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How a giant underwater kite will be Britain’s new source of Power

Known for its picturesque villages and beautiful landscape, Anglesey is a sleepy island just off the North-West Coast of Wales. Described by Visit Wales as “The home of peace and quiet” the island has previously been known as a low-key tourist escape, its quiet beaches providing a weekend refuge for frazzled Brits. Not anymore however- currently, Anglesey is the target of global speculation, with its shores becoming host to a revolutionary energy operation; the world’s first “Deep Green” project.

What is it?

Essentially a giant underwater kite. Whilst most tidal energy converters are designed to be stationary and sit on the sea’s surface, or secured to its bed, the Deep Green project uses an underwater plane replicate. This plane is attached by chain to the ocean floor and powered by the current, like a kite is powered by the blowing wind.

Underwater Tidal Turbines Cartoon

Traditional Stationary Tidal Energy Converter

Underwater Kite Turbine Tidal Energy Converter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As does a soaring kite in a mild blowing wind, the underwater kite travels much quicker than its surrounding current. This means the turbine within the kite generates electricity “several hundred times greater compared to if the turbine would be stationary” (Minesto, © 2017). As the kite multiplies the tidal power from its surroundings, it can be used in underwater environments where there are very little currents, as opposed to traditional tidal energy converters which are reserved for stronger currents. Whilst the UK has a large tidal energy resource (estimated as 50% of Europe’s tidal energy capacity) (Green Match , 2016) most of the earth’s oceans lack the currents to produce cost efficient tidal energy using current methods. This could be an alternative.

How much electricity is generated?

Each Deep Green device will produce 0.5 megawatts, with Mineseto estimating that 100 devices would generate enough power for over 30,000 homes. The Holyhead Deep site located in Wales is to be expanded in stages, from one initial test device to over twenty, with planning permission to later scale to 160 devices, amounting to 80MW. The Holyhead site is the first commercial site of its kind, following a successful test facility set up in Northern Ireland. With its proven suitability for low current climates, international expansion could be expected.

Is this the future for British Energy?

Over the course of 2016, over £1bn of investment into renewable energy projects disappeared (The Guardian, 2017) casting a gloomy outlook over green UK energy sources. However, with most cancelled projects being wind turbine sites, maybe Britain simply refocused their attention from wind energy to ocean energy. With moving water being 832x denser than moving air, and therefore multiplying kenetic energy to the same factor, perhaps it is time that we fully considered the potential of UK tidal power.

Works cited

Green Match . (2016). Wave and Tidal Energy: part of the UK’s energy mix. Retrieved from Enormous Potential of Tidal Energy and Wind Power in the UK: http://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2016/10/tidal-and-wind-energy-in-the-uk

Minesto. (© 2017). Minesto – Our Technology. Retrieved from Minesto.com: http://minesto.com/our-technology

The Guardian. (2017). Renewables investment in UK will fall 95% over next three years – studt. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/04/renewables-investment-uk-fall-95-percent-three-years-study-subsidy-cuts-emissions-targets

 

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Our monthly round up the latest and best industry news

After a brilliant start to April in terms of contribution to industry news, we have selected our top picks, spanning across automotive, manufacturing, oil and steel news.

 

UK commits £200million to testing facilities for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Self Driving Car

The Manufacturer reports on the UK’s investment to become world leaders in driver less vehicles, in a quicker time period than you might expect.

Click for the latest news.

 

 

 

Scotland’s growing oil market is hit with a potential £200 million annual Brexit Bill.

Falklands Oil

Oil and Gas people investigates an Aberdeen University thinktank to look at likely increased tariffs on oil and gas export services.

Find out now how Scotland and the UK’s oil revenue will be hit in this article. 

 

 

 

They don’t make em like that anymore

Ford Assembly LineThe Economist serves up the truth behind why manufacturing jobs for unskilled workers will not ever fully return to the UK – and the new engineering roles to replace them.

Look at the likeliest trends in manufacturing recuitment here.

 

 

 

 

Next generation Steel and Metal Alloys led by University of QueenslandSteel Bridge

The university’s most recent project could overcome hydrogen alloy embrittlement in metal, securing future engineering and building projects.

Click here to peak at the future of steel and metal alloys.

 

 

 

And thats our monthly round up of the biggest and best industry news! Stay in touch for next months update or sign up to our newsletter to avoid missing out.

 

 

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The demise of green power? Britain scraps investment into renewable energy post referendum

Over the last decade, the UK has been pushed by the EU to balance renewable energy generation with fossil fuel consumption, making small but significant steps towards a greener country. With goals previously set for the UK far outreaching the EU’s own (such as cutting carbon emissions by 57% by 2030 on 1990 levels) and the removal of oil fired power plants in the UK, (Global Legal Insights, 2017) Britain could be assumed as a country on their way to becoming low-carbon. Until now. Over the course of 2016, over £1bn of future investment in renewable energy projects has disappeared, amounting to over 95% of total planned expenditure (The Guardian, 2017). After the decline in subsidies for wind power farms, solar power installations and converted coal to biomass stations, consumers have been left wondering, what has happened to the UK’s renewable energy promise and how exactly will we source our power?

 

The closure of UK coal fired power plants

Under current environmental laws all UK coal plants will be required to close by 2025, with most predicted to retire by 2022 (The Telegraph, 2016). The only Fossil fuels burningalternative option to closure of these plants would be a costly overhaul, using untested technology to minimize carbon emissions to that of 40% of current output. Expected conversion to biomass fuel stations is also less likely as the government has removed the guaranteed levels of subsidy previously offered. With most of UK electricity produced by burning fossil fuels (Energy UK, copyright 2017) replacing this energy source could put large amounts of pressure on finding new sources, or mean increasing UK energy import dependency dramatically.

 

Shale Gas – The great Fracking Debate

FrackingThe most controversial new source of energy is Shale Gas, an untapped resource that we have an abundance of, which would mean drilling into and potentially destroying large areas of the British landscape to reach. The UK government has been building a case for fracking for years, their official site has an educational guide that describes fracking as a potentially “safe and environmentally sound” source of “energy security, growth and jobs” (Gov UK, 2017).  In other corners, environmental, protest groups and political parties such as Green party have hit back; describing fracking as “toxic and radioactive” (Frack Off, 2015). This year the battle has been won and a small exploratory site in Lancashire has opened, where if predicted levels of shale gas are revealed, 10% of its output could amount to 7 years of Britain’s energy consumption, (The Telegraph, 2017) unveiling a new substantial source of UK power.

 

Not on my back yard – Wind Power Energy

Another controversial (though much less so) form of energy is wind power. When first discovered wind power seems like the answer to all our energy problems, a
clean source of power that could actually utilise the British weather. Conservative promises to protect the British landscape however have meant subsidies to help offset Wind Farmingthe large startup costs have stopped, putting future windfarm proposals past 2020 on hold. Plans to extend subsidies to offshore wind farms have also been scrapped due to higher costs than onshore farms, angering the hardest hit Scottish government. Currently the government doesn’t release an official statistic for the percentage of energy wind power produces in relation to our total UK use, however last year the EU reported wind power covered 10.4% of the total European consumption (Wind Europe, 2016). With Britain leaving the EU in the next two years and opting out of environmental regulations, it is unlikely the scale of investments made in recent years will continue, so further expansion of UK wind farms could drop off.

 

The return of Nuclear power

Nuclear power plantAlthough all but one of Britain’s existing nuclear energy stations are expected to close by 2023, currently there are six new nuclear projects in development, and the government has projected 14 gigawatts of nuclear capacity may be built, between now and 2035. Despite calling an end to subsidies for renewable energy sources, the government has recognized that they will need to heavily support the financial stability of these plants and made agreements for investment into its most advanced project in Hinkley.

 

 

Will Britain choose renewable or carbon energy?UK at night

Despite a promising effort over the last five years to redistribute investment into renewable energy sources, dropped subsidy schemes and lack of business and consumer incentives to reduce carbon emissions (such as the diluted road tax scheme) indicate a change in government vision on how Britain should consume energy. Although expenditure on fracking and nuclear power indicates a desire for the UK to become more reliant on its own sources, lack of plans to uphold environmental targets after Brexit reveal an ambition to do so using non-renewable energy.

 

 

References

Energy UK. (copyright 2017). Electricity Generation. Retrieved from Energy UK : http://www.energy-uk.org.uk/energy-industry/electricity-generation.html

Frack Off. (2015). Fracking Threat To The UK. Retrieved from Frack Off: http://frack-off.org.uk/fracking-hell/

Global Legal Insights. (2017). United Kindom Energy 2017, 5th Edition. Retrieved from Global Legal Insights: https://www.globallegalinsights.com/practice-areas/energy/global-legal-insights—energy-5th-ed./united-kingdom#chaptercontent1

Gov UK. (2017). Guidance of fracking: developing shale gas in the UK. Retrieved from Gov UK : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/about-shale-gas-and-hydraulic-fracturing-fracking/developing-shale-oil-and-gas-in-the-uk

The Guardian. (2017). Renewables investment in UK will fall 95% over next three years – study. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/04/renewables-investment-uk-fall-95-percent-three-years-study-subsidy-cuts-emissions-targets

The Telegraph. (2016). UK sets out coal plant closure plans. Retrieved from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/11/09/uk-sets-out-coal-plant-closure-plans/

The Telegraph. (2017). Cuadrilla Begins Work at Lancashire Fracking Site. Retrieved from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/01/05/cuadrilla-begins-work-lancashire-fracking-site/

Wind Europe. (2016). Wind Europe Annual Statistics 2016. Retrieved from Wind Europe: https://windeurope.org/wp-content/uploads/files/about-wind/statistics/WindEurope-Annual-Statistics-2016.pdf

 

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Global Steel Outlook 2017 – How will Trumps reign affect the UK?

Much of speculation around steel output this year has focused around the presidency of Trump, with manufacturing, steel and oil being at the forefront of his plans to “make America great again.” In the first year of Trump’s reign the US steel production is set to grow by 4.4 % reduction [1], with a Trumps impact on steel outputin imports as America strategizes to source and produce more of its own materials, investing in primary and secondary industry.

With America becoming more insular, perspective has turned back to the rest of the world, and what the biggest steel producers are importing and exporting in 2017.

China

The largest producer of steel will continue to be China, stepping up production after a comparably modest rise in 2016, limited by environmental and market regulations. Consumption however will be much larger, with China using 87 % of total production (825 million metric tonnes[2]). This domestic use is reliant on the real estate, public infrastructure and construction industry, which shows no sign in declining over the next few years. Business partnerships with Chinese companies who aim to meet market and steel regulations are ideal for businesses looking to cash in on China’s position.

Japan

Tokyo steel Takamatsu WorksJapanese output declined slightly last year, however should stabilise in 2017 with a 2.7% increase this January in comparison to last.[3] With reported price increases in iron ore, aluminium and copper 2017 production is expected to grow healthily. Continuous investment in technology and success in the automotive industry creates ample demand for steel domestically.

India

As the third largest producer of steel globally, India reported the largest gain in comparison to other big players, with a whopping 12% increase in production year on year in January. Investment in improving India’s infrastructure and its growing manufacturing presence should ensure that this demand has longevity. India’s large appetite for European Sourced material has potential to be met by businesses willing to research into the niche and hard to find grades requested by this country.

UK Steel Output 2017

Whilst increasing steel price forecasts are being reported worldwide, very little news has surfaced this year on the steel market within the UK. With very little insight into coming post Brexit trade deals, the current weakening of the pound has affected Britain, with steel prices increasing by around £60- £70 per tonne[4]. As annually the UK reduces its share over the steel market and its influence, future predictions and opportunities fall to looking at neighbouring countries for how to tackle the global market.

Save UK steel industry

 

[1] Financial Times – US steel industry expected to return to growth. Dec 2016 

 

[2] CNBC – China will produce more steel in 2017, but they’ll also use most of it themselves. Jan 2017 

 

[3]  Mining.com – Global Steel Production is surging in 2017

 

[4]  –  Made in the Midlands News – UK Steel Price Increases Inevitable Throughout 2017.

 

 

 

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