The Anonymous Widower

London To Be A Magnet For Overseas Cash, Says Knight Frank

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

This is the first paragraph.

Investors from around the world are expected to spend £60 billion on London offices over the next five years in a post-Brexit, post-pandemic vote of confidence in the capital.

They also feel that the Americans will lead the investors.

I was pleased to read this, as although, they are talking mainly about offices, these will inevitably lead to a greater need for quality housing.

And the more people live in the city, the more public transport will be dug through London’s obliging clay, the more places of entertainment will open and the city will become an even better place to live.

It will also mean that if people like me want to more out, we won’t have trouble selling our properties.

February 4, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Work Begins On Bristol’s First Railway Station Since 1927

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Construction work has begun on Bristol’s first new railway station in 95 years.

Portway Park & Ride will open in the Summer, linking Shirehampton with the Severn Beach railway line.

It is planned to open this Summer.

I first wrote about Portway Parkway station in DfT Names Five Winners Of Fresh £16m Stations Fund in 2017, when the stations names were as follows.

  • Horden Peterlee in County Durham
  • Warrington West in Cheshire
  • Reading Green Park
  • Bow Street in Ceredigion, Wales
  • Portway Parkway near Bristol

Note.

  1. Portway Parkway is the last station to start construction.
  2. Reading Green Park station is still under construction and should open this year.
  3. Bow Street station opened in February 2021.
  4. Horden station opened in June 2020. I wrote about station after a visit, in Horden Station – 28th October 2020.
  5. Warrington West station opened in December 2019. I wrote about the station after a visit in January 2020, in The New Warrington West Station.

Given the pandemic, the construction hasn’t gone too badly.

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill Gates Invests In Verdox’s Carbon Capture Technology

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

This is the first paragraph.

Bill Gates has invested in a carbon capture start-up. His Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund has taken part in an $80 million fundraising for Verdox, a Massachusetts-based business whose technology aims to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air.

I have my doubts that this technology will ever be economic, especially as plant, trees and in particular rain forests, do a good job at using the carbon dioxide. Planting trees is also one of those feel-good community activities.

This last paragraph gives a few details of the process.

Verdox, which is a spinout from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims that its system is cheaper and more efficient. It uses a special plastic, which when charged with electricity, can extract CO2 from a mixture of gases. A change in voltage releases the CO2.

It is a process with a good pedigree, but you’ve still got to find a way to store or use the carbon dioxide.

Plants worked out how to do that eons ago.

 

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Power Storage Is The Next Big Net Zero Challenge

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Opinion from Bloomberg.

This is the sub-heading.

Britain’s pioneering plans for renewable energy show the global need could be massive. The means don’t yet exist.

The opinion is very much a well-written must-read.

One new project the article mentions is a 30 GWh pumped storage project at Coire Glas in the Scottish Highlands, that is planned by SSE.

I discuss this scheme in The Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme.

 

Bloomberg didn’t say it, but this pumped storage scheme could give the UK energy security.

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 9 Comments

BP Snaps Up 30 Per Cent Stake In Green Biofuels Ltd

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

So why would BP take a stake in Green Biofuels?

This paragraph in the Wikipedia entry for BP, outlines the company’s future philosophy.

From 1988 to 2015, BP was responsible for 1.53% of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. BP has set a goal to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. BP plans to increase its investments in renewables 10 times and reduce oil production by 40% from current levels by 2030.

BP is doing things like developing wind and solar farms to achieve these aims.

BP also seems to be investing in both blue and green hydrogen.

But possibly, the two hardest products to decarbonise are diesel for heavy transport and aviation fuel.

Looking at Green Biofuels web site, the Wikipedia entry for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and other sources, Green Biofuels product; GD+ seems to make a good fist of reducing carbon emissions and pollution, if it replaces diesel.

DB Cargo UK and HVO

DB Cargo UK have a fleet of nearly two hundred large diesel locomotives in the UK.

DB Cargo UK have been experimenting with HVO, as I wrote about in Powered By HVO.

The company has issued a press release on these trials of HVO, from which this is an extract.

DB Cargo UK’s Head of Asset Management and Maintenance Steve Wilkinson said the company was collaborating with one of the UK’s leading suppliers of HVO fuel which already worked with high-profile brands like Caterpillar, John Deere, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz.

“We are very pleased with the initial performance of the HVO fuel which we could use instead of or alongside traditional red diesel. The fact it is compatible with our existing diesel means investment in new storage and fuelling facilities would also be kept to a minimum,” he added.

“On top of that, it performs well at low temperatures, has a longer lifespan and is biodegradable,” he added.

DB Cargo UK currently operates 228 diesel and electric locomotives that transport in the region of 37 million tonnes of freight each year across the UK and into Europe.

It uses approximately 45 million litres of red diesel a year.

Was one of the UK’s leading suppliers of HVO fuel, a company called Green Biofuels?

Note that DB Cargo UK’s spokesman makes these points about the fuel.

  • They are very pleased with initial performance.
  • It is a straight swap for red diesel and it appears locomotives can run on either. He doesn’t say it but can it run on one fuel contaminated with the other? I suspect it’s a possibility.
  • Current storage can be used for HVO.
  • I get the impression that swapping from red diesel to HVO wouldn’t be the most challenging of operations.
  • It performs well at low temperatures. One train-driver told me, that one of the worse parts of the job, is picking up a train from a depot high in the Pennines on a cold day in the winter. That must apply to locomotives.
  • It has a longer lifespan.
  • It is biodegradable. I haven’t walked through an engine shed, since I used to bunk them as a child to get engine numbers, but they were filthy places, with oil and diesel all over the floor.

That sounds to me, like DB Cargo UK have decided that HVO is an excellent fuel and for them to swap to HVO, would be no more difficult than to swap between red diesel from BP to red diesel from Shell.

This is an extract from the Business Green article.

Founded in 2013, Green Biofuels is the UK’s largest provider of HVO, having delivered over 55 million litres of HVO products to the UK market over the past two years.

If DB Cargo UK wanted to swap from red diesel to HVO, they would need nearly all of Green Biofuels current production.

So have Green Biofuels run to BP and said can you help us out?

Red Diesel Replacement

This document on the Government web site is entitled Reform Of Red Diesel And Other Rebated Fuels Entitlement.

There is a section, which is entitled Policy Objective, where this is said.

In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws guaranteeing an end to its contribution to global warming by 2050. The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least an 80% reduction from 1990 levels. The government also launched in 2019 an ambitious new strategy to clean up the air and save lives, given air pollution is one of the biggest continuing threats to public health in the UK.

Red diesel is diesel used mainly for off-road purposes, such as to power bulldozers and cranes used in the construction industry, or to power drills for oil extraction. It accounts for around 15% of all the diesel used in the UK and is responsible for the production of nearly 14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Red diesel used in the construction and infrastructure building sectors was also estimated to have caused 7% of nitrogen oxide emissions and 8% of PM10 emissions (a type of particulate matter) in London in 2018. 

At Budget 2020, the government therefore announced that it would remove the entitlement to use red diesel and rebated biodiesel from most sectors from April 2022 to help meet its climate change and air quality targets. The tax changes will ensure that most users of red diesel use fuel taxed at the standard rate for diesel from April 2022, like motorists, which more fairly reflects the harmful impact of the emissions they produce. Removing most red diesel entitlements will also help to ensure that the tax system incentivises users of polluting fuels like diesel to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery, invest in cleaner alternatives, or just use less fuel.

It doesn’t say, but I have found references to the fact that HVO pays the same tax rate as diesel, despite the evidence, that it appears to be more environmentally friendly.

If I was the Chancellor, I would certainly adjust the tax system, so that red diesel users who changed to HVO and other fuels, paid tax in proportion to the emissions and pollution they caused.

So have BP decided that Green Biofuels is the best interim solution to reduce emissions from diesel fuel and taking a stake, is the best way to get the required access to the product?

Could BP be thinking about replacing red diesel with a better green diesel?

  • Red diesel and GD+ could be acceptable to all diesel vehicles and equipment. So farmers for rxample, could run tractors and combines on the same fuel as their truck or Range Rover.
  • Businesses, like farmers, who often have tanks for both red diesel and normal diesel, would only need one tank.
  • Businesses with a green profile, would surely like it for their vehicles.
  • Organic farmers would like it for their tractors.
  • The availability of a green diesel would enable red diesel users to change to hydrogen or battery operation, at the optimal time.

I can see Prince Charles handing out green stars all round.

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 8 Comments