The Anonymous Widower

Face Coverings Your Choice

In England from today, you don’t legally have to wear masks.

This notice was on the door of Marks and Spencer at The Angel.

These are the words at the bottom.

Face coverings are not legally required but the Government recommends them in indoor crowded areas. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 please refrain from entering the store.

How sensible!

It will be interesting to analyse the takings of Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsburys as they are all close together on Liverpool Road.

I was standing outside Marks & Spencer, when I took the picture.

 

January 27, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tale Of Two Cataract Operations

I have now had two cataract operations.

There was a few weeks between the operations and in the interval they changed the machines.

  • The first was a Leica and the second was a Zeiss.

There were no problems with either operation, but there were differences, particular in how I felt afterwards.

  • With the first, I was slightly more uncomfortable and had a slight amount of pain in my left eye. But the pain was nothing that a few ginger biscuits couldn’t cure.
  • With the second, I’ve had no pain at all and the eye looks less red. I was able to take the dressing off in the evening and go out the next day, which I couldn’t do after the first.

Now fifty-four hours after the operation, my eyes are back to normal. I can even type this without putting on my glasses.

Conclusion

I would suggest that before you have a cataract operation, you make sure the surgeon will be using the latest machines.

January 26, 2022 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Amp Wins Consent For 800MW Scots Battery Complex

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Canadian storage player Amp Energy has revealed that its 800MW battery portfolio in Scotland has secured planning consent.

The portfolio is due to be operational in April 2024 and will comprise two 400MW battery facilities, each providing 800 megawatt-hours of energy storage capacity.

Some other points from the article.

  • The two facilities will be located at Hunterston and Kincardine.
  • They will be the two  largest grid-connected battery storage facilities in Europe.
  • The two batteries will be optimised by Amp Energy‘s proprietary software.

This Google Map shows the Hunterston area.

Note.

  1. The Hunterston A and Hunterston B nuclear power stations, which are both being decommissioned.
  2. Hunterston B only shut down on the 7th of January, this year.
  3. There is also a large brownfield site in the North-East corner of the map.

This second Google Map shows the South-East corner of the nuclear power station site.

It’s certainly got a good grid connection.

But then it had to support.

  • The Hunterston A nuclear power station rated at 360 MW.
  • The Hunterston B nuclear power station rated at 1.2 GW.
  • The Western HVDC Link, which is an interconnector to Connah’s Quay in North Wales, that is rated at 2.2 GW.

I’m sure that National Grid has a suitable socket for a 400 MW battery.

This Google Map shows the Kincardine area.

Note.

  1. The Clackmannanshire Bridge down the Western side of the map.
  2. The Kincardine Substation to the East of the bridge close to the shore of the River Forth.
  3. The 760 MW Kincardine power station used to be by the substation, but was demolished by 2001.

As at Hunterston, I’m sure that National Grid could find a suitable socket for a 400 MW battery.

Amp Energy’s Philosophy

As a trained Control Engineer I like it.

  • Find a well-connected site, that can handle upwards of 400 MW in and out.
  • Put in a 800 MWh battery, that can handle 400 MW in and out.
  • Optimise the battery, so that it stores and supplies electricity as appropriate.
  • Throw in a bit of artificial intelligence.

Old power station sites would seem an ideal place to site a battery. Especially, as many demolished coal, gas and nuclear stations are around 400-600 MW.

It should be noted that Highview Power are building a 50 MW/400 MWh CRYOBattery on an old coal-fired power station site in Vermont.

Conclusion

The Canadians seem to have bagged two of the best battery sites in Europe.

  • Both sites would appear to be able to handle 400 MW, based on past capabilities.
  • There is lots of space and extra and/or bigger batteries can probably be connected.
  • Scotland is developing several GW of wind power.

I can see Amp Energy building a series of these 400 MW sites in the UK and around Europe.

This is the big news of the day!

 

January 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BHP To Trial Battery Locos On Pilbara Iron Ore Network

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

The article summarised all the battery-electric locomotives ordered to bring the iron ore to the coast by mining companies; BHP, Fortescue, Rio Tinto and Roy Hill.

The article indicates some of the innovative operations that will be tried. This is a sentence from the article.

A key element will be to assess the potential for capturing regenerated braking energy on the loaded downhill runs, and storing it to power empty trains back uphill to the mines.

I would hope that the South Wales Metro, the Buxton branch and the East Kilbride branch will use similar energy conservation techniques.

January 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

SWR Says Farewell To ‘456’s

The title of this post, is the same as a section heading in the February 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

South Western Railways are reducing services because of the pandemic and they are retiring their Class 456 trains, which have been returned to their leasing company; Porterbrook.

  • The Class 456 trains are thirty-years old.
  • They are two-car third-rail electric trains.
  • They have an operating speed of 75 mph.
  • They are due to be replaced by new Class 701 trains.

According to the Modern Railways article, they have been put in store by Porterbrook.

But they are not trains in bad condition, as these pictures show.

The trains had a high-class refurbishment in 2014.

In Special Train Offers A Strong Case For Reopening Fawley Line, I discussed the reopening of the Fawley Line.

This is an extract from that post about the rolling stock to use on the line.

South Western Railway’s Innovative Train Plan

This is another quote from the original Rail Magazine article.

However, SWR’s Mark Hopwood favours a much bolder plan. “We’d have to take a decision, once we knew the line was going ahead. But my personal belief is that we should be looking for a modern environmentally-friendly train that can use third-rail electricity between Southampton and Totton and maybe operate on batteries down the branch line.”

Pressed on whether that would mean Vivarail-converted former-London Underground stock, Hopwood adds. “It could be. Or it could be a conversion of our own Class 456, which will be replaced by new rolling stock very shortly. But I don’t think this is the time to use old diesels.

Note.

  1. Mark Hopwood is now Managing Director of Great Western Railway.
  2. Great Western Railway and South Western Railway are both First Group companies.
  3. There are twenty-four Class 456 trains.

I wonder, if the plan that Mark Hopwood hinted at a couple of years ago, is being carried out.

Two dozen, two-car zero-carbon battery-electric trains would do nicely for some of the routes of GWR and SWR.

Converting Class 456 Trains Into Two-Car Battery Electric Trains discusses this possible conversion in detail.

January 25, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Up, Up And Away: Flying AirCar Earns Its Wings

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

This is the first paragraph.

A supercar that comes with wings attached has been given the green light to take to the skies.

It has been given European certification.

I will be very surprised if the Klein Vision AirCar is a success!

January 25, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Spanish Consortium Forms For $4.4 Billion Green Hydrogen Investment

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

This paragraph outlines the project.

A thirty-three company consortium, called the Spanish Hydrogen Network (Shyne) will be investing into a spectrum of green hydrogen technologies, including the installation of 500 megawatts of renewable H2 capacity by 2025. From there, the capacity will increase to 2 gigawatts by 2030. This represents half of the Spanish government’s goal for the entire country by that year, which is 4 gigawatts of capacity.

The article says this about the creation of hydrogen hubs.

The green hydrogen project’s goal is to “generate an ecosystem that connects” three H2 hubs.
The goal of the project is to develop an ecosystem in which three planned industrial H2 hubs in the Murcia, Catalonia and Basque regions will be connected. The project is also meant to support the development of two new innovation hubs in Castile-La Mancha and Madrid and will target the development of solid-oxide electrolyzers and photoelectrocatalysis.

Note that photoelectrocatalysis is the direct production of hydrogen from solar energy.

January 25, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Bus Crash: Children Injured As Double-Decker Hits Shop

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

Three children and two adults have been taken to hospital after a double-decker bus hit a shop in north-east London.

The crash happened on Selwyn Avenue, Highams Park, at about 08:20 GMT, the Metropolitan Police said.

London Ambulance Service (LAS) said 14 other people were treated at the scene, near Highams Park Overground station, but did not need hospital treatment.

The driver is quoted as saying, that his brakes failed.

This Google Map shows the route of the 212 bus route through Highams Park.

Note.

  1. The red arrow in the middle of the map shows the location of the crash.
  2. The bus route runs North-South on the map to the West of the railway line.

The pictures in the article show that the bus was going to Chingford, which is in the North.

In May las year, I took a ride on a 212 bus,which I described in A Trip On An Electric Double Deck Bus On Route 212 Between Chingford And St. James Street Stations.

This is an extract from that post.

I know someone, who used to manage this route and they called it a basket case.

I can certainly understand that.

  • The route is narrow in places with cars parked on both sides of the road. This must delay services.
  • I was lucky with the level crossing at Highams Park station, but at busy times it could be a nightmare.

Will the new Class 710 trains on the parallel Chingford Branch Line improve matters, by attracting passengers away from their cars in the area and the buses?

There has also been talk of a new station at Chingford Hatch, which could also be served by the 212 bus.

I can’t help feeling that the level crossing was something to do with the crash. Especially as a train went through just before the crash.

Interestingly, a few months ago, I used a black cab driven by a guy, who lives near Highams Park station. He felt the level crossing could be closed and drivers could use other routes. He also said, that since the new trains had started running, more were using the trains.

Perhaps improving the railway, with a couple of new stations, would also take the pressure of the buses.

January 25, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring Germany Under The Latest Travel Rules

Because of the lack of travel brought about by the Covids, I’ve built up a list of places that I want to visit in Germany.

  • Hamburg to see the Siemens Gamesa ETES energy storage and see how the Alstom Coradia iLint hydrogen train is getting on.
  • Karlsruhe to see the newly-opened tram-tunnel in the city.
  • Stuttgart to see how the construction work for Stuttgart 21 is faring and Alstom’s new battery trains.
  • The Lake Constance Belt Railway.

The latest rules mean that travelling back to the UK is easy, so if I chose a route that allowed me to visit all the places I want from say a hotel in somewhere worth visiting like Stuttgart, would it be possible to book an appropriate stay there as a package?

Would this mean all the paperwork going to Germany would be handled by someone else, so if a mistake was made, it’s not my fault?

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fortescue Buys Williams Engineering In Major Push Into High Performance Batteries

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

This is the opening paragraph.

Fortescue Future Industries has made its first major push into battery storage and high performance batteries with the $A310 million purchase of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), the offshoot of the Formula 1 specialists Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

Andrew Forrest certainly has a wide-ranging plan.

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Formula 1 Technology Company To Support Development Of Battery Train, was published later and gives more details.

This is the first paragraph.

Fortescue Metals Group’s green technology division Fortescue Future Industries is developing what it says is a ‘world leading’ battery electric train concept.

It will be interesting to see what technologies are at the heart of the ‘world leading’ concept.

If you are controlling a complex chemical or nuclear plant, you will often have a model of the plant inside the control system, so that the operating strategy can be consistently optimised.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see techniques like this and other advanced techniques be used to reduce the carbon footprint of rail transportation of iron ore and other minerals.

Perhaps, the ideal power for one of these heavy haul trains would consist of a master battery-electric locomotive up front with the crew, assisted by up to three hydrogen-, diesel- or battery-powered slaves.

  • All braking would be regenerative to battery.
  • Power would be called for from the slave locomotives as required.
  • Modelling would determine, if some sections needed electrification to charge the batteries.

I suspect there are opportunities to optimise round trips, as returning the empties will surely need less power.

 

 

 

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments