The Anonymous Widower

An Interloper At West Ealing Station

These pictures show a Chiltern Railway‘s Class 165 train in West Ealing station.

Has the train just been borrowed by Great Western Railway or is there another reason?

It looks like as I passed, that I saw a Parliamentary Train, which uses the Greenford Branch to travel to High Wycombe

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Gates, Bezos Bet On Flow Battery Technology, A Potential Rival To Big Bets On Lithium-Ion

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

This is the first paragraph.

The U.S. energy storage market is expected to grow by a factor of 12 in the next five years, from 430MW deployed in 2019 to more than 5GW and a value of more than $5 billion by 2024, says Wood Mackenzie Energy Storage Service.

Those are big numbers and it makes me ask the question of whether Planet Earth has enough lithium.

The title of the article says that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are looking at flow battery technology, as a possibly alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

What Is Flow Battery Technology?

This is the first sentence of the Wikipedia entry for flow battery.

A flow battery, or redox flow battery (after reduction–oxidation), is a type of electrochemical cell where chemical energy is provided by two chemical components dissolved in liquids contained within the system and separated by a membrane.

Wikipedia’s explanation is comprehensive.

  • There are seven different types.
  • There are around twenty different chemistries.
  • They have various advantages and disadvantages.
  • They seem to be less efficient than lithium-ion batteries.

Applications include; load balancing, uninterruptible power supplies, power conversion, electric vehicles and standalone power supplies.

It looks like they are a lithium-ion replacement.


This technology is one to watch.

With all those types and chemistries someone could strike extremely lucky!


December 11, 2019 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

The First Flight Of A Commercial Electric Passenger Plane

This video has just been published.

Electricity is the future of aviation!

Initially, it will be smaller planes up to nine seats, like this DHC-2 Beaver and the Eviation Alice.

But I believe that we’ll be seeing Airbus A318-sized electric airliners by 2030.

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Action This Day!

This was Churchill’s famous phrase and you can read all about it here.

I am getting sick of the indecision of Brexit and I suspect many in this country feel the same.

As I’m retired, it doesn’t make any difference to my business and those that I employ, as there is no business and no employees.

To my mind, Brexit must be sorted by the end of January at the latest, so that we can all move on.

  • If we vote in Boris Johnson with a large majority, we might leave, although I suspect there will be challenges in Parliament, the Courts and on the streets.
  • If we vote in Jo Swinson with a large majority, she will revoke article 50 and that could be the end of Brexit for at least a few years and hopefully for ever.
  • If we vote in Jeremy Corbyn with a large majority, he will dither and prevaricate for a few years years, before we get another close referendum, which gives us more of what we’ve had for the last few years.

As someone, who voted Remain and now quite frankly doesn’t care, I believe the only way to get us out of this mess made by David Cameron, is to hope that Johnson or Swinson get a majority large enough to carry out their stated policies on Brexit.

As for Corbyn, who has a Push-Me-Pull-You policy on Brexit, everybody should make sure, that whoever they vote for, consigns Corbyn, his apparatchiks and their crack-pot policies to the dustbin of history.

December 11, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Councils Rely On Diesels While Charging Drivers Who Use Them

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

Some points from the article.

  • Ninety-two percent of council vehicles are diesel-powered.
  • Only three percent are the greenest electric models.
  • Sivty-two council fleets are totally diesel.
  • Twelve councils are thinking of restricting or charging diesel or petrol vehicles to cut pollution, but all of these councils are reliant on diesel.

It looks like a case of politicians saying “Do as I say, but not as I do!”



December 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 5 Comments

Bumpy Ride Over $44m Ferrari’s Missing Gearbox

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

Apparently, a guy paid $44 million for a Ferrari without a gearbox.

He must have had more money than sense!

I wonder how much tax, he will pay on that sort of transaction, if we get a Corbynista government?

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Highview Power To Build Europe’s Largest Battery Storage System

The title of this post is the same as that as this article on The Chemical Engineer.

This is the first two paragraphs.

HighView Power, the designer and developer of the CRYOBattery, is to build what it claims will be Europe’s largest battery storage system, in the North of England. The project will also be the UK’s first commercial cryogenic energy storage facility at large scale.

The 50 MW/250 MWh clean energy storage facility could help the UK to achieve its goal of decarbonising industry, heat, power, and transport, as CRYOBattery emits zero emissions and could dramatically contribute to emissions savings compared to fossil fuel plants.

I spent long hours in my past modelling chemical plants and processes for ICI and my experience tells me, that this could be the Holy Grail of energy storage.


  • All of the technology needed is proven and much would have been understood, by Victorian collossi like Brunel, Kelvin and Reynolds.
  • There are no expensive rare earths, chemicals or explosive gases.
  • The system is scalable.
  • There is no combustion and no emissions.
  • The system can be built on any suitable site, thus opening up the possibility of distributed energy storage.
  • Once the technology is working, this type of system, will be an ideal investment for a Pension Fund or Insurance Company, to get a good long-term return

I can see systems able to store a GWh of electricity being built, that can supply 200 MW of power for five hours.

I also feel non-battery storage like this and mechanical will make chemical batteries redundant for mass energy storage for grid applications.

After all, there’s only so much lithium and other important chemicals and that will be needed for energy storage in transport, like buses, trains and planes.

The Amount Of Energy Storage Needed In The UK

This is also a paragraph from the article.

According to early findings of the Storage and Flexibility Model (SFM) launched by the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels by 2050 the UK would need nearly 1,400 GWh of electric and thermal storage volume.

1,400 GWh of electricity storage is a very large amount. It would probably need a large proportion of all the lithium in the world, if conventional batteries were used. Highview will need none.

When you consider that the largest energy storage facility in the UK is Electric Mountain, which can only handle 9.1 GWh, building the 1,400 GWh of energy storage will be a massive undertaking.

But building perhaps a hundred or two of larger versions of this type of system and distributing them all over the UK might be a very practical way of providing the energy storage.

Provided the UK economy is good with a healthy City of London, these systems should be easy to fund, as they are the sort of investment, that provides an adequate long-term return, that is ideal to fund pensions and insurance.




December 11, 2019 Posted by | Energy Storage | , | 1 Comment