The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On The Liberal Democrats Manifesto

This article on the BBC is entitled Liberal Democrats Manifesto: 12 Key Policies Explained.

I feel that there is some scientifically incorrect thinking on both the part of the Liberal Democrats and the BBC.

Here are my thoughts.

Note that the numbers are those in the BBC article.

4. Generate 80% Of Electricity From Renewables By 2030

The BBC article says this about this proposal.

We are already on a path of rapid decarbonisation – with 40% of our electricity produced by wind, solar and biomass in the third quarter of this year.

And recent government projections suggest that contribution is set to rise to just under 50% over the next decade.

So the Liberal Democrats’ plan for 80% would mean the extremely rapid construction of many more solar farms and wind turbines on land and out at sea.

I think that the BBC are underestimating the City of London and especially, the big pension providers and insurance companies like Aviva, Aberdeen Standard, L & G and lots of others.

These companies need safe long-term investments and offshore wind, soplar farms and energy storage, fit the bill extremely well. In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I discuss how Aviva are backing renewable energy.

If the Government doesn’t annoy the City, it may well be possible to persuade companies to invest in renewable energy projects.

5. Tax Frequent Flyers

This will have various effects.

  • A family, who fly regularly to their weekend house in Bordeaux would take the train. This is beneficial.
  • More people will use their cars on short trips to the Continent. This is not beneficial.
  • Long haul passengers might find it cheaper to fly to say Australia, by taking a train to Paris or Schipol airports. This is not beneficial and already happens in Europe, where people drive to Schipol.

I am all for discouraging people not to fly, but I do feel that it fight be better to plant trees to offset the carbon.

7. Legalise Cannabis

Cannabis is a difficult problem.

  • I believe that we don’t know enough about the long term effects of taking cannabis.
  • I also think we don’t know enough about itsw theraupeutic uses.
  • I wouldn’t take it now, but if I was dying a painful death, I might try anything.

I also feel that my son was coeliac like me and his heavy use of cannabis and gluten ruined his immune system, which meant his body didn’t fight the early stages of the pancreatic cancer, that killed him.

8. Freeze Train Fares

This is one of those policies, that looks good on paper and goes down well with voters.

But look what happened on the North London Line, when new trains and more frequent services were introduced nearly ten years ago.

Passenger numbers increased dramatically and since then, the number of trains has been increased to match.

On many routes, a fare freeze would create a similar rise in passengers, so make sure the numbers are correct and the necessary new trains are ordered, refurbished or sourced.

Conclusion

Politicians never think out their policies fully!

November 20, 2019 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments

The Power Of Battery Storage

This article on Fastmarkets is entitled Neoen To Expand Li-ion Battery Capacity at Hornsdale Plant.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Australia’s Hornsdale Power Reserve, the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery plant, is set to expand capacity by 50% to 150 megawatts, according to Neoen SA, the French power producer that owns and operates the site.

If you read the article and the Wikipedia entry for Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR), you’ll see why it is being expanded.

This paragraph is from Wikipedia.

After six months of operation, the Hornsdale Power Reserve was responsible for 55% of frequency control and ancillary services in South Australia.[11] By the end of 2018, it was estimated that the Power Reserved had saved A$40 million in costs, most in eliminating the need for a 35 MW Frequency Control Ancillary Service.

Somewhat surprisingly, the power is mainly generated by the associated Hornsdale Wind Farm.

These are some statistics and facts of the installation at Hornsale.

  • There are 99 wind turbines with a total generation capacity of 315 megawatts.
  • HPR is promoted as the largest lithium-ion battery in the world.
  • HPR can store 129 MWh of electricity.
  • HPR can discharge 100 MW into the grid.
  • The main use of HPR is to provide stability to the grid.

HPR also has a nice little earner, in storing energy, when the spot price is low and selling it when it is higher.

It certainly explains why investors are putting their money in energy storage.

Wikipedia lists four energy storage projects using batteries in the UK, mainly of an experimental nature in Lilroot, Kirkwall, Leighton Buzzard and six related sites in Northern |England.  One site of the six  has a capacity of 5 MWh, making it one of the largest in Europe.

But then we have the massive Dinorwig power station or Electric Mountain, which  can supply ,1,728-MW and has a total storage capacity of 9.1 GWh

Consider.

  • Electric Mountain has seventy times the capacity of Hornsdale Power Reserve.
  • Electric Mountain cost £425 million in 1984, which would be a cost of £13.5 billion today.
  • Another Electric Mountain would cost about £1.6 billion per GWh of energy storage.
  • Hornsdale Power Reserve cost $ 50 million or about £26 million.
  • Hornsdale Power Reserve would cost about £0.2 billion per GWh of energy storage.

So it would appear that large batteries are better value for money than large pumped storage systems like Electric Mountain.

But it’s not as simple as that!

  • There aren’t many places, as suitable as North Wales for large pumped storage systems.
  • Omce built, it appears pumped storage system can have a long life. Electric Mountain is thirty-five years old and with updating, I wouldsn’t be surprised to see Electric Mountain in operation at the end of this century.
  • Battery sites can be relatively small, so can be placed perhaps in corners of industrial premises or housing developments.
  • Battery sites can be built close to where power is needed, but pumped storage can only be built where geography allows.
  • Pumped strage systems can need long and expensive connections to the grid.
  • I think that the UK will not build another Electric Mountain, but will build several gigawatt-sized energy storage facilities.
  • Is there enough lithium and other elements for all these batteries?
  • Electric Mountain is well-placed in Snowdonia for some wind farms, but many are in the North Sea on the other side of the country.

In my view what is needed is a series of half-gigawatt storage facilities, spread all over the country.

Highview Power looks to be promising and I wrote about it in British Start-Up Beats World To Holy Grail Of Cheap Energy Storage For Wind And Solar.

But there will be lots of other good ideas!

 

November 20, 2019 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Angry Sea At Dawlish

As I came back from Plymouth this morning, I came along the coast at Dawlish.

The sea was angry.

You could understand how the sea wall gets damaged by the sea.

November 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

China’s Biggest Worry Is Pork Not Protests

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

In the year of the Pig, apparently swine flu is rampant in China and half the pig population has gone in the last fifteen months.

It’s a thoughtful article by |Edward Lucas.

Over the years crises like this have brought governments down and with the price of pork rising fast China may see some serious unrest.

This situation is one to watch!

November 20, 2019 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment

New Trains Make Debut On Suffolk Route From Ipswich To Felixstowe

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

This introductory paagraph says it all.

The first new Greater Anglia train operating on Suffolk routes out of Ipswich has gone into service on the Felixstowe branch.

Frim the picture I’m sure it is a four-car Class 755 train.

November 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Will Future Hitachi AT-300 Trains Have MTU Hybrid PowerPacks?

I have mentioned this possibility in a couple of posts and I feel there are several reasons, why this might be more than a possibility!

What Do We Know About The Second Iteration Of An AT-300?

The first order for East Midlands Railway is for thirty-three five-car trains.

  • Four engines instead of three.
  • 125 mph on diesel power.
  • A modified nose profile.

I find the nose profile significant, as I don’t believe that the current trains are aerodynamically much more efficient than British Rail’s legendary InterCity 125 trains.

On the other hand, Bombardier’s Aventras look as if the company’s aerospace division has been involved in the design. They certainly are very quiet, when they pass close by.

The second order for West Coast Rail is thin on detail, but they do mention that services from Euston could reach as far as Godowen.

I would also feel that 125 mph on diesel could be very helpful on the North Wales Coast Line to Holyhead.

Will 140 mph Running Be Commonplace?

Very much so!

For 140 mph running by the current trains, the following is needed.

  • Tracks able to accommodate that speed.
  • ERTMS signalling
  • In-cab signalling

Wikipedia speaks of unspecified minor modifications to the trains.

To answer my question, I believe there will be running over 125 mph, if not 140 mph on substantial stretches of the following lines.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line

I also believe other routes could see large increases in operating speed on certain sections.

  • Basingstoke and Exeter
  • Breckland Line
  • Bristol and Exeter
  • East and West Coastways
  • Golden Valley Line
  • Great Eastern Main Line
  • Hitchin and Kings Lynn via Cambridge
  • North Wales Coast Line
  • Reading and Exeter via Newbury

If trains are capable of 125 mph and faster running without electrification, I can see Network Rail, doing what they have shown they can do well on the Midland Main Line, which is increasing line speed.

Note that on my list, I have included the second route to Norwich via the East Coast Main Line, Cambridge and Thetford and Kings Lynn services.

I can envisage hourly 125 mph services to and from Norwich and Kings Lynn joining and splitting at Cambridge and then running at high speed between Kings Cross and Cambridge.

It would be a massive boost for West Norfolk and Norwich, but it would not require extra high speed paths on the East Coast Main Line.

There must be other routes that by proven conventional track engineering can be turned from 80-100 mph lines into 125-140 mph high speed lines. No problem electrification to promote, design and erect. It just needs appropriate trains.

I can see the following routes without electrification being run at 125-140 by the new AT-300 trains.

  • Euston and Holyhead
  • Kings Cross and Cleethorpes via Lincoln
  • Kings Cross and Hull
  • Kings Cross and Kings Lynn/Norwich
  • Liverpool and Edinburgh via Leeds
  • Paddington and Exeter via Basingstoke and Yeovil
  • Paddington and Gloucester/Cheltenham
  • Waterloo and Exeter via Basingstoke and Yeovil

There are probably other routes.

Without doubt, the new AT-300 trains must be able to run at 140 mph on lines without electrification, once Network Rail have raised the operating speed.

Thoughts On AT-300 TrainsWith MTU PowerPacks

These are my thoughts on various topics.

Weight

The data sheet for the MTU PowerPack gives the mass at around five tonnes for a diesel engine of 700 kW.

Depending on the way you read the figures this appears to be less than that of a similar power diesel..

Fuel Economy

This is obviously better and MTU are quoting a forty percent saving.

Regenerative Braking

This comes as standard.

One PowerPack Per Car

I always like this concept, especially as many trains these days seem to have a lot of powered axles.

It also reduces the energy losses in the cables between cars.

The East Midlands Railway trains seem to have five cars and four engines, so is that four motor cars and one trailer.

Would trains be lengthened by adding extra trailer and/or motor cars as appropriate in the middle of the train?

Simpler Control System

MTU will have responsibility for the software of the PowerPack and all Hitachi’s control system for the train, will need to do with the PowerPacks is tell them how much power is required.

Hopefully, this will help in the debugging of the train, for which Bombardier had so much trouble with the Aventra.

Batteries

It appears that the design of the PowerPacks is very flexible with respect to size and number of battery packs.

Would it be an advantage for a train builder or an operator to tailor the battery capacity to the speed and length of a route.

Compatible AT-200 Local Trains

The AT-200 is Hitachi’s smaller and slower train of which the Class 385 train is an example.

If a version were to be produced with say three or four cars and one or more MTU PowerPacks, Hitachi would have a very nice bi-mode with a lot in common with the new AT-300, which would ease servicing for train operators, who were running both trains

Hitachi’s Relationship With MTU

MTU engines are used in the current Hitachi trains, so unless I am told otherwise,I am led to believe they have a good working relationship.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next generation of AT-300 use MTU PowerPacks.

November 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment