The Anonymous Widower

There’s Gold In Them There Hills

And lots of other things too!

Since the 1950s, there has always been talk of a mining revival in the UK.

This article on Proactive Investors is entitled The Great British Mining Revival Is Needed Now More Than Ever.

Sixteen mining companies are listed.

February 25, 2021 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

Malta Inc Energy Storage Explained

Malta Inc first came to my notice in 2018 and I wrote Gates Among Billionaires Backing Alphabet Energy Spinoff.

But I couldn’t find much information at the time, but they now have a web site that gives a good explanation.

This page on the web site is entitled Our Solution.

This infographic from the web page, lays out the key features.

This sentence outlines the method of operation.

The Malta energy storage system takes electricity, converts and stores that electricity as heat, and then converts it back to electricity to be redistributed on the electric grid. In charge mode, the system operates as a heat pump, storing electricity as heat in molten salt. In discharge mode, the system operates as a heat engine, using the stored heat to produce electricity.

The operation is explained in five stages.

  1. Collects – Energy is gathered from wind, solar, or fossil generators on the grid as electrical energy and sent to Malta’s energy storage system.
  2. Converts – The electricity drives a heat pump, which converts electrical energy into thermal energy by creating a temperature difference.
  3. Stores – The heat is then stored in molten salt, while the cold is stored in a chilled liquid.
  4. Reconverts – The temperature difference is converted back to electrical energy with a heat engine.
  5. Distributes – Electricity is sent back to the grid when it is needed.

Note.

  1. The operation of the system is based on well-understood thermodynamic principles.
  2. Entergy is stored as both heat and cold.
  3. It provides several hours of energy storage.
  4. Systems are built using standard components, that are readily available.

In some ways the Malta Inc PHES is based on similar principles to Highview Power’s CRYOBattery and Siemens Gamesa’s ETES.

Conclusion

This is a company to watch, as they seem to have got the technology right.

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Luton DART Fly Through

This video does what it says in the title.

It certainly looks like the DART will greatly improve the experience of getting to Luton Airport.

The Future Of Luton Airport

For many people, including myself, getting to Luton Airport currently, is not the easiest.

I haven’t used Luton Airport since I went to see England play in Belarus in 2008.

In those days, I drove to the Airport from Suffolk, but these days, as I don’t drive, I’d use the train.

Luton Airport By Train And DART

With the claimed four minute journey of the DART shuttle, times of around thirty minutes between St. Pancras and Luton Airport will be possible.

Current trains from London include.

  • One fast train per hour (tph), run by East Midlands Railway, that connects St. Pancras and Nottingham stations.
  • Four stopping tph, run by Thameslink, that connect Gatwick Airport, St. Pancras and Bedford.

I can see the following improvements in the next few years.

  • East Midlands Railway’s new Class 810 trains, which will run on electricity between St. Pancras and Kettering, may be able to provide a more frequent fast service.
  • There has been statements from Luton Airport, that they’d like to see four fast tph.
  • Four fast tph could be possible with the new trains, which will have fast acceleration and deceleration, thus ensuring a quicker stop.
  • The station also has separate fast and slow lines, so could probably handle four fast tph and four slow tph with only the most minor of improvements.
  • Luton Airport Parkway station being updated to handle more passengers.

I can see these rail improvements both attracting more passengers to Luton Airport and encouraging more of them to use the train.

A Second Passenger Terminal At Luton Airport

In 2019, with one runway and one terminal, Luton Airport handled eighteen million passengers.

By comparison, in 2019, with one runway and two terminals, Gatwick Airport handled over forty million passengers.

Wikipedia says this about a second terminal at Luton Airport.

In February 2019, London Luton Airport Limited announced plans to expand the airport by building a second terminal. The expansion would increase airport capacity to handle 32 million passengers per year 2039. The enlarged airport would continue to operate using the existing single runway.

With unlimited passengers wanting to fly and comparing these ambitions to the current figures for Gatwick, I don’t believe they are unreasonable.

But in times of Covid-19 and global warming, the expansion plans may not happen as envisaged.

This Google Map shows Luton Airport

Note.

  1. Luton Airport Parkway station in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. The current terminal is on the North side of the crunway.

There is probably space for a second terminal, either to the North-East or South of the runway. Extension of the DART is probably already designed for.

Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft

Consider.

  • Luton Airport is mainly short-haul.
  • Short-haul flights are more likely to go zero-carbon, using hydrogen.
  • Will hydrogen-powered aircraft need more space on the apron? I think they could!
  • Heathrow is crowded, with lots of large aircraft.

With more space, Luton, Gatwick and/or Stansted could position themselves as the airports to get your zero-carbon flights to the sun.

February 24, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cardiff Bridge Avoids £40m Demolition Thanks To Electric Resistant Paint

When I first saw this headline on this press release on the Network Rail web site, I felt it sounded too good to be true.

This is the introductory paragraph.

In a world first, electric resistant paint combined with voltage-controlled clearance (VCC) has helped make a Victorian railway bridge usable by new electric trains, avoiding weeks of passenger disruption and train delays in the process.

I think this is the bridge.

Note.

  1. The South Wales Main Line runs East-West, with Cardiff Central station to the West.
  2. The track between Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay stations runs North-South, with Cardiff Queen Street station to the North.
  3. The two rail lines cross over a canal.
  4. The site is surrounded by new high-rise buildings.
  5. The clearance been the bridge and the main line underneath appeared to be too tight for electrification to be fitted.

But by using the combination of technologies, as stated in the introductory paragraph, Network Rail were able to squeeze the wires through, which didn’t need the bridge to be demolished and rebuilt on a tricky site.

I can see that railways and other places, where high-voltage cables are close to metal structures, will be able to find lots of uses for Southampton University’s “Magic Paint”

 

 

February 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pedestrian Tunnels In Bank Station

Growing up in London in the 1950s, I was always intrigued by the escalator connection between Bank and Monument stations, shown on the tube map.

The connection opened in the 1930s, but I can’t remember using it until recently.

It is not shown on the latest map.

The combined Bank and Monument stations now have lots of tunnels and some will be affected by the works to extend the station.

Arriving On The DLR

These pictures show arriving on the DLR and taking the route up the escalator to the Central, Northern and Waterloo and City Lines.

Note.

  1. Once at the top of the escalator, the Central, Northern and Waterloo and City Lines are accessed by more tunnels.
  2. The tunnel, that used to run between the two platforms appears to be closed off at the moment.
  3. Could the Northern end be being turned into an information point?

Access To The Central Line

This visualisation shows the current and future access to the Central Line.

Note.

  1. The two fat curved grey tunnels on the left are the Central Line.
  2. The straighter one on the left is the Eastbound tunnel, with East at the top.
  3. The curved one is the Westbound tunnel.
  4. The tunnel facing us, between the Central Line tunnels is the triple escalator barrel from the entrance under Bank junction.
  5. Just visible underneath it is the spiral staircase that connects to the Northern Line.
  6. A new triple escalator will connect the Central Line platforms down to the main North-South travelator.
  7. Above the new escalators is the current connection between the Central Line platforms and the DLR.

These pictures show the connection between the Central and Northern Lines via the spiral staircase.

Note that once down the spiral staircase, the passage is level.

Northern Access To The Northern Line Platforms

Currently, there are two staircases down from the lobby, where both the previous routes end to the Northern Line platforms.

This visualisation shows the Northern ends of the current Northern Line platforms.

Note.

  1. North is to the left.
  2. The two tracks and the narrow island platform of the current Northern Line on the far side of the visualisation.
  3. The two staircases leading up from Northern Line to a lobby, where passengers can walk North to the Central Line.
  4. The double escalator barrel going down to the DLR.
  5. The three cross passages linking the DLR escalators to the lobby between the Central and Northern Lines.
  6. The most Southerly of these cross passages has a lift to the DLR.

These pictures show the two staircases leading up from the Northern Line platforms.

Other pictures show, top of the stairs, the lobby and the current state of the Southbound platform.

After completion of the upgrade, the following works will have been done.

  • The Southbound track will be filled in.
  • The Northbound platform will be extended over the former Southbound track and platform, to make a very wide platform.
  • The doors in the tunnel walls will become cross passages to the new Southbound platform about thirty metres to the West, the triple bank of escalators to the new Cannon Street entrance, escalators to the DLR and the travelator to the Central Line.

What will happen to the two short staircases?

At present they lead up to lobby with passages to the DLR and the Central and Waterloo & City Lines and the lifts.

  • It all depends on how much, they will be used with so many new routes in the station.
  • They could be refurbished, with perhaps one for up and one for down.
  • They could be shut off.

There certainly is space for wide staircases, leading down to the very wide single platform.

I think they should be kept to please the duckers-and-divers.

From The Northern Line Platforms To Monument Station

This is the original 1930s escalator connection between the Northern Line at Bank station and the District and Circle Lines at Monument station.

Note.

  1. Judging by the two sets of blue hoardings, there will be some extra passages connection to this route.
  2. The escalator is surprisingly long.

I do wonder, if this route might tend to be sidelined, as many passengers will find the new Cannon Street entrance quicker.

From Monument Station To The DLR

These pictures show going between Monument station And The DLR.

Note.

  1. Except at the DLR end, there is no blue hoardings hiding the construction work.
  2. The tunnel between the two platforms is blocked off.
  3. At the DLR rnd, both platforms can be accessed.

It strikes me that after the completion of the expansion of Bank station, this tunnel will be substantially the same.

 

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Earth’s Energy: Switching Geothermal Power On

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Power magazine.

This must-read article talks about the awakening of geothermal power, which even featured in Rolling Stone magazine last year.

This is a paragraph of the article.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) lists a number of benefits offered by geothermal resources. Among them is that geothermal energy can provide baseload power, regardless of weather conditions. Geothermal power plants are also generally compact, using less land per GWh (404 m2) than coal (3,642 m2), wind (1,335 m2), or solar photovoltaic (3,237 m2) power plants, according to a study cited by the DOE.

The dinosaur brigades, who feel renewable power is only an intermittent source and a total waste of money, are always going on about baseload power. So could geothermal provide it?

The article also talks about Chevron and BP investing $40 million in Eavor Technologies, a Canadian geothermal company. This is said of their investment.

Big Oil is an especially important partner for the geothermal industry because “not only do they bring money and motivation,” Redfern said, they bring expertise “in global operations and project management, and knowledge of the subsurface and how you mitigate risks.”

It sounds like sensible diversification to me for Big Oil. It’s a bit like INEOS diversifying into hand-sanitiser during the pandemic, as they make the stuff and only needed to add a bottling plant. If you have the expertise use it!

This paragraph sums up how we bring geothermal to the world by drilling deeper.

To truly unlock the potential of geothermal energy, the industry must develop better drilling techniques that can “mine heat at much deeper depths,” said Vinod Khosla, an entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Today, geothermal companies typically drill to depths of about five kilometers at most. “If we [can] go to 15 to 20 kilometers … then we will have limitless heat everywhere on the planet, or most places on the planet, with geothermal. And that would expand the market for geothermal 100-fold,” said Khosla, who describes himself as being “very, very bullish on geothermal.”

Khosla believes that new drilling techniques will get us to these awesome depths and has put his money, where his mouth is.

Read the article.

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , | Leave a comment

My First Ride In A Class 720 Train

Today, I took my first ride in one of Greater Anglia‘s Class 720 train.

It was only between Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Notes and questions.

  1. Are all of the individual seats identical and can they be arranged as ones, twos or threes as required?
  2. Could this mean, that Greater Anglia could create a 2 + 2 version with tables. if they felt such a train was necessary for some routes?
  3. The details like luggage racks, wheelchair spaces and power sockets seem to be of a high standard.
  4. The ride seemed smooth. But if I was going between Liverpool Street and Norwich, I’d prefer to ride in one of Greater Anglia’s Stadler trains.
  5. The last picture is of the seats in a Class 345 train, as I wanted to judge a comparison.
  6. The Class 720 seat appears to my posterior to be slightly more comfortable, than the Class 345 seat.

This train is more than just a high-capacity suburban trundler.

February 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 4 Comments

Felixstowe And Harwich Ports Submit Bid For ‘Freeport’ Status

The title of this post is the same as this article on the BBC.

These are the first three paragraphs.

A bid for “freeport” status for two existing ports has been submitted after the project was approved by a council.

East Suffolk Council unanimously backed the bid for the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International to become one of 10 freeport facilities across the UK.

Freeport East would see owners Hutchison operate a single custom zone covering both coastal ports.

I think, some will think this a bit cheeky, but I think it is a product of the characters of the counties of Essex and Suffolk.

I was conceived in Suffolk and have probably spent half my life in the county.

It’s a county that thinks big.

  • Is there another woman, who as Boudica did, assembled an army of hundreds of thousands and attempted to throw an unwelcome invader out of her country?
  • The history of her tribe; the Iceni is closely tied, according to some historians, to the development of the thoroughbred racehorse at New Horse Market or Newmarket as it is known today!
  • Newmarket is to horse racing as St. Andrews is to golf.
  • The town is home of about 3,500 horses and is a major centre for horse and animal health.
  • Newmarket Heath is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is to be the largest area of mown grass in the world.
  • Suffolk sheep are one of the most numerous sheep breeds in the world, having been exported all over the world.
  • Suffolk is the only county in England with its own breed of sheep, cattle (Red Poll) and horse (Suffolk Horse)
  • Bury St. Edmunds Abbey was one of the largest churches in England.

When I was about seven, the Port of Felixstowe was just a small dock exporting grain and now it the busiest container port in the UK and the eighth in Europe.

It is no surprise to me, that Felixstowe and Harwich want to be a Freeport, so they can expand further.

There have already been related news and media reports.

Freeport East Web Site

The Freeport East web site is at www.freeporteast.com.

Read these sections.

It is an ambitious vision. As someone, who believes we must innovate, this paragraph from the Innovation section strikes the right tone.

Beyond the energy sector, Freeport East will also contribute to wider innovation in the technology sector. Hutchison Ports is already working with Cambridge University and Three UK to develop innovative 5G applications. Hutchison Ports is also working with the New Anglia LEP, Tech East and BT’s research centre at Adastral Park on new telecommunications infrastructure. Freeport East will embed these technological innovations at its heart and help to make the UK a world leader in technological innovation

The web site, also talks about the ports becoming major centres for the development and servicing of renewable energy in the North Sea.

A Little Help From Their Friends

I notice that in some reports, they have joined forces with the University of Cambridge. As Cambridge colleges are big local landowners, this can only be to the benefit of the concept.

A Hydrogen Freeport

This article on the Eadt Anglian Daily Times is entitled Top Ports Could Be Powered By Hydrogen In Major Project.

The project is well-described in the article with this infographic, that shows how nuclear power from Siewell and wind power from the North Sea can come together to decarbonise shipping and the port.

This paragraph sums up the hydrogen project.

At its peak, the power project, which will be delivered in partnership with Ryse-Hydrogen and EDF, developers of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station, will produce 1GW of hydrogen – 20% of the 5GW target in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Suffolk is thinking big again!

It certainly does appear, that several ports are following the hydrogen route. On this blog I have mentioned Antwerp, Holyhead and Portsmouth recently.

So what will the hydrogen be used for?

The East Anglian article says this.

The clean fuel would be used to power port equipment, ships, trucks and trains.

Port Equipment

I think the interesting one is port equipment.

  • The chairman of JCB is Anthony Bamford.
  • His son; Jo Bamford owns Ryse Hydrogen.
  • JCB have recently released a hydrogen-powered digger.
  • JCB is mentioned on the infographic.

Could we be seeing a range of hydrogen-powered port equipment, that has been developed by JCB?

Other companies like Hyster are certainly developing hydrogen-powered port equipment.

Ships

Decarbonisation of ships is difficult, as they need a lot of power and it usually comes from that most noxious of fuels; bunker oil.

The Wikipedia entry for bunker oil, has a section called Environmental Issues, where this is said.

Emissions from bunker fuel burning in ships contribute to air pollution levels in many port cities, especially where the emissions from industry and road traffic have been controlled. The switch of auxiliary engines from heavy fuel oil to diesel oil at berth can result in large emission reductions, especially for SO2 and PM. CO2 emissions from bunker fuels sold are not added to national GHG emissions. For small countries with large international ports, there is an important difference between the emissions in territorial waters and the total emissions of the fuel sold.

A lot of work is being done to power ships with hydrogen.

Provide refuelling for hydrogen-powered ships and you’ll get the business.

Trucks

Diesel trucks hauling goods to and from ports contribute to the pollution in the port, but if they are powered by hydrogen, the pollution for workers and neighbours is less.

I can see some freight terminals adopting a policy of No Hydrogen – No Load, with hauliers.

In Holyhead Hydrogen Hub Planned For Wales, I talked about a hydrogen hub at Holyhead. Will the ports of Dover, Felixstowe and Immingham need to have hydrogen refuelling facilities to handle hydrogen trucks hauling goods between the island of Ireland and Europe?

Trains

It is my belief, that hydrogen freight locomotives will be developed, so Felixstowe will need facilities to fuel the trains.

Imagine two highly-automated ports at Felixstowe and Holyhead, both with large supplies of hydrogen.

  • A hydrogen-powered freight train would link the two ports.
  • Hydrogen-powered handling equipment would load and unload the containers.

How many trucks would that take off the roads between Holyhead and Felixstowe?

Conclusion

The Port of Felixstowe is going to use hydrogen to become more efficient and zero-carbon, and make it more attractive to shippers wanting to pay more than lip-service to decarbonisation.

The EU have constantly accused Boris of turning the UK into Singapore-on-Thames!

But here we are creating Singaport-on-the-Haven.

The EU has freeports, so I guess it’s OK.

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport, World | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Are These Two Good News Articles From Crossrail?

This press release from Crossrail is entitled Tottenham Court Road Elizabeth Line Station Enters Final Commissioning Phase.

These are the first three paragraphs.

The Tottenham Court Road Elizabeth line station has reached an important milestone with construction works sufficiently finished for final commissioning activities to start, Crossrail has confirmed.

The station has reached the T-12 landmark, this means the station is now considered to be 12 weeks away from being ready for handover to Transport for London (TfL), who will operate the Elizabeth line.

Work at the station will now primarily focus on the extensive testing and commissioning of systems ahead of the Elizabeth line opening. The railway is still on track to open in the first half of 2022.

This video from Crossrail explains what needs to be done before Trial Running can start.

This article on New Civil Engineer is entitled Crossrail | All But One Central London Station Is ‘Ready For Use’.

These are the first two paragraphs.

All but one of Crossrail’s central London stations has been signed off as “ready for use”, Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild revealed in his latest update to the London Assembly.

Paddington is the only station yet to have its assets assured and certified as ready to enter trial running.

It looks like Crossrail is finally getting there.

Bond Street Station

In both articles there is no mention of Bond Street station, which in many reports has been described as running behind the other stations.

So when the New Civil Engineer article said that only one station wasn’t ready for use, I assumed it was Bond Street, rather than Paddington, as noted in the article.

So has progress at Bond Street station improved? If it has that that would appear to be more good news.

In Your First Crossrail Service May Arrive In Time For Christmas, I was speculating, when I said.

Bond Street station certainly seems to have caught up with the others and there is no longer any suggestion it could open a year later.

Perhaps, I was right.

Conclusion

The news certainly isn’t bad!

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

Walking Between Oxford Circus And Tottenham Court Road Stations – 19th February 2021

Today, I walked down Oxford Street from Oxford Circus station to Tottenham Court Road station.

Note the pictures in the middle of the walk of the new Western entrance to Tottenham Court Road station, which will be on Crossrail.

This article on Construction Enquirer is entitled Galliard To Start £55m London Soho Resi Job.

  • 92 flats, a large store and smaller retail spaces.
  • Look at the pictures in the Construction Enquirer article and it looks to be a building that is not out of scale.
  • Ideal for Crossrail and the Northern and Central Line.
  • A hundred metres from the flagship stores of Marks & Spencer and Primark on Oxford Street.
  • All the colour and food of Soho at the back door.
  • Buses outside the front door to Euston, Kings Cross, Paddington and St. Pancras.

Who was it said, that the three most important points about a property are location, location and location?

 

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment