The Anonymous Widower

Freshly Vacuumed Strawberries

I have been eating a few more boxes of Dyson’s strawberries.

They certainly seem clean and could have had a good vacuum before packing.

Unlike some Moroccan ones, which tasted like they’d been sprinkled with some sand from the Sahara.

Plump And Red

Dyson Farming’s strawberries do seem to be very plump and very red.

Is this because they have been grown, so that they will be easy for picking robots to identify in the future?

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

Rail Baltica Concept Trains Inspired By Sun, Sea And Sand

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

The article shows concept images and I suspect that any of Europe’s train makers could make trains like these.

Rail Baltica will have following route and specification.

  • It will eventually run between Helsinki and Warsaw, via Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
  • There will be a tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn.
  • It will carry both passengers and freight.
  • Freight trains will have a maximum length of 1050 metres, as opposed to 775 metres in the UK.
  • It will be mainly double-track.
  • It will be a standard gauge track with right-hand running, as all countries in the area use right-hand running.
  • There will be no level crossings.
  • It will have 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • There will be ERTMS signalling.
  • Passenger trains will run at 249 kph (161 mph)
  • It is intended to be completed in mid-2026

The specification is similar to High Speed Two, with these exceptions.

  • High Speed Two is faster at 205 mph.
  • High Speed Two runs on the left.
  • High Speed Two will not carry freight.

Phases 1 and 2a of High Speed Two should complete in 2029-2033, with Phase 2b following in 2035.

The bidders to build High Speed Two’s rolling stock include.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar list of companies tendering to build the trains for Rail Baltica.

  • Stadler, who have factories in Poland may be added to the list.
  • As the trains are being designed at the same time as High Speed Two trains, I wouldn’t be surprised to be similarities.
  • They would also have to be designed for both left and right hand running, if there was any chance of a service between Paris and Helsinki.
  • Although, they will run under 25 KVAC electrification on Rail Baltica,they may need to be able to run on other voltages.

I very much feel that Rail Baltica will be offered a selection of excellent trains.

Where Will The Trains Be Built?

Consider

  • This obviously depends, where winning bidder has factories.
  • But there is also the problem of getting trains between the factory and the Baltic.
  • This could be difficult for factories in Spain, as there would need to be a gauge change.
  • It would be easier, if the route were standard gauge all the way, as it would be from France, Germany, Italy and the UK
  • If a Spanish company got the contract, could it build the trains in the UK, as delivery could be easier.
  • I puzzle, why Talgo are building a factory in Scotland without any UK orders. But it would be easier to deliver trains to Russia and Eastern Europe by sea from Longannet than Spain.

There are a lot of factors that will define where the trains will be built.

 

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Volunteers Launch Conversion Of First Hydrogen Shunter

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

This story is a good example of how universities, companies, heritage railways and volunteers can work together to deliver useful projects.

Some of the Beeching Reversal and other projects seem to be following a similar model and if it works well, this can only be a good thing to improve the railway.

 

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

H2 And NH3 – The Perfect Marriage In A Carbon-Free Society

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

It is an article, which explains in detail, how we can use hydrogen and ammonia in the future.

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen, World | , | Leave a comment

Could Current Airliners Be Fuelled With Ammonia?

The title of this post, surely falls into the category of tabloid stories, that you get on a slow news day, when the Science Editor has been drinking in a pub, with a fantasist, who claims he runs his Ford Cortina on carrots.

But read this article on the Ammonia Association web site, which is entitled Zero Emission Aircraft: Ammonia For Aviation.

This is a paragraph from the article.

The propulsion system was devised by Reaction Engines and investigated by a team at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory … It would have the potential to efficiently crack the ammonia fuel using heat harvested from the jet engine through Reaction Engines’ ground-breaking heat exchangers to provide a zero-carbon fuel blend of ammonia and hydrogen that burns stably just like jet fuel. The density of liquid ammonia allows for conventional aircraft configurations to be used and it may be possible to retrofit into an existing engine, resulting in a zero-carbon jet that could start serving the short haul market well before the 2050 target currently set by the industry.

Note.

  1. The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is based at Harwell.
  2. Reaction Engines Wikipedia entry is interesting.

Read the Ammonia Association article in full.

Conclusion

I believe that the answer to the question in the title of this post is Yes!

 

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

IAG To Operate 10 Per Cent Of Flights With Sustainable Aviation Fuel By 2030

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

International Airlines Group has announced a commitment to operate 10 per cent of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030.

The owner of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling says it will purchase one million tonnes of sustainable jet fuel per year, enabling it to cut its annual emissions by two million tonnes by 2030.

It is a welcome development.

My feeling is that although a lot of greens, think that sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is a cop-out, it is the only way we have to cut aviation’s carbon emissions in the short-term.

  • It would not need any expensive modifications to aircraft.
  • SAF can also be delivered to airports using existing infrastructure like pipelines or rail tankers.
  • SAF can be made from household and industrial waste, disposable nappies and other materials like scrap wood and unwanted clothes, most of which will otherwise end up in landfill.

I also think that SAF could be a way to decarbonise existing rail locomotives by replacing the diesel engines with gas turbines.

So will IAG commitment give a boost to the production of SAF? I certainly hope it does, as we’ll all benefit.

Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft

This infographic from Airbus shows three of their proposed designs for hydrogen-powered aircraft.

Discover the three zero-emission concept aircraft known as ZEROe in this infographic. These turbofan, turboprop, and blended-wing-body configurations are all hydrogen hybrid aircraft.

Two of the designs; the ZEROe Turboprop and ZEROe Turbofan appear to have been designed by re-engineering current technology and designs.

The one I like is the Turbofan, which I feel is based on the airframe of the current A 320 neo.

  • Much of the wing, cockpit and fuselage appear very similar to that of the A 320 neo
  • There is a hydrogen tank in the rear fuselage.
  • The engines are probably modern turbofans, adjusted to run on hydrogen.
  • Range and passenger capacity are very similar to the current aircraft.
  • The ZEROe Turbofan would fit current airport infrastructure like tugs and terminals.
  • Aircrew would need little retraining between current A 320s and ZEROe Turbofans.

There might even be the possibility of being able to convert an A 320 neo into a ZEROe Turbofan!

But there is a flaw in my reasoning.

IAG have placed a large order for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Wikipedia says this in the entry for IAG.

In June 2019, IAG signed a letter of intent to purchase 200 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft even though at the time of the signing the 737 MAX was still grounded worldwide following the two fatal crashes likely caused by the design of the MCAS system. Aviation analysts have questioned IAG’s leadership in making such an order when the 737 MAX design is still being rectified. IAG CEO Willie Walsh, shrugged off the plane’s uncertain future. “We’re partnering with the Boeing brand”, he said. “That’s the brand that I’m doing business with. That’s the brand that I’ve worked with for years. And it’s a brand that I trust”

Could Boeing have offered a 737 MAX, that can be converted to hydrogen?

I certainly feel that both a 737 MAX and an A 320 neo can be converted to hydrogen.

  • The visualisations from Airbus of the A 320 neo and the ZEROe Turbofan are remarkably similar.
  • The 737 MAX is a traditional aluminium aircraft, so may be easier to convert.
  • As Boeing probably need a winner more urgently than Airbus, perhaps they can deliver a hydrogen-powered aircraft around the middle of the decade.
  • Both aircraft are a bit like Lego and can be shortened or lengthened as required.
  • Perhaps one or other of the planemakers have come up with a technique for storing environmentally-friendly liquid ammonia in the wings.
  • See Could Current Airliners Be Fuelled With Ammonia?

As my mother used to say. “It’ll all come out in the wash!”

But I do feel by 2030, we’ll be seeing zero-carbon airlines on short-haul routes. So IAG’s aim of getting ten percent of planes powered by SAF by 2030, is probably a stop-gap that will continue with older planes for some years.

 

 

 

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment