The Anonymous Widower

Fruit And Veg Self-Sufficiency Ahead Thanks To Heat From Sewage Farms

This headline caught my eye on an article in today’s Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Britain will become far more self-sufficient in tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and other produce under plans to tap heat from sewage farms and pipe it to giant greenhouses.

The idea of using waste heat to grow fruit and vegetables is not new.

The technique is used at Drax power station and at various Scottish distilleries.

Low Carbon Farming just intend to do it with heat from sewage works.

  • They have identified 41 sites in the UK.
  • The greenhouses will be larger than the O2.
  • The first two sites are in East Anglia and are being built near two of Anglian Water’s sewage works.
  • Fully developed, they could make the UK self-sufficient in tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers and for most of the year.
  • It would be a £2.67 billion investment, that would create 8,000 jobs.

Intriguingly, if they need more heat, they’ll use a fossil-fuel combined heat and power unit. The carbon dioxide produced will be fed directly to the fruit and veg, as it makes them grow faster.

Another Source Of Heat

In Exciting Renewable Energy Project for Spennymoor, I wrote about a Durham University project to use the waste heat in old coal mines to heat housing.

Could this heat be used to grow fruit and veg?

April 14, 2020 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | 1 Comment

Brain Boost: Lockdown Puzzles

The title of this post, is the same as that of a little section in the online copy of The Times, which says this.

Every day, Monday to Thursday, a printable page of extra puzzles to keep your brain trained during the lockdown

It’s funny, but the extra puzzles I got in the on-line copy were ones that I commonly do.

Does the Times server, look at the puzzles I do and give me ones I like as extras?

If they do, it is surely good marketing.

I think they’ll be giving out extra puzzles for a long time.

April 14, 2020 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , | 1 Comment

I Only Ran Out Of Deoderant

For about three years, I’ve not bought deodorant or toothpaste in the normal manner, in say a shop in the High Street or locally.

What I’ve tended to do, is just pack my toothbrush and a few other things in my travel bag and buy new travel ones, once I’ve gone through Customs.

Consequently, I’ve only bought small travel roll-on deodorants. I’ve used roll-on ones for many years, as I didn’t like to use aerosols with all their noxious gases.

On Friday my last one ran-out and I needed a new one. The only one I could buy in a local shop, was an aerosol powered by butane. In other words it’s a flame-thrower in all but name! Search the Internet and you’ll find lots of pictures.

I find this very sad, as I funded a development of a totally-safe aerosol, that used compressed nitrogen as the propellant! The development was sold to a US company and I got a return on my money! Obviously, the product wasn’t cheap and nasty enough! But it was good enough though to be discussed at the Montreal Climate Change talks in 2005.

I actually found the butane-powered flame-thrower impossible to use, due to the damage to my left hand.

  • Was it the break to my humerus caused by the school bully?
  • Was it the stroke?
  • Was it the recent damage caused by my fall?

I just needed to find a roll-on deodorant. But had they been discontinued?

This morning, thankfully, I found one at the Angel.

So I will smell better tomorrow!

I won’t leave this post before telling this tale.

I used to work for ICI Mond Division, who used to make the hydro-fluoro-carbon gases, that used to power aerosols in the 1960s and 1970s.

One of the guys in a nearby lab, where I worked at Runcorn Heath, used to formulate the propellants for possible products.

His standard joke was that he’d get baked beans into an aerosol, even if they had to come out one by one.

Every so often, he’d bring round samples that he’d made for various companies and one day I obtained an aerosol hand cream.

What make it was, no-one had a clue, but C always swore, it was the best hand cream, she’d ever used.


April 14, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On Powering Electrification Islands

In The Concept Of Electrification Islands, I didn’t say anything about how electrification islands would be powered. Although, I did link to this post.

The Need For A Substantial Electrical Supply

Electrification can use a lot of electricity.

This was illustrated by the electrification of the Midland Main Line, where a high-capacity feed from the National Grid had to be provided at Market Harborough.

But then the Government cancelled electrification North of Kettering leaving a twelve mile gap to be filled. I wrote about the problem in MML Wires Could Reach Market Harborough. In the end the sensible decision was taken and the electrification will now reach to Market Harborough station.

So places like Cambridge, Darlington, Doncaster, Leeds Norwich and York. which are fully electrified and on a main route probably have enough electrical power to charge passing or terminating battery-electric trains on secondary routes.

In Thoughts On The Actual Battery Size In Class 756 Trains And Class 398 Tram-Trains, I quoted the reply to a Freedom of Information Request sent to Transport for Wales, which said.

A four-car Class 756 train will have a battery capacity of 600 kWh.

A Class 756 train is similar to a Greater Anglia Class 755 train, which in Battery Power Lined Up For ‘755s’, I estimated weighs about 135 tonnes when full of passengers.

Weights for the Hitachi trains are difficult to find with a figure of 41 tonnes per car given for a Class 801 train on Wikipedia. In Kinetic Energy Of A Five-Car Class 801 Train, I estimated a full weight of a five-car Class 801 train at 233.35 tonnes.

Based on the Stadler figure, I would estimate that every train passing an electrification island will need to pick up as much as somewhere between 600-1000 kWh.

An Electrification Island At Sleaford

In The Concept Of Electrification Islands, I proposed an electrification island at Sleaford station.

  • Sleaford is a market town of around 18,000 people.
  • I doubt the power in the town has much surplus capacity.
  • This station is served by four trains per hour (tph), one to each to Lincoln, Nottingham, Peterborough and Skegness.
  • So it looks like a feed of three to four MW will be needed to charge passing trains.

Can the electricity supply in a town like Sleaford provide that sort of power for perhaps eighteen hours a day?

The only ways to provide that sort of power is to build a new power station or provide energy storage capable of boosting the supply.

Could Highview Power Provide The Solution?

I have been following Highview Power and their CRYOBatteries for some time.

They have already built a 5 MW pilot plant in Manchester and are currently aiming to build a plant with 250 MWh of energy storage, that can supply up to 50 MW. The company and this plant is discussed in this article on The Chemical Engineer.

One of these CRYOBatteries, would surely be ideal to power an electrification island, like the one at Sleaford.

  • It could be scaled to the electricity needs of the town and the railway.
  • It would be charged using renewable or excess energy.
  • There is a lot of wind power in Lincolnshire and just off the coast, which needs energy storage.
  • Similar systems could also be installed at other electrification islands at Cleethorpes, Lincoln, Skegness and other places, where the grid needs strengthening.

I have used Highview Power in this example, but there are other systems, that would probably boost the electricity just as well.

April 14, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment