The Anonymous Widower

Basil Crop Hits The Roof At Scunthorpe Vertical Farm With Artificial Sun

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

It is a fascinating article about how basil is farmed vertically in Scunthorpe.

  • Much of the crop goes to UK supermarkets.
  • The grower has now teamed with Ocado to build the largest vertical farm in the world.
  • The grower is also growing rosemary, chard and spinach. Although the latter looked a bit sad.
  • He has also experimented with turnips and carrots and hopes to move on to soft fruits and cut flowers.

Surely, the only way is Up!

Is the farmer feeding the crops carbon dioxide captured from the massive Keadby gas-fired power-stations in the area?

That way we can generate our electricity with added CO2 and eat it.

I know of a tomato grower, who uses a gas-powered combined heat and power boiler to heat his greenhouses, where the CO2 is fed to the tomatoes and any electricity he doesn’t need is sold to local consumers.

If we can eat all the CO2, why not go fracking for the gas? The only losers would be the Qataris and Putin.

 

October 21, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Food | , , , | Leave a comment

Railfreight Goes Back To Diesel As Electricity Costs Soar

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railnews.

This is the first paragraph.

Some rail freight operators have abandoned electric traction, at least for now, because the price of electricity has been rising sharply. The electricity tariffs include a 40 per cent renewable energy tax, and following the latest rises diesel traction is now cheaper. The drivers’ union ASLEF is calling for the government to intervene, but Freightliner has already taken action.

This quote from the article is from ASLEF General Secretary; Mick Whelan.

Moving freight by rail rather than road is, inherently, a carbon-efficient mode of transport and an environmentally-friendly way of doing business. Electric-hauled freight services reduce emissions by 99 per cent; even moving goods by diesel traction reduces emissions by 76 per cent.

It looks to me, that a reputable and trusted environmental economist could come up with a compromise price and possibly a solution to improve the situation.

Possible solutions could include.

  • Use of Biodiesel or Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil
  • More energy storage.

Surely, though, the long term solution is hydrogen-powered locomotives. or dual-fuel locomotives, as I wrote about in Freightliner Secures Government Funding For Dual-Fuel Project.

 

October 20, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Final Crossrail Station Oversite Has Been Handed To The Developer

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

This is the first paragraph.

The last of the Elizabeth line stations to have a building built above the station has been handed over to the developer, Grosvenor for an office development. The site, at 65 Davies Street will sit above the back of Bond Street station where a classic Edwardian style brick building occupied by the University of Arts had been based.

I went today and took these pictures.

It doesn’t look it, but the building should be ready by the end of 2023.

I used to visit this area regularly from the age of about fourteen. My uncle; Dick had a newsagents shop at the back of Bond Street station at 2 Weighhouse Street and I used to come up to see him and his wife; Rene.

October 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Report Finds London North Eastern Railway Can Aid UK’s Pandemic Recovery

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

It is a must-read article, that discusses a report by respected consultants; Steer.

The main conclusion is that LNER services are worth £ 2 billion per year to the UK.

Could similar figures be attributed to other train operating companies?

October 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

Rolls-Royce Joins Boeing And World Energy For Successful 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel Flight

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from Rolls-Royce.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Rolls-Royce, working with Boeing and World Energy, has carried out a successful test flight of its 747 Flying Testbed aircraft using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on a Trent 1000 engine.

The aircraft flew from Tucson airport in Arizona, passing over New Mexico and Texas, with a Trent 1000 engine running solely on 100% SAF while the remaining three RB211 engines ran on standard jet fuel, arriving back at the airport three hours and 54 minutes later. Initial indications confirm there were no engineering issues, providing further proof of the fuel’s suitability for commercial use.

Until new zero-carbon technology is developed, which possibly uses hydrogen as a fuel, I believe that Sustainable Aviation Fuel is the best route that the world can take to cut the carbon emissions from flying.

October 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wagons Roll For Freightliner UK

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on railfreight.com.

This is the first paragraph.

UK operator Freightliner has taken delivery of the first batch of new FFA-G wagons for UK operations. The forty wagons have arrived in the UK from Poland, adding to the intermodal fleet of the operator. The entire order, for 230 wagons will be delivered by the end of November 2021.

The wagons have been designed for efficiency and being able to take a forty foot container anywhere on the UK’s network with a loading gauge of W10.

 

 

October 20, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Battery Rather Than Hydrogen Trains Suggested In Sachsen Study

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Railway Gazette.

This is the first paragraph.

The use of battery rather than hydrogen traction is recommended in a study into options for replacing diesel multiple-units on regional routes around Dresden where electrification is unlikely in the short to medium term.

They give the reason that battery power is a better short term option, where electrification is envisaged in the long-term.

 

I also think, that in the case of the German hydrogen trains, which are hydrogen-power only, this means that the trains will have to be replaced, as the electrification is installed. Whereas, with battery-electric trains, they just get more efficient as the wires go up and don’t need to be replaced. Although, their batteries might be removed to improve acceleration.

Dresden, Leipzig and that area of Germany also has a lot of electrification already, so charging will not be a problem.

But battery power would also get around the problem at Zwickau, where diesel multiple units run through the streets as trams to a station in the town centre.

 

The picture shows a diesel multiple unit playing trams in Zwickau Zentrum station.

  • Note the orange lights that flash on the train.
  • Trams call at the other side of the platform.
  • I wonder, if the Germans felt that battery-electric trains will be safer in Zwickau than hydrogen-powered trains.

It puzzles me, why this simple solution is not used more often to extend railways into town and city centres.

With battery-electric trains, there would be no need for any electrification.

Conclusion

The Germans seem to be going battery-electric train mad!

Perhaps, we should follow their example?

October 20, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ineos To Invest €2bn In European Electrolysis Plants

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Engineering and Technology Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Chemicals giant Ineos has announced that it will invest more than €2bn in electrolysis plants in the region for the production of green hydrogen, a zero-carbon fuel with applications in transport, heating, and energy.

The article states that plants could be built in Norway, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK.

Conclusion

This is a big endorsement for hydrogen.

October 19, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , | Leave a comment

What Will Happen To The Eighty-Seven Class 350 Trains

At the current time, West Midlands Trains have a fleet of eighty-seven Class 350 trains.

  • The trains are being replaced by new Class 730 trains.
  • They are of different specifications.
  • The interiors vary, but there are a lot of tables.
  • All are four-car sets.
  • They are 110 mph trains.
  • Thirty of the trains are dual-voltage.
  • Fifty are owned by Angel Trains.
  • Thirty-seven are owned by Porterbrook, who have looked at converting the trains to battery-electric operation.
  • They are a bit of a dog’s breakfast, although they are excellent trains.
  • The future of the trains is rather uncertain and even Porterbrook’s plans have gone rather quiet.

So perhaps a big dog ought to round up all these trains and turn them into something more useful.

Consider.

  • All the trains were built in this century by Siemens in Germany.
  • Siemens service the Class 350 trains at Kings Heath Depot in Northampton.
  • Siemens have recently opened a factory in Goole to make new trains for the London Underground.
  • Siemens are developing the Mireo Plus B, which is a battery-electric multiple unit in Germany.

Siemens must have the knowledge and experience to turn these trains into a quality fleet of battery-electric trains.

  • Thirty would be dual-voltage and fifty-seven would be 25 KVAC overhead only.
  • All would be 110 mph trains.
  • I doubt there would be many places on the UK rail network, where they couldn’t run.

All appear to be in excellent condition, as these pictures show.

I very much feel, that these fleets could be converted into a quality fleet of very useful battery-electric trains.

Charging The Batteries

Most of the charging would be done from existing electrification, but as all trains have pantographs, they could use specially-erected short lengths of 25 KVAC overhead wires or charging systems like the Furrer + Frey Voltap system.

Possible Routes

I will start with the dual-voltage trains.

  • Uckfield Branch, where a charger would be needed at Uckfield station.
  • Marshlink Line
  • Basingstoke and Exeter, where chargers would be needed at Salisbury and Exeter and possibly Yeovil Junction.

I feel with 25 KVAC overhead applications, we will soon run out of trains.

 

 

October 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Battery Trains Ordered For Hermann-Hesse-Bahn

The title of this post, is the same as that, of this article on Railway Gazette.

This article is yet another endorsement of battery-electric trains.

There is more about the history of the Hermann-Hesse-Bahn in Wikipedia entry for the Black Forest Railway.

Could the Germans be using a battery-electric railway to bring in the tourists?

October 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment