The Anonymous Widower

A Surprising Question From A Doctor

I must have been about twenty-five, when I caught both chickenpox and measles at the same time from two of my children. Or I did think, that was the case, but the two youngest children must have had the MMR vaccine.

I remember, that I spent fourteen days on the sofa hardly moving, which is very unlike me.

After I was feeling better, I went to see my GP, who thought it was all over.

He then asked me if I gave blood. I replied that I didn’t!

It was only a couple of years later, when I was watching a documentary about children with leukaemia, that I heard a possible reason for his question.

  • The documentary said that they gave blood with antibodies to childhood diseases to children undergoing chemotherapy.
  • And my blood with both measles and chickenpox might have been very useful.

I’m publishing this post, as it has been announced today, that COVID-19 is to be treated with blood plasma, from survivors of the disease.

This article on the BBC, which is entitled Coronavirus: Thousands Signal Interest In Plasma Trial, gives more details.

May 2, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , | 1 Comment

Highview Power And Railway Electrification

In Encore Joins Highview To Co-Develop Liquid Air Energy Storage System In Vermont, I gave brief notes about a proposed Highview Power CRYOBattery in Vermont.

  • The system will supply 50 MW for eight hours.
  • The total capacity will be 400 MWh.

Other articles have suggested, that the system could be built on the site of a demolished coal-fired power station, which still has a good connection to the electricity grid.

In other words, I believe that a CRYOBattery can be considered to be a small 50 MW power station.

  • It could be charged by local excess renewable energy during the day.
  • It could be charged by excess renewal energy from the electricity grid during the night, when there can be large amounts of wind energy, that needs a home.
  • Intelligent control systems, would balance the output of the CRYOBattery to the needs of the electricity grid.

It would be used in very much the same way as gas-turbine power-stations are used in electricity grids all over the world.

The Braybrooke Feeder Station

The National Grid is providing a feeder station at Braybrooke to support the Midland Main Line electrification.

This page on the Harbough Rail Users site is entitled Electrification Substation Plan for Braybrooke.

It gives this description of the sub-station.

Electrification of part of the Midland Main Line has moved a tentative step closer with the plans being prepared by National Grid for a feeder substation at Braybrooke, just outside Market Harborough.  The location is where a high-voltage National Grid power-line crosses over the railway and the plan is for a substation and associated equipment plus an access road from the A6. The substation is due to be completed by October 2020 and is intended to feed the power supply for the Corby line pending electrification of the main line through Market Harborough.

This Google Map shows the rough area, where it will be located.

Note.

  1. The A6 crossing the Midland Main Line.
  2. The solar farm in the South-facing field, which has a 3MW capacity, according to the Eckland Lodge Business Park web site.
  3. Various planning documents say the transformers on the substation will be 400/25 kV units.
  4. This means that the power-line in the area must be a 400 kV.

Unfortunately, I can’t pick out the line of 400 kV pylons marching across the countryside. But they are rather large.

The pictures show a group of 400 kV pylons near Barking.

  • The Midland Main Line at Braybrooke certainly seems to be getting a solid supply of electricity.
  • It was originally planned, that the electrification would go all the way, but it was cut back to Kettering and Corby a couple of years ago.
  • But to power, the electrification to Corby, it is being extended all the way to Braybrooke, so that the electrification can act as a giant extension lead for the Corby Branch Line.

The page on the Harborough Rail Users Site says this.

The Braybrooke substation is still planned, however, and the DfT has advised that the bi-mode trains will be able to switch power mode at speed.  They would therefore be able to continue running electrically north from Kettering as far as Braybrooke before ‘pan down’

It would appear, that the end of the electrification will be at Braybrooke, but the sub-station seems to have enough power to extend the electrification further North if that is ever planned.

I also think, that is rather an efficient and affordable solution, with very little modification required to the existing electricity network.

But not all electricity feeds to railway electrification have a convenient 400 kV line at a handy site for installing all the needed transformers and other electrical gubbins.

How Much Power Will Needed To Be Supplied At Braybrooke?

This can probably be dismissed as the roughest or rough calculations, but the answer shows the order of magnitude of the power involved.

Consider.

  • Braybrooke must be sized for full electrification of the Midland Main Line.
  • Braybrooke will have to power trains North of Bedford.
  • If there is full electrification of the Midland Main Line, it will probably have to power trains as far North as East Midlands Parkway station, where there is a massive power station.
  • Trains between Bedford and Market Harborough take thirty minutes.
  • Trains between Bedford and Corby take around thirty minutes.
  • Four trains per hour (tph) run between Bedford and Market Harborough in both directions.
  • The system must be sized to handle two tph between Bedford and Corby in both directions.
  • The power output of each Class 360 train, that will be used on the Corby route is 1,550 kW, so a twelve-car set will need 4.65 MW.
  • I can’t find the power output of a Class 810 train, but an InterCity 125 with similar performance has 3.4 MW.
  • A Class 88 bi-mode locomotive has a power output of 4 MW when using the electrification.

I estimate that Braybrooke could have to support at least a dozen trains at busy times, each of which could need 4 MW.

Until someone gives me the correct figure, I reckon that Braybrooke has a capacity to supply 50 MW for trains on the Midland Main Line.

A Highview Power system as proposed for Vermont, would have enough power, but would need a lot more storage or perhaps local wind or solar farms, to give it a regular charging.

Riding Sunbeams

Riding Sunbeams are a company, who use solar power to provide the electricity for railway electrification.

I’ll let their video explain what they do.

It’s a company with an idea, that ticks a lot of boxes, but would it be able to provide enough power for a busy electrified main line? And what happens on a series of rainy or just plain dull days?

Highview Power

Could a Highview Power energy storage system be used?

  • To store electricity from local or grid electrical sources.
  • To power the local electrification.

If required, it could be topped up by affordable overnight electricity, that is generated by wind power.

The Highview Power system could also be sized to support the local electricity grid and local solar and wind farms.

Conclusion

I think that Riding Sunbeams and Highview Power should be talking to each other.

 

 

May 2, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

COVID-19 Testing In Dalston

As I walked to Marks and Spencer, this morning, they were setting up a COVID-19 testing site, in the car park near Dalston Junction station.

Note that when I came back, there were a lot of cars queuing to get in.

May 2, 2020 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The COVID-19 Testing

I must first congratulate all those involved in organising and carrying-out the tests.

As someone, who has analysed many large databases for patterns of perhaps marketing information, product recalls or criminal activity, 100,000 tests per day or million in ten days, is a very large amount of hopefully reliable data, that I believe can be used to answer a lot of relevant questions about the progress of this pandemic and our very boring (For me, at least!) lockdown.

I hope, that the tests collect all the right data to go along with the physical data.

But I suspect that some important scientifically-correct questions won’t be asked. For instance.

  • What is your place of birth?
  • What is your BMI?
  • How much exercise do you do every day?
  • What is your religion?
  • How often do you attend a religious service?
  • How many in your household?
  • How many generations in your household?
  • Do you have a pet that needs exercise?
  • Do you have any drug habits?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • Do you smoke?
  • How much alcohol do you drink?
  • Are you vegetarian?

Only by collecting a full database alongside the testing process, will we get maximum value out of the testing.

May 2, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , , | 4 Comments

Highview Power Keeping Up Momentum

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

It’s full steam ahead for Highview Power as the energy storage provider’s CEO and President today updated on operations.

It does look thatHighview are optimistic since their partnership with Sumitomo Heavy Industries was announced, that I wrote about in Japanese Giant Sumitomo Heavy Invests In Liquid-Air Energy Storage Pioneer.

I am optimistic too!

  • Highview’s system uses no difficult technology or rare materials.
  • The system can provide large amounts of storage, which we are going to need with all the wind farms we are developing.
  • From my Control Engineering and mathematical modelling experience, I believe, these systems can be used to boost power, where it is needed, in the same way gas-fired power stations do.

But above all, Highview Power has created a standalone energy storage system for the Twenty-First Century, that catches the needs and moods of the Age!

Our energy system is changing and it not expressed any better, than in this article on Physics World, which is entitled Does The UK Need 40 GW Of Firm Capacity?

This is the opening sentence.

Whether it comes from nuclear plants or fossil fuel-fired power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS), the UK will need 30-40 GW of new “firm” low-carbon baseload generation by 2050 to meet the net-zero emissions target, Greg Clark reportedly said.

I don’t think that the country will allow any Government of the UK to build that much nuclear capacity and I have my doubts about the feasibility of large scale CCS. I also don’t think, the public will allow the building of large coal-fired power stations, even with CCS. And they don’t like nuclear either!

On Wikipedia, Wind Power in the UK, says this about the current Round 3 of proposals for wind farms.

Following on from the Offshore wind SEA announced by the Government in December 2007, the Crown Estate launched a third round of site allocations in June 2008. Following the success of Rounds 1 and 2, and important lessons were learnt – Round 3 was on a much bigger scale than either of its predecessors combined (Rounds 1 and 2 allocated 8 GW of sites, while Round 3 alone could identify up to 25 GW).

If you think UK politics is a lot of wind and bluster, that is pussy-cat’s behaviour compared to the roaring lions around our shores.

Wikipedia then lists nine fields, with a total power of 26.7 GW, but some are not being built because of planning.

But we ain’t seen noting yet!

Wikipedia says this about Round 4.

Round 4 was announced in 2019 and represented the first large scale new leasing round in a decade. This offers the opportunity for up to 7GW of new offshore capacity to be developed in the waters around England and Wales.

The Agreements for Lease will be announced in 2021.

Wikipedia then makes these points.

  • Nuclear power stations have funding and technical problems.
  • Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster public support for new nuclear has fallen
  • The UK government increased its previous commitment for 40 GW of Offshore wind capacity by 2030, in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019.
  • In 2020, this represents a 355% increase in ten years.
  • It is expected the Crown Estate will announce multiple new leasing Rounds and increases to existing bidding areas throughout the 2020-2030 period to achieve the governments aim of 40 GW.
  • The Scottish Government has plans to chip in 6 GW.

I will add these feelings of my own

  • I have ignored the contribution, that better wind-power technology will make to get more GW for each billion pounds of investment.
  • I can see a day, in the not too distant future, when on a day in the summer, no electricity in the UK comes from fossil fuel.
  • There will be a merging between wind power and hydrogen generation, as I described in ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration.
  • Traditional nuclear is dead, although there may be applications for small nuclear reactors in the future.
  • In parallel to the growth of wind power, there will be a massive growth of solar power.

But we will need to store some of this energy for times when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

  • Pumped storage hydroelectric schemes, as at Electric Mountain in Snowdonia may have a part to play as I described in The New Generation Of Pumped Storage Systems. But sadly, the UK doesn’t have the terrain for another 9.1 GWh scheme.
  • A lot of electricity will be converted to hydrogen to power industrial processes and augment and possibly replace natural gas in the UK’s gas network.
  • Some electricity will be stored in batteries in houses and vehicles, when it is most affordable and used, when it is more expensive.
  • Companies and funds, like Gresham House Energy Storage Fund will fund and build storage facilities around the UK.
  • Traditional lithium-ion batteries require a lot of expensive raw materials controlled by the Chinese!
  • But if we develop all these options, and generate tens of GWs using renewables, the UK will still need a substantial amount of GW-scale affordable energy storage systems.

It is my belief, that Highview Power is the only practical GW-scale affordable energy storage system.

My only worry about their system, is that the idea could be ripped off, by an unscrupulous country with a solid process plant industry!

 

 

 

May 2, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 1 Comment