The Anonymous Widower

’88’ Makes Sizewell Debut

The title of this post, is the same as that of a news snippet in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

There is a picture of the electro-diesel Class 88 locomotive moving a nuclear flask from Sizewell on the closed Aldeburgh branch line to Crewe.

Note that is about 27-28 miles from the electrification at Ipswich East Suffolk Junction and the siding close to the power station, where flasks are loaded.

This is a classic use of an electric locomotive, that has a Last Mile-capability using an on-board diesel engine.

Many ports in the UK, like these examples are a few miles from the electrified network.

  • Felixstowe – 16 miles
  • Liverpool – 5 miles
  • London Gateway – 4 miles
  • Southampton – 2 miles

How many trains could be hauled to and from these and other ports using a Class 88 locomotive or their similar, but more powerful sibling; the Class 93 locomotive?

Conclusion

I suspect there are a number of routes that could be handled by electro-diesel locomotives.

I would like to see a serious analysis of all duties performed by diesel locomotives, like for example; Classes 66, 67, 68 and 70 locomotives, to see how many could be performed by suitably-sized electro-diesel locomotives.

If  there is a gap in the market, then a rolling stock leasing company, should fill it!

Just like Beacon Rail Leasing and Clayton Equipment appear to have done with a diesel shunter, which I wrote about in UK Diesel-Battery Hybrid Locomotive Lease Fleet Ordered.

As Beacon Rail Leasing seem to be heavily involved in the leasing of electro-diesel locomotives, perhaps, they’re working on it?

 

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

UK Diesel-Battery Hybrid Locomotive Lease Fleet Ordered

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

This is a visualisation of the CBD90 from Clayton Equipment.

It certainly looks purposeful!

This is the introductory paragraph.

Beacon Rail Leasing has awarded Clayton Equipment a contract to supply 15 diesel-battery locomotives, with options for more to be ordered over three years.

These points are made.

  • The locomotive is mainly for industrial shunting applications.
  • These are the largest locomotives built in the UK for twenty years.
  • It has an onboard diesel to charge the batteries.
  • Batteries can also be charged directly from a three-phase supply.

Beacon’s CEO is quoted as saying

It was seeing increased demand for lower emissions, new technology, more capacity and cost-effective assets in a fast-changing environment.

It looks like Beacon Rail Leasing and Clayton Equipment have come up with a product that suits a lot of customers.

  • Some will surely be used in mines, quarries, refineries, chemical works and steel works.
  • Will some be used in large rolling stock depots, where they can provide an environmentally-friendly method of moving trains?
  • Some shunting locomotives in the UK, like the Class 08 locomotive, were built in the 1950s.
  • Some train operating companies have a small fleet, of these veterans.
  • In Battery-Powered Shunter Ready To Begin Testing, I described how one Class 08 locomotive was being converted to diesel-electric hybrid power.
  • As Beacon has interests in Europe, could some of these powerful shunting locomotive could be going for export?
  • Could some end up in the large mines of Africa, Australia and the Americas?

From this article on Railway Gazette, which is entitled Steelworks Locomotive Order, it appears five CBD90 locomotives have already been ordered by Tata Steel for their steelworks at Port Talbot.

This video shows one of the locomotives under test.

I shall be interested to see, where the new shunting locomotives end up.

The Leasing Model

When we started Metier Management Systems in the 1970s and developed Artemis, which was the world’s first small and powerful project management system, we used to lease systems to our customers. These were often large engineering or other companies for whom the leasing model was very convenient.

It certainly did us well!

 

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

COVID-19 Pandemic In Cambodia

The title of this post, is the same as this entry in Wikipedia.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The first case relating to the COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed in Cambodia on 27 January 2020. According to Global Health Security Index’s report in 2019, Cambodia ranked 89th out of 195 countries in preparedness for infectious disease outbreak.

It doesn’t prepare you well for the remarkable statistics from the country, given in the Wikipedia entry.

  • Confirmed cases – 123
  • Tests conducted – 15,162 as of 17th May
  • Active case – 1
  • Recovered – 122
  • Deaths – 0

The Wikipedia entry then lists all of the cases in detail.

I know we can say that any country with an important amount of revenue from tourism can massage the statistics, but I do feel that the data is reasonably scientifically correct.

So why are Cambodia’s statistics so remarkable?

I have never visited Cambodia, but Cambodian cuisine used to be recognised as completely gluten-free, when I was diagnosed as a coeliac by Addenbrooke’s hospital in 1997. I was told by a dietician at the hospital, who joked that someone should start a Cambodian restaurant in Cambridge

There is sufficient data on the Wikipedia entry to almost do a professional track and trace and it appears that several cases came from a cruise ship and others from foreign travel.

But even so, only 52 Cambodians have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and all have survived.

Could it be that their diet gives them a strong immune system?

I seem to remember reading somewhere, that a scientist postulated that one of the waves of plague that swept Europe happened, soon after high-gluten wheat started to be grown in great quantities.

Conclusion

The Cambodians are obviously doing something right!

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Food, Health | , , | Leave a comment

New Zinc-Air Battery Is ‘Cheaper, Safer And Far Longer-Lasting Than Lithium-Ion’

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

A new type of battery is coming onto the market that can store multiple days’ worth of energy, that doesn’t degrade, can’t possibly explode and is up to five times cheaper than lithium-ion, claimed its developer as it prepares to pilot the technology in New York state.

The zinc-air hybrid flow battery developed by Canadian company Zinc8 has the potential to disrupt the entire energy-storage market — making wind and solar farms baseload and even replacing the need for transmission grid upgrades in many places.

The article then gives an in depth review of Zinc8, its technology and its future prospects.

  • The Chief Executive is a former Canadian MP. Political connections help!
  • The company has $100million of funding.
  • Zinc8 energy storage systems are made larger by fitting and bigger storage tank and adding more electrolyte.
  • The capital cost of an eight-hour Zinc8 storage system is about $250/KWh, but this falls to $100/KWh for a 32-hour system and $60/KWh for a hundred-hour system.
  • Lithium-ion systems ttpically cost $300/KWh for any duration over eight hours.
  • The cost of Zinc8 systems is expected to fall as manufacturing increases.

The article finishes with a detailed description of how the technology works.

It also details the company’s growth strategy.

Conclusion

This technology looks like it will give lithiujm-ion batteries a good run for its money in grid storage applications and it could be one of those technologies that help the world to embrace renewable energy, like wind, solar and wave power.

It has various advantages.

  • Lower cost of installation.
  • Falling manufacturing cost.
  • Easily scalable.
  • No exotic or hazardous materials, just zinc, water and air, which are recycled.

My only worry, is that Zinc8, sounds too good to be true! But having met researchers at ICI, who were concerned in the birth of polythene, this could be a normal cynical reaction.

 

 

 

May 22, 2020 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments