, over the next 25 years!


9:10 pm, March 08, 2005  
Blogger Arthur said...

13.3 million cubic meters of hydrogen is NOT MUCH! At least if that's at standard temperature and pressure - it's the equivalent energy content to running that 16 GW wind farm for less than 3 hours per year! Surely there's some more efficient way to do this (or maybe the numbers are just wrong)?

It does remind me of a self-deprecating joke from an Argentinian friend of mine though. A visitor surveys hydro sites in various countries:

US Rep: See that hydro dam over there?
Visitor: yes...
US Rep: 5% right here (pats pocket)

Egyptian bureaucrat: See that dam?
Visitor: yes...
Egyptian: 20% right here (pats pocket)

Argentine politician: see that hydro dam?
Visitor: What dam?
Argentine: 100% right here (pats pocket)...

4:49 am, March 09, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, great joke, arthur...

Yea, while I'm no authority on the scientific matters related to proposed hydrogen-production operation; I would have to agree with James when he supported the concept of using the raw electrical generation to power "Plug-in hybrids".

16 GWe could power an insane number of kilometers!

8:12 pm, March 09, 2005  
Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

Production of hydrogen by electrolysis is perhaps 70% efficient, so if you're feeding the system with 5.6 cent/kWh electricity you get out 8 cent/kWh hydrogen.  Then you have pumping losses and leakage in transmission to contend with, and finally the conversion losses at the other end (unless the hydrogen is used as a chemical feedstock).

Even if used for heat, hydrogen can be considered very inefficient compared to the use of electricity in a heat pump.  If 2/3 of the electricity is lost in transmission and it runs a heat pump with a CoP of 3.0, you get out heat energy at the same per-kWh cost as the juice at the wind farm.  But if you lose 30% in electrolysis, you can't leverage it nearly so easily.

I could see hydrogen being useful as a way of using excess production that would otherwise be wasted; the primary load for the farm would be HVDC lines going to cities, and the hydrogen systems would only be run when there was energy over and above the immediate electrical requirements.  The gas in the pipeline would be a reservoir of sorts, creating some energy storage.  But unless it's cost-prohibitive to run both electric lines and a pipeline, I can't see the advantage from using only the latter.

Although the project's raison d'etre may be summed up in this phrase:  "The project has the potential to generate some 40 million tonnes of carbon credits a year..."

10:46 am, March 12, 2005  
Blogger João Soares said...

Stand up against death threats to Bulgarian activist

A Greenpeace activist and leading nuclear opponent in Bulgaria, Albena Simeonova, has received death threats due to her public opposition to the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belene, north of the country. Call on the Bulgarian Government to secure her safety and prevent these threats from happening again.
Act writing a letter here

Please report my blog

12:20 pm, March 15, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gasoline prices got you down? Heating bill? News alerts from G.B.DAY... Kyle... Where'd you go?
Posted on March 26, 2005 at 12:45:19 PM by Elizabeth

Currently, average working-class Americans are spending nearly 10 percent of their paychecks on gas… And when you couple this with 10 to 20 percent of their income going toward utility costs, we’re talking serious budget woes, not to mention serious stress…

In 21st century America, such sacrifice is unacceptable and unthinkable… Anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck is feeling very uneasy right now… They’re driving around with quarter-tank-fulls of gasoline, worried about how to feed their families, pay their bills and save a dollar or two…

So, we’re back and we’re urging active liberals to get vocal about high gas and energy costs this April.

Our January 20th and 21st (2005) gasoline boycott was a remarkable success and the good people here at the Alternative Energy Blog played a major role in getting our grassroots effort coordinated and rolling…

We need your help again, now more than ever…

Your voices and your participation are greatly appreciated…

We don’t want donations of any kind, we just want you to stand up for your rights to pursue new and legitimate alternative energy resource funding and research on April 22 (Earth Day) by boycotting gasoline.

Action is the only way to make change and real progress… We are ready again to help make a difference because we know repetitive boycotts work.

Please visit our Web site - -
and help us spread the word. Peace.

co-founder, Gasoline Boycott Days


Michigan gas prices hit record; no relief in sight

By Nick Bunkley / The Detroit News

Michigan gas prices surged to a record high Monday, and experts say drivers shouldn't expect relief anytime soon.

Statewide, drivers were paying an average of $2.136 a gallon for regular, half a penny more than the previous record of $2.131 set last May, AAA Michigan reported. Pump prices have risen about 40 cents since the beginning of this year.

Soaring oil prices, driven by unrest in the world's top oil-producing regions and heavy demand from the emerging economies of India and China, are to blame for the increase in gas prices. Crude oil futures closed at $56.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday, about 50 percent more than a year ago.

Rising gas prices have affect on many

BY JASON MUNZ/Item Staff Writer

Thursday, March 24, 2005 4:00 PM CST

As gas prices continue to rise, the sight of vacant gas pumps is becoming all too common. Consumers are waiting longer before filling up on gas and continuing to search for lower gas prices. Some analysts say gas prices will continue to rise through mid-summer before any kind of letup.

Gas prices are, and have been, on a steady increase for the past several years, and they are now reaching all-time highs as the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is near $2.12.

According to the Department of Energy, a year ago at this time the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas was $1.74. The recent spike, which is around a 10-percent increase within the last month, seems to have caused some consumers to stop buying gas as frequently as they normally would.

Heating prices climb 10 percent

By Richard Ryman

That’s not a true reflection of need, said Rosemary Jonas of Integrated Community Services, which manages the assistance program in Brown County.

“When we get to the end of the year, I think that number is going to be up significantly,” Jonas said.

The average payment for heating and electricity assistance has been $347, compared with $289 last year. The agency has helped 2,230 households, compared with 2,372 at this time last year.

Home heating costs heading for a record


March 23, 2005

Whether at home or on the road, energy prices in southeastern Wisconsin seem to know only one direction these days: up.

The cost to heat a Milwaukee-area home this winter will end up being higher than ever, even though prices failed to soar as much as utilities had forecast last fall.

And even as the end of the heating season nears, other energy costs are socking residents. The price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is averaging $2.24 in metro Milwaukee, according to AAA Wisconsin.

When adjusted for inflation, oil and gasoline prices remain well below record highs, but that's little comfort in a region experiencing double-digit percentage increases in both heating and gasoline costs.

Gasoline Boycott Day - Aprill 22, 2005

8:09 am, March 26, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Elizabeth maybe now people will finally start thinking about what kind of vehicles to buy (fuel efficiency). I really do not feel sorry at all for families who now have to spend more $ on gas. That resourses are limited has been common knowledge for decades. Additionally many people are heating with electric radiators in Wi (including my parents), sounds like they should be starting to invest in alternative heating sources instead of expensive toys (snowmobiles etc.)

5:27 am, April 05, 2005  
Blogger James said...

I'd just like to point out that Elizabeth's comment is the first I've heard of "Gasoline Boycott Day".

Her statement that
"the Alternative Energy Blog played a major role in getting our grassroots effort coordinated and rolling…"
is incorrect.

Please note that any comments which are spam, abusive or offensive will be deleted. Comments which are clearly off-topic and/or unrelated to the post may also be deleted.

6:08 am, April 05, 2005  

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