The Anonymous Widower

A Chiltern Class 68 Locomotive At Marylebone Station

As I was passing through Marylebone station, I took these pictures of a very clean Class 68 locomotive.

If I’m going to Birmingham, I generally use Chiltern, as often you get to travel in one of these well-restored Mark 3 coaches hauled by a Class 68 locomotive.

With the Mark 3 coach, you get a full size table and a large window to enjoy the countryside.

  • The Class 68 locomotives were all built by Stadler in Spain, within the last ten years.
  • The UK has a fleet of 34 Class 68 locomotives.
  • They are powered by a Caterpillar diesel engine.
  • The only problem with the trains is that the Class 68 locomotives are diesel.

But is Caterpillar working on a simple solution?

Search the Internet for “Caterpillar Hydrogen” and you find press releases and other items, like this press release, which is entitled Caterpillar to Expand Hydrogen-Powered Solutions to Customers.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out, that Stadler and Caterpillar were working on a program to provide a solution to convert Class 68 locomotives to hydrogen.

April 10, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Broadgate – 9th April 2022

I haven’t walked down Eldon Street for some time from Moorgate to Liverpool Street station and last time, there was an office block on the North side of the street.

Note.

  1. Yesterday, there was just a large hole there, which will be filled by the new development of One Broadgate.
  2. The silver building in the background of many of these pictures is 5 Broadgate, which is the London offices of UBS.
  3. One Broadgate will be a ten story development.
  4. The development will be a mixed development with retail and leisure on the lower floors and offices above.
  5. The last three pictures show the developing plaza in front of Broadgate, with another new development in the South-West corner.

Despite Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and now the Russian attack on Ukraine, there seems to be no letup in the building of new offices in London.

April 10, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Covers Are Off At Tottenham Court Road Station

These pictures show some of the new signs at Tottenham Court Road station.

As the covers seem to have been taken off, does that mean that like with cricket, something is about to happen?

April 10, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 3 Comments

Is Volodymyr Zelenskyy Planning A Mosquito Moment?

Just imagine the scene in Berlin on January 30th, 1943, which was the tenth anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

A celebration had been planned with speeches by Goering and Goebbels to the Nazi faithful, which would be broadcast over the radio.

But precisely as Goering started to speak, three RAF Mosquitos arrived over Berlin.

This article on The Smithsonian Magazine, which is entitled When the RAF Buzzed Over Germany to Drown Out Nazi Broadcasts, describes the interruption like this.

When the bombs and the British engines intruded on the broadcast of Goering’s speech, radio engineers cut his feed and scrambled for safety. A bewildered German public instead heard the cacophony of bombers, which was soon replaced on their radios with a crackly recording of marching band music. It was more than an hour before a furious Goering returned to the airwaves.

Hours later, three more Mosquitos, gave Goebbels a similar treatment.

Wikipedia gives this quote from Goering about the Mosquito.

In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I’m going to buy a British radio set – then at least I’ll own something that has always worked.

He was lecturing a group of German aircraft manufacturers.

It has been reported that Vlad the Mad is planning a spectacular parade on Victory Day, which is May 9th, 2022.

I can imagine that Ukrainian planners are working on ways to interrupt any speeches.

A drone spraying blue and yellow paint would be intensely funny and totally within the expertise of high-quality special forces.

April 10, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ZEROe Demonstrator Has Arrived

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Airbus.

This is the introductory paragraph.

2022 marks a new and exciting phase for ZEROe – Airbus’ ambition to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035. The multi-year demonstrator programme has officially been launched with the objective to test a variety of hydrogen technologies both on the ground and in the air.

The ZEROe demonstrator will be the first Airbus A 380 aircraft and it is shown in this Airbus visualisation.

Note.

  1. The four hydrogen tanks in the fuselage.
  2. The fifth engine mounted in a pod on the fuselage.
  3. There’s certainly lots of space inside the fuselage for more hydrogen tanks and test and monitoring equipment.

I have a few thoughts.

This Aircraft Will Be A Superb Demonstrator

The press release says this about the use of an A 380 as a demonstrator.

The A380 is the world’s largest and most spacious passenger jet ever built – a size that makes it ideally suited to the role of test platform.

Today, the A380 MSN1 test aircraft is earmarked for a new role: to take the lead on testing the technologies that will be vital to bringing the world’s first zero-emission aircraft to market by 2035.

“The A380 MSN1 is an excellent flight laboratory platform for new hydrogen technologies,” says Mathias Andriamisaina, Airbus ZEROe Demonstrator Leader. “It’s a safe and reliable platform that is highly versatile to test a wide range of zero-emission technologies. In addition, the platform can comfortably accommodate the large flight test instrumentation that will be needed to analyse the performance of the hydrogen in the hydrogen-propulsion system.”

Initially, I suspect the aircraft will fly as a four-engined turbofan aircraft running on standard or sustainable aviation fuel.

The performance of the hydrogen engine will be tested in all phases of operation and at different altitudes.

What Size Is The Fifth Engine?

This layout is clever.

If Airbus want to test a smaller hydrogen engine for say an Airbus A 320-sized hydrogen aircraft like the ZEROe Turbofan shown in this Airbus visualisation, they fit it to the fifth pylon.

Note.

  1. The fifth pylon on the ZEROe Demonstrator could be the proposed pylon for the ZEROe Turbofan.
  2. The ZEROe Demonstrator could probably carry a lot of hydrogen to test out the hydrogen engine over a long duration.
  3. The hydrogen engine could be tested out over the full flight envelop of an Airbus A 380.

I would suspect that the tests on the hydrogen engine would be some of the most comprehensive ever carried out on a new engine.

If Airbus want to test a larger hydrogen engine for say an Airbus A 350-sized hydrogen aircraft, they would probably replace one of the four main engines with the hydrogen engine.

It looks like Airbus will be able to test hydrogen engines for all sizes of plane in their current range.

What Will Happen To Current A 380s?

Consider.

  • The production of the A 380 has been stopped.
  • There are 251 aircraft in service.
  • They appear to be a reliable and safe aircraft.
  • The aircraft can run on sustainable aviation fuel.
  • The oldest aircraft are only thirteen years old.
  • They are still reasonably modern aircraft, that if they needed to be updated to the latest standards could probably be easily done so.
  • The aircraft have a lot of volume, which can hold over 500 passengers in a typical configuration.
  • The flying characteristics and structure of the aircraft is well known.

I suspect there are a lot of aircraft leasing companies, who feel these aircraft are too good to scrap, just because they are not zero-carbon.

Could Hydrogen Be Stored In The Wing Of An A 380?

Hydrogen storage will get more capable in the next few years and we will see hydrogen stored in strange places in vehicles and aircraft using the gas as a fuel.

The A 380 may well have an advantage in that its wing is relatively thick compared to that of other airliners.

  • The A 380 has a wing aspect ratio of 7.53.
  • The Boeing 787 has a wing aspect ratio of 11.
  • Gliders have wing aspect ratios as upwards of 30.

High aspect ratios are generally more economical on fuel.

But this relatively thick wing, may make it possible to store hydrogen in the wing of an A 380.

Could There Be A Hydrogen-Powered A 380?

I suspect part of the Airbus ZEROe progam will be to investigate the possibility of converting existing A 380 aircraft into a capable hydrogen-powered aircraft.

In Could An A320 neo Be Rebuilt As A ZEROe Turbofan?, I looked at the possibility of turning an existing Airbus A 320 neo into a ZEROe Turbofan running on hydrogen.

This was my conclusion.

I very much feel that there will be a route to convert some or all of the A 320 neo aircraft to hydrogen power.

So what will a ZEROe A 380 look like if it follows the same design route as an A 320 neo to a ZEROe Turbofan?

  • There would be a large hydrogen tank in the rear fuselage.
  • As I explained earlier, there may be a possibility for some hydrogen to be stored in the wing.
  • Both passenger decks would be shortened and perhaps be able to hold the 350-410 passengers of the Airbus A350-1000.
  • The cockpit, front part of the fuselage, wings, tailplane and landing gear would be unchanged.
  • The aircraft would fit existing jetways at any airport, that can handle an existing A 380.

 

I believe that converting an existing Airbus A380 to a hydrogen-powered aircraft is possible and the conversion falls within Barnes Wallis‘s rule of problem solving.

There is no greater thrill in life, that proving something is impossible and then showing how it can be done.

The quote comes from a BBC program, where he was interviewed by Chris Brasher, who was another for whom impossible was just a minor hurdle in the way of meeting objectives.

Could There Be A Hydrogen-Powered A 380 Freighter?

Consider.

  • I think it is likely, that companies like Amazon will come under pressure over their carbon footprint, as they transport increasing numbers of packages around the world.
  • In DHL Express Shapes Future For Sustainable Aviation With First Order Of All-Electric Cargo Planes From Eviation, I talk about how DHL Express have ordered twelve Eviation Alice aircraft to create a zero-carbon service. DHL must feel this would be good for their image. So would they like an intercontinental zero-carbon freighter?
  • Some people worry about the air-miles on their food!

There could be a worthwhile niche market for a high capacity intercontinental zero-carbon freighter.

Because it has such a large internal volume, an Airbus A 380 might make an ideal aircraft to convert.

Conclusion

Airbus will learn a lot from the ZEROe Demonstrator.

They may even learn how to develop, a long-range hydrogen-powered zero-carbon A 380 variant that could carry four hundred passengers between Europe and Australia.

 

 

April 10, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments