Memorandum from Mr Gordon Raitt, MA, CChem,
Personal background: MA, CChem, FRSC. School
science teacher. University lecturer. Nuffield Foundation Science
Teaching Development, team member and author. Local government,
county council: second deputy director of education. Author of
a series of books relating school physics teaching to engineering
2. Fuel cells. Some other countries and
3. Methanol and hydrocarbons for fuel cells.
4. The hydrogen economy: hydrogen for fuel.
Some other countries and the UK.
6. Fuel cell vehicle development cities.
7. A national hydrogen economy development
8. Energy storage systems.
10. Heat, and combined heat and electric
11. Wind, wave and tide industries.
12. Solar energy.
13. The renewable energy function.
14. Nuclear power.
15. The energy demand side.
16. Advice to government.
17. Speed of advance, and resources.
18. RDDM and E.
A. List of references.
B. EC countries. Renewable energy used as
a percentage of all energy used.
C. Nuclear power and the environment.
The period 2000 to 2050 will be the age of renewable
energy, fuel cells, energy storage systems, and the hydrogen economy.
With nuclear energy economically unviable and
with it posing a continuing danger of a major nuclear accident
at some time, with catastrophic population results, no new nuclear
power stations should feature in the UK energy programme.
In the UK, renewable energy has so far been
looked at as a means of reducing the output of carbon dioxide
and as a means of meeting a Kyoto target. It is fundamentally
more than that; it is energy supply in its own right. As such
it is a basic means of overcoming the present need to import energy.
2. FUEL CELLS.
The near-term alleviation of and the medium-term
solution to the impending energy crisis lies in fuel cells. Fuel
cells can provide for all of the major categories of needs: road
vehicle electric power, institutional and domestic heat and electricity,
electricity for feeding into the distribution and grid networks,
and also energy for storage systems.
Major world energy and power companies and vehicle
manufacturers are involved in fuel cell development. They recognise
the very large market potential.
2.2 Present European position: some examples;
(a) Some examples
The German firm MTU Frederickshafen is reported
to be delivering seven fuel cell power plants, each of 250kWe
to utilities and companies in Germany by the end of 2001. The
German Utility RWE is receiving one for heat and electric power,
and Michelin/En BW is receiving one for producing electricity
and process steam for a tyre manufacturing plant. (Ref 7)
The German firm Vaillant is developing a fuel
cell system to provide heat and electricity to individual houses
for domestic use, with marketing due in 2002. (Ref 13)
The city of Stockholm is conducting a procurement
for residential fuel cells. The first installation is to take
place in a new city district that is being constructed in central
Stockholm. (Ref 8)
Rolls Royce is aiming to have a 1MW unit available
by 2004/5 for the stationary power market. (Ref 11. C)
In Vancouver between 1998 and 2000 three pure
hydrogen fuel celled buses were trialled, with extension intended
in 2001. (Ref 16)
Germany runs pure hydrogen fuel celled buses
in Munich and in Hamburg. Each city has a hydrodgen filling station.
Daimler Chrysler intends to launch fuel cell
buses in Europe in 2002 and cars in 2004. (Ref 9)
(b) Timescale. Some forecasts
(i) Fuel cells, and hydrogen. "Beyond
2010 fuel cells will alter the structure of the energy economy."
. . . "By 2020 hydrogen gas will be in widespread use as
a fuel." (Ref 11a)
(ii) Road transport. Vehicles powered by
fuel cells using either stored hydrogen or hydrogen produced on
board by reforming methanol or hydrocarbons:
(iii) Trains and ships. MTU, a member of
the Daimler/Chrysler group, announced in September 2001 that by
2004 it would have a fuel cell for powering trains and ships.
2.3 The UK and Fuel Cells. Present situation
It appears that the UK is significantly behind
several other countries in the development of fuel cells. In the
same way that every wind generator for UK windfarms has been bought
from abroad, so in the next few years it seems that the UK will
be buying fuel cells for its automative and stationary power generation
from Canada, the USA and Germany. This need not have been so,
and a national effort is now needed to make up for lost time and
2.4 Recommendations: Some priorities for the
2.4.1 Overall Aim. Major Manufacturing Capacity:
domestic and export.
The overall aim should be to develop a widely
based major manufacturing industry. The domestic market will be
large and the overseas markets very large, with a country like
China frequently mentioned: having a very large population and
very little heat and electricity provision in areas distant from
major population centres.
2.4.2 Types of fuels
The fuel of the not-very-distant future is hydrogen.
It will outdo all other fuels in terms of quantity in use. It
is most efficient in terms of conversion to heat and electricity.
Its final waste product is water, which is harmless.
In a transition stage methanol and hydrocarbons
in conjunction with reformers will be used. These require hydrocarbon
sources, which are becoming scarce, and they produce carbon dioxide
as an end-producta greenhouse gas.
2.4.3 Types of cells. For Heat and Electricity:
by size and end-user:
(i) Medium size: public service offices,
large institutions, industrial premises, commercial premises.
(ii) Large size: (a) new housing estates
and new commercial and industrial developments: district heating
and electricity; surplus electricity to the distribution network.
(b) dedicated electricity supply to the distribution or grid
systems, surplus heat to district heating.
(iii) Small size: individual households.
(B) Transport. This is an important sector
because it is the largest category of fuel user and it is a major
polluter of the atmosphere.
(i) Road vehicles. The immediate lead has
probably been lost to several groups of overseas companies. The
UK could concentrate on developing some systems conceptually in
advance of other countries. These should include arrangements
to plug in a parked car to supply the home heat and electricity
(ii) Boats. Perhaps concentrate on niche
markets where the UK still builds: large sailing yachts, large
pleasure cruisers, motor cruisers, luxury and leisure boats.
(iii) Rail. In a rail engine there would
be no problem with storage of hydrogen; a truck next to the engine
could be designed to carry hydrogen in whatever form it may prove
to be storedcylinders, tanks or other systems. Rail engines
are fleet vehicles and are refuelled at dedicated depots which
could have hydrogen stores.
3. METHANOL AND
There is no significant problem in supplying
methanol and hydrocarbons for fuel cells. Their manufacture, storage
in liquid or compressed gas form, transport and distribution,
and suitable sales outlets are all well established.
4. THE HYDROGEN
4.1 Present position: Some examples
In some countries and in some companies preparation
for and costing of a hydrogen economy is already in progress.
(a) The Shell Group of companies
In 1999 Shell Hydrogen was established. It is
working on the production of hydrogen for cars and for residential
premises. It is working on hydrogen storage, hydrogen safety,
codes of practice and standards, and transportation. It is doing
so in partnership with many other companies, amongst which are
International Fuel Cells, Hydro Quebec, Norske Hydro, DaimlerChrysler,
Ballard (Canada), and the Californian Fuel Partnership. (Ref 11d.
Dr T. Stephenson. Shell Global Solutions, UK)
(b) Hydrogen from wind turbines
In November 2000 the Hamburg-based company P
& T Technology announced details of a system which would combine
wind turbines with a hydrogen production unit in order to provide
a constant output of electricity. The German wind turbine manufacturer,
Enercon, is planning to produce hydrogen at offshore windfarms.
"Leading oil companies already have the infrastructure for
storage and transport, including tankers," stated Managing
Director Wobben. (Ref 15)
(c) A Canadian hydrogen infrastructure demonstration
British Columbia Hydro and Stuart Energy Systems
ran the hydrogen fuel celled buses in Vancouver which were referred
to in paragraph 2.2. In 2001 they planned to deliver a prototype
Community Fueler with an on-site electrolysis hydrogen generator.
"Due to the clear strategy regarding energy
policy stated by the Norwegian government, Norwegian companies
and companies outside of Norway have big plans to build and test
fuel cell demonstration units in Norway . . ." "The
Norwegian utility company Statkraft, in co-operation with the
Swedish utility Sydkraft and ABB, has proposed a concept for production
and distribution of hydrogen for stationary power production .
. . Hydrogen will be produced primarily from wind generators."
The Iceland government is planning for a fuel
cell and hydrogen economy. (Ref 29)
Solar cells are being used to produce hydrogen
in trials. (Ref 11d)
4.2 Recommendations. Priorities for the UK
(A) Overall UK priority. Amongst the many
urgent needs in the UK the top priority should be planning for
and actively working for a hydrogen economy. It is the energy
economy of the futurenot the distant future, nor the medium-term
future, but the very near future. Some countries treat it as being
already here. They will reap the benefits of establishing manufacturing
industries and selling their skills and products to other countries.
(B) UK Priorities by Sectors. Research,
development, demonstration, and the establishment of manufacturing
industries and exports.
(1) Production of hydrogen. Using wind,
wave, solar, hydro, and other sources of power.
(2) Storage of hydrogen. (a) Substances.
Compressed gas, metal hydrides, nanotubes, other systems yet to
be discovered and developed, liquid hydrogen. (b) Containers.
Bottles, large cylinders, large tanks, large containers for loading
onto and off transport lorries, road tankers, large containers
for container ship transport and transfer, large capacity storage
on dedicated hydrogen storage ships.
(3) Transport of hydrogen. Road, rail, ship
(4) Electricity and hydrogen supply ships.
Vessels with combined hydrogen storage and fuel cell facilities,
to travel to a port, plug into an electricity terminal, supply
electricity, and then return to the source to refuel with more
UK ENERGY USE BY SECTORS IN 2000 (mtoe)
* Public administration, commercial, agriculture, miscellaneous.
Table 5 shows that the transport sector is the greatest consumer
of energy; and projections for 2010 and 2020 show transport still
to be dominant. As internal combustion engine transport uses almost
entirely oils and petrol, and as it is also a major polluter of
the atmosphere, it must be a prime sector for conversion to an
alternative form of propulsion and an alternative source of energy.
The motive power for land transport and for small boats should
be electricity from fuel cells.
6. FUEL CELL
In the UK the sector which uses the most energy is the transport
sector. Most of it is used in the form of petrol and oil. Much
of this is imported. Petrol and oil on combustion produce carbon
dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and also nitrogen oxides and sulphur
oxides which are major polluters of city atmospheres.
A strong argument can be made for a major early move to develop
the use of fuel-celled vehicles in major cities.
6.2 Selected development cities
6.2.1 The Principle.
Uptake if left to individual initiatives would be diffuse
and slow. Uptake would be faster, and could be monitored for successful
procedures and for problems, if a few cities were designated "Fuel
Cell Vehicle Development Cities".
6.2.2 Some necessary arrangements
Some necessary arrangements would be:
(a) Funding. Central government and local authority joint
funding of the development.
(b) Consultation, Planning and Public Relations. Careful
advance consultation and planning, to secure the co-operation
of the community.
(c) Fuel Cell Type and Fuel. Choice of fuel cell type,
fuel, and make of new vehicles.
(d) Choice of Vehicle Groups. Operationally it would be
convenient to involve mainly fleet operators: local authority
vehicles, taxi firms, Post Office (Consignia) vehicles, commercial
firm local delivery vehicles, health service local transport (walking
patient transport vehicles, district nurses, health visitors,
doctors), and bus companies. An additional group could be families
with second cars used mainly for local journeys.
(e) Conversion or Purchase of Vehicles: Subsidy. A very
substantial subsidy for the conversion of existing vehicles or
the purchase of new ones.
(f) Road Tax Incentives. A small road tax.
(g) Fuel Points. A Local Authority fuelling point, several
petroleum company petrol stations selected for suitable geographical
(h) Control and Monitoring. A central controlling system
and monitoring, to provide for rapid response to problems arising.
6.3 Urgency, and Public Policy
The need to reduce the consumption of petrol and oil is urgent,
and the need to reduce atmospheric pollution in cities is urgent.
Both could be achieved by the planned introduction of fuel-celled
vehicles, and this should become a matter of public policy: led
by the early development of some "Development Cities"
for large-scale trials.
7. A NATIONAL HYDROGEN
There is a need to move now into developing the elements
of a hydrogen economy. This would be best done in a region where
the test and development and community trials could later be expanded
into large-scale production and transport of hydrogen.
7.2 A suggested location. The Western Isles of Scotland
The Western Isles of Scotland are repeatedly quoted as one
of the best areas in Europe for wind energy, wave energy, and
tidal energy. Very large quantities of electricity could be produced
from each of these sources. However, for the Outer Hebrides there
is no electricity grid connection to the mainland, and for the
Inner Hebrides the sparse grid connections are not capable of
carrying large quantities of power. Thus at present little of
the potential can be exploited. If, however, the wind, wave, and
tidal energy were to be converted into hydrogen and the hydrogen
stored suitably it could then be transported by sea to large centres
of population, such as Glasgow and through Glasgow to the densely
populated industrial central belt of Scotland. With increasing
production it could also be transported farther south to Liverpool
and inland to Manchester and their surroundings.
Within Britain the Western Isles are the ideal place for
bulk production of hydrogen, for abundant sources of electricity
that cannot at present be exported as electricity.
Within the Islands' communities the costs of diesel fuel,
heating fuel, petrol and gas are higher than in other parts of
Britain because of the need to convey them by sea. The communities
would be beneficiaries of trials and developments of fuel cells,
both for heating and for vehicle and boat transport.
A development centre and region in the Western Isles would
be readily accessible to university departments of renewable energy,
physics, chemistry, engineering and other disciplines in Scotland,
and to Scottish industries, for conducting research and development
and for moving into production, use and export.
7.3 The nature of the development
7.3.1 The Aims
The aims would be to:
(a) Convert the Western Isles economy into a hydrogen
economy, using fuel cells to provide institutional and domestic
heating, cooking and lighting and power for road vehicles and
(b) Develop wind, wave, and tidal power to provide electricity
for hydrogen production and for local use.
(c) Develop hydrogen production.
(d) Develop hydrogen storage and transport systems, for
Isles use and for export.
(e) Develop electricity supply ships. (see Section 4.2
(f) Use the development as a test-bed for monitoring progress
and problems, for finding soluitions, and for providing guidance
to later developments elsewhere.
(g) Liaise with developers of small scale and medium scale
hydrogen economies in the nearest large centres of population,
such as Glasgow and the Central Belt of Scotland, with regard
to supplying them with hydrogen.
(h) Liaise with Iceland and Norway, over their already-initiated
plans for hydrogen economies.
8. ENERGY STORAGE
The intermittent nature of electricity production from wind,
waves, tidal streams and solar cells means that for many users
an energy storage system will be either beneficial or wholly necessary.
Where an energy supply system produces heat in excess of what
is needed the excess heat should not be wasted. It should be stored
in some suitable manner.
8.2 Recommendations. For development, manufacture and construction
There is an urgent need for research and development leading
to manufacture and construction of energy storage systems based
on a wide range of physical and chemical principles, and for a
wide range of user groups: domestic, institutional, industrial,
and large scale power supply utilities.
Large export opportunities exist in Africa and Asia where
the installation of solar cells and wind generators is growing,
and where accompanying storage facilities are needed.
In Britain the use of biomass for energy is underdeveloped.
(1) Studies on making good use of a wide range of biomass
sources should be undertaken.
(2) Direct and indirect aid should be increased to forward
the expansion of biomass as a source of heat and electric power.
10. HEAT, AND
In the UK the domestic and industrial demand for heat energy
is greater than that for electrical energy. The amount of fuel
used in boilers to produce hot water and steam: for domestic washing
and for industrial process work, and for domestic heating and
industrial space heating, is greater than that used to produce
electricity. Yet government proposals so far for renewable energy
neglect heat and concentrate on the production of electricity.
This neglects the reality of the situation.
(1) The development of a UK industry manufacturing heat
only and combined heat and electric power units should be assisted.
(2) The use of biomass as a fuel should be greatly expanded.
(3) The use of such units should be encouraged.
(4) Financial incentives should be provided.
11. WIND, WAVE
Having lost the manufacture of wind turbines to Denmark,
Germany and Spain, the UK should make a calculated and sustained
effort to break into the market of the construction of offshore
towers and onshore towers and their embedding in position. The
market will not come to the UK; UK firms will have to develop
designs and emplacement techniques superior to those of other
countries, and go out and sell them.
British firms developing wave generators and tidal stream
generators are small in number and very small in size. There is
not an assured lead. The Netherlands firm Teamwork BV plans to
operate a wave 2MW pilot system off Portugal in 2001, and it expected
to have a tidal stream 25kW test turbine operating at the end
Substantial and continuing support should be given to British
wave energy and tidal stream energy development companies. The
purposes should be twofold: to contribute to UK energy supplies,
and to create export industries.
British firms should be able to use their off-shore structure
experience to develop designs and construction methods for towers
for tidal stream generators. As for wind towers, UK firms will
have to go out and sell their designs and methods.
12. SOLAR ENGERGY
Even at latitudes of 50 degrees and more North and on cloudy
days in the UK the amount of solar energy falling on practicable
collector areas is large. UK universities and companies should
be assisted in seeking new materials and new designs to raise
the efficiency and lower the cost of solar thermal and solar PV
systems. This is another field where suitable energy storage systems
need to be developed.
13. THE RENEWABLE
In the UK, renewable energy has so far been looked at as
a means of reducing the output of carbon dioxide and as a means
of meeting a Kyoto target. It is fundamentally more than that;
it is energy supply in its own right. As such, it is a
basic means of overcoming the present need to import energy. If
renewable energy systems were greatly developed and expanded on
the basis that they are indigenous sources of energy in circumstances
of a national need for energy, then carbon dioxide emissions would
be automatically reduced and present Kyoto targets would be automatically
14. NUCLEAR POWER
14.1 An overview
The account of nuclear power in Appendix C includes the facts
that the nuclear energy industry is not economically viable, and
that there is the ever-present risk of a major accident leading
to a population catastrophe. A major accident may be very rare,
but when it does occur it is a long-term human disaster. Building
new nuclear power stations to replace the existing ageing ones
is not a responsible course in Britain and it should not be adopted.
(i) No new nuclear power stations should be built.
(ii) The lives of existing nuclear power stations should
be extended for as long as can reasonably be done.
(iii) Oil and gas companies which supply the UK from
the North Sea and the Atlantic should be asked to extend the lives
of existing fields by further exploration and new extraction methods.
(iv) Life extension of oil and gas fields may prove uneconomical,
but if it is nevertheless feasible it should then be subsidised.
Money that would have been used to subsidise the building of new
nuclear power stations could be used.
(v) Arrangements should be made with countries from which
supplies are reasonably secure to ensure purchases into the medium-term
(vi) A major programme of expansion of the development
and use of alternative sources of energy should be planned and
co-ordinated by a national committee of experts set up for the
purpose and constituted on a continuing basis.
(vii) The committee should vigorously forward the fields
of wind, biomass, solar wave, tidal and other sources of energy.
(viii) The same or a parallel committee working with
it should deal with the demand side, energy saving and energy
15. THE ENERGY
This contribution to the Energy Inquiry considers aspects
of the Supply Side, and does not discuss the Demand Side, which
is as extensive and complex as the Supply side. The availability
of sufficient energy is related to energy demand; and energy saving
policies and methods are needed at all levels of the national
community: industrial, institutional, and domestic. As part of
this, building design should now include energy saving as a major
feature; and Building Regulations should immediately be reviewed
and upgraded so as to include the best possible energy saving
practices and devices.
16. ADVICE TO
16.1.A. The energy technology support unit, ETSU
A major source of advice to the DTI and to its forerunner
departments, and thus to the government, on energy matters is
the Energy Technology Support Unit, ETSU. This is based at Harwell.
In universities, each department is periodically required
to undergo a Research Assessment Exercise. This is conducted by
a team from outside the university concerned; its purpose is to
assess the quality and quantity of research being done by the
department, and the quality and quantity of research papers being
published. The future funding of the department is affected by
(a) A Research Assessment Exercise should immediately
be conducted on the Energy Technology Support Unit.
(b) The assessment team should not be chosen by the Government's
Chief Scientific Adviser.
(c) The assessment team should not be chosen by the DTI.
(d) The assessment team should consist of senior members
from universities, from the energy industries, and from the energy
industries Associations, so as to represent high level knowledge
and experience of traditional, new and emerging energy sources
(e) The assessment team should examine and assess:
(i) The research undertaken in the past and now by ETSU;
(ii) The papers published;
(iii) The advice given to government departments;
(iv) The extent to which the advice given was subsequently
found to have been appropriate or inappropriate.
16.2 A United Kingdom Centre of Energy
There is a need for a United Kingdom Centre for Energy, a
centre of scientific and industrial excellence to forward energy
developments and manufacturing, and to give advice to government
17. SPEED OF
The speed at which a country can advance into a changed economy
is dependent almost solely upon the resources of people and money
which it is prepared to commit. The rewards of enterprising commitment
to energy are great: a diminution of the energy supply problem,
and the creation of export industries; a reduction in the adverse
balance of trade involved in buying energy from overseas; and
an improvement in the balance of trade resulting from exports
of equipment, installation skills, and consultancy.
There is an urgent need for major change. Governments are
responsible for bringing about major changes.
The government should allocate targeted funds on an unprecedented
scale to bring about energy advances, in the knowledge that success
will bring paybacks to the exchequer in increased employment and
18. RDDM AND E. THE
18.1 The new vision
RD and D is too limited. For every UK developer and company
the aim should now be Research, Develop, Demonstrate, Manufacture
18.2 The method
Effective progress requires active purposeful collaboration
between central government, universities, industrial firms, local
government and communities.
18.3 An outstanding example
An outstanding example is the approach and achievements of
North Rhine-Westfalia. The following passage is from the report
"Future Energies from North Rhine-Westfalia" (population
17m) commenting on the progress of a 10 year development plan
begun in 1998.
Introduction: by the minister responsible for Energy.
"The Land government has sponsored approximately 32,600
projects across the Land since 1988. With our North Rhine-Westfalia
State Initiative on future energies, we are promoting modern energy
technology systems, products and services which can be marketed
both nationally and internationally. In doing so we want to .
. . create new jobs with long-term security. This in turn represents
a step towards the goal of reducing output of greenhouse gases.
"More than ever before it is essential to pool the technological
resources of our universities and activate them for the benefit
of crafts and trades, commerce and industry . . . About 2,800
experts are currently working together in 14 work groups.
"Only Concentrated and concerted action on the part of
industry, government, science, and relevant groups in society
can strengthen the energy industry on the liberalised European
market and at the same time secure employment in North Rhine-Westfalia."
Peer Steinbruck, Minister of Economic Affairs, Technology
and Transport, North Rhine-Westfalia. (Ref 28)