Birkbeck 2020 : Slide 1

Each year, of late, I have been presenting some slides on the topic of Renewable Gas to students of the Climate Change and Energy module of the Birkbeck, University of London, Geography, Environment and Development Studies (GEDS) courses.

This year, I have very little time to prepare, so my usual primary-colour charts and diagrams will largely be absent, as I don’t have time to scout them out from elsewhere, or put them together myself.

I’m going to work on the principle that if you get enough people in the room, and you can describe a problem simply enough, the group normally have all the information and skills needed to solve it – you just need to draw the answers out of them.

Thus, I’m going for minimalism in terms of presentation, and relying on work groups to join the dots in the argument.


Variability in Energy Supply

Table : A Selection of Energies and Energy Supply Technologies


Power plants
Power stations
Coal, Natural Gas, petroleum oil, nuclear fission
Renewable power Wind power, solar power, tidal power

Petroleum and other fossil fuels

Solids Petcoke (petroleum coke), coals
Oils Refined petroleum, including : petrol-gasoline,
diesel, jet fuels, marine oils
Gases Natural Gas, hydrogen (from Natural Gas)


Biosolids Charcoal, wood, biochar
Bioliquids Biodiesel (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters), biotar
Biogases Biomethane, biohydrogen

Synthesised Renewable Fuels – Chemically Synthesised at Industrial Scale

Renewable Liquids Renewable Methanol
Renewable Dialkyl Ethers (DME, OME (PODE, DMMn), OMDEE…)
Renewable Gases Renewable Hydrogen, Renewable Methane

Work Group Questions

1.    What could cause intermittency in energy supply ?
    Intermittent = a sudden stoppage, explained or not explained.
2.    What causes variability in energy supply ?
    Variable = variation, modulation, change over time.
3.    How do energy types support each other ?
    What can act as “backup” to cover for a shortfall elsewhere ?

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